Binance's latest hack is said to have originated in a phone hack (via Shutterstock)
Cryptocurrencies

Binance shutters to make security improvements after $40 million hack

Binance will go dark for six to eight hours Tuesday night for security upgrades in the wake of last week’s $40 million hack.

The upgrade, which will begin at 3:00 am UTC on May 15 (11:00 p.m. EDT on May 14), is intended to fix weaknesses in the leading cryptocurrency exchange’s security, discovered when a thief used phishing to bypass two-factor authentication protections. Binance is covering the May 7 loss of 7,070 bitcoin from its SAFU (“secure asset fund for users”) account, which saves a portion of all trading fees to protect users from losses to hacks.

All deposits, withdrawals, and trading will be suspended during this period, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said on Twitter. When it is done, users will have 30 minutes to cancel open orders before trading resumes.

“Deposits that are not completed before the start of the upgrade will be processed after the upgrade is complete,” Binance said in a blog post. “Please allow some time for deposits to be reflected in your account following the system upgrade.”

The company also posted 14 tips for customers to enhance security of the Binance accounts. These ranged from always using two factor authentication to using strong passwords that are changed frequently, as well as broader suggestions like avoiding public Wi-Fi and using a password manager.

On May 10, Zhao suggested that the cryptocurrency exchange industry may create a more formal alliance to fight thefts and recover stolen funds.

About an hour before the shutdown, the Binance Charity Foundation announced on Twitter that more than $200,000 had been donated at a fundraiser hosted by enterprise blockchain firm Bloq at Coindesk’s Consensus 2019 conference. Half of that came from Bloq Chairman and co-founder Matthew Roszak.

Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus senior editor, is a New York-based journalist who has spent much of the last 15 years covering the employee engagement and recognition business. Before that he covered the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and wrote about politics in New York City. Disclosure: Jakobson owns no cryptocurrencies.

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