Crypto thefts escalate with over US$1.38 billion stolen in the first half of 2024


8th July 2024 – (New York) Blockchain intelligence firm TRM reported a significant escalation in cryptocurrency thefts during the first half of 2024, with losses amounting to $1.38 billion. This figure marks a substantial increase from $657 million recorded over the same period in 2023.

According to TRM, the majority of these losses—70% to be exact—stemmed from the top five cyber-attacks. The predominant methods of these breaches included compromises of private keys and seed phrases, alongside sophisticated exploits of smart contracts and flash loan manipulations.

Highlighting the severity of the issue, TRM pointed to the May attack on Tokyo-based DMM Bitcoin as the largest individual theft. The attackers made off with 4,500 Bitcoin, valued at over $300 million at the time of the theft. Although the exact method of the breach remains under investigation, it is suspected that stolen private keys or a technique known as address poisoning were employed. Address poisoning involves tricking a wallet holder into sending funds to a lookalike address by making small, deceptive transactions.

Further insights from TRM suggest that the recent uptick in token prices might have amplified the attractiveness of these digital assets to thieves, even though the total stolen remains below the peak levels seen in 2022.

Despite these alarming figures, TRM’s analysis indicates that thefts through hacks and exploits are still a third lower than the record-highs of 2022, pointing to some resilience in security measures over time.

In related developments, blockchain security firm SlowMist issued a warning last month about an increase in scams targeting Toncoin (TON) users on Telegram. Scammers have been actively distributing phishing links across groups and deploying fake airdrops as part of their strategy to siphon off funds from unsuspecting users.