08 July, 2017
It was a case of incredible timing for South Korean legislators looking to push through a bill to bring cryptocurrency in line with the won with news that 13,000 bitcoins have reportedly been stolen. This is another black day for Bitcoin exchanges all over the world. The exchange claims that this number represents approximately three percent of customers.
According to the Yonhap news agency, the Korea and Internet and Security Agency has launched an investigation into the matter. The company claims that the breach occurred on an employee's computer and not on the exchange's internal network.
According to local media [1, 2, 3, 4], the hack took place at around 22:00, local time, on Thursday, June 29, and the documents the hacker managed to access contained data on customer names, email addresses, and mobile phone numbers.
Under the bill that aims to revise the Electronic Financial Transactions Act, traders, brokers, or other business entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions would be required to get regulatory approval from the Financial Services Commission.
They called up the victims, posed as a representative of the exchange, convinced them something was wrong with one of their transactions, and asked the victims to share their password.
The Korea Herald quotes data of the Coinass market data trackers, showing that in the past two years in Korea was traded bitcoin worth 1.92 trillion won. The same story notes that some 100 customers may have lost hundreds of millions of won, with one person having lost 1.2 billion won after the hack.
"For those who have suffered additional damage due to this incident, as soon as the amount of damages is confirmed, we will reimburse the entire amount of damages", Bithumb said in a note, rendered in English via Google Translate.
The owners of Bithumb maintain that no account holder's funds were accessed, despite over 100 customers filing complaints with the police's cybercrime agency about stolen funds.
It is unclear whether the exchange will be legally responsible for the lost funds, even after the damages are proven.
Ethereum currency is a digital currency, similar to Bitcoin, that can be used to pay for items.