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Explained: Hacks

Explained: The Huobi Exchange Hack (September 2023)


Rob Behnke

September 28th, 2023

In September 2023, the Huobi Global — now HTX — exchange was the victim of a hack. The attacker stole an estimated $7.9 million from the project.

Inside the Attack

On September 24, the HTX hot wallet sent 4,999 ETH - worth about $7.9 million — to a previously unused address. After the incident occurred, Justin Sun — a major investor in the project — confirmed that the transfer was due to an attack.

The day after the attack occurred, another address associated with Huobi sent a message to the attacker’s address on Ethereum. This message claimed that HTX knew the identity of the attacker and demanded the return of the funds — minus a 5% “white hat bonus” — within seven days or threatened legal action.

Lessons Learned from the Attack

The HTX hack was a hack of the project’s hot wallet. Nearly $8 million in funds was stolen in the security incident.

Storing large amounts of value in hot wallets makes it much easier for an attacker to steal those funds. To learn more about better protecting cryptocurrency against theft, check out our blog on Hot Wallets vs Cold Wallets..