Over $150 million stolen by hackers from cryptocurrency exchange BitMart

Hackers stole at least $150 million from cryptocurrency exchange BitMart as part of what the company described Monday as a “large-scale security breach.”

The BitMart Team wrote in a statement posted on its website that the hackers involved had withdrawn approximately $150 million from two of BitMart’s wallets used by customers, and that the company was temporarily suspending withdrawals as it investigated the breach. The company emphasized that all other wallets were “secure and unharmed.”

NBC News cited information from blockchain and security analytics company PeckShield in reporting that the financial loss was likely closer to $200 million stolen. 

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“We are now conducting a thorough security review and we will post updates as we progress,” the company wrote. “We beg for your kind understanding and patience in this situation. During this period, we will strive to maintain transparency and we appreciate your support.”

The breach is the latest in a series of high profile cyber incidents over the past year, many of which have involved ransomware attacks on key companies like Colonial Pipeline and meat producer JBS USA. 

The attacks have drawn federal attention to the use of cryptocurrency exchanges by hackers to facilitate ransomware payments, with the Treasury Department sanctioning cryptocurrency exchange SUEX OTC in September in connection with ransomware payments. This was the first time the Treasury Department had issued sanctions against a virtual currency exchange. 

BitMart is not the first cryptocurrency exchange to be targeted by hackers. Around $600 million in virtual tokens was stolen from cryptocurrency company Poly Network in August, though almost half of the funds were later returned by the attackers. The alleged hacker later told NBC News that the attack had been “for fun.”