White hat hackers identify IP addresses used for hacking Zaif cryptocurrency exchange

According to media reports, a group of white hat hackers have identified the IP addresses used to hack Zaif, Japan’s leading cryptocurrency exchange. Zaif was robbed of roughly JPY 7.0 billion (USD 62 million) worth of digital coins in September.

The IP addresses identified belong to two server rental companies in Europe, and this information has been shared with the Japanese Financial Services Agency (JFSA) and law enforcement. Disclosure of the name of the contract holder(s) is expected to offer an important clue to finding the hackers.

The white hat hackers who identified the IP addresses are six online volunteers, including a security expert in Japan, the chief technology officer of an IT company in Japan, and college students. Following detection of a hacking attack against Zaif on September 20, the white hat hackers secretly set a trap on the cryptocurrency Mona‘s network and successfully tracked the IP addresses used when the hackers sent the stolen cryptocurrencies.

Prior to this incident, Japan’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, Coincheck, was hacked in January this year, losing about JPY 58.0 billion (USD 510 million) worth of digital coins. In the wake of these hacking attacks, there has been a growing trend in Japan to strengthen regulations and restructure the industry. In order to compensate customers, Zaif requested support from FISCO Digital Asset Group, an affiliate of FISCO Group, a Japanese financial information provider. The two companies are working towards signing an agreement whereby FISCO Group becomes the majority shareholder in Zaif and provides capital amounting JPY 5.0 billion. In addition, Coincheck has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Monex Group, which has leading online securities brokerage firm Monex, Inc. at its core. Coincheck resumed customer deposits and purchases of some cryptocurrencies on October 30. While Monex Group’s cryptocurrency business reported deficits in the April-September period, CEO Matsumoto commented that once Coincheck resumes its cryptocurrency business, it will turn positive quickly.

The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), which has been authorized as a self-regulatory body by the JFSA, started taking membership applications from “deemed cryptocurrency exchanges” on November 1. Deemed cryptocurrency exchanges are those whose applications for licenses are under review by JFSA, but are engaging in the cryptocurrency exchange business in Japan. The JVCEA is planning to take the first step in implementing broad-ranging self-regulatory rules covering these deemed cryptocurrency exchanges. Deemed cryptocurrency exchanges include Coincheck which is a leading exchange in Japan. *This article was written by Fisco”