Cyber thieves have stolen a total of $282,617,000 from currency trading in 2019, according to a new report on cryptocrime.
Blockchain analyst firm Chainalysis names eleven barter attacks in which hackers got away with a variety of crypto-money, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), XRP, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC). According to the report, the largest hack of the year hit the crypto exchange Coinbene, where a total of $105,000,000 in Ethereum-based tokens were stolen.
This was followed by Upbit, where $49,000 in Ethereum was stolen from the exchange’s hot wallet. Binance’s widespread hack is number three on the list, in which $40,000,000 in Bitcoin was stolen through a combination of phishing attacks and viruses.
“Most of the money stolen in the swap meet attacks was eventually sent to other exchanges, where it is likely to be converted into cash. However, a significant amount of the funds remains unused, sometimes for years. In such cases, there may still be a possibility that law enforcement authorities may be able to confiscate the stolen funds.”
Chainanalysis describes that the crypto exchanges are implementing stricter measures to protect users’ funds, citing a “sharp drop in the amounts lost per hack”. But crypto-criminals adapt quickly.
“At the same time, the most productive hackers have also become more sophisticated, both in the way they perform hacks and in the way they subsequently launder their stolen funds. While this is not a positive development, it does indicate that the measures taken by the stock exchanges are effective enough to force the hackers to adapt in the first place.”
Proponents of Crypto are quick to point out that the Bitcoin network itself, which allows people to send peer-to-peer assets without intermediaries, remains secure, unlike the stock exchanges, which are repeatedly affected by security breaches while holding Bitcoin on behalf of their customers.
Although thieves continue to find ways to hack into centralized exchanges that sell and store crypto-currencies, they are still unable to break the cryptography that protects BTC. Crypto enthusiasts who support the use of Bitcoin in the spirit of its pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto – by conducting peer-to-peer transactions without Exchange – are pushing crypto users to take control of their own private keys to access their holdings.
The annual “Proof of Keys” event, held earlier this month, urges crypto owners worldwide to withdraw their assets from exchanges and move them to their own digital wallets to protect their funds from hackers who target exchanges.