Hacker Launders $48M via Tornado Cash Post-Orbit Chain Heist

The hacker responsible for the Orbit Chain breach, which resulted in an $82 million theft over New Year’s Eve, has reappeared after a lengthy hiatus of five months. Recently, this individual transferred a significant portion of the stolen funds—amounting to $47.7 million—into the cryptocurrency privacy mixer, Tornado Cash. According to Arkham Intelligence, a blockchain analytics firm, the sum involved consisted of 12,932 Ether (ETH), moved through seven transactions on June 8 to a new address before being funneled into Tornado Cash.

Initial reports suggested that the exploit led to losses of $82 million, but Arkham now contends that the actual figure might be closer to $100 million. Arkham was one of the first firms to notice and report the transfer of funds on June 8. Their report revealed that the hacker had stolen over $100 million in ETH and DAI from Orbit Chain five months prior and had been inactive since then.

The Ether transferred through Tornado Cash was mainly broken down into batches of 100 ETH, according to data from Etherscan. Interestingly, the hacker has not moved the $20 million in DAI or any other cryptocurrencies stolen during the breach. The current balance of the perpetrator stands at $71.2 million, comprising $51.1 million in Ether and smaller quantities of wrapped-Bitcoin (wBTC), wrapped-Ether (wETH), Orbit Chain (ORC), and USD Coin (USDC).

The hack took place at around 8:52 pm UTC on December 31, 2023, in the final hours of the year. Orbit Chain confirmed the attack the following day, stating that they were actively cooperating with international law enforcement agencies to address the situation. On January 11, Orbit Chain announced a bounty on their social media account, offering up to $8 million for any crucial intelligence that could lead to identifying the hacker or recovering the stolen assets.

Orbit Chain leverages the Inter-Blockchain Communication Protocol to enable data and value transfers across the Cosmos ecosystem. Prior to the hack, the total value locked (TVL) in Orbit Chain stood at nearly $149.25 million. Following the incident, that figure dropped significantly by over 75% to approximately $37 million. The protocol had previously reached its peak TVL of $313 million in August 2022.

The broader landscape of cryptocurrency hacking remains troubling. In the first quarter of 2024 alone, hackers managed to steal $542.7 million in various cryptocurrencies. This represents a 42% increase compared to the same period in 2023. Interestingly, though, there was a significant decline in smart contract hacks. In 2023, the amount lost to these specific types of hacks fell to $179 million, down from a staggering $2.6 billion in the previous year.

The resurgence of the Orbit Chain hacker and the movement of such a substantial amount of stolen funds has reignited discussions about security in the cryptocurrency space. While tools like Tornado Cash provide privacy for users, they also pose challenges for law enforcement and entities trying to trace illicit activities. The level of sophistication and audacity displayed by such hackers indicates an ongoing need for better security measures and collaboration between blockchain projects and security firms.

Efforts to recover the stolen assets and bring the hacker to justice continue, but the complex and opaque nature of cryptocurrency transactions often makes this a difficult endeavor. Orbit Chain’s substantial bounty for information serves as a reminder of the high stakes involved and the lengths to which organizations will go to protect their networks and assets.

The recent developments in the Orbit Chain hack highlight both the vulnerabilities and the need for robust security mechanisms within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. As the industry grows and evolves, so too must its approach to defending against such sophisticated attacks. The hope remains that through collective efforts and technological advancements, the integrity and security of blockchain systems can be significantly improved.

17 thoughts on “Hacker Launders $48M via Tornado Cash Post-Orbit Chain Heist

  1. It’s scary to see such large sums being stolen, but these developments are a wake-up call for stronger defenses.

  2. So much Ethereum stolen and barely any progress in finding the hacker. It’s demoralizing for the whole industry.

  3. Public blockchain? More like a public playground for hackers. 😤🛡️

  4. Arkham Intelligence is doing vital work in the field! We need more firms like them to safeguard our crypto investments!

  5. It’s events like these that push us toward better security protocols. Stay strong, Orbit Chain!

  6. The dedication shown by Orbit Chain in offering an $8 million bounty speaks volumes about their commitment!

  7. Despite the security setback, let’s not forget the potential and innovation that comes from blockchain technology. Keep evolving, Orbit Chain!

  8. The reappearance of the hacker is worrying, but it underscores the importance of continued vigilance in this space.

  9. Orbit Chain’s resilience and Arkham Intelligence’s insights remind us that for every hacker, there’s a team fighting back!

  10. Amazing insights provided by Arkham Intelligence. Such dedication helps maintain trust in the crypto ecosystem.

  11. So many lessons to learn from this! Let’s build a more secure future for crypto together.

  12. It’s insane that after all this time, the hacker is still moving stolen ETH around with ease. Where’s the security? 😠🔓

  13. Orbit Chain’s resilience is admirable, and their cooperation with law enforcement is crucial! Go, Orbit Team!

  14. The challenges are real, but so are the efforts to overcome them. Hats off to everyone working to make the crypto space safer!

  15. Cannot believe that even with international law enforcement involved, we havent caught this hacker yet. So discouraging.

  16. Orbit Chain losing 75% of its TVL is devastating. This level of security breach is unacceptable. 🚨💸

  17. Moving $47.7 million into Tornado Cash? How are we supposed to trust crypto if this keeps happening?

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