A Russian cybersecurity firm has released reports stating that hackers have stolen $882 million from cryptocurrency exchanges in almost two years.
$882 Million and Counting
A cybersecurity firm based in Moscow, Group-IB, conducted research which revealed that hackers have stolen up to $882 million from digital currency exchanges. As reported by Bank Info Security, the theft has been going on for almost two years.
Group-IB also stated that the figures were likely to grow in 2019. The potential increase is because experienced hackers including Lazarus, MoneyTaker, and Cobalt focus more on cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs.
Further commenting on the likely rise in theft in 2019, Group-IB said:
In 2019, cryptocurrency exchanges will be a new target for the most aggressive hacker groups usually attacking banks. The number of targeted attacks on crypto exchanges will rise.
The company added that hackers employed different methods to attack cryptocurrency exchanges. Some of the effective techniques included the use of phishing emails and malware installation.
Furthermore, attacks also involved virtual currency companies which launch ICOs. The cybersecurity firm noted that fraudsters stole over 10 percent of ICO between February 2017 – September 2018.
A study by the firm showed a compilation of attacks starting from February 2017 till the end of September 2018. According to the tally, theft ranged from $5 million to $534 million, bringing the total sum to $882 million.
Recently, CipherTrace, a U.S. – based cryptocurrency and blockchain solutions provider, issued a similar report saying that such thefts were closer to $1 billion. According to CipherTrace, virtual currency theft increased astronomically in 2018.
Cryptocurrency Exchange Hacks in 2018
The year 2018 has been a trying year for many virtual currency exchanges. With the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions and the lack of adequate security, hackers continue to penetrate the digital currency industry easily.
A high-profile cryptocurrency theft occurred back in January, when Japanese Bitcoin exchange, Coincheck, lost about 523 million NEM to hackers. Another cryptocurrency exchange platform based in South Korea, Coinrail, also experienced a cyber-attack
South Korea exchanges suffered another blow when Bithumb, said that hackers stole $30 million in cryptocurrency. Zaif, a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, announced that hackers stole 5,996 BTC and an undisclosed amount of MONA and BCH.
Asian cryptocurrency exchange platforms seem to be the worst hit, with Japan and South Korea getting a major share. The reason for the high rate of theft, however, is that cryptocurrency exchanges store cryptos in unsecured hot wallets.
The Japan FSA have taken steps in ensuring investors’ funds are safe. In January, the FSA issued a business improvement order to Coincheck following the hack. The JVCEA has also sought to tighten the management and security of consumer-owned digital currency holdings.
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