News hardware With a simple job offer, hackers stole more than 500 million euros in crypto from the game Axie Infinity
On March 30, we learned that the crypto game Axie Infinity was the victim of a historic hack for the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The play-to-earn game was robbed of a “liquidity pool” worth half a billion dollars at the time. Although there are still questions about this case, we recently discovered the modus operandi of the hackers.
Axie Infinity victim of a simple phishing?
According to anonymous sources from The Block magazine, the second biggest hack in the history of cryptocurrency was due to simple phishing through a fake job offer.
The hackers allegedly targeted employees of Sky Mavis, developer of the game Axie Infinity, with fake job offers containing attractive compensation offers in order to extract key information from them. In particular, the hackers were looking for validation keys to approve transactions on the Ronin bridge.
The trap hit the mark as an engineer from the Axie Infinity game was said to be the source of the infection. The employee holding, in his system, the 4 keys out of the 5 necessary would have clicked on an infected PDF present on a fake LinkedIn job offer from a fictitious company created by the hackers.
The timing was perfect for hackers since at that time the crypto game was a victim of its success and Sky Mavis had authorized, since November, validations at 5 nodes to approve transactions. As a result, despite a banal modus operandi, the hackers were able to walk away with 173,600 ETH and around 20 million USDC, or 540 million dollars at the time. These earnings came from an Axie Infinity liquidity pool (briefly, a liquidity pool is a reserve of crypto deposited by individuals so that it is possible for others to buy crypto).
This phishing unfortunately put a blow to the play-to-earn pioneer who has still not recovered…
A fatal blow for Axie Infnity, the first successful play-to-earn
Axie Infinity is an online video game integrating NFTs, created in 2018. The game is based on a play-to-earn system (play to win). With its unprecedented economy for a video game, Axie Infinity has become a real phenomenon during 2021 by allowing players to earn cryptocurrencies by raising and fighting small characters in NFT: The Axies.
The game was particularly successful in the Philippines, becoming for some a real full-time job. Indeed, several players have been able to earn per month, sums equivalent to one year of work in their countries.
In the heyday of the game, small axie monsters were worth several thousand dollars and fetched a similar sum per month, allowing the player to break even quickly. Its economic model has also inspired several other games in the web3.
Although the game was a runaway success, the exceptional hack suffered by Axie Infinity damaged its further development. The value of its native cryptocurrency (AXS), already in decline at the time, has been divided by 5, from $73 to $14 since the hack.
Despite the collapse of this play-to-earn giant, the Mavis company still does not admit defeat since last June, it announced that it wanted to release 12 new community games around the Axies.