Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume, has stopped all withdrawals amid what it says is a “large scale” security breach.
The hack appears to have been carried out through a sophisticated phishing attack. Binance says it detected “a large scale security breach” on May 7th at 02:00:00 UTC (May 6th at 10:00 PM EDT).
According to the exchange, hackers were able to obtain a large number of user API keys, 2FA codes, and other “potentially sensitive information.” The hackers used these to withdraw 7,000 BTC from Binance’s hot wallet (a wallet that is connected to the internet).
Binance says it has “detected unusual trading activity on some API keys that were previously identified and flagged by our system.” The exchange has not released any details about which keys were compromised or how the hackers obtained them.
Binance has suspended all withdrawals while it conducts a “thorough security review.” The exchange says it will provide an update within the next week.
This is not the first time Binance has been hacked. In March 2018, the exchange lost $30 million worth of Bitcoin in a similar attack.
At the time, Binance had only been in operation for six months.
Despite this, Binance has quickly become one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. In 2019, the exchange processed $1 billion worth of trades per day.
The hack comes at a time when the cryptocurrency market is already under pressure from a range of factors, including the coronavirus pandemic and the recent halving of Bitcoin.
It is not yet clear how this hack will impact the market or Binance itself. However, it is likely to add to the bearish sentiment that has been plaguing the market in recent weeks.