HomeCryptoHarmony Bridge loses $100 million following hacker attack

Harmony Bridge loses $100 million following hacker attack

Horizon, which connects Harmony to the Ethereum and Binance Chain ecosystem was hacked, resulting in a loss of about $100 million in ETH.

The million-dollar hacker attack on Harmony 

On 24 June, Harmony, a PoS Layer-1 blockchain built for the native One token, suffered a loss of nearly $100 million in ETH. The attack is not an isolated case in the crypto world, and prosecutors are investigating. 

The attack occurred overnight for a total duration of 17 hours affecting mostly Ethereum value but also AAVE, FRAX and several stablecoins. 

The announcement, made on Twitter by Harmony itself, reassured of a massive manhunt that is already bearing fruit by finding the North Korean hacker team Lazarus Group responsible. 

The laundering methods used by the Harmony heist hackers are very similar to the maneuvers previously used by the Lazarus Group in other heists, and this according to Elliptic is what gave them away, just as Bloomberg reported when it first broke the news. 

Elliptic said the criminal organization that drained cryptocurrencies worth about $100 million is probably working for its own government that will soon use those funds. 

The fear is that the North Korean attack serves to finance the dictatorship’s atomic program

This theory is partly borne out by the gradual improvement in technology both logistically and in the effectiveness of the military program even by sea. 

The UN has also targeted Pyongyang in this respect, making the accusation of stealing crypto for half the world for the sole purpose of financing its missile and atomic program. 

“The DPRK has demonstrated increased rapid deployment capabilities, broad mobility (including at sea) and improved resilience of its missile forces”.

As a result of this blatant accusation, Russia and China distanced themselves from the UN’s assertion, indirectly confirming the common thinking of member states. 

The attack occurred by piercing the system through the credentials of company employees which allowed hackers to take control and with bots to steal everything they could. 

ethereum horizon
Most of the stolen funds were in ETH

Crypto bridges are hackers’ favorite prey

The crypto world is no stranger to such attacks: the Axie Infinity drain, the Solana Wormhole or the foiled attack on Optimism.

The attack on Demonic is also part of this group of attacks, in this specific case several cryptocurrency wallets were hit, but the hit faded before any damage could be done.

Harmony states that forensic specialists and national authorities are at work:

“We have also notified the exchanges and stopped the Horizon bridge to prevent further transactions. The team is all on deck as the investigation continues. We will keep everyone updated as we investigate this further and get more information”.

Curious is the case that this attack had been “almost” announced “perhaps” blamelessly three months before the events

On 2 April on Twitter, Ape, an independent researcher and blockchain developer, drew attention to the fact that the security of the Harmony Bridge was built around a multi-sig wallet and it was proving to be dangerous.

By convincing two of the owners, the expert speculated, it would be possible to sign transfers of millions of dollars in a matter of hours. 

The attack did not seem to be related to the statements of previous months, but the fact would have been just a more general warning to pay more attention to security.

Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave, pointed out in a recent tweet how Ape had the stomach for recognizing the flaw in the Harmony system and how it had helped grow the crypto community in terms of wallet security. 

George Michael Belardinelli
George Michael Belardinelli
A former corporate manager at Carifac Spa and later at Veneto Banca Scpa, blogger and Rhumière, over the years he has become passionate about philosophy and the opportunities that innovation and the media make available to us, in particular the metaverse and augmented reality