Orbit Bridge Loses Millions in Crypto Assets to Hackers

Azeez Mustapha


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A major security breach has hit Orbit Bridge, a decentralized protocol that allows cross-chain transfers of various cryptocurrencies. The protocol announced that it was hacked on December 31, 2023, and that it lost millions of dollars worth of crypto assets to the attackers.

How the Hack Happened

The breach was first identified by Kgjr, a pseudonymous X user, who noticed the creation of new wallets for various crypto assets like Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), Tether (USDT), USD Coin (USDC), and Dai (DAI). Notably, larger transactions were not visible on the Orbit Bridge scanner, in contrast to smaller test transfers.

Officer CIA, a Web3 threat researcher, revealed that the attackers gained control of seven out of ten multisig signers, providing access to the protocol’s funds. The estimated total loss surpassed $81.5 million, encompassing $30 million USDT, $10 million USDC, $10 million DAI, 9,500 ETH worth $21.7 million, and 230 WBTC worth $9.8 million.

Blockchain security firm SlowMist suggested a vulnerability in the protocol or a compromise of the centralized server might be behind the hack. Orbit Bridge is actively collaborating with international law enforcement agencies to analyze the incident’s root cause.

Following the breach, the hackers initiated their operation with 10 ETH from crypto mixer Tornado Cash, transferring it through an intermediary address. Subsequently, they exchanged USDT and WBTC for ETH and USDC for DAI on decentralized exchanges, accumulating 26,751 ETH valued at $61.5 million and $15 million in DAI.

How Did Orbit Bridge Respond?

In response, Orbit Bridge cautioned users against falling for reimbursement scams and urged them to interact solely with the official protocol account. The bridge service was temporarily shut down, with users advised to cancel pending transactions.

A warning from Orbit Bridge to its users
Image: Orbit Bridge

Despite user frustration over communication gaps, the Orbit team is working diligently to resume normal operations.

The incident highlights the growing challenges in ensuring the security of decentralized protocols and underscores the need for continued vigilance within the crypto community.


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Azeez Mustapha

Azeez Mustapha is a trading professional, currency analyst, signals strategist, and funds manager with over ten years of experience within the financial field. As a blogger and finance author, he helps investors understand complex financial concepts, improve their investing skills, and learn how to manage their money.

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