Cryptocurrency Hacks Total $2 bn in 2023, Signaling Reduced Activity but Persistent Threats

Cryptocurrency thefts in 2023 amounted to approximately $2 billion, marking a notable decline from the staggering record of $3.8 billion in 2022.
Bitcoin cryptocurrencyOne of the prominent breaches this year targeted Mixin, a Hong Kong-based crypto firm, resulting in the loss of $200 million due to a data breach in September.

In March, cyber-criminals exploited vulnerabilities in the crypto lending platform Euler Finance, siphoning off approximately $197 million.

De.FI, the Web3 security firm managing the REKT database, highlighted that the $2 billion stolen this year, although spread across multiple incidents, underscores the persistent weaknesses within the DeFi ecosystem.

“2023 showcased the ongoing vulnerabilities and the progress made in addressing them, despite subdued interest in the space during the bear market in the first half of the year,” De.Fi noted in its report shared with TechCrunch.

December witnessed leading crypto exchange HTX experiencing a net outflow of $258 million following a $30 million hack in November.

Moreover, Atomic Wallet, a platform for storing various cryptocurrencies, encountered a security breach in June, resulting in a loss of over $35 million in crypto assets.

Cross-chain crime has facilitated the illicit laundering of over $7 billion in cryptocurrency. Notably, North Korea’s Lazarus Group is linked to the theft of approximately $900 million between July 2022 and July 2023.

Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic highlighted the increasing preference for cross-chain services in money laundering tactics for various cybercrimes, including scams and crypto thefts.

Cross-chain crime involves swiftly swapping crypto assets between different tokens or blockchains, often without legitimate purposes, to obscure their criminal origins.

In contrast, the previous year saw Blockchain monitoring firm Chainalysis reporting a staggering $3.8 billion stolen by cryptocurrency hackers, marking it as the worst year on record for crypto investors, compared to $3.3 billion in 2021.

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