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Hackers Steal $4.3bn in Crypto in Nine Months

by Solomon Oladipupo
  • The amount represents a 31% increase from the same period in 2021.
  • Privacy Affair has described FTX's collapse as the largest crypto scam so far in 2022.
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The value of stolen cryptocurrency by hackers within the first 11 months of the year rose by 37% to $4.3 billion in 2022, which was discovered by new research conducted by a cybersecurity and data privacy firm, Privacy Affairs.

The firm noted that the collapse of FTX is the largest cryptocurrency scam so far this year with about $1-2 billion in customer funds unaccounted for.

According to Privacy Affairs, of the 11 biggest cryptocurrency scams committed this year, the top five are the failure of FTX, the Axie Infinity’s Ronin Network attack in March ($615 million), the Wormhole crypto bridge hack in February ($320 million), the JuicyFields.io scam in July ($273 million) and the Unique-Exchange.co/PARAIBA world scam also in July ($267 million).

Others are the Nomad cross-chain bridge attack in August ($190 million), the Beanstalk DeFi project flash loan attack in April ($182 million), the Wintermute hack in September ($160 million), the Elrond blockchain exchange hack in June ($113 million), the Harmony Horizon Bridge hack in June ($100 million) and the Mango Market flash loan attack in October ($100 million).

Country Analysis

According to the cybersecurity firm, young people between the ages of 20 and 40 are more susceptible to scams that are perpetrated via Instagram (32%), Facebook (26%), WhatsApp (9%) and Telegram (7%). Additionally, the firm found that Bitcoin (70%), Tether (10%) and Ether (9%) are the top coins that scammers choose for their fraudulent activities.

Giving a breakdown of the numbers, the firm noted that DeFi protocols accounted for 97% of all stolen cryptocurrency during the first quarter of the year.

When compared country by country, Americans lost $329 million to crypto scammers during the first quarter of this year. Moreover, Australian investors lost $166 million throughout 2022. On top of that, investors in Hong Kong have lost $50 to crypto fraud since the start of the year.

Crypto Loan Scam and Rug Pulls

Meanwhile, the number of cases of crypto flash loan schemes is on the rise. A flash loan attack occurs when a scammer exploits a platform's smart contract security to borrow huge amounts of money with no collateral.

“In Q2 2022, 27 flash loan attacks resulted in a loss of over $308 million. A flash loan attack on the cryptocurrency trading platform Mango Market resulted in a loss of $100 million in October 2022. Statistics show flash loan attacks increased 66.7% in Q2 from Q1 2022,” Miklos Zoltan, the Founder of Privacy Affairs explained.

Furthermore, the firm noted that while investors lost about $2.8 billion to rug pulls last year, with over $2.6 billion engulfed by the Turkish crypto exchange, Thodex, 2022 has seen over 188,000 rug pulls on various blockchains, such as BNB and Ethereum.

“In Q2 2022, rug pulls generated a total loss of $37.46 million. In July 2022, investors lost $32.7m after Raccoon Network pulled off an exit scam on its IDO/fundraising project,” Zoltan explained.

The value of stolen cryptocurrency by hackers within the first 11 months of the year rose by 37% to $4.3 billion in 2022, which was discovered by new research conducted by a cybersecurity and data privacy firm, Privacy Affairs.

The firm noted that the collapse of FTX is the largest cryptocurrency scam so far this year with about $1-2 billion in customer funds unaccounted for.

According to Privacy Affairs, of the 11 biggest cryptocurrency scams committed this year, the top five are the failure of FTX, the Axie Infinity’s Ronin Network attack in March ($615 million), the Wormhole crypto bridge hack in February ($320 million), the JuicyFields.io scam in July ($273 million) and the Unique-Exchange.co/PARAIBA world scam also in July ($267 million).

Others are the Nomad cross-chain bridge attack in August ($190 million), the Beanstalk DeFi project flash loan attack in April ($182 million), the Wintermute hack in September ($160 million), the Elrond blockchain exchange hack in June ($113 million), the Harmony Horizon Bridge hack in June ($100 million) and the Mango Market flash loan attack in October ($100 million).

Country Analysis

According to the cybersecurity firm, young people between the ages of 20 and 40 are more susceptible to scams that are perpetrated via Instagram (32%), Facebook (26%), WhatsApp (9%) and Telegram (7%). Additionally, the firm found that Bitcoin (70%), Tether (10%) and Ether (9%) are the top coins that scammers choose for their fraudulent activities.

Giving a breakdown of the numbers, the firm noted that DeFi protocols accounted for 97% of all stolen cryptocurrency during the first quarter of the year.

When compared country by country, Americans lost $329 million to crypto scammers during the first quarter of this year. Moreover, Australian investors lost $166 million throughout 2022. On top of that, investors in Hong Kong have lost $50 to crypto fraud since the start of the year.

Crypto Loan Scam and Rug Pulls

Meanwhile, the number of cases of crypto flash loan schemes is on the rise. A flash loan attack occurs when a scammer exploits a platform's smart contract security to borrow huge amounts of money with no collateral.

“In Q2 2022, 27 flash loan attacks resulted in a loss of over $308 million. A flash loan attack on the cryptocurrency trading platform Mango Market resulted in a loss of $100 million in October 2022. Statistics show flash loan attacks increased 66.7% in Q2 from Q1 2022,” Miklos Zoltan, the Founder of Privacy Affairs explained.

Furthermore, the firm noted that while investors lost about $2.8 billion to rug pulls last year, with over $2.6 billion engulfed by the Turkish crypto exchange, Thodex, 2022 has seen over 188,000 rug pulls on various blockchains, such as BNB and Ethereum.

“In Q2 2022, rug pulls generated a total loss of $37.46 million. In July 2022, investors lost $32.7m after Raccoon Network pulled off an exit scam on its IDO/fundraising project,” Zoltan explained.

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