France’s C3N digital crime fighting center is credited with destroying a virus responsible for infecting over 850,000 computers and stealing millions of dollars in Monero tokens. Thanks to an anonymous tip, police were able to locate a central server in Paris responsible for distributing the virus across the network of computers.
The virus itself is called Retadup. Antivirus company Avast first spotted a pirate server using its own technology and alerted authorities that thousands of computers using the Windows operating system in over 100 different countries were being infected. Most of those countries were located in Central and South America. The viruses were sent out to users through emails promising money or erotic content, and through USB drives that were infected.
Hackers often gain the ability to control computers remotely, which is true in this case. They typically use power from computers to mine Monero, but Retadup took things a step further, stealing data from hospitals and patients in Israel of all places.
Fortunately, C3N was able to instruct the virus to self-delete upon successfully accessing Retadup’s back end, removing it from hundreds of thousands of computers in one big swoop.
Authorities believe that hackers are still running away and they’ve been stealing money since 2016 using networks of infected computers, often referred to as botnets.
How Much Monero was Mined?
That’s the million-dollar question, the answer to which is still unknown. The authorities are currently in possession of several servers, but the total amount of Monero on those servers according to block explorer data amounts to just over $4,000 at current prices. Given the virus is only now defunct after three whole years of infecting people across the world, the Retadup virus will likely be responsible for one of the largest hacking operations in the history of cryptocurrency.
Other Major Cryptocurrency Hacks
Hacking has been around for as long as computers have been in the home. In the cryptocurrency world unfortunately, hacking is a regular occurrence. Here’s a brief rundown of the major hacks costing both traders and outsiders completely unaware of what’s going on millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.
The $30 million Bithumb Hack
The South Korean exchange widely affects the day-to-day trading volume of bitcoin and other top cryptos. After all, bitcoin is hugely popular in the country. Bithumb is promising to return any lost funds to investors, but the exchange that used to be the sixth largest by volume is now the 10th largest. The coins stolen were kept online in hot storage wallets, which is a big no-no in the crypto industry.
Coinrail Hacked for $37 million-plus
Conrail is yet another South Korean exchange losing customers and money so far this year. $37 million hacked will do that. Most of the digital assets stolen were in the form of Pundi X and Aston coins. The exchange shut down for a while to deal with the damage done but is now open again to customers. Bitcoins price dropped 11% on the day of the hack.
Bitgrail Hacked for Over$195 Million
One of two exchanges this year to be hacked for an amount in the nine-figure range, yet still not the largest hack of the year. Nano tokens were stolen and nobody knows who to blame for the hack at this point. Some blame the project’s developers, others the founder Francesco Firano, and other still blame criminals.
Coincheck Loses Over $534 million
In the largest crypto hack of all time, $534 million worth of NEM coin was stolen from Coincheck this year. Nem Foundation president Lon Wong called the biggest theft in the history of the world. That may be a bit of hyperbole, but Cincheck’s hack is worth even more than the most famous crypto hack of all, Mt. Gox.
In light of everything bad that’s happening surrounding hacks this year, it’s nice to finally hear a story about a computer virus stealing millions of dollars of cryptocurrency from users getting deleted. Still Cryptocurrency prices are going through quite a downturn today, with Bitcoin diving below the $10,000 mark.
Keep your coins in cold storage or pay the price. Not even the most secure exchanges in the world are safe from hackers and neither are the millions of computers connected to the Internet every day.