Hackers stole billions of dollars of crypto in 2023

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Every year since its inception, hackers have stolen more cryptocurrencies than the previous year, until 2023, new research has claimed.

Data presented on the REKT platform, which keeps track of all the different crypto-related hacks and thefts, says that in 2023, hackers stole a total of $1.83bn.

“This amount, though dispersed across various incidents, underscores the persistent vulnerabilities and challenges within the DeFi ecosystem,” De.Fi wrote in its paper, TechCrunch reported. “2023 stood as a testament to both the ongoing vulnerabilities and the strides made in addressing them, even as interest in the space was relatively muted by the ongoing bear market in the first half of the year.”

The biggest incident happened on Multichain, with more than $230 million lost on the bridge in early July. Other notable mentions include Euler Finance ($196m), Mixin Network ($142m), and Poloniex ($122m). 

While almost $2 billion is a lot of money, this is the first time ever that hackers stole less compared to the previous year. Blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis reported $3.8 billion stolen last year, and $3.3 billion stolen in 2021. Most of the cash stolen in these incidents went to Lazarus Group, a notorious North Korean state-sponsored threat actor, which is said to be helping fund the country’s nuclear program with the stolen money. 

“It isn’t a stretch to say that cryptocurrency hacking is a sizable chunk of the nation’s economy,” Chainalysis said at the time.

REKT tracks hacks and crypto breaches to mid-2011, and in total more than $77 billion have been stolen. At the same time, $6.6 billion has been recovered by law enforcement and other agencies. 

While the networks of the biggest chains, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, remain secure, surrounding infrastructure is where most hacks happen, with lending protocols, bridges, and similar, remaining the industry’s weakest link. 

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.