In the past months, there have been a series of attacks by hackers on cross-chain bridges. These attacks have caused serious damage to the cryptocurrency community.
Meanwhile, the latest attack was on the popular cross-chain bridge, Horizon Bridge, owned by Harmony. Given the recent economic downturn, this is a huge blow to the DeFi platform.
Attack On The Horizon Bridge
On the 24th of June, the Horizon bridge was attacked by an anonymous hacker. As per the details from the company, Harmony, the hacker performed over 11 transactions.
The digital assets include 13,100 ETH (about $14.1 million), 9.9 million USDT, 5.5 million BUSD, and 6 million DAI, among other ERC-20 tokens.
However, the report states that the hacker transferred these ERC-20 tokens to Ethereum. Afterward, they were stored in the same crypto wallet. The estimated balance of this crypto wallet is about 85,867 ETH which is worth $98 million.
Unfortunately, the delay in the announcement by Harmony allowed the hacker to move most ERC-20 tokens. Only large quantities of Ethereum are left in the crypto wallet.
Although the hacker exploited the bridge connecting Ethereum, that of Bitcoin was not hacked. However, the Harmony team suspended the entire system during the investigation.
The company stated that:
“We have notified crypto exchanges and passed the Horzon bridge. This is to stop further transactions. Meanwhile, we will keep updating everyone as our investigation continues.”
Massive Hacks On Cross-chain Bridges
Since 2022, the number of attacks on DeFi bridges has increased. This has led to the loss of billions of dollars, with only a few being recovered.
Another crypto company whose bridge was attacked is Qubit Finance. The attack, which took place in January, led to the loss of over $80 million.
In March, hackers hacked the Ronin bridge of Axie Infinity, and the platform lost assets worth $622 million. Additionally, hackers attacked the Wormhole bridge in May, and over $320 million was lost.
The idea of cross-chain bridges arose to connect one blockchain to another. The aim was to allow for easy transfer and movement of digital assets across platforms.
Unfortunately, hackers have spotted weaknesses in these bridges and are exploiting them. While some bridges are still safe, several have been attacked.
Moreover, when the idea of cross-chain bridges came up, Buterin issued warnings. The ETH creators noted that they might not be reliable and prone to attack.
He believed that these bridges could act as a gateway to system attacks. According to Buterin, these attacks undermine the security of cross-chain bridges.
Thus, crypto exchanges must take steps to improve their security. However, the recent attacks have caused several debates in the crypto community. Although critics are calling for the removal of these bridges, they are also very helpful.