Hackers Steal $70 Million From NiceHash Mining Pool
Hackers have compromised cryptocurrency mining platform NiceHash and cleared out users’ bitcoin balances. NiceHash’s marketing head Andrej P. Škraba confirmed to Reuters that around 4,700 bitcoin had been taken, worth more than $70 million at current prices.
Initially NiceHash claimed that their site was undergoing maintenance but once users started reporting on Reddit that their funds had been transferred to an unknown address the Slovenian mining platform was forced to come clean. In a statement they said they would close for 24 hours to investigate, adding that,
the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are co-operating with them as a matter of urgency.”
Cryptocurrency ledgers are established by “miners” using computers to solve equations and add transactions to blockchains. Mining platforms like NiceHash allow users to sell their spare computing power to miners who need it to process transactions and create new coins.
Most bitcoin mining is now done through such mining pools. Some argue that this centralization is going against the decentralized spirit of bitcoin but they have provided a more convenient way to buy and sell mining services. However, convenience is irrelevant if they are not secure.
Though bitcoin itself is often thought to be “unhackable” the services and hardware used to interact with the currency are more vulnerable. Hackers can still target weak links in the chain, such as individuals’ laptops or exchange servers.