HECO Bridge, via Justin Sun’s Wednesday, November 22 post on X, suffered an exploit leading to a $83 million loss worth of crypto assets. The bridge is affiliated with the crypto exchange HTX, formerly Huobi.
The HECO bridge admitted the massive hack reported to have led to the million-dollar loss of digital assets, among them 346 billion Shina Inu. The exploit was detected to have occurred in the early morning hours when on-chain analysts flagged suspicious transfers involving the HECO cross-chain bridge.
Justin Sun Admits Exploit, Assures Funds Safety
The crypto exchange HTX founder Justin Sun regretted the exploit in his Wednesday post on X. He assured the users that HTX would compensate for the losses incurred by the hot wallet.
HTX took to its official Telegram account to announce the temporary suspension of withdrawals and deposits. It echoed Sun’s statement detailing the temporary unavailability of deposits and withdrawals. The HTX founder assured the community of their funds’ safety and services resumption upon the identification of the cause.
Sun iterated that the recent exploit will not affect the customers’ balances on the HTX. He indicated that the HTX investigators are rooted to establish the cause upon which they will resume the withdrawal and deposit services.
On-chain Surveillance Disclosures on HECO Bridge Exploit
The unusual movement of funds from the HECO bridge attracted the scrutiny of on-chain surveillance firms. Lookonchain revealed in a Wednesday post on X that $83.4 million of HECO bridge assets were stolen.
Lookonchain indicated that eight crypto assets were affected in the loot, including USDT 42.11M, 10,145 ETH valued at $20.42M, 489 HBT of $15.63M, 346.87 billion of SHIB, translating to $2.75 million. The hacker made away with 347,000 TUSD and 610,000 USDC. Also, 173,200 UNI and 42,399 LINK valued at $932,00 and $600,000 respectively.
Lookonchain revealed that the exploiters converted all stolen cryptos into ETH valued at $83.4 million. A review of the on-chain data shows a $20.4 million outflow involving 10,145 ETH occurred at 9:59 UTC. The hackers withdrew additional assets in 16 minutes, where USDT stolen marked the single largest transaction at $42.1 million.
Analysis conducted by Wintermute alongside the blockchain analysts PeckShield suggested that over 86.6 million was lost in the exploit. Wintermute research executive Igor Igamberdiev revealed that the loot was remitted to the decentralized platforms and later sold for other cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain analyst PeckShield suspected rug pulling on the HECO bridge. Igamberdiev would later confirm a subsequent transaction involving a $23.4 million outflow from HTX that portrayed similar patterns as the HECO bridge exploit.
Arkham Intelligence would reveal that HTX suspended withdrawals from the crypto exchange by 06:26 ET. By this time, the hacker had moved the stolen crypto assets to a separate central address. The loot was then converted to 41,434 Ethereum and remitted to other addresses.
Sun’s Crypto Entities Targeted in Recurring Exploit Pattern
The hacking incident involving the HECO bridge on Wednesday, November 22, marked a surprising third exploit suffered by crypto entities affiliated with Justin Sun in 60 days. Notably, Sun’s HTX crypto exchange suffered an exploit that translated to a $8 million loss.
Also, crypto exchange Poloniex, where Sun has a majority ownership stake, suffered an exploit on November 10. The second incident saw the exploiters make away with multiple assets valued at $120 million. Sun issued a seven-day ultimatum asking for the return of funds less than $10 million. The lapse of the period would see Sun involve the authorities.
Sun is witnessing a dramatic development since the HTX-HECO bridge fell victim to the hackers, with over $83 million lost. The third incident raises concerns among the crypto industry surveillance on the vulnerability of Sun’s affiliated entities.
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