[THE INVESTOR] BTC Korea.com, operator of Korea’s second-largest crypto exchange Bithumb in terms of transaction volumes, was raided by the police on Feb. 1 as part of an investigation to track down the route of hacking attacks that occurred last year.
The cyber bureau of the Seoul Police Agency acquired a dossier related to hacking attacks in April which led to the leakage of sensitive personal data of 31,506 users and theft of 4,900 Bithumb accounts.
The hacking attack started when an employee opened email job applications contaminated by malware on April 16. The stolen data included phone and account numbers and transaction records. Out of those accounts, money was stolen from 266 accounts, which police estimate could amount to 7 billion won (US$6.51 million).
Police carry a box containing documents obtained during a raid on Bithumb, Korea’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange on Feb. 1. Yonhap
In December 2017, in its first punitive action against a crypto exchange, the Korea Communications Commission imposed fines totaling 60 million won after concluding that Bithumb’s lax cybersecurity contributed to those incidents.
Unlike KCC’s review, the police investigation will focus on identifying the route and identity of the hackers.
Crypto exchanges in Korea suffered numerous cyberattacks last year, some of them ruled to be conducted by North Korean hackers. Yapian, the operator of Korean cryptocurrency exchange Youbit, almost shut down its service after two hacking incidents last year.
Amid repeated hacking attacks, KCC sanctioned eight cryptocurrency exchanges a total of 141 million won in penalties for insufficient security measures, on Jan. 24. They include Upbit, Youbit, Korbit, Coinone, Coinplug, Ripple4y, Yapian, Coinpia, and Eyabit.
The price of Bitcoin, the largest digital currency, fell 18 percent from a day ago to 9,252,000 won as of 11:50 a.m., according to Bithumb. Other major cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Ripple plunged 20 percent and 25 percent, respectively.