Cryptocurrency site NiceHash confirms hack

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NiceHash, a cryptocurrency mining marketplace, confirmed that its security has been breached and “the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen.” Its users said in online forums that their balances are zero and that $60 million was moved to a Bitcoin wallet on Wednesday. 

A press release from NiceHash posted on Reddit and Twitter said that the company’s security has been breached.

Reuters reported that NiceHash head of marketing Andrej P. Škraba said that the hack was “a highly professional attack with sophisticated social engineering.”

Nervous users first began speculating about a possible hack on Reddit and Twitter after the site said it was down for maintenance yesterday morning.

Earlier on Wednesday, WikiTribune was in contact with company adviser Andrej Nabergoj, who said that NiceHash was “assessing the situation and working with the authorities.” WikiTribune initially identified Nabergoj as CEO, but he subsequently clarified his position.

NiceHash is a place for users to buy “hashing power,” that is computing power for mining different cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. On Thursday, the price of Bitcoin surged to $15,000.

Cryptocurrencies are digital assets that run on a technology called blockchain – a decentralised ledger that allows for anonymous and secure peer-to-peer transactions. Mining is the process of adding transaction records to the blockchain.

About $60 million from NiceHash users has apparently been moved to a single external wallet pointing to this address.

This security breach of NiceHash makes it one of the biggest cryptocurrency breaches ever. The biggest hack was in 2014, when Mt. Gox, then the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, lost $460 million, as reported by Wired. The second biggest breach of a Bitcoin exchange platform was Bitfinex in 2016, which had $77 million stolen.

The company’s first tweet regarding maintenance was posted early Wednesday, and it posted another four hours afterwards, which only added to the concerns expressed on social media by people identifying themselves as NiceHash customers. Users on the Reddit page also said that the company stopped responding to support queries around a day or two ago.

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