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BNB Chain-based Defi Protocol Ankr Suffers Major Exploit

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VOC, Voice of Crypto, Crypto Hack

Key Insights

  • Ankr verified it has been hit by a multi-million dollar exploit. 
  • The hacker was reportedly able to mint 20 trillion aBNBc.
  • The hacker swapped the funds on crypto exchanges to gain $5 million worth of USD Coins.

Ankr, a BNB chain-based DeFi protocol, has verified it has been saddled with a multi-million-dollar exploit. The attack was initially observed by on-chain security analyst PeckShield at 12:35 am UTC today.

The hacker was reportedly able to mint 20 trillion Ankr Reward Bearing Staked BNB (aBNBc). For context’s sake, 1 aBNBc is the equivalent of USD 1.52.

An issue this big was bound to cause controversy in the blockchain ecosystem. Lookonchain, an on-chain analysis platform, tweeted that that hacker swapped the funds for around $5 million worth of USDC. It was noted that the hacker utilized services such as Uniswap, Tornado Cash, and several bridges to swap it.

However, the team added, “all underlying assets on Ankr Staking are safe at this time, and all infrastructure services are unaffected.”

Beosin, a blockchain security firm, suggested the exploit was likely due to flaws in Ankr’s technical upgrade. That is, vulnerabilities in the smart contract code coupled with compromised private keys.

“It is possible that the deployer’s private key was exposed, leading to an attacker using deployer privileges to modify the contract.” This was said by a Beosin spokesperson when quizzed on the issue.

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Also, the mass minting incident caused aBNBc to fall 99.5% from $303.89 to $1.53 in hours, according to CoinMarketCap.

Binance ascertained its team is committed, alongside related parties, to scrutinize the matter further. They commented that Binance’s user funds are not in danger, so there wasn’t a reason to be fearful. 

 

Ankr Asks for an Immediate Trading Halt

Within an hour of the halt, Ankr tweeted that the aBNB token had been exploited. They further stated they were working with crypto exchanges to halt trading of the compromised token instantly.

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“All underlying assets on Ankr Staking are safe at this time, and all infrastructure services are unaffected,” they said.

They further instructed people not to trade, remove liquidity from DEXes and keep the aBNBc.  Ankr’s official Twitter page ended by saying they were formulating a plan to compensate affected users.

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