Binance, the world’s biggest exchange for crypto assets, said Friday
that scammers have stolen around $100 million in cryptocurrency. The company
temporarily suspended transactions and the transfer of funds after detecting an
exploit between two blockchains.

CEO Changpeng Zhao wrote on Twitter that “an exploit” in the system led
to extra production of the exchange’s dedicated currency and the current impact
estimate is around $100 million. Tokens were stolen from a blockchain
“bridge” used in the BNB Chain.

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 “The issue is contained now. Your funds are safe. We
apologize for the inconvenience and will provide further updates
accordingly,” he wrote.

BNB Chain later said that a total of 2 million of the BNB cryptocurrency worth close to $570 million was withdrawn by the scammer. The majority of the BNB remained in the hacker’s digital wallet address, while around $100 million worth was unrecovered. Initial estimates for funds taken off BSC (Binance Smart Chain) are between $100-$110 million, an estimated $7M has already been frozen, the company said. BNB Chain has since resumed operations. 

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The BNB Chain team apologized for the exploit and said that the project
would hold a series of on-chain governance votes to determine whether to freeze
hacked funds and if a bounty should be offered for catching the hackers
responsible. “Thanks to the assistance of all the security experts, projects,
and validators, the vast majority of the funds remain under control,” the
company wrote.

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Blockchain bridges are tools used to transfer cryptocurrencies between
different applications. Scammers are increasingly using weaknesses in
“cross-chain bridges”.

Chainalysis, a crypto analysis platform, said in August that bridge
exploits have accounted for around $2 billion in 13 different thefts this year

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Elliptic, another crypto analysis firm, said in its crime report this
week that bridges “tend to accumulate large amounts of locked assets on
numerous blockchains, many of which may not have advanced security or auditing
cultures due to their relative obscurity”.

“This has made bridges an attractive target for cybercriminals in
the past,” it added.

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BNB Chain supports BNB, formerly known as Binance Coin, the world’s
fifth-largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of more than $46
billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

It is one of the biggest thefts in cryptocurrency history. In March this
year, hackers stole $625 million following the attack on Axie Infinity’s Ronin