Organized? Crypto Exchanges Bitfinex And OKEx Hit By Sophisticated DDoS Cyberattacks At Almost The Same Time

Organized? Crypto Exchanges Bitfinex And OKEx Hit By Sophisticated DDoS Cyberattacks At Almost The Same Time

Two popular crypto exchanges, Bitfinex and OKEx, have recently suffered DDoS attacks. These attacks led to both exchanges going offline for a while before resuming operations. The first attack was reported on OKEx yesterday but was later resolved. The exchange then suffered another bigger attack around the same time that Bitfinex was attacked also. OKEx’s CEO is now offering a bounty to anyone who will volunteer information regarding the attacks on both exchanges.

OKEx Suffers DDoS Attacks; CEO Offers Bounty

A distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) is an attack where a bad actor denies users access to their services on a site. This is achieved by flooding the website with a lot of fake traffic, causing it to temporarily crash.

Over the last 24 hours, OKEx and Bitfinex have suffered such attacks. The fact that it happened almost concurrently has raised speculations about the attacks being coordinated by the same group of bad actors.

OKEx exchange was the first to be hit by the DDoS attack on Thursday, February 27 which involved a 200 gigabyte per second (200G) traffic. This seriously disrupted trading on the exchange to the extent that OKEx halted derivatives trading as they looked into the matter. At the time, CEO Jay Hao claimed that this attack was perpetrated by one of his competitors, per a post on his Weibo page.

The exchange later resumed derivatives trading before experiencing a bigger DDoS attack on Feb.28. The CEO revealed that this second attack was twice as big as the one experienced yesterday as it was of a 400G severity.


Hao then announced on Twitter that he would offer a bounty to the team that was paid to conduct the DDoS attacks, saying that he will “personally double pay you.”

Bitfinex DDoS’ed As Well

With global markets plummeting and cryptocurrencies bleeding as coronavirus continues spreading to new countries each day, a cryptocurrency exchange pausing operations even for a few hours only aggravates the situation.

A few hours after OKEx was attacked today, Bitfinex exchange also reported that it had suffered a DDoS attack.

Bitfinex CTO, Paul Ardoino noted that they witnessed a “level of sophistication” which implies that the attackers were thoroughly prepared. He also asserted that he had not heard about the attacks on OKEx but he “was interested to understand the similarities.”

It’s still unclear whether the attacks on both exchanges were orchestrated by the same group of attackers.

Nonetheless, users’ funds are safe and the exchanges have resumed their normal operations after going offline for a while. However, at the time that these attacks happened, bitcoin plunged by circa 2% to the $8,500 zone. It has since recovered to $8,669.26 at the time of publication.

It will be pretty interesting to see whether someone will come forth to claim the bounty and work with the OKEx team to expose the main culprit behind the denial of service attacks.