According to research, a record $3.8 billion was lost in crypto hacks in 2018
CNN New York
According to research released on Wednesday by blockchain analytics company Chainalysis, a record $3.8 billion worth of cryptocurrencies was stolen from various platforms last year, with North Korean-linked hackers being largely responsible for the crimes.
From $3.3 billion in 2021, when the market for cryptocurrencies as a whole experienced considerable reduction, the number of cryptocurrency thefts increased. For instance, the price of Bitcoin decreased by more than 60% in 2017.
According to the report, North Korea played a significant role in the increase in thefts. According to Chainalysis, hackers associated with the nation stole cryptocurrency worth an estimated $1.7 billion through a variety of hacks in 2022, up from $429 million the year before.
Since then, North Korea has been blamed for some of the biggest cryptocurrency attacks of the year. The FBI has accused hackers associated with the North Korean government of hacking the video game Axie Infinity’s Ronin network for more than $600 million in March and the cryptocurrency corporation Harmony for $100 million in June.
According to Chainalysis’ analysis, “North Korea’s total exports in 2020 totaled $142 million in goods, so it isn’t a stretch to argue that cryptocurrency hacking represents a major piece of the nation’s economy.”
US officials are concerned that Pyongyang may fund its illegitimate nuclear and ballistic missiles program with money stolen from cryptocurrency thefts. The United Nations claims that North Korean hackers recently stole billions of dollars worth of Bitcoin exchanges.
In addition to hacking cryptocurrency companies, suspected North Koreans are also accused of using other nationalities to seek jobs there and transmit money to Pyongyang, as stated by US officials.
According to the report, hackers primarily targeted decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, which accounted for more than 80% of all cryptocurrency stolen for the year. By using software that enables users to deal directly with one another over the blockchain, the digital record that supports cryptocurrencies, these protocols are utilized to replace traditional financial institutions.
Attacks on DeFi systems focused 64% of their efforts on cross-chain bridge protocols, which let users trade assets between several blockchains. Bridge services are frequently targets for hackers because they maintain sizable stockpiles of various currencies. (Bridge hacks were used in both the thefts from Axie Infinity and Harmony.)
While cryptocurrency hacks increased last year, there is some reason for optimism. To battle cybercriminals, law enforcement, and national security organizations are enhancing their capabilities. One example is the FBI’s recovery of $30 million in cryptocurrency that was taken in the Axie Infinity breach.
According to Chainalysis, these initiatives, together with other agencies’ crackdowns on money laundering methods, “ensure that these attacks will get tougher and less fruitful with each passing year.”