Value of crypto stolen via hacks ‘doubles’, finds new report

The amount of cryptocurrency stolen globally doubled in the first half of 2024, according to new research from blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs.

The report says that hackers have stolen $1.38 billion this year so far compared to $675 million in the first six months of 2023.

Five large attacks account for 70 per cent of the total amount stolen, while the median hack was 150 per cent larger than last year.

While figures for the first half of 2024 are high, theft from hacks and exploits are still a third below the same period of 2022, which was a “record” year.

The study said with the past six months having “significantly higher than average” token prices compared to the previous year, this could be the reason for the increased volume of theft.

TRM explained that it has not seen fundamental changes in the security of the cryptocurrency ecosystem that would account for the upward trend, adding that there was no significant difference in the number of attacks between the two years.

The report outlined the case of DMM Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency exchange in Japan which had suffered the largest attack so far this year. While the exact cause of the attack remains unknown, the report said that potential reasons behind the theft included stolen private keys or address poisoning, which involves attackers sending small amounts of cryptocurrency to a victim’s wallet to create fake transaction history and potentially confusing users into sending funds to the wrong address in future transactions.

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