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Hackers steal $100 million in crypto from Harmony’s Horizon bridge

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So-called blockchain bridges have turn into a main goal for hackers in search of to use vulnerabilities on this planet of decentralized finance.

Jakub Porzycki | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Hackers have stolen $100 million in cryptocurrency from Horizon, a so-called blockchain bridge, in the newest major heist on this planet of decentralized finance.

Details of the attack are still slim, but Harmony, the developers behind Horizon, said they identified the theft Wednesday morning. Harmony singled out a person account it believes to be the perpetrator.

“We’ve got begun working with national authorities and forensic specialists to discover the perpetrator and retrieve the stolen funds,” the start-up said in a tweet late Wednesday.

In a follow-up tweet, Harmony said it’s working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and multiple cybersecurity firms to analyze the attack.

Blockchain bridges play a giant role within the DeFi — or decentralized finance — space, offering users a way of transferring their assets from one blockchain to a different. In Horizon’s case, users can send tokens from the Ethereum network to Binance Smart Chain. Harmony said the attack didn’t affect a separate bridge for bitcoin.

Like other facets of DeFi, which goals to rebuild traditional financial services like loans and investments on the blockchain, bridges have turn into a main goal for hackers attributable to vulnerabilities of their underlying code.

Bridges “maintain large stores of liquidity,” making them a “tempting goal for hackers,” in response to Jess Symington, research lead at blockchain evaluation firm Elliptic.

“To ensure that individuals to make use of bridges to maneuver their funds, assets are locked on one blockchain and unlocked, or minted, on one other,” Symington said. “Because of this, these services hold large volumes of cryptoassets.”

Harmony has not revealed exactly how the funds were stolen. Nonetheless, one investor had raised concerns in regards to the security of its Horizon bridge way back to April.

The safety of the Horizon bridge hinged on a “multisig” wallet that required only two signatures to initiate transactions. Some researchers speculate the breach was the results of a “private key compromise,” where hackers obtained the password, or passwords, required to achieve access to a crypto wallet.

Harmony was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

It follows a series of notable attacks on other blockchain bridges. The Ronin Network, which supports crypto game Axie Infinity, lost greater than $600 million in a security breach that took place in March. Wormhole, one other popular bridge, lost over $320 million in a separate hack a month earlier.

The heist adds to a stream of negative news in crypto currently. Crypto lenders Celsius and Babel Finance put a freeze on withdrawals after a pointy drop in the worth of their assets resulted in a liquidity crunch. Meanwhile, beleaguered crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital could possibly be set to default on a $660 million loan from brokerage firm Voyager Digital.

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