Crypto hit by nearly RM300mil hack of ‘Munchables’ game in one of year’s biggest exploits

A hacker stole US$63mil from ‘Munchables’, causing one of the worst security breaches in the cryptocurrency industry this year.— Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

The crypto sector suffered one of its biggest security incidents this year after a hacker swiped US$63mil (RM297.99mil) from a blockchain-based game.

The game, Munchables, confirmed the incident in a post on X on Wednesday and said it would try to halt the transactions. Blockchain specialists PeckShield indicated the hacker stole 17,400 in Ether tokens – worth about US$63mil (RM297.99mil) at current prices. Public data on crypto transactions backed the estimate.

Gamers in Munchables try to earn rewards by looking after, or farming, bug-eyed digital creatures. Earlier this week the project said the value of crypto tokens held in the protocol had topped US$80mil (RM378mil).

The security incident triggered a flurry of unsubstantiated speculation that a rogue developer or even North Korean hackers were to blame.

The number of North Korean-linked hacks of crypto platforms hit a record high in 2023, though the actual amount of funds stolen – slightly more than US$1bil (RM4.7bil) – dropped around 40%, based on data from blockchain sleuths Chainalysis Inc.

The Lazarus Group, a North Korean hacking unit, infamously stole around US$600mil (RM2.8bil) from the blockchain underpinning Axie Infinity, once one of the sector’s most popular games.

Security exploits overall cost the digital-asset industry about US$1.8bil (RM8.5bil) last year, down around 50% from 2022, according to Immunefi, a platform offering bounties to researchers who spot security flaws in crypto software.

Munchables is built on Blast, a so-called Layer 2 that promises more efficient transactions than established blockchains as well as airline-like loyalty points. – Bloomberg

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