Harmony Bridge Attack: Onchain Researchers Uncover $63M in Stolen Funds
• On Jan. 15, 2023, onchain researchers discovered that funds stolen during the Harmony bridge attack had been moved.
• The suspected thieves had moved 41,000 ethereum, worth $63.2 million at current exchange rates.
• Huobi and Binance had frozen some of the ethereum sent to the exchanges, with Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao confirming the funds were indeed frozen.
On Jan. 15, 2023, onchain researchers made a startling discovery: funds stolen during the Harmony bridge attack had been moved. It was a significant breakthrough in the investigation, as the suspected thieves had managed to move 41,000 ethereum, worth $63.2 million at current exchange rates.
The story of the Harmony bridge began on June 23 of last year, when the development team disclosed that $100 million in cryptocurrency funds had been stolen from the Horizon bridge. Reports indicated that the attacker had utilized a multi-signature wallet to gain control of the bridge. Despite the severity of the attack, the funds remained dormant until 206 days later, when onchain researcher Zachxbt discovered that the funds were on the move.
Zachxbt noted that the funds were being sent to exchanges such as OKEx, Huobi, and Binance. He also added that Huobi and Binance had frozen some of the ethereum sent to the exchanges. It was a significant development, as it was the first time authorities had been able to freeze funds stolen from the Harmony bridge.
The news was further confirmed by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, commonly known as „CZ.“ „We detected Harmony One hacker fund movement,“ CZ wrote. „They previously tried to launder through Binance and we froze their accounts. This time they used Huobi. We assisted the Huobi team in freezing their accounts. Together, 124 BTC have been recovered.“
The blockchain intelligence firm Elliptic was also involved in the investigation, with its CEO and co-founder, Tom Robinson, noting that the firm had „worked with leading exchanges to identify and block stolen funds associated with this attack.“
The Harmony bridge attack marked a significant moment in the history of cryptocurrency, as it showed that even the most advanced security measures can be exploited by hackers. It also showed that authorities are able to track and freeze stolen funds, even if those funds have been moved to multiple exchanges. While the investigation is ongoing, the funds frozen by Huobi and Binance serve as a reminder that the cryptocurrency industry is becoming increasingly secure.