In a recent press release cryptocurreny mining market Nicehash revealed that its payment service was hacked and its BTC payment wallet was emptied. While the company did not reveal the exact amount lost, users on Reddit spent the better part of today worried as the service was initially "under maintenance" for 12 hours amidst suspicious transactions on the blockchain that saw 4,736.42 BTC taken from Nicehash and their Nicehash internal wallets reporting zero balances. The company is currently investigating the precise amount stolen, though estimates around the web put it north of $66 million USD worth of the popular cryptocurrency (at time of writing 1 BTC = ~$13970.50).
Image courtesy fdecomite via Flickr.
Users that mined to an external wallet for an additional fee are out unpaid balances less than 0.01 BTC, but sadly users that mined to an internal wallet have potentially losts hundreds or thousands of mined bitcoin. Also, purchasers of the Nicehash mining service may have lost the BTC that they paid into the service for alt coin hashing power.
"We are fully committed to restoring the NiceHash service with the highest security measures at the earliest opportunity.
We would not exist without our devoted buyers and miners all around the globe. We understand that you will have a lot of questions, and we ask for patience and understanding while we investigate the causes and find the appropriate solutions for the future of the service. We will endeavour to update you at regular intervals."
Nicehash is further recommending that users of its internal wallets change all of their online passwords (especially any that were similar to the one they used on the site) as a precaution.
The full press release is available here.
In all, it is a devastating hack that is another in a series of high profile crypto currency heists that have traditionally left users out money and the company destroyed. Nicehash has indicated that they have reached out to and are cooperating with the relevant authorities, but unless they are able to find the individual(s) responsible and recover the massive amount of bitcoin it is not looking good.
I hope that the bitcoin is able to be recovered or at least that Nicehash is able to do the right think and compensate its users from its own funds.
This high-profile attack further illustrates the need to use safe bitcoin storage practices and to always hold your own private key in an offline wallet (hardware or paper or at least encrypted software wallet you control at a minimum) for long term storage of funds. Your crypto currency is only truly yours when you alone control the private key(s) and you should only transfer and keep coins on other servers (e.g. exchanges) for as long as it takes to transfer them to your bank or as short a time as possible when trading.
What are your thoughts on this? Did you have money in a Nicehash wallet or unpaid mining balance? Do you plan to venture forth and mine on your own?