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News/CoinEx and Remitano Become the Latest Victims of Crypto Heists

CoinEx and Remitano Become the Latest Victims of Crypto Heists

Sep 15 2023

9 months ago4 minutes read
a cute anime robot with wide eyes holding a Crypto Hack sign

CoinEx's Multi-Million Dollar Hack

Written by Van

On September 12, 2023, news of CoinEx's hot wallets being compromised rippled through the crypto community—a thriving Tuesday abruptly disrupted. The initial reports indicated a drastic loss — an unsettling $28 million worth of cryptocurrencies. The exact cryptos syphoned off were 4946 Ethereum (ETH), not a hit to the Ethereum market cap, and 354,762 Tron (TRX).

At the time of the first report, the grim situation, which has already impacted crypto coin prices, was labeled as "ongoing," projecting an atmosphere of uncertainty and hinting at a possibly escalating predicament.

Racing Against Time: The Immediate Response

As soon as unusual wallet activity was detected, CoinEx’s Risk Control System sprung into action, serving as the frontline defense. Not one for silently enduring a crisis, CoinEx promptly went public. It bravely shared a roster of suspicious wallet addresses.

As an act of community solidarity, it enjoined all within the cryptosphere to help freeze these suspicious accounts—an open call for a collective stand against unscrupulous acts.

Subsequently, the blockchain sleuths at SlowMist and ZachXBT pointed their accusatory fingers at the notorious Lazarus Group, potentially linking the North Korean hackers to a $55 million breach on CoinEx's digital fortress. This revelation hiked up the previous loss estimate.

CoinEx echoed this in its Medium statement, divulging an approximate loss of $70 million.

Coinex medium screenshot
Source: CoinEx Medium

Ripple Effects: User Impact and Financial Consequences

CoinEx pledged to fully compensate users for any losses, a move that could stabilize the crypto price in the wake of this malicious cyber attack. It has distributed three rounds of addresses, suspecting hacker involvements. The addresses conceal a diverse mix of cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, XRP, and Solana.

The users' inability to withdraw from CoinEx, however, erected a palpable air of concern in the community.

Under the Microscope: Security Protocols and Measures

As the chaos unfolded, CoinEx's Risk Control System's swift response evidenced an efficient layer of automated security measures. Staying true to its vow of transparency, the exchange revealed its decision to resume withdrawals post a thorough isolation and review of suspicious addresses.

These unfortunate events managed to shift the community's focus to the frailties of hot wallets, distinguished from their offline counterparts—cold wallets. As of now, CoinEx continues to evaluate the monetary implications of this significant rupture of security.

The Road Ahead: Implications for the Exchange and the Wider Industry

CoinEx's assured compensation scheme may shape the future crisis management of similar crypto exchange disasters. By sharing presumed hacker-associated addresses, CoinEx conveys a clear warning to fellow platforms and users. Such an incident necessitates an inspection of the protective measures implemented across exchanges.

CoinEx's unique move of reaching out to hackers to negotiate regarding the upgrade of CoinEx's security system broadcasts an innovative approach to crisis resolution. Moreover, the promise of a "generous bug bounty" for the return of illicitly obtained assets sparks intrigue.


The Enigma of Remitano Exchange's Purported $2.7M Heist

Known for its services in emerging markets, Remitano, a thriving crypto exchange, unwittingly found itself at the heart of an escalating maelstrom. This tumultuous event tore through an otherwise tranquil day, rattling the very core of the organization.

Unraveling the Heist: An Inside Job or a Complex Breach?

At the stroke of 12:45 pm, chaos descended. A Remitano hot wallet, otherwise regarded as a cryptographic stronghold, began hemorrhaging assets to an obscure address—notorious for its lack of past transactions. This triggered an alarming $2.7 million siphoning cascade that had blockchain detectives stumped.

They could only speculate the possibilities—an ingenious hack or a sinister inner conspiracy.

The digital fortress was ravaged, with $1.4 million in Tether (USDT), $208,000 in USD Coin (USDC), and a humble but noteworthy 104,000 Ankr coins spirited away. Tether stole the spotlight, paralyzing an attacker's address and securing $1.4 million from vanishing into the vast crypto void.

brave_screenshot_debank.com.png
Source: DeBank

A Wake-Up Call: Cryvers’ Machine Learning and Remitano's Silence

The blockchain auditing firm, Cyvers, was the first to sound the alarm. Leveraging machine learning technology, it flagged the aberrant transactions. Amidst the commotion and guessing game, Remitano's silence echoed louder. The exchange issued no public statement, amplifying the intrigue.

Global Echoes: Remitano's Footprint and The Year of The Hack

Remitano is not an insignificant entity. Its operations stretch across diverse regions—from Pakistan and Ghana to Venezuela and Vietnam—heightening the alleged heist's ripple effects. The year 2023, now infamous as a breeding ground for crypto exchange breaches, further fuels the wildfire.

Leaked private keys and crypto vanishings have become disturbingly familiar, with suspicion circling the notorious Lazarus Group.

Unraveling the Geopolitical Threat: The North Korean Accusation 

Casting a darker shadow of international intrigue, the Lazarus Group, infamous for its alleged North Korean connections, is suspected of looting a staggering $41 million from the gambling arena, Stake, on September 4. They are also reportedly linked to Coinex's $27 million heist on September 12.

This formidable group's rise marks another chapter in the chronicles of crypto security.


The Fiscal Ruin Inflicted by North Korea's Lazarus Group on the Crypto World

Coming to grips with the real impact requires understanding the numbers. The Lazarus Group, a hacking entity infamously aligned with the North Korean administration, is believed to have inflicted a staggering loss of $1.7 billion in relation to crypto hacks within the previous year alone.

Over a tiny time frame of a mere ten days, this remorseless group has accounted for losses exceeding $95 million—a figure authenticated by the cybersecurity agency, Arkham Intel.

Delving Deeper: Behind the Recent High-Profile Intrusions

A closer examination reveals more disturbing trends. As of recent, the FBI has singled out the Lazarus Group as the underlying malevolent force pilfering $41 million from the online gambling arena, Stake.com.

To compound the situation, Lazarus-associated addresses have also been incriminated in the significant hack involving the CoinEx crypto exchange.

The dangerous exploits of this group have ushered in substantial losses in 2023, plundering over $200 million from various platforms, notably Alphapo and CoinsPaid.

The Many Faces of Attack: A Panoply of Devious Tactics

A slippery, versatile adversary, the Lazarus Group employs a myriad tactics to enact their devious acts. This damning range encompasses spear-phishing campaigns, clever social engineering gambits, and more sophisticated breaches infiltrating targeted systems.

More Than Meets the Eye: A Broad-Spectrum Threat

robot panic seeing hackers staring at his wallets (1).webp

Lazarus's tentacles of cyber mischief extend beyond the realm of cryptocurrency pilfering. It has also infiltrated a diverse range of government and private sectors. Their choice of assets is as varied as their victim pool, extending across a wide array of digital currencies.

These stolen assets often find a home across various blockchain networks, Ethereum, BNB Smart Chain, and Polygon being notable hosts, a fact that's evident when you examine cryptocurrency charts. These relentless attacks' frequency and magnitude have ignited a wave of concern across various sectors, spurring government agencies and financial institutions into a state of high alert.


Conclusion

The recent crypto heists targeting CoinEx and Remitano serve as a stark wake-up call for the crypto industry. With losses soaring into the millions and the shadowy Lazarus Group lurking in the background, the urgency for fortified security measures has never been more palpable. 

These incidents not only shake investor confidence but also prompt a reevaluation of existing security protocols. As we navigate this turbulent landscape, the question isn't just about how to recover the lost assets—it's about how to preemptively secure the digital fortresses that guard our financial future.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What happened to CoinEx and Remitano?

CoinEx and Remitano were both hit by high-profile crypto heists. CoinEx lost around $70 million, while Remitano lost about $2.7 million. Both exchanges had their hot wallets compromised.

2. Who is suspected to be behind these attacks?

The notorious Lazarus Group, allegedly linked to North Korea, is suspected to be behind the CoinEx attack. The culprits behind the Remitano heist are still unknown.

3. What are hot wallets and why are they vulnerable?

Hot wallets are online storage solutions for cryptocurrencies. They're convenient but more susceptible to hacks compared to cold wallets, which are offline.

4. What's the immediate impact on users?

CoinEx has promised to fully compensate its users, but withdrawals are currently suspended. Remitano has yet to issue a public statement, leaving users in a state of uncertainty.

5. What is the Lazarus Group?

The Lazarus Group is a hacking entity allegedly aligned with North Korea. They're suspected of causing over $1.7 billion in crypto-related losses in the past year.

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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