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$1.7 Billion Stolen in Cryptocurrency Hacks in 2023: Analysis

$1.7 billion were stolen last year as a result of 231 cryptocurrency platform hacks, according to a report from Chainalysis. 

Cryptocurrency ransomware payments

A total of $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency were stolen in 2023 as a result of cryptocurrency platform hacks, according to a report from blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis.

The company’s analysis shows that the total amount of funds lost to hackers last year decreased significantly from the $3.7 billion stolen in 2022 and the $3.3 billion stolen in 2021. However, the number of incidents actually increased, from 219 in 2022 to 231 in 2023.

Chainalysis attributes the drop to hacker attacks targeting decentralized financial systems, also known as DeFi. DeFi hacks also fueled the significant increase in the amount of funds stolen in 2021 and 2022. 

In 2023, threat actors only took $1.1 billion from DeFi protocols, compared to $3.1 billion in 2022, which represents a 64% year-over-year decrease.

Some of the biggested DeFi — as well as centralized services (CeFi) — hacks included Euler Finance ($197 million in losses), Mixin Network ($200 million), Poloniex Exchange ($130 million), HTX ($113.3 million), Curve Finance ($73.5 million), CoinEx ($43 million), and Kyber Network ($54.7 million). 

As for North Korea-linked hackers, whose cryptocurrency theft and laundering activities are used by the regime to fund its ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs, they are believed to have stolen slightly over $1 billion last year, far less than the $1.7 billion obtained in the previous year. 

However, the number of attacks conducted by North Korean threat actors actually increased, from 15 in 2022 to 20 in 2023. 

“Although the total amount stolen from crypto platforms in 2023 was down significantly from prior years, it is clear that attackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and diverse in their exploits. The good news is, crypto platforms are becoming more sophisticated in their security and responses to attacks, too,” Chainalysis said in its report.

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It added, “When crypto platforms act promptly after exploits, law enforcement agencies will be better equipped to contact exchanges where frozen funds are located to initiate seizure and contact services through which the funds flowed to gather relevant information about accounts and users. Over time, as these processes improve, it is likely that funds stolen from crypto hacks will continue to decline.”

Related: North Korean Hackers Have Stolen Over $3 Billion in Cryptocurrency: Report

Related: Key Learnings from “Big Game” Ransomware Campaigns

Related: FBI Confirms North Korean Hackers Behind $100 Million Horizon Bridge Heist

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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