Hackers of Popular Japanese Exchange Will Soon Be Revealed – Investigators

Cybersecurity experts at Japan Digital Design who are investigating the hack on japan-based Zaif cryptocurrency exchange may soon reveal the identities of the hackers involved in the cyberheist.

Japan Digital Design, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) released a statement on Monday, Nov. 6, saying that they have a way to identify and expose the details of the hackers.

As Smartereum reported earlier, Zaif exchange fell victim to a cyber-attack in September and lost about $60 million worth of cryptocurrency as a result. A statement released by the exchange at the time stated that 5,966 bitcoin [BTC], and unspecified amounts of Bitcoin Cash [BCH] and MonaCoin [MONA] were stolen. Following the hack, Japan Digital Design has been investigating the hack in line with regulatory standards in the country.

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Japan Digital Design says they have been working hand in hand with other crybersecurity experts to uncover the track of the money stolen form the exchange. Notable among them is Takayuki Sugiura at information-security consultancy L Plus. The firm is also working with a “capture the flag” cybersecurity team called TokyoWesterns.

According to the press statement, the security outfit said that by tracing monacoin tokens moved after the attack last month, it was able to identify the “source” of the attackers and have communicated this to the authorities.

The loose translation of the statement read:

“Since the Monacoin began moving from October 20, we estimated the source of 5 transactions in question and provided information to the authorities concerning the characteristics of the transaction originator.”

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It continued:

“In the investigation of the leaked virtual currency, remittance route has been analyzed through static analysis of the blockchain, but with this effort, by deploying the virtual currency node on a large scale after the outflow of the virtual currency, we verified whether we can obtain clues such as source IP address etc. We also got useful data to grasp the accuracy of the information and the cost of tracking.”

Tech Bureau, operators of Zaif exchange is one of the 16 exchanges approved by Japan’s Financial Service Agency (FSA) which designed regulations to prevent risks associated with cryptocurrencies. The regulations require exchanges to conduct identity verification of its users making it easier to uncover users involved in fraudulent transactions. The FSA faulted Zaif’s reporting of the hack seeking explanations for the delay.

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Zaif has since been acquired by Fisco, an investment firm listed on Japan’s stock exchange (JPX). With the arrangement, the exchange says it will compensate users who were affected by the hack.


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