Hackers broke through 11 large cryptocurrency trading platforms and stole more than $283 million worth of cryptocurrencies in 2019, according to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. The number of attacks on cryptocurrency trading portals has been high over the past 10 years. The worst was the $875.5 million stolen in 2018 and $483 million in losses in 2014.
(From: Chainalysis, via ZDNet)
Chainalysis points out that the sharp increase in the number of hacks can be attributed to the fact that attackers continue to evolve to use more sophisticated methods to penetrate cryptocurrency exchanges.
Cryptocurrency exchanges, on the other hand, are not dry- nor dry-eyed. Chainalysis reports that many platforms have increased investment in security features and improved transaction verification systems.
In the case of the attacker’s success, Chainalysis said: “Most of the money stolen in the exchange attack was eventually transferred to other exchanges and then managed to raise cash.”
In some cases, however, a significant portion of the funds have been unspent for years. For law enforcement agencies, there is still some hope to help victims recover stolen funds.
According to an analysis by Chainalysis experts, it tracked more than $2.8 billion in bitcoins in 2019. The stolen money was transferred from the known criminal entity to the accounts of several portal exchanges and was quickly cashed into legal tender.
In addition to the money stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges, the $2.8 billion includes other types of illegal transactions, such as ransom selling of ransomware, phishing/scam spree activities, and funds associated with certain criminal organizations.
Further analysis shows that more than 50% of the funds have been transferred to accounts on binance and Huobi trading platforms, making it the most frequently used money laundering site for cybercriminals.
Chainalysis reports that while almost all countries require authentication of customers’ identities, overall, more than 300,000 Binance and Huobi personal accounts are suspected of Bitcoin criminal activity.
In addition, many criminal groups use OTC over-the-counter transactions (broker entities) to circumvent restrictions, which facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers whodonot want their identities to be discovered on the open blockchain.
Finally, ransomware received $6.6 million in illegal proceeds in 2019. Later this month, Chainalysis will also release the 2020 edition of the cryptocurrency crime report.