When a cyber criminal hacks into a victim’s computer to steal cryptocurrency, it’s also known as hacking crypto. It’s done by encouraging the person to click on a phishing link that will either infect a website or load a crypto mining code onto the computer.
This code will then work in the background as the victim uses their computer on a normal day to day basis. It’s in the best interest of the crypto hacker to maintain persistence on a network and spread as much as possible; this will bring about a higher financial game.
Victims and individual users may notice slower computer performance when they are subjects of cryptocurrency hacking. As expected, hacking crypto can incur high costs to organizations in terms of information technology help, performance issues, and replacing systems to solve the problem.
So, why does cryptocurrency hacking happen so often and what can statistics tell us about it?
Due to the Coinhive closure, crypto hacking attacks reduced by almost 80% by the year 2020. These statistics suggest that cryptocurrency hackers are steering more towards ransomware, as it’s seemingly more profitable.
Hacking cryptocurrency is still considered to be in its infancy and is set to evolve and grow over the years. More interestingly, carrying out cryptocurrency crime doesn’t actually require any technical skills or any significant experience. On the dark web, crypto hacking kits are available for as little as $30. So, why are cryptocurrency hacking statistics still growing?
In short, crypto hacking is cheap and profitable so criminals are allured by more money with less risk. The risk of getting caught is also relatively low, especially with crypto mining, because the code can go undetected for a very long time. In addition, if or when it’s discovered, it can be very difficult to trace back to the source.
In the year 2021, hackers stole a total of $14 billion altogether. Some of the most common types of attacks include breaches of exchanges and blockchain info wallet.
The highest form of cryptocurrency related crime was scamming, followed by theft. Most of these crimes took place through hacking businesses via rug-pulling strategies. This is when developers build projects that look legitimate on the outside, fill up their pockets, and then disappear. Scams accounted for around $8 billion in 2021.
Although cryptocurrency crime set a record in 2021, blockchain hacking activity also hit an all time low. This statistic came about when examined as a percentage of overall cryptocurrency transactions last year. This begs the question, can blockchain be hacked so easily in 2022? Only time can tell, and more information will be revealed as more research is conducted.
When exploring cryptocurrency hacking, it’s important to understand the scale of this market and how valuable it can be to criminals. As of 2021, the cryptocurrency market has an impressive value of $1 trillion that is set to grow even higher in 2022. The very first cryptocurrency hack took place in 2011, and crime has kept growing ever since.
On a broader scale, experts predict that billions have been lost every single year since cryptocurrency came into fruition in 2009. In 2018, $1.7 billion was stolen, in 2019 $4.5 billion was stolen, and in 2020 $1.9 billion was stolen.
Crime Statistics in Hacking Crypto
The 2020 blockchain hack was certainly a hot topic, as was the poly network hack, where $610 million of its customers’ funds were stolen. Here are some questions to clear up crime statistics in hacking crypto.
An exact figure for how much Bitcoin was stolen is difficult to pin down. However, it’s the most popular type of cryptocurrency on the market. In 2021 alone, $14 billion of cryptocurrency was stolen, and a high percentage of this is most certainly down to bitcoin hacking incidents.
In 2020, the number of cyber criminals rose as many people had to switch to working from home. In particular, Zoom installers were used to infect victims with cryptocurrency mining malware. This certainly led to an increase in crime. In general, cryptocurrencies and crime levels do go hand in hand as crypto hit their all time high in value in 2021 and crime rate levels were also the highest.
Cryptocurrency theft has increased by 516% since 2020, with $3.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency being stolen.
The FBI and police are becoming more and more in tune with cryptocurrency hackers and their crypto crime investigation techniques are helping them catch more criminals in the act.
Cryptocurrency and money laundering are significant pairing in the crypto hacking world, which can make it difficult for security services to detect illegal activity. It could be said that money laundering cryptocurrency was at an all-time high in 2021 and illegal cryptocurrency activity also spiked. It’s still unclear how to recover stolen cryptocurrency, but the cryptocurrency crime statistics show it is possible.
As a virtual source of money, Bitcoin can keep a number of illegal transactions under the radar. However, it’s also true that the associated data that goes hand in hand with cryptocurrency can leave a clear trail of your entire financial history. This trail could even be made public, especially because blockchain records every single action taken.
Software such as Silk Road can reveal a person’s entire trail of criminal activity if they are caught using it. The traceability of Bitcoin is undeniable, but criminals still manage to get away with hacking activities somehow.
When the FBI or police investigate Bitcoin theft they immediately lookout for digital breadcrumbs that may lead a trail towards the criminal. As mentioned earlier, due to the blockchain, every single payment is recorded which makes it easier to track.
Many wonders “is stealing bitcoin illegal?” It most certainly is, and the FBI and police are constantly looking for ways to catch crypto hackers in their tracks.
When you look at crypto graphs that outline cryptocurrency theft it shows you a handful of real life crypto hacking examples and the commonalities between them. Delivery methods can differ, but there are many traditional methods that crypto criminals are following.
Here are some of the most notable and sizable cryptocurrency crimes and heists that have taken place since cryptocurrency first came around in 2009.
Back in August 2021, a hacker managed to exploit Poly Network by stealing over $600 million. Strangely, the hacker didn’t go away with all of the stolen funds; they actually agreed to give back the majority of it. Around $30 million was frozen by the issuers and was not returned in the end.
In another turn of events, more than $200 million of stolen funds were also trapped in a password-protected account, which could not be accessed by the Poly Network or the cryptocurrency hacker.
For a while, there was a high reluctance to hand over the password, but then Poly Network handed over half a million in a bid to release the funds. Although it was a colossal loss, the Poly Network was actually impressed by the hacker for discovering the vulnerability in their system. The hack was then even offered a job afterward due to their impressive detection skills!
Back in January of 2018, Coincheck had more than $532 million worth of its NEM tokens stolen. The hackers were able to exploit the fact that the currency had been stored in an online wallet that was connected to a server; also known as a hot wallet. In contrast, a cold wallet is when funds are stored offline.
NEM developers managed to identify these stolen coins and mark them as stolen, but there was a lot of trouble in the process. Many thought the funds were available on the black market, but because the coins were of a high value after the attack it could have been seen as a decent deal at the end of it all.
This could be considered as one of the biggest thefts of Bitcoins from an exchange, as well as the very first large-scale hacking on an exchange. When the heist occurred, it wasn’t a single event, but a continual event that had been spread over three years. Between the years 2011 and 2014, hackers stole over 100,000 bitcoins from the exchanges and 750,000 from the exchange’s customers.
During this time, the bitcoins were valued at just under $500 million; however, they would certainly edge closer to valued at $5 billion if this type of heist were to take place today. Unsurprisingly, MT Gox went into liquidation shortly after this incident.
This incident could be considered as a flash loan attack, in which the hackers had the ability to steal around $200 million from PancakeBunny.
In order to carry out this carefully thought-out attack, the hacker loaned a large sum of Binance Coin before manipulating its price and dumping it onto the market of PancakeBunny. This actually enabled the hacket to get a huge amount of bunny through a flash loan, then dump all of the bunny into the market so that the price dropped before paying it back through PancakeSwap. A complicated, yet successful cryptocurrency heist that saw a flaw in the company’s system.
As a small Italian exchange, which traded in uncommon cryptocurrencies such as Nano, BitGrail was the victim of a significant crypto heist. Back in February of 2018, the price of Nano, also known by the experts as XRB, went through the roof in terms of value.
One moment it was worth just a couple of cents, then it went up in value to over $30; which was the exact moment of when the exchange was hacked. It seems that Nano wallets had been targeted with around 17 million coins stolen, which added up to a value of around $150 million. A number of users began to say that they had noticed a few issues with the exchange before the attack had even taken place.
After an in depth investigation it was revealed that the coins had been drained from cold wallets, rather than hot wallets; suggesting the heist was an inside job.
Although large-scale malicious cryptocurrency attacks are relatively difficult to carry out and are fairly rare, it’s clear to see that some crypto hackers are extremely experienced in this type of method. Billions of dollars have been stolen in previous attacks, so companies are being urged to pay extra care and attention whilst crypto crime is at an all time high.
It’s evident that bitcoin stealing software is becoming more advanced, which could suggest that the future of crypto hacking is set to soar to new heights. At the moment, it’s a daily occurrence in crypto news to see a new crime each week, so it would be no surprise to notice an increase in illegal mining activities in the future.
When it comes to hacking crypto, there is still a significant threat to individuals and businesses who are involved in cryptocurrency. In the near future, the question of quantum cryptocurrency comes into play, as quantum computers could completely change the way materials are designed.
The main problem is that the blockchain accounting technology that powers cryptocurrencies could be extremely vulnerable to sophisticated attacks and scams. This will be the case if quantum computing matures too fast or faster than digital money becomes future proof.
The wide fluctuation of cryptocurrencies can always affect payouts to crypto hackers, and the higher security measures may make it more difficult to carry out attacks. With that being said, there may be a decrease in overall attacks in the future, but the losses per attack may be significantly higher.
It’s evident that the cryptocurrency crime trends change every year, and there will always be a significant level of cryptocurrency hacking risk. It continues to exist and remains notable due to the increase in cryptocurrency prices.
Crypto criminals are becoming more and more savvy, which poses a real challenge to the FBI, police, businesses, organizations,and individual users. As this article outlines, hacking crypto is an in depth, broadscale topic that leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
From the ever-growing crime figures to the billions of dollars lost in the cryptocurrency market, the future could predict a steady increase in crime rates or a decrease in the value of the most popular types of cryptocurrencies.
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