Hackers Give Back $260 Million After Cryptocurrency Heist

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Hackers who recently committed one of the biggest cryptocurrency heists returned more than a third of the $613 million in digital coins they stole, the company at the center of the theft said on Wednesday.

Poly Network, a decentralized financial platform that facilitates peer-to-peer transactions, tweeted that $260 million of the stolen funds had been returned but $353 million was still outstanding.

The company, which allows users to exchange tokens across different blockchains, said on Tuesday that it had been breached and urged criminals to return the stolen money and threatened legal action.

Cybercriminals exploited a vulnerability in digital contracts that Poly Network uses to move assets across different blockchains, according to blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis.

A person who took responsibility for the hack said she did it “for fun” and wanted to “expose the vulnerability” before others could exploit it, according to digital messages released by Elliptic, a crypto-tracking firm, and Chainalysis.

The perpetrators have not yet been identified.

Elliptic co-founder Tom Robinson said the decision to return the money may have been caused by the difficulties involved in laundering stolen crypto on this scale.

An executive at cryptocurrency firm Tether tweeted that the company had frozen $33 million related to the hack, and executives at other cryptocurrency exchanges also told Poly Network they would volunteer to help.

The scale of the theft was comparable to the $530 million in digital coins stolen from Tokyo’s Coincheck exchange in 2018. Mt Gox, also based in Tokyo, closed in 2014 after losing half a billion dollars in bitcoin.

The Poly Network hack comes as losses from theft, hacks and decentralized funding fraud have reached an all-time high, according to crypto-intelligence firm CipherTrace.

For more information, read the original story in Reuters.

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