Hacker Exploits Ankr for Over $5 Million

UTC by Babafemi Adebajo · 2 min read
Hacker Exploits Ankr for Over $5 Million
Photo: Unsplash

While investigations are still ongoing, the case is rapidly developing. So far, the aBNBc token has lost over 99% of its value.

DeFi protocol, Ankr, has reported a breach by a hacker that resulted in an unlimited minting of its token aBNBc. After minting six quadrillions of the token, the attacker exchanged 20 trillion aBNBc for BNB.

On-chain analysis firm Lookonchain notes that the attacker then used a combination of Uniswap, Tornado Cash and several bridges to swap the BNB and get $5 million USDC.

How Was Ankr Breached?

According to a blockchain security firm Beosin, the hacker exploited vulnerabilities in the smart contract code and compromised private keys following the most recent Ankr upgrade. Using this approach, the attacker minted tokens without any form of verification.

PeckShield was the first to discover the attack. Within an hour, Ankr also confirmed the attack and announced it would collaborate with exchanges to halt transactions with the token.

The DeFi protocol assured all its users that other assets on Ankr Staking remain safe while the rest of its infrastructure remains unaffected.

Is This the End for aBNBc?

While investigations are still ongoing, the case is rapidly developing. So far, the token has lost over 99% of its value. aBNBc is currently trading at just $1.52 after the exploit removed almost all the liquidity on Pancakeswap and Apeswap.

Consequently, Ankr has called on liquidity providers to remove all their liquidity from Dexes. It also noted that it is in contact with Dexes to block any trades from that point. To assuage fears, the firm stated it would work out a plan to compensate affected users. “We will reissue tokens in the future after we assess the situation.’ it concluded.

Meanwhile, an opportunistic trader also cashed in on the exploit, turning 10 BNB into 15.5 million BUSD by exploiting Helio, which did not have an up-to-date price on aBNBc after it crashed. Also, the trader used the pre-crash price of aBNBc to borrow $16 million in HAY stablecoins and then converted it into BUSD.

As a result, the HAY stablecoin lost its peg, falling as far as 20 cents. The token is now in recovery. At the time of writing, it was back up to $0.64, according to CoinMarketCap.

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