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Updated: Chch crypto-exchange Cryptopia suffers breach

17 Jan 2019
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Christchurch-based cryptocurrency exchange firm Cryptopia has reportedly experienced a security breach that has taken the entire platform offline – and resulted in ‘significant losses’.

A post on Cryptopia’s Facebook says that the breach occurred on January 14. Once staff discovered the breach, the entire exchange was moved into maintenance mode while the company assessed the damages.

“Staff then notified and involved the appropriate Government Agencies, including NZ Police and High Tech Crimes Unit who are jointly and actively investigating the matter as a major crime and they are assisting us with advice,” a statement from Cryptopia says.

A further statement from the NZ Police says that it is taking the matter ‘very seriously’ and is currently talking to Cryptopia to understand what happened.

"A dedicated investigation team is being established in Christchurch including specialist police staff with expertise in this area. Police are also liaising with relevant partner agencies in New Zealand and overseas,” says the statement.

As of January 16, the Police have assembled a team including staff from the High Tech Crime Unit and the Canterbury CIB to investigate the case. There has also been a 'visible police presence' at Cryptopia's Colombo Street headquarters.

"Police are not yet in a position to say how much cryptocurrency is involved, other than it is a significant amount," a statement says.

"We are dealing with a complex situation and we are unable to put a timeframe on how long the investigation may take.   We are also aware of speculation in the online community about what might have occurred.  It is too early for us to draw any conclusions and Police will keep an open mind on all possibilities while we gather the information we need.     A priority for police is to identify and, if possible, recover missing funds for Cryptopia customers; however there are likely to be many challenges to achieving this."

Cryptopia says that its exchange will remain in maintenance mode and all trading is suspended until the investigation has completed.

“We are committed to getting this resolved as quickly as possible,” the company concludes.

Anyone with information which could assist the investigation can contact police by email at crypto@police.govt.nz.