Binance froze funds linked to the $ 49 million violation of the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit after hackers attempted to launder some of their illicit gains.
Half an hour to thwart the attempted theft
Much of the action to block the illicit transfer of money took place on Twitter. Shortly after 16:00 UTC on May 13, the bot account Twitter Whale Alert, an automated service that tracks transactions in particularly large cryptocurrencies, warned Binance.
Previously he had pledged to freeze funds from hack attacks - which about 137 ether (worth about $ 27.000 at the time of printing) had moved from a group of hacker-linked Upbit address to his wallets. Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao tweeted immediately after the funds had been frozen successfully and the money would soon be returned to Upbit.
The time between hackers' transfer of ethers to Binance and blocking of funds was just over half an hour. Gone are the days when hackers could simply go home with their loot, like the time a hacker stole 850.000 bitcoins from Mt. Gox in 2014.
The addresses of wallets linked to suspected hackers are now tagged and exchanges usually freeze any funds resulting from these wallets the moment it arrives on their servers. In January 2019, Binance also froze funds linked to the $ 16 million Cryptopia hack.
Security is still an issue for the world of cryptocurrency exchanges
Of course, it is still possible to recycle funds. Something like 3.650 ethers (valued at around $ 725.000) has disappeared from a wallet linked to a suspected hacker's Upbit account in the past 24 hours, many of which will have quickly gone through other wallets, probably in an attempt to blur the tracks left by the digital currency.
A report by security firm Uppsala earlier this year showed that hackers on Upbit may have already laundered up to $ 3,2 million ether by running them through various exchanges, including Binance and Bitfinex, transferring only small quantities at a time to avoid creating alarms.
It is unclear what the hackers' motivation was for sending $ 27.000 ether to Binance on May 13. In the grand scheme of things, it's not a huge amount considering they managed to steal $ 49 million in total last November.
It can be speculated that perhaps it was a way to test the exchange's response times and see if large quantities of cryptocurrencies could go unnoticed. And how do you trade your favorite cryptocurrencies? Have you ever tried Bitcoin Pro? If yes, please let us know what you think in the comments below.