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Crypto Exploit Losses Tumble Over 90% in a Year

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • Losses to crypto hacks amounted to $8.8 million last month, down 93% from $121.4 million one year prior
  • The diminished losses are part of a downwards trend, as Dec. losses were the lowest last year.
  • Meanwhile, ransomware revenues also fell last year, as victims and authorities have come to grasp the threat.
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Losses from cryptocurrency exploits fell roughly 93% year-on-year in Jan. as part of a general downwards trend.

Some 24 exploits of crypto platforms caused $8.8 million in losses last month, according to blockchain security company PeckShield. Among the hacks, some $2.6 million of the crypto booty found its way to mixers like Tornado Cash. The breakdown of these assets includes 1,200 Ethereum and 2,668 BNB, PeckShield reported.

Notably, the Jan. figure of $8.8 million represents a 92.7% decrease from the year prior, the report emphasized. On the heels of peak crypto markets in late 2021, exploit losses amounted to $121.4 million in Jan. 2022. However, blockchain security firm CertiK anticipated a reduction in exploit amounts this year as part of an overall downwards trend.

Downwards Trend in Exploits

The Jan. figure was also 68% lower than in Dec. 2022, when exploit losses amounted to a record $62 million. Yet, in spite of the record amount for the month, it was the “lowest monthly figure” in 2022. By the end of last year, the 10 largest exploits resulted in the loss of $2.1 billion in cryptocurrency.

Most cryptocurrency hacks in 2022 resulted from attacks on DeFi protocols, exchange platforms, and blockchain bridges. Last year, roughly 97% of all stolen cryptocurrency was acquired from DeFi protocols. Incidents of “pig butchering,” where con artists convince prospective romantic targets to “invest” their crypto, also rose dramatically.

Ransomware Reversal of Fortunes

But while these crypto scams flourished last year, one prominent crypto-facilitated crime met with increasing difficulty last year. Crypto revenue from ransomware attacks fell 40% last year, from $766 million to $457 million, according to recent data. In addition to sanctions making it difficult for victims to legally pay unknown foreign entities, companies have also bolstered security. 

Meanwhile, the Justice Department also recently announced that it had disrupted the Hive ransomware group over the past year. The federal authorities managed to infiltrate Hive’s computer networks last year, effectively disrupting Hive’s ability to attack and extort victims. They also recovered over 1,000 keys, saving victims from having to pay $130 million in ransoms.

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Nicholas Pongratz
Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.
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