The largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea was hacked on Wednesday and lost $50 million in digital assets. For the next two weeks, the exchange deactivated all withdrawals and deposits and guaranteed that the lost assets will be replaced by corporate assets owned by Kakao’s subsidiary Dunamoo.
Upbit, a major cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, announced that it was hacked and that 342,000 ETH were stolen, which amounts to around $50 million. Upbit is one of the largest exchanges not only in South Korea but in the entire cryptocurrency market. The platform that is owned and operated by Dunamoo, a subsidiary company of internet tech giant Kakao, published the news of the attack on the 27th of November.
The official confirmation statement of the loss of ethereum was written by the CEO of Dunamoo, Lee Seok-woo, who stated:
“At 1:06 PM on November 27, 2019, 342,000 ETH (approximately 58 billion won) were transferred from the Upbeat Ethereum Hot wallet to an unknown wallet. The unknown wallet address is 0xa09871AEadF4994Ca12f5c0b6056BBd1d343c029.”
Furthermore, the CEO publicly apologized to the exchange’s users and discussed the measures that the company took following the hacker attack. Additionally, he pledged that the stolen assets would be returned to the users and covered with corporate assets. On top of that, all of the cryptocurrencies held in the hot wallet of the exchange have been transferred to cold storage.
The Upbeat exchange itself will remain inactive for the time being. However, Lee Seok-woo promised that deposits and withdrawals will be available again after a minimum of two weeks and assured traders that they would be notified the moment the feature would be back online.
Explaining the large transactions that had been detected recently, the CEO stated that they were conducted by the exchange itself in order to move assets between hot and cold wallets.
South Korean exchanges had already been in danger of phishing attacks, scams and possible hacking attacks by North Koreans before. In March 2019, Upbit and East Security had already concluded that hackers from North Korea were trying phishing scams on traders that mainly operate on Upbit.
Furthermore, in January 2018, a group of four major South Korean exchanges – including Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit – had announced the creation of a hotline that would instantly report suspicious transactions to each other.