US$930 Million in Crypto Stolen in First 3 Quarters, Report Says

- December 11th, 2018

Research firm CipherTrace Cryptocurrency Intelligence estimates that number will surpass US$1 billion by the end of the year.

Cryptocurrency theft has reached a staggering near US$930 million so far this year, a report from CipherTrace Cryptocurrency Intelligence has revealed.

The report claims that while cryptocurrency theft from exchanges and platform layers continue posing problems, it is at a “slightly evolved form” from the firm’s Q2 report.

CipherTrace said in its Q2 report, cryptocurrency theft represented a “three-fold increase” during the first half of the year when compared to all of 2017. Of note, some of the biggest hacks in the first half included US$530 million taken from Coincheck and US$195 million from BitGrail.

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With that number now sitting at US$927 million in cryptocurrencies stolen in the first three quarters of 2018, the research firm estimates that number will surpass US$1 billion by the end of the year.

“This represents 3.5 times as much cryptocurrency as was stolen in all of 2017,” the report reads. “Criminals will need to quickly launder these stolen tokens before stronger cryptocurrency anti-money laundering controls are deployed globally over the next 18 months.”

While “nothing” in Q3 compared to Coincheck’s US$530 million hack CipherTrace’s report says that its most recent data shows that the number of cryptocurrency thefts increased. The report says that several hacks ranged between US$20 million to US$60 million, totaling US$166 million since its report in Q2.

“This data indicates a pattern of smaller robberies on a regular basis and sophisticated professional cyber thieves who carry out hacks at both the exchange and platform levels by capitalizing on exposed vulnerabilities, as well as by socially engineering employees who work at these companies,” the report indicates.

Of note, cryptocurrency thefts reported from exchanges and platforms in Q3 include several, such as: Bithumb’s US30 million resulting from a cyber intrusion; Brancor’s exchange and ICO hack, which amounted to US$23.5 million in cryptocurrency stolen, including US$12.35 million in ethereum and US$11 million lost between BNT and NPXS tokens.

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The third biggest loss includes that of Geth, resulting from a “platform vulnerability” and US$20 million stolen in ethereum by “using insecurely configured Geth clients.”

Other hacks came from Coinrail with US$40 million stolen in altcoins; Bitcoin Gold, which was compromised by a 51 percent attack where hackers “employed rented computers” in order to carry out the theoretical type of cyberattack; Zaif, which lost roughly US$60 million in cryptocurrencies; and Taylor, an ICO and trading platform that suffered a US$1.35 million loss.

CipherTrace said that US$50 million in estimated CoinHoarder phishing thefts were excluded from the report, but will be included in its 2018 annual report “if they can be fully substantiated.” Finally, the firm is “aware” of the more than US$60 million in cryptocurrency stolen that wasn’t reported publicly.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 

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