clear
Monday December 11th, 2017 9:19PM

Bitcoin firm hacked days before major US exchange opens

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

TOKYO (AP) — A bitcoin mining company in Slovenia has been hacked for the possible theft of tens of millions of dollars, just days before the virtual currency, which hit a new record above $15,000 on Thursday, is due to start trading on major U.S. exchanges.

NiceHash, a company that mines bitcoins on behalf of customers, said it is investigating a security breach and will stop operating for 24 hours while it verifies how many bitcoins were taken.

Research company Coindesk said that a wallet address referred to by NiceHash users indicates that about 4,700 bitcoins had been stolen. At Thursday's record price of about $15,000, that puts the value at over $70 million.

There was no immediate response from NiceHash to an emailed request for more details.

"The incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are cooperating with them as a matter of urgency," it said. The statement urged users to change their online passwords.

The hack will put a spotlight on the security of bitcoin just as the trading community prepares for the currency to start trading on two established U.S. exchanges. Futures for bitcoin will start trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange on Sunday evening and on crosstown rival CME Group's platforms later in the month.

That has increased the sense among some investors that bitcoin is gaining in mainstream legitimacy after several countries, like China, tried to stifle the virtual currency.

As a result, the price of bitcoin has jumped in the past year, particularly so in recent weeks. On Thursday it surged to over $15,000, up $1,300 in less than a day, according to Coindesk. At the start of the year, one bitcoin was worth less than $1,000.

Bitcoin is the world's most popular virtual currency. Such currencies are not tied to a bank or government and allow users to spend money anonymously. They are basically lines of computer code that are digitally signed each time they are traded.

A debate is raging on the merits of such currencies. Some say they serve merely to facilitate money laundering and illicit, anonymous payments. Others say they can be helpful methods of payment, such as in crisis situations where national currencies have collapsed.

Miners of bitcoins and other virtual currencies help keep the systems honest by having their computers keep a global running tally of transactions. That prevents cheaters from spending the same digital coin twice.

Online security is a vital concern for such dealings.

In Japan, following the failure of a bitcoin exchange called Mt. Gox, new laws were enacted to regulate bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Mt. Gox shut down in February 2014, saying it lost about 850,000 bitcoins, possibly to hackers.

___

Carlo Piovano in London contributed to this story.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bitcoin firm hacked days before major US exchange opens
The bitcoin mining company says it is investigating a security breach and the theft of currency worth as much as $66 million according to some reports
6:00AM ( 7 minutes ago )
The Latest: France's Macron critical of US' Jerusalem move
The Latest: France's Macron says he disapproves of Trump's 'unilateral' decision to recognize Jerusalem
5:39AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Tillerson: Russia arms, trains, fights with Ukraine rebels
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is lambasting Moscow for its aggression in Ukraine ahead of a meeting with Russia's foreign minister
5:35AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Ireland's government expects UK to make new Brexit proposal
Ireland's government expects Britain to make a new proposal on Brexit by Friday as officials in London struggle to resolve issues surrounding the Irish border that are stalling talks with the European Union
4:40AM ( 1 hour ago )
Global shares mostly calm as investors focus on US tax, jobs
European stocks open higher while some Asian markets have recovered from previous day's losses
4:35AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Surge in California fire brings new evacuations
A surge from the biggest of the wildfires burning in Southern California has forced several thousand more people to evacuate in a community of artists and resorts
4:14AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Idaho fighting order to destroy wilderness wolf, elk data
Idaho officials are challenging a federal court order to destroy information collected from tracking collars placed on elk and wolves obtained illegally by landing a helicopter in a central Idaho wilderness area
6:10PM ( 11 hours ago )
Greek high court to rule on Russian bitcoin suspect Dec 13
Russian cybercrime suspect Alexander Vinnik appears before Greece's Supreme Court for a hearing into his extradition to the U.S.
9:15AM ( 20 hours ago )
Russian bitcoin suspect fights US extradition in Greece
Russian cybercrime suspect Alexander Vinnik, wanted in the United States on charges of laundering billions of dollars' worth of bitcoin, is appearing before Greece's Supreme Court for a hearing into his extradition to the US
6:11AM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Technology News
The Latest: France's Macron critical of US' Jerusalem move
The Latest: France's Macron says he disapproves of Trump's 'unilateral' decision to recognize Jerusalem
5:39AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Tillerson: Russia arms, trains, fights with Ukraine rebels
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is lambasting Moscow for its aggression in Ukraine ahead of a meeting with Russia's foreign minister
5:35AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Mideast braces for fallout from Trump's move on Jerusalem
Palestinians shuttered schools, shops ahead of protests over Trump's recognition of Jerusalem; Saudis sharply rebuke US
5:14AM ( 54 minutes ago )
Poland's top politicians meeting over government future
Poland's president is meeting with the prime minister and the ruling party leader amid rumors that the government head Beata Szydlo will be replaced by her deputy, economist Mateusz Morawiecki
5:12AM ( 55 minutes ago )
Ireland's government expects UK to make new Brexit proposal
Ireland's government expects Britain to make a new proposal on Brexit by Friday as officials in London struggle to resolve issues surrounding the Irish border that are stalling talks with the European Union
4:40AM ( 1 hour ago )