The Seychelles-based cryptocurrency exchange platform HTX, formerly known as Huobi, fell victim to a significant hacking incident resulting in the theft of 5,000 ETH, currently valued at approximately $8 million.
While the crypto community is concerned about how a popular exchange like HTX might be the victim of such an event, Huobi advisor Justin Sun quickly addressed the problem, assuring users of the platform’s safety and offering the hacker a special incentive.
If the funds are not returned within 7 days, we will transfer the information to law enforcement authorities for further action and to prosecute the hacker.
— H.E. Justin Sun 孙宇晨 (@justinsuntron) September 25, 2023
The Hack and Justin Sun’s Response
On September 24th, 2023, HTX detected an unauthorized transfer of 5,000 ETH, signaling a breach in its security. Justin Sun confirmed this incident and disclosed that the exchange had lost $8 million due to the hacker attack, but emphasized that the crypto exchange had successfully covered the losses and resolved all related issues.
Sun reassured the crypto community, stating that user assets remained secure and the platform continued to operate smoothly without interruption. This quick response and recovery effort seemed to alleviate concerns about the safety of funds held on the platform.
Despite the significant sum involved, Sun highlighted that the $8 million loss represented a relatively small portion of HTX’s total assets, which amounted to about $3 billion. He further explained that this loss equated to just two weeks’ revenue for the HTX platform.
HTX’s Approach to Recovering Stolen Funds
In an unusual move, HTX offered the hacker a white-hat reward equivalent to 5% of the stolen amount, totaling $400,000. This incentive was designed to encourage the hacker to return the stolen funds voluntarily. Furthermore, if the hacker chose to return the funds, HTX expressed interest in hiring them as a security white-hat advisor for the platform.
However, HTX made it clear that if the stolen funds were not returned within seven days, they would cooperate with law enforcement authorities to pursue legal action against the hacker. It also mentioned the same point in on-chain messages sent to the hacker’s public address.
The message reads:
“We have confirmed your true identity. Please return the funds to 0x187 […]. We will provide you with a 5% white hat bonus. This offer is valid for 7 days, and the deadline is October 2, 2023. If you do not return the funds before the deadline, we will ask the judiciary to intervene.”
Interestingly, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) has expressed support for HTX as a symbol of solidarity within the crypto community. He stated that Binance’s security staff would assist in monitoring the hacker’s funds wherever possible, while also joking that the hacking incident occurred just a week after they renamed their exchange after the defunct “FTX.”
A week after you rename your exchange after FTX… 😂
Jokes aside, our security team will help in tracking hacker funds in all cases where we can. https://t.co/5BjoG6IGA8
— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) September 25, 2023