Crypto Exchange Altsbit Announces Closure After Being Hacked

Altsbit, a small cryptocurrency exchange that appears to have been a rebranded project, has announced it will shut down its services in May 2020 over a security breach it suffered this month.

According to the exchange’s Twitter page, on February 6 hackers managed to gain access to the trading platform’s hot wallets overnight to steal “almost all” of the funds it had. Using the funds stored in cold wallets, the exchange will reimburse users to the best of its ability.

On its website, Altsbit details how much the hackers managed to take, and how much will be sent back to affected users, detailing its losses:

  • Bitcoin (BTC): 6,929 coins out of 14,782 were lost
  • Ethereum (ETH): 23,21 out of 32,262 were lost
  • Pirate Chain (ARRR): 3924082 out of 9,619,754 were lost
  • Verus Coin (VRSC): 414,154 out of 852,726 were lost
  • Komodo (KMD): 1,066 out of 40,015 were lost

Altsbit details that affected users must apply to receive their partial refunds. The total amount of BTC and ETH lost was of less than $70,000, enough to reportedly affected the exchange’s finances to force it to close. The remaining funds are going to be used to refund users from February 10 to May 8.

It added, however, users should be wary of those pretending to be Altsbit employees promising refunds. As reported hackers have been promoting fake cryptocurrency giveaways on various social media platforms, including YouTube, to trick users into sending them funds.

LulzSec, a black-hat hacking group that has over the years claimed responsibility for several high-profile hacks, appears to have claimed responsibility the Altsbit hack. On Twitter, an account associated with LulzSec published:

In its tweet, LulzSec appears to warn other cryptocurrency exchanges the group is now going after them.

Featured image via Unsplash.

Error in Time-Locked Bitcoin Contracts Allows for Miner 'Fee-Sniping'

Michael LaVere
  • Crypto researcher 0xb10c discovered an error in bitcoin "time-locked" transactions that could be used as an attack vector.
  • Miners can take advantage of the program to carry out "fee-sniping" and steal funds from one another. 

Users have discovered an error in bitcoin “timelocked” contracts that could potentially allow miners to steal BTC from one another. 

Anonymous crypto engineer 0xb10c reported discovering more than one million “time-locked” transactions made between September 2019 and March 2020. In a post, 0xb10c detailed how these special bitcoin transactions were not being accurately enforced by the network. 

As opposed to normal transactions, time-locked transactions prevent recipient bitcoin from being accessed after sending. Users must wait for a specific number of blocks to be added to the network in ten-minute intervals before gaining control of their bitcoin. 

0xb10c claimed the errant time-locked transactions provided an attack vector for miners to steal transaction fees  from one another via “fee-sniping.” According to the engineer, the backlog of time-locked transactions were being purposefully designed for a “potentially disruptive mining strategy” involving the theft of miner fees. 

In an interview with CoinDesk, 0xb10c said time-locked transactions represented a “low-priority” problem at present that could eventually balloon to involve the wider network. He explained that fee-sniping would become more lucrative in a few years as the majority of miner income shifts towards transaction fees. 

He continued, 

A fix for this has been released in early 2020. However, it will take a while before all instances of the currently deployed software are upgraded.

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