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Hacker steals $625 million from Ronin blockchain NFT game Axie Infinity

The Verge | | Mar 29, 2022

Ronin and Axie Infinity - Hacker steals $625 million from Ronin blockchain NFT game Axie InfinityRoughly $625 million worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen from Ronin, the blockchain underlying popular crypto game Axie Infinity. Ronin and Axie Infinity operator Sky Mavis revealed the breach on Tuesday and froze transactions on the Ronin bridge, which allows depositing and withdrawing funds from the company’s blockchain.

Sky Mavis says it’s working with law enforcement to recover 173,600 Ethereum (currently worth around $600 million) and 25.5 million USDC (a cryptocurrency pegged to the US dollar) from the culprit, who withdrew it from the network on March 23rd. The attack focused on the bridge to Sky Mavis’ Ronin blockchain, an intermediary between Axie Infinity and other cryptocurrency blockchains like Ethereum.

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According to Sky Mavis, an attacker used hacked private security keys to compromise the network nodes that validate transfers to and from the Ronin blockchain. That let the attacker quietly withdraw large quantities of Ethereum and USDC. The transfer was discovered today — nearly a week later — when another user attempted to withdraw 5,000 Ethereum through the bridge.

“As we’ve witnessed, Ronin is not immune to exploitation and this attack has reinforced the importance of prioritizing security, remaining vigilant, and mitigating all threats,” the company said in its announcement. “We know trust needs to be earned and are using every resource at our disposal to deploy the most sophisticated security measures and processes to prevent future attacks.”

See: 

Wormhole Portal Exploit: Hackers Steal Nearly $320 Million of Wrapped ETH

Crypto.com $34 million stolen in user account hack | Data Breach Lessons

CipherTrace August 2021 Crypto Crime Report: Crypto Fraud Dips as DeFi Hacks Grow

According to Sky Mavis, the Ronin attack was possible partly because of a shortcut the company had taken to relieve an “immense user load” on its network in November of last year — months after the game exploded in popularity in the Philippines and other countries where players relied on it as a full-time job. The system was discontinued in December, but the permissions that allowed it were never revoked.

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