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News/New Year's Eve Hack Drains $81.7 Million from Cross-Chain Bridge Orbit Bridge

New Year's Eve Hack Drains $81.7 Million from Cross-Chain Bridge Orbit Bridge

Van Thanh Le

Jan 2 2024

5 months ago3 minutes read
Surprised robot with mosaic design loses bitcoin into wormhole, depicting Orbit Chain hack

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Orbit Bridge Siphoned Nearly $82 Million in Cross-Chain Assets

The festive mood of New Year's Eve wasn't shared by users of Orbit Chain, a cross-chain project facilitating transfers between blockchains. Hackers struck at their bridging service, Orbit Bridge, on December 31st, siphoning off a staggering $81.5 to $81.7 million in cryptocurrency.

TetherUSD CoinEtherWrapped Bitcoin, and Dai – a veritable buffet of digital assets – totaling $30 million, $10 million, $21.7 million, $9.8 million, and $10 million respectively, all vanished in five swift transactions, landing in fresh wallets controlled by the perpetrators. Regarding the method of entry, whispers swirl about compromised multisig signatures, with speculation pointing towards hackers potentially gaining access to seven out of ten signers for Orbit Chain.

The attack sent shockwaves through the project's ecosystem, with the native token, ORC, plummeting nearly 20% within 24 hours. With close ties to the Klaytn network, a prominent layer-1 blockchain, Orbit Bridge served as a crucial artery for transferring major Klaytn-based assets between Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible blockchains. This breach raises concerns about the overall security of cross-chain bridges, vital components in the burgeoning multi-chain landscape.


A New Year's Eve Breach Shadows Orbit Chain: Millions Lost, Scam Alerts Abound

On the final night of 2023, Orbit Chain, a cross-chain bridge platform, confirmed a dramatic reality: a security breach. At 8:52 pm UTC, December 31st, unauthorized access into their ecosystem sent shockwaves through the crypto community. Millions in various cryptocurrencies vanished, totaling a staggering $81.68 million, according to blockchain analytics platform Arkham Intelligence.

arkham screenshot.webp
Source: Arkham Intelligence

Orbit Chain responded swiftly, launching a comprehensive investigation alongside cybersecurity startup Theori. Simultaneously, they requested global crypto exchanges to freeze the stolen assets and reached out to law enforcement agencies in hopes of recovering the lost funds.

However, the fallout extended beyond the immediate financial blow. Confusion and concern rippled through Orbit Chain's user base, with many taking to social media to express their anxieties. Requests for transaction cancellations and fund reimbursements poured in, echoing through the digital landscape with yet-to-be-answered pleas.

Adding to the chaos, opportunistic scammers emerged, capitalizing on the vulnerability and trust shattered by the breach. Mimic accounts with similar names to Orbit Chain began circulating false promises of repayment, further compounding the confusion and urging users to exercise extreme caution.

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the ever-present dangers lurking in the Web3 space. In 2023 alone, an estimated $1.8 billion was lost to hackers and scammers, with the infamous North Korean Lazarus Group responsible for a staggering 17% of those losses. The Mixin Network exploit, resulting in over $200 million stolen, stands as a grim testament to the potential scale of such breaches.

Orbit Bridge Hack Pushes December Crypto Losses to Nearly $100 Million

As the world rang in 2024, a different kind of countdown was underway in the cryptoverse. Hackers, exploiting a vulnerability in the Orbit Bridge, a key cross-chain bridge facilitating the transfer of digital assets between blockchains, made off with a staggering $81.5 million. This audacious heist pushed December's crypto theft tally to nearly $100 million, etching it as the fifth-highest month for such exploits in 2023.

Adding to the intrigue, the stolen loot remains untouched, sitting quietly in the digital wallets where it was initially deposited. This has investigators scrambling, analyzing blockchain transactions and piecing together the puzzle of the perpetrators' identities and potential next moves.

The Orbit Bridge breach wasn't an isolated incident. Throughout 2023, a dark tapestry of hacks, scams, and exploits unraveled across the crypto landscape, with losses estimated to be between $1.51 billion and $2 billion. The year saw notorious attacks like the $200 million heist from the Mixin Network in September and the bridge breaches at Poloniex and HTX/Heco in November.

However, despite these high-profile incidents, there's a sliver of good news. Compared to 2022's staggering $4.38 billion crypto heist figure, 2023 witnessed a significant decline in overall losses. Blockchain security firms like PeckShield, CertiK, and Beosin played a crucial role in this, relentlessly tracking and analyzing these incidents, shedding light on the evolving patterns and devastating impacts of crypto crime.


Orbit Bridge's New Year's Eve hack highlights the persistent security risks in the burgeoning multi-chain landscape. With millions lost and investigations ongoing, the incident underscores the need for robust security measures, user vigilance, and enhanced cross-chain bridge protocols to navigate the Web3 space safely. 

While 2023 saw a decrease in overall crypto losses compared to 2022, the Orbit Bridge breach serves as a stark reminder that the battle against cybercrime in the cryptosphere is far from over.


1. How much money was stolen in the Orbit Bridge hack?

The hackers siphoned off a staggering $81.5 to $81.7 million in cryptocurrency, including Tether, USD Coin, Ether, Wrapped Bitcoin, and Dai.

2. What caused the Orbit Bridge hack?

The exact method is still under investigation, but speculation points towards compromised multisig signatures, potentially involving seven out of ten signers for Orbit Chain.

3. What are the consequences of the hack?

The breach caused a 20% plummet in Orbit Chain's native token (ORC) and raised concerns about the overall security of cross-chain bridges. Users experienced anxiety, confusion, and financial losses, while scammers exploited the situation with fake reimbursement claims.

4. What is being done to recover the stolen funds?

Orbit Chain is working with cybersecurity experts and law enforcement to track the stolen assets and apprehend the perpetrators. They have also urged users to exercise caution and avoid any fake recovery schemes.

5. How can I stay safe in the Web3 space?

Research projects thoroughly, use reliable wallets and exchanges, enable two-factor authentication, and stay updated on security vulnerabilities and common scams. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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