published on by means of Dennis Lapalus
Interest in cryptocurrencies is waning worldwide – the NFT market is shrinking and Bitcoin is seeing its biggest drop in price in 11 years. Yet cybercriminals continue to earn billions by targeting various crypto projects.
Scammers stole nearly $2 billion in the first half of 2022
According to data analyzed by the Atlas VPN team, cybercriminals looted $1.97 billion from 175 crypto project hacks in the first half of 2022.
Ethereum: Most Popular With Hackers
The Ethereum ecosystem suffered the most, with more than $1 billion stolen in 32 events. The biggest hack in the ecosystem is from Ronin, an Ethereum sidechain designed for the popular non-fungible token game Axie Infinity. Attackers stole more than $600 million in Ether and USDC. The data is based on figures from Slowmist Hacked, which collects information about revealed attacks on blockchain projects. Monetary losses were calculated based on the conversion rate of a particular cryptocurrency at the time of a hack or scam.
The SOLANA ecosystem is second on the list. Cyber criminals stole $383.9 million from Solana-related projects in just 5 events. The biggest hack in the ecosystem is from the decentralized financial (DeFi) platform Wormhole. Attackers exploited a signature verification vulnerability in the platform’s network to create wormhole-encased Ether on Solana worth approximately $326 million.
Binance Smart Chain (BSC)
Next up is the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) ecosystem, with $141.4 million in losses. In total, the BSC ecosystem was confronted with 47 hacking and scam events in the first half of this year, more than any other crypto project. Qubit Finance, based on Binance Smart Chain, faced an exploit where $80 million worth of Binance Coins (BNB) was extracted from Qubit’s QBridge protocol.
NFTs that do not fall outside the scope of theft
Meanwhile, non-fungible token (NFT) projects earned cybercriminals $84.6 million in 45 events, while the Fantom ecosystem earned $54.8 million in 8 events.
The rest of the crypto projects that suffered from cybercriminals in the first half of this year include crypto exchanges with $35.8 million lost in 4 events, Polygon ecosystem with $13.1 million lost in 2 events, the Avalanche ecosystem with $8.3 million lost in a single event, Blockchain projects with $3.5 million lost in 5 events, and crypto wallets with $263,382 lost in 2 cyber incidents. Losses from other crypto-related cybercrime events totaled $236.2 million. In total there were 24 such incidents.
Cybercrime Linked to the Crypto Project Nearly Doubles in H1 2022
Cryptocurrencies are often advertised as a more secure alternative to traditional payment methods, but the numbers tell a different story. In fact, the number of cybercrime events related to cryptocurrency projects is constantly increasing.
Comparing this year’s and last year’s numbers, the number of cybercrime impacting crypto projects has increased by 94%, from 90 in the first half of 2021 to 175 in the first half of 2022. In the first quarter of 2022 there were 79 cybercrime events, 108% more than the first quarter of 2021 with 38 events. Meanwhile, 96 cybercrime events were recorded in the second quarter of 2022, up 85% from 52 in the second quarter of 2021.
Overall, cybercrime cases increased by more than a fifth (22%), between the first quarter of this year and the second. May was the hardest month for crypto projects, with 37 hacking and scam events in one month.
The security of cryptocurrency projects leaves a lot to be desired. Until security vulnerabilities are addressed, the irreversible and decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies will continue to make crypto firms one of the prime targets for cybercriminals.