Nearly $100 Million in Crypto Stolen in Harmony’s Skyline Bridge Heist; What We Know So Far

Crypto startup Harmony’s Horizon blockchain bridge was breached on June 23, 2022 and drained of nearly $200 million. The hacker(s) managed to skim $98.3 million in ETH, $12.4 million in Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), and nearly $50 million in Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) stablecoins.

The latest incident highlights the constant threat displayed by hackers on crypto platforms. Despite the addition of several security devices, the disbelievers continue to suck up hundreds of millions of dollars through elaborate schemes and attacks.

In the case of Horizon, the rest of the loot, which amounted to around $20 million, consisted of numerous tokens, including DAI stablecoins, Binance USD (BUSD), SUSHI tokens, AAVE, Wrapped Ethereum (WETH ) and a few others.

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The total Horizon Bridge heist amounted to more than $181 million. Fortunately, the platform was able to locate and recover much of the stolen funds.

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The Horizon Bridge is a cross-chain protocol between the Ethereum, Binance, and Harmony blockchains. The bridge uses smart contracts to facilitate token transfers between the three blockchains. It also acts as a bridge to Bitcoin, allowing it to be an ERC-20 token wrapped on the Ethereum blockchain.

According to data from blockchain explorer Etherscan, the attacker made 11 transactions with an infamous wallet. From there, they routed the tokens to the decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap, where they traded the altcoins for ETH. The hacker then returned the ETH to the original wallet.

“We have also notified exchanges and shut down the Horizon Bridge to prevent further transactions. The team is on deck as investigations continue,” Harmony’s official tweeted.

They also reassured users that the Bitcoin bridge was secure and that all funds and assets in this network were perfectly safe in “decentralized vaults”.

Shortly after the revelation, Harmony tweeted that it had identified the miscreant wallet and discovered a balance of 85,837 ETH, the entire Ethereum transport siphoned from the Horizon Bridge. This reduced the effective damage to less than $100 million for the layer 1 blockchain.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin had expressed his contempt for cross-chain bridges in January 2022. He pointed out that cross-chain mining jeopardizes crypto liquidity in all blockchains involved. Buterin argued that storing assets on-chain (e.g. Ethereum assets on the Ethereum blockchain) is the safest way to avoid a 51% attack.

A 51% attack occurs when a single actor or group of criminals takes control of more than 50% of a blockchain’s computing power.

Since cross-chain protocols enable the transfer of assets and funds between blockchains, they have become a playground for miscreants in the cryptosphere. The top hacks of the past year have all been cross-chain protocol attacks.

These include the $611 million Poly Network attack in August 2021, the $325 million Wormhole attack in February 2022, and the $611 million Ronin Bridge attack on Axie Infinity in March 2022. Together, these three attacks amount to more than $1.5 billion.

Following the Horizon Bridge attack, the native Harmony blockchain token ONE has lost 11.11% in the last 24 hours and is trading at $0.024 at the time of writing.



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Nearly $100 Million in Crypto Stolen in Harmony’s Skyline Bridge Heist; What We Know So Far


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