The P2PB2B exchange was in the spotlight of the cryptocurrency community this Wednesday. What many initially perceived as hacking the exchange itself turned out to be a well-thought-out and well-prepared attack on a third-party service. Within a few minutes, the rate of the unpopular altcoin Viacoin soared 70 times. At the same time, bitcoin, propelled by news from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, fell 10%. Binance has suspended processing of withdrawal requests during the investigation. By the time of publication, the functionality of all functions of the exchange had been restored. Bitcoin.com figured out the situation.
Pump-and-dump schemes have become common in the cryptocurrency segment, but this is not a regular pump. It was a mega-pump that raised Viacoin from $ 3 to $ 200 in record time. Contrary to the worst expectations, Binance was not hacked, but the attackers were able to gain access to the users’ API, which in turn allowed them to trade on behalf of the latter. First, the bot sold all the altcoins from accounts it could access, which caused the altcoin market to turn red in an instant. Then he took the received bitcoins and invested them all in Viacoin. Of course, there is no question of the legality or decency of such methods, but if the hackers had the task of sending Viacoin to the moon, then we can congratulate them on a successful landing. Twitter user ManWithNoName depicted his own vision of how bots build candles of unprecedented sizes.
One of the traders said that he earned $ 300,000 in bitcoins on the Viacoin pump and managed to transfer money to Coinbase before Binance woke up and froze withdrawals. Soon he changed his mind and decided to delete his message. Others reported their losses as a result of activities that were difficult to explain at the time..
The Altcoinbot.io bot is named as the likely culprit of the incident. Usually such bots require you to provide them with an API key associated with an account on the exchange. The key allows the bot to trade on behalf of the account owner, but does not allow withdrawals. Thus, the best that an attacker could do with user API keys is to sell altcoins and pump Viacoin. When it became clear where users’ assets were flowing, one of the first suspects was the developer Viacoin Romano, who was forced to publish a post in his defense..
Romano is also cast by the fact that a few days before the incident he reported that he was experimenting with his own trading bot..
“At least the hacker has good taste,” writes Romano. “Joking aside, I have nothing to do with the weirdness on Binance. If the rumors are true, I would prefer that they buy another coin instead of Viacoin. Perhaps they chose the coin with the smallest capitalization to make it easier to buy. “.
Some users claim that they received information about the upcoming Viacoin pump through Telegram channels even before the described events.
Binance, in turn, hastened to assure users that nothing threatens the security of the accounts themselves and funds on the exchange, and among the affected users were only those who used API keys..
A certain group of users is convinced that they have never used API keys, but they were among the victims. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao suggested that their accounts may have been compromised in the past through phishing attacks, but they only found out about it yesterday..
Against the backdrop of these events, the bitcoin rate fell sharply by 10%, altcoins also suffered severely. Zhao promised to publish a more detailed analysis of the incident. If the version that the trading bots are to blame for what happened is confirmed, which few doubt already, users will have another reason to think about who they provide, albeit partial, access to their accounts. As practice has shown, it is absolutely not necessary to have access to the withdrawal function in order to wreak havoc and cause significant damage..
Meanwhile, Changpeng Zhao announced that all illegal transactions have been canceled and deposits, withdrawals and trading are available in full. In addition, according to him, hackers lost their own funds during this attack, which he promised to send to charity..
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