- Huobi Global’s HTX crypto exchange suffered a $7.9 million hack on September 24.
- The exchange surprisingly offered the attacker a “white-hat bonus” in exchange for returning 95% of the stolen funds.
- Investor Justin Sun reassured users that their funds were secure, and the exchange was functioning normally.
On September 24, Huobi Global’s HTX cryptocurrency exchange fell victim to a cyberattack, resulting in the loss of $7.9 million in cryptocurrencies, as revealed by blockchain analytics platform Cyvers.
In an intriguing twist, a known Huobi hot wallet communicated with the attacker in Chinese, asserting that they had identified the assailant and proposed a unique arrangement. The exchange offered to let the attacker retain 5% of the stolen assets as a “white-hat bonus,” contingent upon returning the remaining 95%.
🚨Red Code🚨Yesterday, our ML-powered system detected a suspicious transaction involving @HuobiGlobal and @HTX_Global.
Despite our attempts to reach out, we received no response. An EOA received 5K $ETH $7.9M from @HuobiGlobal‘s hot wallet.
🔍 This morning, we spotted… pic.twitter.com/3oqHhAVi8P
— 🚨 Cyvers Alerts 🚨 (@CyversAlerts) September 25, 2023
At precisely 10:00 am UTC on September 24, the suspected Huobi hot wallet with the address 0x2Abc22eb9A09EbBE7b41737CCde147F586EfeB6A transferred 4,999 Ether, equivalent to around $7.9 million, to an address with no prior transaction history. The following day, another Huobi-associated wallet sent a message to the attacker in Chinese. According to a Google translation:
“We have verified your true identity. Kindly return the funds to 0x18709E89BD403F470088aBDAcEbE86CC60dda12e. We are willing to offer you a 5% white hat bonus. This offer is valid until October 2, 2023. Failure to return the funds by the deadline will lead us to seek legal intervention.”
Cyvers reported the security breach on September 25. The wallet responsible for the message was identified as a Huobi hot wallet by the blockchain analytics platform Arkham Intelligence. Cyvers noted that this wallet is listed on a Huobi support page as belonging to the exchange.
On the morning of September 25, Huobi Global investor Justin Sun confirmed the incident, stating, “HTX @HTX_Global has incurred a loss of 5,000 #Eth ($8 million USD) due to a hacker attack.” Sun assured users that their funds remained secure, and the exchange was operating normally. He also declared, “HTX has fully covered the losses resulting from the attack and has successfully resolved all associated issues.”
The year 2023 has seen a spate of cyberattacks targeting cryptocurrency exchanges, with many attributed to the North Korean-affiliated Lazarus Group. These attacks have netted the group an estimated $40 million in Bitcoin over the course of the year.
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