Cryptocurrency Thefts Surge to $1.38 Billion in First Half of 2024

crypto thief hacker
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A new report from blockchain research firm TRM Labs has unveiled a startling increase in cryptocurrency theft, with hackers more than doubling their illicit gains in the first half of 2024 compared to the same period last year. Crypto crooks have stolen an astounding $1.38 billion so far this year.

CNBC reports that the cryptocurrency world has been rocked by a dramatic surge in successful hacking attempts, according to a recent report from TRM Labs. The blockchain research firm’s findings reveal that between January 1 and June 24, 2024, cybercriminals managed to pilfer a staggering $1.38 billion worth of digital assets. This figure represents more than twice the amount stolen during the same timeframe in 2023, which stood at $657 million.

The report highlights a concerning trend in the crypto space, where a small number of large-scale attacks are responsible for the lion’s share of stolen funds. In fact, the top five hacks alone accounted for a whopping 70 percent of the total amount stolen in the first half of this year. This concentration of high-value thefts underscores the sophisticated nature of these cyber attacks and the potential vulnerabilities in even well-established cryptocurrency platforms.

Among the primary attack vectors identified in 2024 are compromises of private keys and seed phrases. A seed phrase, which consists of a sequence of random words, stores crucial information needed to access or recover a crypto wallet. The largest single heist of the year so far targeted the Japanese crypto exchange DMM Bitcoin, resulting in the theft of more than $300 million worth of bitcoin.

Hackers have employed various techniques to carry out these attacks, including the use of stolen private keys and a method known as “address poisoning.” This latter tactic involves attackers sending small amounts of cryptocurrency from wallets with addresses crafted to closely resemble those of intended recipients, tricking victims into sending funds to the wrong wallet. The complexity and length of crypto addresses make them particularly susceptible to such deception.

Interestingly, TRM Labs notes that there haven’t been significant changes in the overall security landscape of the crypto ecosystem that could explain the sharp increase in stolen funds. The number of attacks and the types of attack vectors remain relatively consistent with previous years. However, the firm points out that the higher average prices of cryptocurrencies in the first half of 2024 may have contributed to the increased value of stolen assets.

Crypto companies have long been prime targets for hackers and cybercriminals, with several high-profile incidents etched into the sector’s history. One of the most notorious cases remains the Mt. Gox hack, which led to the exchange’s bankruptcy in 2014 after losing up to 950,000 bitcoin – an amount that would be worth over $54 billion at current prices.

More recently, in November 2023, approximately $115 million was stolen from HTX exchange and Heco Chain, two crypto platforms associated with prominent entrepreneur Justin Sun. These incidents highlight the persistent threat faced by crypto businesses and the need for robust security measures.

Read more at CNBC here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.


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