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Binance Swiftly Freezes Hacked Funds from Ripple Co-Founder’s Personal Wallet

Richard Teng, CEO of Binance, revealed on Feb. 2 via the social media platform X that the exchange promptly froze the address of the hacker involved in a substantial breach targeting the personal wallet of Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen. Teng expressed gratitude to the Ripple team and blockchain analyst ZachXBT for their efficient collaboration and support in addressing the theft.

Contrary to initial speculations suggesting a compromise of Ripple’s network or the XRP token itself, Larsen clarified that the breach affected his personal accounts, not Ripple’s infrastructure. The stolen funds were reportedly being laundered through various exchanges, including MEXC, Gate, Binance, Kraken, OKX, HTX, and HitBTC.

The confusion surrounding the hack was exacerbated by the misattribution of the affected account as Ripple itself in XRP block explorers XRPScan and Bithomp, leading to initial misunderstandings about the nature and target of the hack. Larsen has engaged with multiple cryptocurrency exchanges to freeze the exploiter’s address and has involved law enforcement in the investigation.

Despite the sophisticated nature of the attack, the hacker did not use crypto mixer services or decentralized exchanges to conceal their identity, a tactic that has fallen out of favor among cybercriminals recently to avoid detection and fund freezing by centralized exchanges.

While Binance successfully froze a portion of the stolen assets, the involvement of other exchanges, such as OKX and Kraken, in identifying or freezing related funds remains undisclosed.

This intervention by Binance follows a trend where the exchange actively works to mitigate the impact of cyber thefts in the cryptocurrency sector. Binance played a crucial role in February 2023, aiding Norwegian authorities to recover $6 million stolen in the Ronin network heist. Additionally, Binance collaborated with Huobi last year to facilitate the recovery of $1.4 million in crypto stolen from Harmony’s Horizon Bridge and played a vital role in reclaiming $5.8 million for Axie Infinity after the Ronin Network was compromised.

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