One of the busiest cryptocurrency markets in the world is South Korea. The country is home to a number of high-profile exchanges, whichas also made South Korea ground zero for some of the most sensational digital heists we’ve seen.
The latest incident involved Cointhumb, a cryptocurrency exchange with more than 1 million users. Cointhumb is the world’s 6th-largest exchange and it widely regarded as one of South Korea’s top exchanges. Last year its business grew at an astonishing rate. Trading was up more than 171-fold from 2016 to 2017.
Its popularity clearly didn’t go unnoticed by cybercriminals. On Wednesday the company announced that hackers had made off with around $32 million worth of cryptocoins. The investigation is ongoing, but it appears as though the hackers exploited a vulnerability in the wallet software Cointhumb utilizes to store its customers’ tokens.
Cointhumb is the second major South Korea exchange to be hit in the past two weeks. Just ten short days ago, Coinrail’s servers were compromised and crypto token with a total value of around $40 million were stolen.
In a prepared statement, Cointhumb reported that all trading on its platform had been suspended while the theft was investigated. All assets held by the exchange were being moved into so-called cold wallets. Cold wallets are generally a safer place to store cryptocurrency since they’re not connected to the Internet.
With funds moved offline, Cointhumb began work on replacing its crypto wallet system “due to increasing safety issues.” All customer losses will reportedly be fully repaid from the company’s own coffers.
The hacks come as South Korea officials continue to fine-tune the nation’s cryptocurrency regulations. A real-name trading policy was implemented in January in an attempt to crack down on money laundering activity. It was also hoped that the policy would prevent exchanges from utilizing corporate bank accounts to store funds, a practice that was slammed following the arrest of two crypto exchange executives on fraud charges in April of this year.