Crypto hit by $63m hack of ‘Munchables’ game in one of year’s biggest exploits

The crypto sector suffered one of its biggest security incidents this year after a hacker swiped $63 million 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 $63 million 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 $80 million.

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 $1 billion — dropped around 40%, based on data from blockchain sleuths Chainalysis Inc.

The Lazarus Group, a North Korean hacking unit, infamously stole around $600 million from the blockchain underpinning Axie Infinity, once one of the sector’s most popular games.

Security exploits overall cost the digital-asset industry about $1.8 billion 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.

© 2024 Bloomberg

Harry Byrne

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