As cryptocurrencies continue to disrupt the existing economic, social and commercial landscapes, hackers are increasingly resorting to illegal and unethical means for owning these virtual tokens. As per data, 720 accounts across all prominent exchanges have been hacked, given the compelling shortage of security measures like two-factor authentication. A recent study has revealed that crypto crime has been flourishing in the US.
Group-IB, an international company committed to preventing and investigating online fraud and crime, recently conducted a research to examine the state of cybercrime in the global cryptocurrency markets. The analysis reveals that since 2017, compromisation of crypto accounts has risen by a whopping 369%. These crimes were successful in attacking all the top 19 exchanges, with a total of 720 passwords and usernames getting hacked.
The study further revealed that such hacks have a positive relationship with the market highs. In January this year, the crypto market experienced a boom as the number of confirmed daily transactions for Bitcoin soared to over 400K. During the same month, the incidence of compromised passwords increased by 689%, and at least five of the 19 significant exchanges were attacked. The total loss suffered by the crypto markets shot up to $80 million.
Such crypto attacks have evolved from simple phishing scams to more sophisticated high-tech attacks that exploit modified software. “Increased fraudulent activity and attention of hacker groups to the crypto-industry, additional functions of malicious software related to cryptocurrencies, as well as the significant amounts of already stolen funds signals that the industry is not ready to defend itself and protect its users,” shared Ruslan Yusufov, the Director of Special Projects at Group-IB.
Another shocking revelation of the study is that over 56% of these crimes took place in the United States alone. This is followed by the Netherlands with 21.5% attacks, marking a considerable difference between the top two most affected countries.
Like previous studies, the one by Group-IB also holds a lack of security measures at the heart of the rising hacks. It’s not just the exchanges but also the users who are ignoring steps like two-factor authentication. It’s more staggering that one in five accounts used a password shorter than eight characters among the 720 attacked profiles. This study has reiterated the need for using enhanced security measures and increasing user awareness.