The Cryptopia Hack Timeline: as it happened

13 Feb, 2019 | Updated: 13 Feb, 2019
by Ryan Boltman
The Cryptopia Hack Timeline: as it happened

New Zealand's top cryptocurrency trading exchange saw a splendid climb to the top over the course of several years. Unfortunately, the latest hack on the exchange has left many questions unanswered and many more users confused. The recent hack saw roughly $16 million worth of crypto stolen from the exchange from under their noses. We document the timeline of activities below.

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14 Jan  - Cryptopia enters maintenance mode

Monday January 14, Cryptopia appears to go offline with an announcement citing: "We are currently experiencing an unscheduled maintenance, we are working to resume services as soon as possible. We will keep you updated."

15 Jan - Maintenance downtime reaches 18 hours

The unusual downtime has many users concerned, the maintenance downtime has had no updates.

15 Jan - Cryptopia releases notice of hack citing “significant losses”

Later that day, Cryptopia announced that a hack on the exchange had taken place, leading to "significant losses" and that the exchange would remain in maintenance mode to "assess damages" A police investigation into the hack is opened and employees are questioned at the Cryptopia headquarters.

Read more: Breaking: New Zealand cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia hacked

15 Jan - Crypto exchange CEO's comment on hack

Binance CEO CZ commented on the Cryptopia hack, stating users should rather store their tokens on trustworthy exchanges. The ill-timed tweet did not sit well with the community. Kraken CEO Jesse Powell commented on CZ's tweet, telling users to remove their tokens from exchanges, including Kraken. In the meantime, the crypto community expressed their concerns about the lack of information coming from Cryptopia. The first accusations of an 'exit scam' pop up on Twitter and Reddit

Read more: CZ responds to Cryptopia hack with suggestions for keeping your coins safe

16 Jan - Binance begin freezing stolen funds sent to their exchange

Following a tweet from a sleuthing Twitter user regarding the movement of funds to Binance, CZ announced that Binance will be doing what they can to block all stolen funds being sent to Binance.

Read more: Binance freezes stolen Cryptopia funds after Twitter warning

17 Jan - KuCoin announces it will freeze hacked funds

KuCoin CEO Michael Gan also tweets that "KuCoin will freeze any funds from Cryptopia"

21 Jan - Elementus announce summary of the hack, citing Cryptopia lost access to their wallets, potential for more funds to be stolen

Elementus releases its report on the state of the Cryptopia hack, stating that the hack totalled $16m with $800k already sold. Elementus also conclude that "One possible explanation is that Cryptopia had their private keys stored in a single server with no redundancy. If the thieves managed to gain access to this server, they could have downloaded the private keys before wiping them from the server, leaving Cryptopia unable to access their own wallets."

Read more: New analysis on Cryptopia hack reveals dire facts, not only the total amount

22 Jan - NZ police announce “Good progress is being made”

The police investigation is now over one week old, and a new update from the New Zealand Police announces "Good progress is being made and positive lines of enquiry are being developed to identify the source of the transfer."

Read more: New Zealand police making progress in Cryptopia hack investigation

25 Jan - NZ police announce that Cryptopia may resume business in February 2019

In a letter sent to users, NZ Police state that the case is, and will remain a protracted and complex investigation. The announcement also states that Cryptopia may resume business in February 2019.  

Read more: New Zealand police state Cryptopia may reopen in early February

28 Jan - Hack continues with $180,000 in crypto stolen

The hackers continue to drain Cryptopia wallets, with a further $180,000 drained from users wallets, adding more credibility that Cryptopia may have lost access to their private keys for all their wallets.

Read more: Cryptopia compromised by another attack, $180,000 worth of ETH stolen

5 Feb - "NZ Police has no clue what's going one"
On February 5, security expert Alex Sims stated that the New Zealand police is struggling to deal with the Cryptopia hack. According to Sims, the local police may not be well equipped to handle such a hack. "No one seems to have a clue what's going on. But this hasn't come out of the blue. There has been a lot of dialogue in recent years about the security of cryptocurrency and where to store the digital wallets." 

7 Feb - Investigation "is progressing well"

A recent statement released by the New Zealand police has confirmed that the investigation "is progressing well and advancing on several fronts". While it's not yet clear if or when Cryptopia will be able to reopen, the police have stated that they expect their investigation to conclude at the Cryptopia headquarters on February 15. Additionally, police are "actively tracking" the stolen funds on the blockchain, so with a bit of luck the identity of the thief may soon be known.

13 Feb - New Zealand police announce Cryptopia can "open again whenever they like."

The NZ Police begin to conclude their investigation with detective inspector Greg Murton stating "We have finished the main part of the work required by the High Tech Crime Group at Cryptopia's business premises, although HTCG staff remain there finishing up aspects of their work". However no news or signs of Cryptopia opening up for business appear to be in the pipelines. The exchange still remains silent regarding communication.

This timeline will be updated when new events occur. 

Read more: Expert on Cryptopia hack: "No one seems to have a clue what's going on"

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Do you have funds on Cryptopia?

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I think it's cryptopia itself that leads the attack! how it is possible to violate all those portfolios with two-factor authentication plus all emails to withdraw coins!
05 Feb, 2019 - 19:13
Yeah, exit scam IMHO :(
07 Feb, 2019 - 20:54
You don't get it. The hacker do not need all of the email, passwords or two factor authentication, those are subsystem to make the website work. All he/she needed was the private keys to the Cryptopia wallets. You know when you need to have a unique payment address on top of your address.. that is because Cryptopia have a single wallet, and the unique ID simply differentiate the users owning amount. In this case, one single key file, can have taken ALL of the coin for that currency. These key are files stored somewhere on a server, usually is not even online, usually is super secure, usually it has redundancies. Apparently the hacker took/copied those file and deleted them from the server. Cryptopia management may [or may not] have access to their wallets anymore [we do not know yet] in which case no one can access ANY of the coin but the hacker/s even if they reopen the website, simply because the wallet key is not there on the server anymore. Finger crossed they managed not to loose those key / were able to restore them if they were deleted. I believe that is what the police may have been doing.
15 Feb, 2019 - 20:28
Thanks for the clarification, Paolo. I just do not like the silence from their side, this makes me suspicious.
18 Feb, 2019 - 13:22
clear!! then it makes no sense to write that over thousands of wallets have been violated.
They only violated a wallet in which there were all the funds on the site.
If so, it seems very stupid for the site administrators ..
Possible that a website that exchanges millions of dollars has only one wallet and the private key is inserted in the usual site!
It seems really naive as a thing.
19 Feb, 2019 - 18:56

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