(Natural News) Another major cryptocurrency heist is being reported in this news, this time at an online Bitcoin marketplace known as NiceHash. According to reports, hackers were somehow able to break into the NiceHash system and steal about 4,700 Bitcoins, which at the time (Bitcoin prices have since risen) were valued at nearly $64 million.
In a statement published on its website, NiceHash (which is no longer functional as of this writing) notified its users that a major "security breach" had taken place, and urged them to change their passwords immediately in order to ensure that their own Bitcoins remain safe. The company stated that an investigation is currently underway to see what happened, and that the site will hopefully soon resume operations.
"Importantly, our payment system was compromised and the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen," an official statement reads, as relayed by Breitbart News. "We are working to verify the precise number of BTC taken."
Unlike the private wallets that many Bitcoin users maintain on their own computers or smartphones, NiceHash functioned as an online wallet where Bitcoin was stored somewhere in the "cloud." This format opens up the risk that someone might break into the system and steal the encrypted data that identifies Bitcoins within the greater blockchain, creating a vulnerability that could allow for their theft.
"Clearly, this is a matter of deep concern and we are working hard to rectify the matter in the coming days," the NiceHash statement goes on to say. "In addition to undertaking our own investigation, the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are co-operating with them as a matter of urgency … We are fully committed to restoring the NiceHash service with the highest security measures at the earliest opportunity."
NiceHash hack was 'professional,' involving 'sophisticated social engineering,' says head of marketing
How someone could have broken through NiceHash's multiple layers of encryption has many in the cryptocurrency world scratching their heads. Was this a high-level attack brought about by very powerful people possessing the wherewithal to wreak a lot of havoc on Bitcoin as part of a concerted agenda? It's definitely possible.
Andrej P. Škraba, NiceHash's head of marketing, stated his opinion that the hack was "a highly professional" one that involved "sophisticated social engineering." This suggests that it wasn't necessarily just entry-level hackers looking to score a boatload of cash that executed this particular mission, but possibly highly advanced hacking entities trying to both make a quick buck and invoke fear throughout the Bitcoin community.