Cryptocurrency exchange AscendEX suffered from a security breach that enabled hackers to get access to some of its hot wallets. These wallets are used for keeping funds as a buffer in order to allow customer to make withdrawals. The company announced that it would be reimbursing the funds to all users who were affected.
A security and auditing firm, Peckshield estimated that the total losses were around $77 million, while others believed them to be near $80 million. The attack was acknowledged quickly by the exchange and it immediately implemented a number of security protocols for keeping its cold wallets safe.
While the numbers relating to the attack were not disclosed by the company, losses are believed to be in the neighborhood of $80 million, give or take.
The hot wallets that were targeted in the attack included those of the BSC (Binance Smart Chain), Ethereum and Polygon networks, with the highest value being withdrawn in the form of ERC-20 tokens.
Almost $60 million worth of ERC-20 tokens were compromised in the breach, along with BSC tokens worth $9.5 million and more than $8 million tokens of Polygon.
A detailed report was provided by Peckshield about the tokens that were stolen, along with the value of the stolen tokens. Some of the other tokens that were also stolen from the hot wallets included Shiba Inu (SHIB), Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC).
The exchange also issued a statement regarding the event and shared the actions it would take with the public. According to Ascendex, the first thing it will do is compensate all the affected users and reimburse their funds.
It added that the assets that had been impacted were only a small percentage of the exchange’s total assets. The assets that were not impacted were then transferred by the exchange to the cold wallets and it has suspended the withdrawal feature for its customers since then.
The second part of the exchange’s response has to do with investigating how the security breach occurred in the first place and who is responsible for it.
In this regard, the exchange has disclosed that it is already working with law enforcement and blockchain forensic firms for finding out exactly what happened and to ensure that the funds that are stolen cannot be transferred freely between the exchanges.
Ascendex went on to disclose that there were some small projects that had also been affected in the attack and were now working on reissuing the tokens once more to the holders. This will affect the new tokens that were listed as well as low liquidity on the exchange.
It is important to note that this is the second high-profile security breach to have occurred on centralized exchanges in this month. Another crypto exchange by the name of Bitmart had undergone a similar hack on December 6th and had reportedly suffered losses worth $200 million.
Sheldon Xia, the chief executive of the exchange, had said after the attack that they were suspending withdrawals during the investigation and would beef up their security.