Cryptopia, a New Zealand-based cryptocurrency exchange, was the first major platform to be hacked in 2019.
The exchange said at the time that it had suffered “significant losses” and that New Zealand police had begun investigations.
But now it appears that hackers, who stole ETH tokens worth $16 million early this year, are still in control.
According to a blog post by Blockchain analytics firm Elementus, the hackers struck Cryptopia again- fifteen days after their first attack. The firm says that after going silent for days, the hacker, or group of hackers, making off with another 1,675 ETH.
The latest loot was taken from about 17,000 wallets, with the value of the stolen Ether roughly adding up to $181,000.
The initial thought was that Cryptopia could have moved to secure the remaining assets not stolen in the first hack into a new wallet. However, that appears not to be the case as the stolen funds have reportedly been moved to the same wallet address used during the initial attack.
The Elementus report suggests that it is the hacker, or group of hackers, that has control over the exchange’s private keys and not Cryptopia. As such, the hacker “can withdraw funds from any Cryptopia wallet at will.”
The blockchain analytics firm also notes in its report that a number of wallets on the maligned exchange continue to receive funds.
The continuing deposits suggest that not all of the exchange’s users have information about the security breach that has seen thousands of ether disappear in the heist.
Elementus explains that the majority of these deposits are funds sent to the exchange from mining pools.
The firm speculated that mining pools could be sending these payments on behalf of miners that chose to receive their mining rewards via ‘direct deposit,’ and who might have forgotten about such an arrangement.
Cryptopia went into maintenance and then offline on January 15 after it announced a major security breach. The exchange hasn’t released data detailing the total loss suffered, which it only said was “significant” nor commented on the latest allegations.
Nonetheless, it asked its users to await the results of an investigation being conducted by the country’s police. The exchange also said that it would remain on lockdown to protect its user’s funds and wallets.
The New Zealand police department has since embarked on an investigation that it said required an “open mind” as there could be many eventualities and possibilities.
Last week, investigators issued an update that noted there was “good progress” in the probe and that it had hit “positive lines of inquiry.”
The police statement added that they aim at identifying “the source of the transfer,” as well as establish where the alleged hackers sent the stolen cryptocurrencies.
Canterbury police have reportedly commented on the Elementus report noting that it’s unlikely that the hackers attacked the exchange again. However, New Zealand –based news outlet Stuff quotes an officer as saying that investigators are looking into the new claim.
Earlier this week, a report by analytics firm Chainalysis noted that there are two major hacker groups likely to be active and which account for over $1 billion in stolen crypto.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.