Singaporean exchange Coinhako halts withdrawals following hack

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After suffering a cyberattack a week ago, cryptocurrency exchange Coinhako has halted withdrawals for all users. The Singapore-based exchange has reassured its users that their funds are safe and that the damage was minimal.

Coinhako suffered the attack on Friday, February 21. The exchange initially said it was undergoing network maintenance. However, a spokesperson for the exchange confirmed a day later that it had suffered a “sophisticated and coordinated” attack. Now, the company has halted withdrawals as it seeks to implement enhanced security features.

In an update on Twitter, Coinhako revealed that its security system had been quick to detect an anomaly on February 21, quickly rectifying it before it could affect several users. It said that fewer than 20 users were affected and that it had reimbursed these users.

As part of its recovery efforts, it reached out to the affected users for personal follow-ups. It had also immediately reset the passwords and the two-factor authentication for all the other users to enhance its security. The exchange is also working with law enforcement to pursue the criminals. It promised to resume full operational capacity by March 1.

The CEO Yusho Liu told CoinDesk that the send function would remain unavailable for the users as a key countermeasure against unauthorized transaction outflows.

Coinhako has offered little insight into the nature of the attack which has only increased the anxiety for the users, especially given the frequency of cyberattacks on Asian crypto exchanges. In the past, Japan’s Coincheck, Bitpoint and most famously Mt. Gox; South Korea’s Bithumb and Upbit; Singapore’s Bitrue and DragonEx, to mention a few, have all fallen prey to hacks.

Founded in 2014, Coinhako describes itself as one of the oldest exchanges in Asia. It caters mainly to the Singaporean market, allowing users to buy crypto with the Singaporean dollar and other currencies including the U.S. dollar and the Indonesian rupiah. Its popularity in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia has seen it attract funding from a number of top investors led by Tim Draper. The VC guru, who was an early investor in multibillion companies like Baidu, Skype and Coinbase, invested in Coinhako bank in 2014.

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