As cryptocurrency goes from being an academic concept to becoming a type of transaction that has the potential to significantly reduce cyber fraud, cryptocurrency crimes have seen a likewise rise with cybercriminals targeting cryptocurrency exchanges and crypto-wallets.
Despite the global pandemic wreaking havoc on economies, cryptocurrency has continued to grow, leading to a rise in the number of crypto exchanges worldwide. Subsequently, several top crypto companies in the Bay area were seen investing in Indian exchanges as well.
While cryptocurrencies are particularly secure, crypto exchanges are susceptible to a number of vulnerabilities as they remain largely unregulated. It has resulted in exchanges being hacked every year in large numbers. The sudden surge in the popularity of cryptocurrency has meant investments by many amateur investors who didn’t take time to fully understand how the crypto scene works. The lack of knowledge has been rampantly exploited by threat actors who saw it as a chance to scam and exploit crypto space.
Throughout 2020, attacks linked to Blockchain alone accounted for nearly a third of all time attacks targeted at blockchain. Reportedly, the total monetary losses in a total of 122 attacks were almost $3.78 billion. Ethereum (ETH) DApps were the most often targeted – costing users nearly $436.36 million in 2020 alone. There were 47 successful attacks aimed at decentralized applications based on the Ethereum smart contract.
New-Zealand-based, Cryptopia exchange was breached in 2019 as hackers managed to siphon $11 million worth of funds from the exchange. Following the security breach, the exchange went dark citing an announcement that read: “We are experiencing an unscheduled maintenance, we are working to resume the services as soon as possible. We will keep you updated.”
Altsbit, an Italian crypto exchange, lost $70,000 in a hack within a few months of being around. The exchange announced that it will refund the affected users and will terminate its services in May 2020. “We will refund whatever we are holding on cold storage to users and then the platform will close down, ” the company stated in an email to Cointelegraph. Though it remained unclear how the hackers pulled off the attack, reports stated that the cybercrime group ‘Lulzsec’ was behind the hack.
UPbit, a popular South Korean cryptocurrency exchange lost approximately $45 million (342,000 ETH) in a 2019 crypto theft. It went on to become the seventh-largest crypto exchange hack of the year.
Liquid Global, a Japanese crypto exchange reported suffering a massive hacking incident, which resulted in the loss of digital assets worth $97 million. It included Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and stablecoins. Liquid claimed that the attacker targeted a Multi-Party Computation wallet (an advanced cryptographic technique).
In order to stay ahead of the crypto hackers, a few ways to secure your cryptocurrency are: ensuring the security of the Internet, using a cold wallet, changing passwords at regular periods, maintaining multiple wallets, staying wary of phishing attacks, and securing your personal device.