Hackers stole cryptocurrencies worth more than $600 million from Poly Network, a decentralized finance platform that connects different blockchains, in one of the largest cryptocurrency theft in recent years. And the surprising part is that whoever stole the money returned nearly half of the filched assets.
Poly Network posted about the hack in a series of Twitter posts Tuesday. Blockchain security company SlowMist estimated that the stolen cryptocurrencies were priced over $610 million during the time. However, once the amount was stolen, the hackers began sending it to3 different crypto addresses.
The company serves as a blockchain platform letting users exchange different types of digital tokens together without the intrusion of any intermediaries. A blockchain is a ledger, or log, of every single transaction made of different cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The ledger is distributed to all the users in the network to verify all new transactions when they occur, instead of being held by any single authority.
Poly network posted on Twitter that it had been sent back three cryptocurrencies, including $3.3m worth of Ethereum, $256m worth of Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and $1m worth of Polygon.
“The amount of money you hacked is the biggest in defi history,” Poly Network said in a tweet.
It happened when hackers sent a message etched into a cryptocurrency transaction to Poly Network saying they were “ready to return” the amount. The DeFi platform then responded with three crypto locations they wanted their money sent to.
“I think this demonstrates that even if you can steal crypto-assets, laundering them and cashing out is extremely difficult, due to the transparency of the blockchain and the use of blockchain analytics,” Tom Robinson, chief scientist of blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, said via email.
“In this case, the hacker concluded that the safest option was just to return the stolen assets.”
The security firm SlowMist tweeted that its researchers had “grasped the attacker’s mailbox, IP, and device fingerprints” and are “tracking possible identity clues related to the Poly Network attacker.”
The researchers concluded that the theft was “likely to be a long-planned, organized and prepared attack.”
Poly Network has further asked the cryptocurrency exchanges to “blacklist tokens” linked to the hackers’ addresses to avoid future thefts. However, this little tale tells us how powerful hackers can be and how precarious the unregulated cryptocurrency world is. Anyone can dig a large fortune from under its nose, and they can’t even take action!