Someone just made off with a massive amount of Bitcoin from Silk Road 2.0, an online “black market” that’s been in the news quite a lot recently. Here’s what we know so far about this developing story.
1. The Theft Was Possibly $2.7 Million, or as Much as 88,000 Bitcoin
Silk Road 2 Hacked, 88,000 Bitcoin Allegedly Stolen http://t.co/H9WtjSfvJm
— S (@sfulreza_) February 13, 2014
The Verge reports that the total amount stolen was around $2.7 million.
However, according to TechCrunch, the amount stolen was 88,000 Bitcoin, which would be worth $41,474,415.
Still other sources, such as Forbes, have reported the amount stolen was equal to either $36.1 million or $2.6 million.
2. Hackers Exploited the Same Vulnerability Mt.Gox Feared
Bitcoin "transaction malleability" flaw used in hack to empty Silk Road 2 wallet, all bitcoins stolen – http://t.co/hLUiuTsSGu
— Anders Nilsson (@nilssonanders) February 13, 2014
The hackers who stole the Bitcoin stash allegedly exploited the same transactional vulnerability that caused Bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox to shut down their withdrawals earlier this month.
You can read the Silk Road’s statement in full here.
3. Silk Road Is Still Active
— Jason Gelman (@JasonLGelman) February 6, 2014
The Verge notes that Silk Road is still active, putting them in a difficult position. The Verge writes:
“The site is still officially active, but the administrators have implemented strict new security protocols that will make transactions significantly more difficult. Most importantly, the site has given up on holding funds in escrow entirely, which many experts say will make transactions significantly easier to track between buyer and seller.”
The Silk Road is actively trying to discern the identity of the thief. TechCrunch notes that the suspected attacker is believed to be French.
UPDATE: Tech Times reports that the suspected French attacker likely worked in concert with two Aussie hackers. Tech Times writes:
“Two Australians (going by the handle LethalWeapon and mrkermit) and a French national, who used six vendor accounts (narco93, ketama, riccola, Germancoke, napolicoke and smokinglife), may have hacked the site by exploiting the bug to empty Silk Road 2′s escrow account of the funds. The two Aussies are suspected of stealing 2.5 percent of the total bitcoins, whereas the French user is believed to have made off with the remainder. The three suspected hackers allegedly knew each other.”
4. All of Silk Road’s Funds Are Gone
@Holcz when a bank gets robbed, only small $$ amount get stolen. There are only few Bitcoin exchanges. When they get hacked, most $ is gone
— △ (@mnycx) February 13, 2014
Forbes reports that all Silk Road’s funds are gone. This has forced Silk Road to take the position that they will no longer keep Bitcoin transaction funds in escrow.
Forbes quoted Defcon, the Silk Road’s admin, who stated:
“Silk Road will never again be a centralized escrow storage…Hindsight is already suggesting dozens of ways this could have been prevented, but we must march onward.”
5. Bitcoin Exchanges and Wallets Have Been Plagued by Problems
— Ben Popper (@benpopper) February 7, 2014
Silk Road has been in the headlines for a lot of reasons lately. Prior to this big theft, several people linked to the Silk Road were indicted on drug charges, according to Forbes.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, the Verge reported that a “string of thefts” tens of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin were stolen from Coinbase, considered by some to be Bitcoin’s most reputable wallet service.
Today’s theft has driven the price of Bitcoin down by about $50, to $600 (according to TechCrunch.)