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Cryptocurrency theft already totals US$16.93 million this year


Cryptocurrency thefts increased 42% last year with 283 incidents, according to an analysis by consumer awareness firm Comparitech. Although the volume was significantly higher than the 199 incidents recorded in 2022, the total number stolen in 2023 fell 51% compared to the previous year, from US$3.55 billion to US$1.75 billion.

But the worrying fact, according to the survey, is that in the first fifteen days of the year alone, US$ 16.93 million in cryptocurrencies were diverted. This represents double the US$8.37 million stolen in the entire month of January 2023.

Comparitech’s research also found that the number of scams carried out in 2023 decreased by 25% compared to 2022, from 365 to 273. The value of cryptocurrencies diverted in these scams also halved over the same period, from US$1.2 billion to $656.

One factor that may explain the significant reduction in the value of stolen cryptocurrencies is the drop in the price of decentralized finance (DeFi) last year. Researchers note that attacks on DeFi platforms accounted for 51% of cryptocurrency thefts last year. This was followed by hacks of individual cryptocurrencies (30%).

Overall, a total of $27 billion has been lost to cryptocurrency thefts and scams over the years.

Rebecca Moody, head of data research at Comparitech, noted that some of the biggest crypto thefts have occurred through private key compromises. “This highlights the ongoing vulnerabilities of cryptocurrency platforms and how some that advertise themselves as ‘decentralized’ actually have a centralized storage system for private keys,” she said.

Separate research published by Comparitech on January 15 found that ransomware attacks on US government organizations cost more than $860 million in downtime, with potentially more than 250 million people impacted during the period from January 2018 to December 2023.


Sources: CisoAdvisor, Comparitech

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