Crime | August 21, 2021 1:56 pm

Crypto Heist Season Continues With Theft of $97 Million From Japanese Exchange

Hackers are getting more and more ambitious

How secure is cryptocurrency? A series of heists is putting that question to the test.
Pierre Borthiry/Unsplash

One of the main talking points about cryptocurrency, and why its proponents think so highly of it, pertains to its relative security. With its reliance on identity verification and unique identifiers, crypto should be virtually impossible to steal. (One would think, anyway.) And thus, the idea of a cryptocurrency heist would be something that’s theoretically impossible. (Again, you’d think so.) And yet, here we are the month of August, on the far side of not one but two high-profile cryptocurrency heists. Which begs the question — just what is going on?

Earlier this month, hackers stole over $600 million in cryptocurrency by exploiting a security vulnerability, then returned roughly half of the amount. And now, Engadget reports that another $97 million in crypto was stolen from Liquid, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Japan.

According to a blog post from Liquid, the exchange’s security team first noticed something was awry on Thursday morning. Specifically, they “detected unauthorized access of some of the crypto wallets managed at Liquid.” Once they noticed the issue, they temporarily stopped all crypto withdrawals. In the days since then, they’ve worked on bolstering the security of their infrastructure.

Engadget’s article notes that Liquid is working to identify and recover the cryptocurrency in question. And while a heist of virtual currency seems like something out of a William Gibson novel, it’s a growing concern for crypto exchanges — and an alarming reminder of what a resourceful hacker or hackers can do.