The Bitcoin cryptocurrency has exploded in popularity over the last few years, pushing its value to thousands of dollars per unit. There’s no regulation or government backing for Bitcoin, so it’s also a favorite target for hackers. Users of one Bitcoin mining website are learning that the hard way today as NiceHash announces a sophisticated cyberattack robbed it of more than 4,000 Bitcoins with a value of more than $70 million.
Most of the the Bitcoin hacks we hear about are aimed at exchanges where people buy, sell, and store their digital currency. The Slovenia-based NiceHash is a cryptocurrency mining collective. It allows users to lease processing time on their hardware to people who want to mine digital currency. Mining Bitcoin currently requires vast amounts of processing power, but there are newer currencies that can be effectively mined on consumer GPUs and CPUs. The users of NiceHash buy and sell processing time for Bitcoin.
The wealth of Bitcoin stored by NiceHash from all those transactions is now gone, siphoned off by unknown attackers who gained access to the site’s systems yesterday. The take from the heist was 4,736.42 BTC, worth more than $57 million at the time. Since the Blockchain that tracks Bitcoin transactions is public, you can see all that digital cash sitting there in a wallet.