Binance Cryptocurrency Exchange Hacked From Trading Bot Via API Keys
Popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance may have suffered a hack. Earlier today, Binance users reported that the platform had suddenly begun selling their altcoins at market rates, transferring their entire portfolios into bitcoin.
“WTF is happening”, exclaimed one user on Reddit. “Binance just sold all my alts at market rate.”
Binance responded to the thread by encouraging patience, saying:
“We are investigating reports of some users having issues with their funds. Our team is aware and investigating the issue as we speak. Please remain patient and we will provide an update as quickly as possible.”
Other users on Twitter and Reddit are claiming a similar problem.
The price of bitcoin plummeted on the news, falling more than 10% in about one hour.
Binance Halts Withdrawals as It Investigates
Binance, meanwhile, has halted withdrawals as of early Wednesday morning as it investigates “unauthorized market sells.”
Binance is one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. The exchange holds about $1.77 billion worth of cryptocurrency according to CoinMarketCap.
The exchange claims that the problem is related to trading bots, and that the Binance platform has not been compromised.
“As of this moment, the only confirmed victims have registered API keys (to use with trading bots or otherwise),” explained Binance in a statement on Reddit. “There is no evidence of the Binance platform being compromised.”
Of course, using desktop or mobile apps to interact with Binance is considered “using the API” (assuming you’ve provided the app with more than Read Only permissions).
That means the only users who have suffered problems from the attack were users using automated trading software or other software authorized to perform buys and sells on their behalf. However, some users on Twitter and Reddit are claiming they lost funds even though they never used APIs. The whole issue is a bit of a mess right now.
Is the Attack Connected to Viacoin?
Some have connected the alleged Binance hack to a pump for VIA. As of mid-Wednesday, VIA is up more than 50% on the day. The price initially doubled out of the blue, rising from $2.75 all the way up to a high of $6.79 before settling down to around $3.70. The CoinMarketPage for VIA shows some ridiculous price movements for the cryptocurrency.
Some believe that there was a backdoor into Binance that allowed hackers to trade vast amounts of cryptocurrency for Viacoin, pumping the price of VIA to an all time high.
However, it’s unclear if there’s any evidence behind this assertion. For now, most users report that their funds have been traded into BTC – not VIA.
Update: Binance Has Not Been Compromised
Binance has issued numerous updates throughout the day.
They insist that “there is no evidence of our exchange being compromised”, for example. They’ve told users that there is no need to change their passwords.
Complicating matters further is that the company’s customer support lines and website are flooded with people right now, leading to long wait times and downtime issues.
We’ll keep you updated on the latest news from this alleged Binance hack. For now, it seems to be a small issue affecting users using automated trading software.