over $100 million stolen in Harmony protocol hack

This blockchain hosts projects for decentralized finance. Hackers have exploited the weakness of a technical “bridge” between two blockchains.

This new hack in the crypto universe adds a little more distrust to the solidity of certain technical infrastructures used in the ecosystem. The team behind the Harmony project revealed on Friday that it was the victim of an attack on Wednesday that allowed hackers to steal the equivalent of $100 million. To allow the circulation of cryptoassets between different blockchains, there are technical bridges (“bridges”). It was Horizon, a bridge created by Harmony to allow the circulation of assets between the Ethereum blockchain and the Binance Smart Chain, which was exploited by the attackers.

Created in 2017, the Harmony protocol was designed to facilitate the creation and use of decentralized applications. These “peer-to-peer” applications offer loans and other financial services, without the need for “traditional” intermediaries or centralized actors. Built on top of or alongside (sidechain) other blockchains, it enables faster transactions at lower costs.

But several hacking cases have shown the weakness of some of these “bridges” necessary for interoperability between the main blockchains. It is also through a bridge that last March, more than 620 million dollars had been stolen by North Korean hackers on the Ronin network, one of the most important thefts in young history. cryptos.

A billion dollars already stolen

Harmony tweeted that she “was working with national authorities and blockchain data analysis experts to identify the culprit and recover the stolen funds“. It also indicates that it has identified a suspicious individual account.

According to blockchain data analytics company Elliptic, the criminals stole different cryptocurrencies accumulated on Harmony’s Horizon bridge, including ether, tether and USD Coin, which they then exchanged for gold. ether using decentralized exchanges.

These bridges have become a prime target for hackers. The bridges “maintain large cash reserves“, which makes it a “tempting target for hackers“, according to Jess Symington, analyst at Elliptic. Besides Ronin, another popular bridge, Wormhole, was hacked to steal more than $320 million in February. According to Elliptic, more than a billion dollars have already been stolen from bridges in 2022.


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