All the Ocean’s triology fans out there, here’s another theme that would make for a great sequel – the cryptocurrency heist! Bank robberies and diamond heists are becoming things of the past and are steadily being replaced by finger-tapping internet fraudsters and cryptocurrency exchange thefts. You might be surprised to know that cryptocurrency theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes of 2018.
Earlier this year, hackers made off with $530 million worth of NEM coins at Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck. A security company in Tokyo showed that most of the NEM stolen in the hack were quickly laundered into other coins that were nearly impossible to trace using current methods.
Last month cybersecurity company, Carbon Black published a report “Cryptocurrency Gold Rush on the Dark Web” according to which, the available dark web marketplaces represent a $6.7 million illicit economy built from cryptocurrency-related malware development and sales. There are currently an estimated 12,000 dark web marketplaces selling approximately 34,000 offerings related to crypto theft.
Of the attacks they identified, cryptocurrency exchanges are the most vulnerable target for cybercriminals, with 27% of attacks targeting exchanges directly. Nearly 21% of cryptocurrency attacks target businesses, 14% target users directly and 7% target governments.
Indian Cryptocurrency exchanges have not been spared either. In April this year, early 438 bitcoins worth over Rs 20 crore were stolen from Coinsecure in India in what is being billed as the biggest cryptocurrency theft in the country so far. The most recent hacks in June were in South Korea where cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail reported theft of over $40 million worth of altcoins and assorted tokens. This was followed by reports of $32 million of crypto disappearing from Bithumb, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
According to a recently published report on Crypto Theft and money laundering by CipherTrace says that 3X more cryptocurrency was stolen from exchanges in the first half of 2018 than in all of 2017. It further revealed that a staggering $761 million was stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges in just the first six months of this year. This amount is a far cry compared to the total amount stolen last year at $266 million worth of crypto coins.
While the blockchains supporting cryptocurrencies are decentralized, most of the exchanges that host crypto trading are not — that is, they store information in one place. This makes them a prime target for hackers. And while the hacks are potentially devastating for investors, it should motivate the Governments to regulate the market. A set of global regulations is the need of the hour.
Credits : Akhil Handa,Aparna Anand