Kraken Loses $3M in Digital Assets Due to Security Flaw Exploitation, Launches Criminal Investigation

  • Kraken, a well-known cryptocurrency exchange, recently identified a significant security vulnerability.
  • The loophole allowed a research team to illicitly appropriate $3 million in digital assets.
  • The incident has sparked a criminal investigation and raised concerns over security protocols.

Kraken faces a $3 million security breach as researchers exploit a critical bug, prompting a criminal investigation.

Discovery of the Critical Security Flaw

In a shocking revelation, Kraken disclosed that a security breach had occurred due to a critical flaw in their system. This flaw was identified when a security researcher submitted a bug report on June 9, claiming to have found a unique vulnerability allowing an artificial inflation of account balances.

Exploitation and Immediate Response

The situation escalated quickly when it was discovered that the researcher and their associates had exploited this flaw to withdraw a significant amount of funds. Kraken’s chief security officer, Nick Percoco, noted that upon receiving the bug report, a cross-functional team was immediately assembled to investigate. Within minutes, they isolated the bug, which allowed malicious actors to initiate deposits, have funds credited without completing the deposit, and temporarily create phantom assets in their Kraken accounts. This issue was traced back to a recent change in their user experience (UX) feature that had not been thoroughly tested.

Kraken Faces an Extortion Plot

Kraken’s security team quickly moved to fix the vulnerability, reportedly mitigating the issue within an hour to prevent recurrence. However, further scrutiny revealed that three different accounts had exploited this flaw within a short period, with one account allegedly associated with the researcher who initially discovered the bug. This individual had credited their account with a small amount of cryptocurrency to demonstrate the problem but then shared the vulnerability with two others, leading to the misappropriation of nearly $3 million in total.

Investigative and Legal Measures

Upon confronting the involved individuals and requesting the return of the stolen funds, Kraken was met with resistance. The researchers refused to comply and instead sought to negotiate with Kraken’s business development team, speculating about the potential damage the bug could have caused if left undiscovered. Percoco described the research team’s actions as extortion rather than a legitimate security practice. Kraken has a longstanding Bug Bounty program with clear rules that prohibit exploiting vulnerabilities beyond necessary proof and require immediate return of extracted assets.

Legal Action and Future Measures

In response to the extortion attempt, Kraken has decided to treat the matter as a criminal case and is cooperating with law enforcement agencies. Percoco emphasized Kraken’s commitment to security and fair bug bounty practices, highlighting that this was an isolated incident. The exchange expressed gratitude for the initial bug report but made it clear that legal action against the involved researchers would ensue due to their unethical conduct.


This incident underscores the significance of robust security measures and ethical behavior within the cryptocurrency sector. While Kraken’s quick response mitigated further losses, the event serves as a stark reminder for exchanges to continuously test and secure their platforms. As Kraken pursues legal actions, it will be critical for the industry to reinforce trustworthy practices among security researchers to maintain the integrity and trust essential in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

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Jocelyn Blake
Jocelyn Blake
Jocelyn Blake is a 29-year-old writer with a particular interest in NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). With a love for exploring the latest trends in the cryptocurrency space, Jocelyn provides valuable insights on the world of NFTs.

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