DDoS Attacks on OKEx and Bitfinex Were Sophisticated, Possibly Related

As the cryptocurrency industry continues to mature, security remains a major challenge. Over the last few weeks, a number of cryptocurrency exchanges — namely, OKEx, Bitfinex, Digitex and Coinhako — have experienced security breaches.

Although the attackers apparently did not manage to steal any funds, one of the incidents resulted in a leak of Know Your Customer data. All of the breaches have reportedly been dealt with as of press time, and all of the affected exchanges are back online.

OKEx and Bitfinex targeted in a series of DDoS attacks

Two different major crypto exchanges were reportedly hit with distributed denial-of-service attacks last week. A DDoS attack is a common type of cyberattack that overloads a system with numerous requests from multiple virus-infected servers.

The OKEx crypto exchange platform was the first one hit, as it started to experience problems on Feb. 27 at approximately 11:30 a.m. EST. Notably, as the exchange’s servers were dealing with the increased output, CEO Jay Hao took to his personal Weibo page to blame unspecified competitors for the incident.

The raid lasted two days, as an OKEx spokesperson confirmed in an email to Cointelegraph. Initially, the attack routed 200 gigabytes per second of traffic, and then increased it to 400 GB per second during the second wave.

Such traffic volume makes it safe to deem this a relatively major attack. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov has previously encountered such attacks and told TechCrunch that his messenger was often hit by DDoS attacks of a similar scale (200–400 GB per second) during protests in Hong Kong — which he labeled as “state actor-sized” disruption attempts. Lennix Lai, financial markets director at OKEx, called the attack “very sophisticated.”

Despite being high-grade, the DDoS attack “was properly handled within a short period of time and no client is impacted,” an OKEx representative told Cointelegraph. The second wave of the attack occurred shortly after…

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