Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex briefly halts trading after cyber attack

Finance news

One of the world’s largest digital currency exchanges shut down briefly Tuesday morning due to a cyber attack.

Bitfinex was targeted in what’s known as a DDoS, or a distributed denial-of-service attack, which overwhelms a system with multiple virus-infected servers.

“The previous outage was caused by issues with one of our infrastructure providers,” the company said on its website. “While the platform was recovering, the attack caused extreme load on the servers.”

Bitcoin prices fell 2 percent following the news, hitting a low of $7,373.47, according to data from CoinDesk.

Trading on Bitfinex had resumed as of roughly 11 a.m. ET and the company said it was “monitoring the situation closely.” Before it announced the attack, Bitfinex said trading was paused while it underwent “unplanned maintenance” but that “all funds are safe.”

The company did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Bitfinex was founded in Hong Kong in 2012 as a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange, and later added support for other cryptocurrencies. Last June, hackers targeted it and other exchanges as bitcoin rallied. Bitfinex also suspended trading in August 2016 after a hack resulted in the theft of nearly 120,000 bitcoins.

Security has been an issue for multiple global exchanges.

In January, hackers stole about $500 million worth of a lesser-known cryptocurrency from major Japanese exchange Coincheck. In December, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange called Youbit lost 17 percent of its digital assets. Its parent Yapian later filed for bankruptcy.

Tokyo-based Mt. Gox was the first high-profile hack. It filed for bankruptcy in 2014 and said it lost 750,000 of its users’ bitcoins and 100,000 of the exchange’s own. The company was the largest bitcoin exchange at the time.

Bitcoin’s one-week performance

Source: CoinDesk

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