Cryptocurrency hacking thefts double to $1.4 billion in first half of 2024

  • Rising cryptocurrency values, such as bitcoin, ether, and solana, drive heightened cybercriminal activity targeting crypto services.
  • The $308 million theft from Japanese exchange DMM bitcoin highlights significant security flaws and prompts calls for stricter regulatory oversight, particularly due to international security risks from North Korean hackers.

OUR TAKE
The dramatic increase in cryptocurrency thefts, totalling over $1.38 billion in six months, highlights substantial financial losses affecting investors and companies in the crypto market. It underscores ongoing vulnerabilities in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, raising concerns about security measures for protecting digital assets. The rise in cryptocurrency prices, such as bitcoin reaching an all-time high, attracts more criminal activity, influencing market behaviour and investor confidence.
-Jennifer YU, BTW reporter

What happened

Cryptocurrency thefts more than doubled globally in the first six months of 2024, driven by a few large attacks and rising crypto prices, according to TRM Labs.

Hackers stole over $1.38 billion worth of crypto by June 24, 2024, compared to $657 million in the same period in 2023. The median theft size increased by 50%.

Ari Redbord, global head of policy at TRM Labs, noted that while security hasn’t fundamentally changed, the significant increase in token values, including bitcoin, ether, and solana, has motivated cybercriminals to target crypto services more aggressively.

Bitcoin hit an all-time high of $73,803.25 in March 2024, recovering from the lows after the FTX collapse in late 2022.

One of the largest thefts this year was $308 million worth of bitcoin from the Japanese exchange DMM bitcoin.

In 2022, stolen cryptocurrency volumes were around $900 million, including a $600 million theft from a blockchain network linked to the game “Axie Infinity”, attributed to North Korean hackers.

Also read: Crypto wallets vs crypto exchanges: How they compare

Why it’s important

The surge in hacks may prompt regulators to enforce stricter guidelines and oversight in the cryptocurrency industry. Since the biggest theft of the year was perpetrated by North Korean hackers, the move could affect international relations and security policy.

Additionally, the cryptocurrency market faces challenges like technological advancements and economic strategies as stakeholders seek to enhance security and stability in the digital financial space.

Jennifer-Yu

Jennifer Yu

Jennifer Yu is an intern reporter at BTW Media covering artificial intelligence and products. She graduated from The University of Hong Kong. Send tips to j.yu@btw.media.

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