Blockchain: theft of a hundred million dollars on Harmony

Unfortunately, in the crypto world, it’s rare to see a week without witnessing a smart contract breach and bad news from a hacker. Over the weekend, 85,860 ETH was siphoned from the bridge between Harmony (ONE) and Ethereum (ETH). This project tries everything for everything while offering a bounty to pirates.

Yet another crypto hack

Just before the weekend, the Harmony team had just announced bad news for the crypto market: around $100 million in assets had been stolen, and most importantly, the suspension of one of the most big bridge in the sector. Indeed, there are companies specializing in instantaneous exchanges between several blockchains.

Exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase use the services of these companies to provide instant conversions to their customers. Horizon explained on Friday, June 24, 2022: “The Harmony team identified a theft this morning on the Horizon Bridge in the amount of approximately $100 million. We are working with national authorities and forensic specialists to identify the culprit and recover the stolen funds”.

This new hack in the cryptocurrency world adds to the mistrust in the reliability of some of the technological infrastructure used in the ecosystem.

In order to allow the circulation of cryptographic assets between the different blockchains, technical gateways (“bridges”) exist. The attackers took advantage of Horizon, a bridge created by Harmony that allows assets to flow between the Ethereum blockchain and Binance Smart Chain.

Harmony Protocol was created in 2017 to facilitate the creation and use of decentralized applications. These “peer-to-peer” applications provide loans and other financial services without the need for traditional intermediaries or centralized players. These services are built on top or alongside other blockchains (sidechains) to enable faster transactions at lower cost.

A bounty of 1 million dollars and a drop in the lawsuits promised to the pirate

According to The Block and according to Mudit Gupta, head of IT security at Polygon (MATIC), hackers have taken control of a very special multi-signature wallet. The latter is used to deploy the Harmony Bridge. The hacker would then modify the code of this protocol to be able to steal the funds.

Given the scale of the theft, Harmony’s team says they’re ready to drop the charges if the hackers want the funds returned. If he regrets it, the team even announced a $1 million bounty for the hacker on the project’s official Twitter account: “We are committing to paying a bounty of $1 million for the return of funds from the Horizon Bridge and Operation Information Sharing [de faille]. (…) Harmony will plead for no criminal charges to be brought when the funds are returned. »

According to blockchain data analytics company Elliptic, the criminals stole different cryptocurrencies, including Ether, Tether, and USD Coin, which had accumulated on the Harmony Horizon Bridge, which they then exchanged for Ether. .

These bridges have become prime targets for pirates. According to Elliptic analyst Jess Symington, bridges “maintain large reserves of liquidity”, which makes them “attractive targets for hackers”.

Besides Ronin, another popular bridge was hacked in February, stealing over $320 million. According to Elliptic, more than $1 billion has been stolen from bridges since the start of 2022.

If the ONE blockchain team hopes to see the Horizon Bridge loot return, things might not be as smooth as Optimism (OP). In fact, in this case, after a single hacker transferred 20 million OP tokens, the hacker returned 17 million OP while retaining a huge bonus.

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Blockchain: theft of a hundred million dollars on Harmony


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