An unknown attacker has exploited a bug in the Verge cryptocurrency network code to mine Verge coins at a very rapid pace and generate funds almost out of thin air.
The Verge development team is preparing a hard-fork of the entire cryptocurrency code to fix the issue and revert the blockchain to a previous state before the attack to neutralize the hacker's gains.
The incident took place yesterday, and initially, users thought it was a ">51% attack," an attack where a malicious actor takes control over the more than half of the network nodes, giving himself the power to forge transactions.
Rumors swirled around all day yesterday, as users feared the attacker might use his dominant network position to siphon funds from their accounts.
The Verge team eventually came out and clarified the details surrounding the incident, denouncing rumors of a 51% attack, but not revealing additional info about the real cause of the incident.
was not a 51% attack, and it only some blocks were affected during a 3 hour period, not 13 hours.— vergecurrency (@vergecurrency) April 4, 2018
Nonetheless, users who looked into the suspicious network activity eventually tracked down what happened, revealing that a mysterious attacker had mined Verge coins at a near impossible speed of 1,560 Verge coins (XVG) per second, the equivalent of $78/s.
Under normal circumstances, a single miner wouldn't have ever been able to receive such a high reward for processing Verge blockchain computations.
The malicious mining lasted only three hours, according to the Verge team, who promised to fix the bug in a hard-fork that's expected later today.
We had a small hash attack that lasted about 3 hours earlier this morning, it's been cleared up now. We will be implementing even more redundancy checks for things of this nature in the future! $XVG #vergefam— vergecurrency (@vergecurrency) April 4, 2018
According to unofficial estimations, some users who tracked the illegally mined funds on the Verge blockchain said the hacker appears to have made around 15.6 million Verge coins, which is around $780,000.
News of the hash attack and the fear of a sudden influx of new Verge coins led to a drop of between 7% and 8% in Verge's exchange rate. According to CoinMarketCap, Verge is today's 21st largest cryptocurrency based on market cap. This is the second security incident involving the Verge dev team, with a mysterious hack happening last fall. The Verge team did not respond to a request for comment before this article's publication.