​$64 Million In Bitcoin Stolen By Hackers

Bitcoin's been hitting the news A LOT lately after its unexpected surge in value, with the price of a bitcoin now worth a massive $14,668 (£10,981) - compared to being worth under $1,000 at the beginning of the year.

From people who've become filthy rich after investing in it (hello Winklevoss twins, our first Bitcoin billionaires) to people who regret turning down bitcoin payment (hello past Lily Allen, who refused a Bitcoin payment for a gig), there's a whole lot of mayhem kicking off in the world of digital currency - or cryptocurrency, as it's known in the biz.

But this one's a particular shocker, as nearly $64 million (£48 million) has been stolen by hackers, who broke into bitcoin mining marketplace NiceHash, according to the Guardian.

The hack was 'a highly professional attack with sophisticated social engineering', which resulted in around 4,700 bitcoin being stolen, said NiceHash head of marketing Andrej P Škraba. And thanks to the rise in value, those four thousand-odd bitcoin were worth a whopping $63.92m (£47.77m) at current prices. Gutting.

The digital currency marketplace - which matches people looking to sell processing time on their computers for 'miners' to verify bitcoin users' transactions, in exchange for the bitcoin - had to suspend operations on Thursday while it looked into the beach. Working with law enforcement to work out what the hell had happened, NiceHash also urged users to change their passwords.

Initially, the Slovenian-based marketplace tweeted, saying that the website was undergoing maintenance.

But NiceHash has now released a full statement on its website: "Unfortunately, there has been a security breach involving NiceHash website. We are currently investigating the nature of the incident and, as a result, we are stopping all operations for the next 24 hours.

"Importantly, our payment system was compromised and the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen. We are working to verify the precise number of BTC taken."

It also says that the full scope of what has happened is not yet known, adding: "We understand that you will have a lot of questions, and we ask for patience and understanding while we investigate the causes and find the appropriate solutions for the future of the service. We will endeavour to update you at regular intervals."

It closed up by apologising for 'any inconvenience that this may have caused' - the inconvenience, in this case, being a small matter of $64m. Proper shit, that.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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