Wednesday, December 7th 2016

Mining "Renting" Service Nicehash Hacked; $68M Routed From User Wallets

Another high-profile hack has hit Bitcoin, as cryptocurrency mining pool Nicehash has confirmed that they've suffered a hack which has rendered users' wallets with the service to be emptied. The heist, currently valued at more than $68M, transferred 4,736.4281 BTC in total to the unknown party's (the perpetrator's, almost certainly) wallet. A single transaction of 4,655.25349748 BTC was the most high-profile one to take place, and has left Nicehash users in the cold.

In a post on Reddit, Nicehash representatives confirmed the heist, stating that "Unfortunately, there has been a security breach involving NiceHash website. We are currently investigating the nature of the incident and, as a result, we are stopping all operations for the next 24 hours. Importantly, our payment system was compromised and the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen. We are working to verify the precise number of BTC taken."
"Unfortunately" seems to be too much of a sweet, sugarcoated word for the unmitigated disaster this is. However, the outfit says they have kept their eyes in the ball, in that "Clearly, this is a matter of deep concern and we are working hard to rectify the matter in the coming days. In addition to undertaking our own investigation, the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are co-operating with them as a matter of urgency."

Nicehash was one of the foremost ways for users to put their hardware to usage in mining coins. Slightly different from a standard pool, where users contribute their own computing resources to that of a whole in order to increase chances of mining entire blocks, Nicehash worked on a mining power "renting" philosophy, where users contributed their hardware resources and hashing power towards mining workloads that were purchased by interested parties. This let users mine without having to micromanage their mining platform, and let renters of hashing power free from having to invest in hardware that would lose out on value eventually.

Nicehash has also warned users to change their passwords, as a matter of precaution, and has vowed to review and increase their security measures... But that may come slightly with a "too little, too late" taste to it for former and prospective users of the service. It remains to be seen whether they can bounce back from this event or not.

It's interesting to note that Bitcoin's value seems impervious to the event, however; the cryptocurrency has kept on soaring in value after the hack was discovered and announced.
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