Hackers steal $34 million in second Ethereum cryptocurrency theft this week

Flickr via Doctorow. Click for original.

One of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world is drawing increased attention from hackers, or at least that has been the case this week. For the second time in a span of just three days, hackers have been able to make off with millions of dollars worth of Ethereum, leaving vigilante white hat hackers scrambling to prevent further theft.

In this latest robbery, the hacking group (or individual hacker, we don't know yet) exploited a vulnerability in Parity, a digital wallet service where cryptocurrency miners can store their Ethereum. In doing so, the hackers were able to swipe over 153,000 Ether worth approximately $34 million from three separate multi-signature Ethereum wallets, according to the most recent estimates.

Following the latest heist, Parity founder Gavin Wood issued a critical security notice to users.

"A vulnerability in Parity Wallet's variant of the standard multi-sig contract has been found," Wood wrote. He goes on to advise users to "immediately move assets contained in the multi-sig wallet to a secure address."

In the meantime, white hat hackers have been able to siphon some 377,015 Ether worth more than $85 million to prevent further loss.

"White hat group(s) were made aware of a vulnerability in a specific version of a commonly used multi-sig contract. This vulnerability was trivial to execute, so they took the necessary action to drain every vulnerable multi-sig they could find as quickly as possible," the White Hat Group stated on Reddit.

Those funds will be issued back to their owners after the group is able to create another multi-sig for each individual with the same settings as before, minus the vulnerability that made theft possible in the first place.

This is not the only black eye for cryptocurrencies, or even the only theft this week. Back on Monday, hackers made off with an estimated $10.3 million in Ethereum currency from CoinDash. In that instance, it is believed the culprits simply replaced the legitimate Ethereum wallet address listed on CoinDesk with one that belonged to them.

There are several other examples of thieves stealing large amounts of cryptocurrencies, as Gizmodo points out. Back in June of last year, hackers stole $53 million cryptocurrency from venture capital fund Decentralized Autonomous Organization. And then there was the situation in which $450 million of Bitcoin vanished from trading hub Mt. Gox a few years ago.

Despite the risks, mining for cryptocurrency continues be popular, much to the detriment of PC gaming. If and when things ever settle down, it will likely be due to plummeting values rather than the fear of theft.