In what could amount to be the single largest theft in history, an unknown hacker has made off with over 523 million NEM coins – amounting to a loss of $534 million USD on Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck.
According to Coincheck representatives, hackers managed to steal the private key for a hot wallet wherein the NEM coins where stored – draining funds belonging to customers of the exchange. The company confirmed that the ‘inappropriate’ movement of funds was noticed by the Japanese Financial Services Agency, which in turn alerted the exchange.
The company has subsequently halted all withdrawals in a tentative bid to prevent the plunder of further funds.
Coincheck has come under fire, however, for storing the allotted NEM in a simple hot wallet rather than leveraging a multi-signature wallet. The perpetrators behind the attack specifically targeted NEM for this reason, as Coincheck leverages multi-signature wallets for other cryptocurrencies.
Hunting down hackers
Coincheck has confirmed that it is aware of the address wherein the stolen NEM balance is being held by the hackers, and that it is hoping to track down the culprits.
At the time of writing, the firm has not disclosed how many of its users were affected, and has not further elaborated on whether it will proceed to refund its consumers who have fallen victim to the attack.
The company has, however, indicated that it plans to keep operating rather than close or declare bankruptcy.
The news comes in the wake of several other high-profile hacking attempts. Earlier this year, hackers stole over $400,000 USD from Blackwallet, while NiceHash was recently attacked and subsequently saw over 4,000 bitcoins stolen.
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