Hackers steal £45million from Japanese digital currency exchange

Hackers have manage to steal £45.6million worth of cryptocurrencies from a Japanese digital currency exchange.

Tech Bureau has revealed that a server for its Zaif exchange was infiltrated for two hours last week resulting in the theft of 6.7billion yen.

The cryptocurrencies taken include bitcoin and monacoin.

Hackers gained access to the server last week (Picture: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff)

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Some digital currencies were unlawfully relayed from what is called a ‘hot wallet’, where virtual coins are stored at such exchanges.

Tech Bureau took the exchange offline until details of the damage could be confirmed and now efforts are under way to get it back working.

Japan has been bullish on virtual money and has created a system requiring exchanges to be licensed to help protect consumers.

The system is also designed to make the country a global leader in the technology.

Bitcoin has been a legal form of payment in Japan since April 2017 and a handful of major retailers already accept bitcoin payments.

Bitcoin was among the currencies stolen during the online heist (Picture: Getty)

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But the recurrence of cryptocurrency heists shows that problems persist.

Earlier this year, the Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck reported a 58billion yen – or £392m – loss of a cryptocurrency called NEM from suspected criminal hacking.

Coincheck, in operation since 2012, had been applying for a government licence but had not yet gained one.

That led to industry-wide reflection, led by government financial regulators, to prevent such problems happening again.

Zaif became registered with the government last year.

Zaif exchange was infiltrated for just two hours last week and 6.7billion yen worth of cryptocurrencies was taken (Picture: PA)

The company said it had accepted a five billion yen – £33m – offer from Fisco, a Tokyo-based investment company, for a majority stake in Tech Bureau, headquartered in Osaka.

Of the assets taken from the most recent theft, 2.2 billion yen – £15m – belonged to the company, and the rest were customers’ assets, Tech Bureau said.

Earlier this year, a glitch at Zaif allowed some people to buy cryptocurrencies for zero yen.


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