Home Community Insights Crypto Theft Surges in First Half of 2024, Doubling Previous Year’s Total

Crypto Theft Surges in First Half of 2024, Doubling Previous Year’s Total

Crypto Theft Surges in First Half of 2024, Doubling Previous Year’s Total

According to a report from Blockchain research firm TRM labs, in the first half of 2024, crypto theft increased significantly in the first half (H1) of 2024, doubling the previous year’s total.

The report revealed that $1.38 billion worth of cryptocurrency was stolen between January 1 and June 2024, surpassing the $657 million stolen during the same period in 2023. Similar to last year, a few major heists were responsible for the bulk of the stolen crypto, with the top five hacks accounting for 70% of the total amount lost in the first half of this year.

More money was stolen during each of the first six months of 2024 than in the corresponding months in 2023, with the median hack of 150% larger.

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TRM Labs identified private key and seed phrase compromises as the primary attack vectors in 2024. These seed phrases are sequences of random words that hold the information needed to access or recover a crypto wallet. This year, the largest heist so far involved the theft of over $300 million worth of bitcoin from the Japanese crypto exchange DMM Bitcoin.

Hackers utilized stolen private keys or address poisoning, where attackers send a small amount of cryptocurrency from a wallet with a similar-looking address to trick victims into sending funds to the wrong wallet.

On the other hand, crypto addresses, being long and complex strings of characters, are difficult to memorize or manually enter without errors, making them vulnerable to such tactics.

TRM Labs reported that with the growing rate of crypto theft, there have been no fundamental changes in the crypto ecosystem’s security which could explain the increase in the amount stolen. The number of attacks and attack vectors remained relatively consistent year over year. However, the firm noted that higher average crypto prices in the first half of this year likely contributed to the increased value of stolen cryptocurrency.

It is worth noting that Crypto companies have consistently been prime targets for hacks and cyberattacks. These exchanges which hold large amounts of assets, have continued to face heightened attacks from hackers. As more people and businesses adopt cryptocurrencies, the value of digital assets has increased, making them more attractive to hackers.

In 2014, the crypto exchange Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy after a series of hacks resulted in the theft of up to 950,000 bitcoins, worth over $54 billion at today’s prices.

More recently, in November, approximately $115 million was stolen from HTX exchange and Heco Chain, two platforms linked to high-profile entrepreneur Justin Sun. TRM Labs emphasized that crypto firms can defend against hacks and exploits through a multi-layered defense strategy, including regular security audits and robust encryption.

According to a 2022 prediction by Gartner, it disclosed that the number of large enterprises using cryptocurrency as a digital means of exchange for payment, stored value, or collateral will rise to at least 20% this year, highlighting a trend that poses new financial risk management challenges for organizations and their CFOs.

Meanwhile, despite increased security measures, exchanges are still vulnerable to large-scale attacks. As technology continues to advance, these hackers are continually developing more sophisticated methods to steal cryptocurrencies, such as phishing, malware, and ransomware.

TRM Labs has emphasized the need for exchanges to Educate employees and implement a comprehensive incident response strategy, which are crucial measures to protect companies from cyber threats.

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9 THOUGHTS ON Crypto Theft Surges in First Half of 2024, Doubling Previous Year’s Total

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