BitMEX chief technology officer Samuel Reed explained the platform has been under attack from multiple botnet vectors since the month of February.
According to a series of tweets published on Monday, Reed responded to concerned clients over the exchange’s reported $1.2 billion worth of liquidations that occurred last week during bitcoin’s price drop. While BTC plummetted to $4,000 on Mar. 12, suffering its worst day of losses in seven years, whales were reportedly dumping on BitMEX and contributing to the downward spiral.
Reed revealed in a tweet that BitMEX underwent two botnet Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on Mar. 13 from a network that had been probing the exchange for “some time.” Reed says the same botnet was responsible for an attack that occurred on Feb. 15.
So here's what we know so far: on Mar 13 at both 02:15 UTC and 12:56 UTC, we came under attack from a botnet that appears to have been probing the system for some time. This botnet was also responsible for an attack on Feb 15.— Samuel Reed (@STRML_) March 16, 2020
According to Reed, the February attack was absorbed by normal DDoS protection, which prevented any downtime from occurring. However, the botnet was able to find a flaw in its AWS servers on Mar. 13, allowing attackers to gain access to an “endpoint” that was consistently slow.
The botnet found an endpoint that was consistently, reliably slow. The query they hit did a 400ms reverse sequential scan rather than using the index (Parallel Index Scan / Gather Merge for PG fans), because an ANALYZE hadn't been automatically run for too long by RDS defaults.— Samuel Reed (@STRML_) March 16, 2020
Reed’s tweets went on to provide an explanation for how the exchange was able to fix the vulnerability and promised to give more updates via blog posts in the coming days.
After the second attack, we correctly identified the slow query and fixed it. We're making systemic changes on our backend to ensure this can't happen again, and re-reviewing older systems to simplify, de-couple, isolate, and improve perf.— Samuel Reed (@STRML_) March 16, 2020
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