Major Crypto Exchanges Bitfinex and OKEx Hit by Service Denial Attacks

OKEx, which says it is based in Malta, has apparently suffered two attacks, one Thursday and one today, according to its CEO, Jay Hao. On his Weibo account Friday, Hao said the first attack was of a 200 gigabyte severity, but the second had doubled to 400 GB.

Two top cryptocurrency exchanges have reported distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on their systems in the last 24 hours.

Despite the attacks, the exchange’s service is “largely unaffected,” he said. OKEx’s Twitter account has no warnings of interruptions this morning, apart from a brief interlude for a systems upgrade for its futures and options trading facility.

Apparently more severely affected is Bitfinex, which reported a suspected DDoS attack on Twitter Friday morning (UTC time).

The Hong Kong-headquartered platform’s trading services were offline for a period of under an hour, but at press time Bitfinex says services are back to normal.

“Today we were subject to a very sophisticated DDoS attack,” tweeted Bitfinex CTO Paulo Ardoino after the event. “The entire @bitfinex team worked really hard to completely annihilate it in a short period of time. All funds remained safe during the whole attack and high-trading-performance is now fully re-established.”

A DDoS attack attempts to overwhelm the hosting servers of an online service, using a flood of fake traffic from multiple computers to disrupt normal activity. A severe attack can take a service offline, or may cause slow responses for website users.

It’s not clear why two major exchanges have been targeted in this way at roughly the same time, or what the attackers hope to gain.

Messaging App LINE’s Crypto Exchange Goes Live for 80 Million Users in Japan

Messaging app LINE has officially launched a cryptocurrency exchange service for its 80 million users based in Japan, days after the platform received final regulatory approval.

The Shinjuku-based messaging provider, which is 73.36-percent owned by South Korea’s Naver, said in a statement on Tuesday that the new exchange, dubbed Bitmax, is now live with trading of five crypto assets: bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), ripple (XRP), bitcoin cash (BCH) and litecoin (LTC).

According to the statement, the service was introduced in stages from 3 p.m. Japan time on Tuesday and is available first on Android devices. It can be accessed via the wallet tab on the LINE mobile app and is also integrated with LINE Pay to provide an easier Japanese yen fiat on-ramp process.

LINE said in the announcement it currently has 81 million monthly active users in Japan and 164 million globally. It operates the crypto exchange through LVC Corporation, a subsidiary, which was awarded a cryptocurrency exchange license by Japan’s Financial Services Agency on Sept. 6.

BITMAX is available to residents of Japan with a LINE account. No fees are charged for trading, though a charge of 108 yen will be applied for deposits and withdrawals.

In terms of security, LINE said it utilizes a wallet developed by Palo Alto-based BitGo to segregate customer assets and store assets in a cold wallet, which is itself managed by a dedicated team.

A strict KYC process is in place for new customers. Applicants can register their account with the app using an ID card and photographic capture, with a registered bank account and an ID or by mail.

The new service will run separately from the company’s Singapore-based Bitbox, which has been in operation since July 2018 but excludes residents of Japan and the U.S.

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