Indian Exchange BuyUCoin Suffers Security Breach Affecting 160,000 Users

2021 has gotten off to a roaring start for the crypto industry, with many enjoying the benefits of a significant surge in the price of several top-tier assets. However, while the benefits have been visible, bad actors also appear to ramp up their activities in preparation for the year.

A Sweeping Security Breach

Last weekend, reports confirmed that top Indian crypto exchange BuyUCoin had suffered a security breach affecting hundreds of thousands of users. 

Local news source Inc24 was the first to lift the lid on the news, claiming in a Thursday report that a hacker group by the name ShinyHunters had leaked a database containing the exchange’s user’s information – including Email addresses, tax identification numbers, phone numbers, and names. 

While the report claimed that 325,000 users had been affected, Bleeping Computer contradicted that number, saying that the breach only exposed the data of 161,487 users. As Bleeping Computer explained, ShinyHunter had published the information via three rounds of data dumps on an online hacker forum. 

The information, which came from BuyUCoin’s MongoDB database, contained tar files showing the date on which each database was dumped. Judging by the dates – June 1, July 14, and September 5 (all 2020) – it appears that the information is recent. BuyUCoin’s users could be in significant danger.  

Alone with the details outlined above, the databases also contained bank accounts, crypto trade transaction histories, and other internal exchange data that BuyUCoin uses.

BuyUCoin initially claimed that the data breach didn’t affect any of its users. However, the company has since issued a statement saying that it was investigating the event, while also blaming “foreign entities” for the hack. The exchange also added that users’ funds were safe, as 95 percent of its assets were safely locked in cold storage. 

Exchanges on Alert

BuyUCoin is the latest cryptocurrency exchange to report a significant security breach in recent times.

Last month, Russian crypto exchange Livecoin announced on its main page – which is no longer available – that it would temporarily suspend its operations following a “carefully planned attack.”

The firm said the attack caused a disruption, where it lost control of its nodes, servers, and backend systems. Livecoin advised its users to refrain from using its services until things were balanced.

On January 16, the exchange announced that it would shut down entirely as it couldn’t recover from the technical and financial damages caused by the attack. The company explained in its announcement that it was looking to pay its remaining funds to its customers, asking all affected persons to reach out via email to complete their verification. 

Users will need to complete their usernames and send their registration dates to complete the process. Livecoin has promised to send detailed reimbursement instructions in a reply, adding that it will accept reimbursement claims until March 17. The date for actual reimbursements is unknown.

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