One of the largest bitcoin exchanges in the world, based in South Korea, has been hacked, and 30,000 customers’ data has been compromised, according to a report from Yonhap News.
As CoinMarketCap reports, Bithumb is the second largest bitcoin exchange by volume, accounting for roughly 3% of the global market, and the largest ethereum exchange, reporting about 13.5% of total trade activity.
In its blog post, Bithumb said, that it is providing 100,000 Korean won – worth about $86.50 to each affected customer out of 30,000 (this number represents approximately 3% of exchange clients’ pool).
“In addition, for the members who suffer additional damage due to this incident, we will compensate the entire amount of damages in a responsible manner,” Bithumb’s operators said.
The exchange believes, that the breach was caused by one of its employee’s home computer being hacked, not its entire network. It underlines that no passwords were compromised, so it is impossible for hackers to gain direct access to user accounts.
“The employee PC, not the head office server, was hacked. Personal information such as mobile phone and email address of some users were leaked. However, some customers were found to have been stolen from because of the disposable password used in electronic financial transactions.” – say in Bithumb.
Interestingly, the breach is reported to have occurred in February, but Bithumb is reported to have discovered the breach only on 29 June and reported it to the authorities the next day.
The incident itself underscores the fact that not only investors and digital-currency enthusiasts are excited by the current surge of interest in cryptocurrencies — criminals are also eyeing up businesses that hold cryptocurrencies, and no one can promise absolute security.
Аccording to Yonhap, while more than 100 Bithumb customers have already filed a complaint regarding the hack, the Korea Internet and Security Agency together with the Korea Communications Commission are currently starting the investigation.
Despite the attack hasn’t resulted in large-scale losses, for context it is markedly smaller than previous hack of bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, where $460 million in bitcoin (at then current prices) disappeared in 2014, the fact of it’s occurrence places exchange security systems’ efficasy in question, thus making the exchanges address the problem as soon as possible.
Although, currently virtual currencies are not regulated by South Korea’s financial authorities, steps are being taken to change the situation for the better there: a set of bills to regulate the cryptocurrency market is under development. It definitively makes sence, as cryptocurrencies are getting more and more mainstream all over the world and there should be a system able to control them.