Hackers steal $664m from crypto investors in six months – DefiLlama


Crypto investors lost $664m to hackers in the first half of the year, marking a more than 50 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, according to data from DefiLlama.

The largest aggregator for decentralised finance stated that the bulk of those losses came from phishing attacks and compromised private keys, reports Sunday PUNCH.

It noted that crypto hackers were often skilled bad actors, who work for cybercrime syndicates, such as North Korea’s state-sponsored Lazarus Group, which was suspected of having stolen billions in crypto.

DefiLlama stated that high-powered hacking tools were not usually available to the army of amateur hackers on the internet.

However, experts are raising concerns about the growing threat of open-source infostealers, malicious software designed to steal sensitive financial information from victims’ computers.

These infostealers target crypto wallet passwords, private keys, and other sensitive data.

This year, compromised private keys have led to some of the biggest crypto hacks, including the theft of $305m from the DMM Bitcoin exchange.

A blockchain expert and Team Lead at SIRFITECH, Adewale Kayode, told our correspondent that Nigeria had emerged as a hub for cryptocurrency scams, with the country ranking second globally in crypto adoption, trailing only India.

Kayode attributed the high adoption rate to the economic hardship in the country, with many individuals seeking alternative means to supplement their income.

However, that had created a fertile ground for scammers to exploit, resulting in a staggering $8m lost to crypto scams in Nigeria alone over the past six months, he said.

Globally, crypto scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with fraudsters employing multi-level marketing scams, crypto fraud, Ponzi schemes, fake ICOs, and phishing attacks to dupe victims.

The IT expert cautioned that scammers constantly innovate, utilising tactics such as replacement-by-fee attacks to avoid detection.

Kayode emphasised the urgent need for regulatory measures to combat the rising trend of crypto scams, stressing that regulation is crucial to protecting individuals and ensuring the integrity of the cryptocurrency market.

According to a recent report by Proofpoint researchers, cybercriminals are using various tactics to target cryptocurrency, resulting in significant financial losses.

The report, titled “How Cyber Criminals Target Cryptocurrency,” highlighted two primary objectives of cybercriminal threat actors: traditional fraud and targeting decentralised finance organisations.

Traditional fraud tactics involve business email compromise attacks, targeting individuals and resulting in financial losses.

Meanwhile, the targeting of DeFi organisations aims to compromise cryptocurrency storage and transactions, potentially leading to follow-on attacks.

“While most attacks require a basic understanding of how cryptocurrency transfers and wallets function, they do not require sophisticated tooling to find success,” the researchers said.

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