January 31, 2023

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Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has temporarily suspended its blockchain network after hackers seized nearly $570 million worth of its BNB tokens.

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Binance said late Thursday that the cross-chain bridge linked to its BNB chain was targeted, enabling hackers to move bnb Token from the network. So-called cross-chain bridges are tools that allow tokens to be transferred from one blockchain to another.

The company said it has worked with network validators — entities or individuals who verify transactions on the blockchain — to prevent the creation of new blocks on the BSC, suspending all transaction processing while a team of developers investigates the breach. does.

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Binance is the largest crypto exchange in the world by trading volume.

“An exploit on a cross-chain bridge, BSC Token Hub, resulted in additional BNB. We have asked all validators to temporarily suspend BSC,” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a tweet on Thursday evening.

“The problem is now contained. Your funds are safe. We apologize for the inconvenience and will provide further updates accordingly.”

The BNB chain has since resumed operations.

In total, the hackers removed 2 million BNB tokens — about $570 million at current prices — from the network, Binance’s BNB chain said in a statement. blog post on Friday.

According to crypto security firm Immunefi, the hack was caused by a bug in Bridge’s smart contract that allowed hackers to transact and send money back to their crypto wallets. Smart contracts are pieces of code on the blockchain that allow agreements to be executed automatically without human intervention.

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“With many bridge designs, there is a central point that holds most of the funds that are moving through the bridge,” Adrian Hetman, tech lead for the triaging team at Immunéfi, told CNBC.

“After all, Bridges was tricked into giving money from that contract.”

According to data from CoinMarketCap, the value of BNB fell by more than 3% on Friday morning to $285.36 per coin.

The company’s earlier estimates put the total withdrawal amount at between $100 million and $110 million. The company also said it managed to freeze $7 million in funds with the help of its security partners.

A Binance spokesperson told CNBC that the company has coordinated with BNB Chain validators for the upgrade. This means that most of the funds remained in the exploiter’s crypto wallet, while almost $100 million was not “recovered”.

The spokesperson said that BNB Chain currently has 26 active validators and a total of 44 different time zones.

BNB Chain, originally known as Binance Chain, was first developed by Binance in 2019. Like other blockchains, it has a native token, called BNB, which can be traded or used in games and other applications.

This is the latest in a series of major hacks targeting cross-chain bridges, with instances of sloppy engineering making them a prime target for cybercriminals.

According to data from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, the breakdown of the cross-chain bridge has resulted in a total loss of $1.4 billion since the beginning of 2022.

The crypto industry has had a rough year, with nearly $2 trillion in value wiped out since the peak of a blistering rally from 2020 to 2021. The impact of $60 billion blockchain venture Terra and the deteriorating macroeconomic environment have severely affected market sentiment.

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