Cryptocurrency Heist - Hackers Steal $3.8 Billion in 2022

Bywire - Claim your free account nowBywire - Claim your free account now

LONDON (Bywire News) - The cryptocurrency market has been turbulent in recent years, with investors left with large losses and regulators increasingly calling for consumer protection. But the real story of the year has been the alarming rise of cryptocurrency heists, with hackers stealing as much as $3.8 billion in 2022 alone.

Leading the way have been North Korean-linked hackers, who have been responsible for stealing an estimated $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency in multiple attacks. In October, they shattered their own records for theft, stealing $775.7 million in 32 separate attacks – the biggest single month ever for cryptocurrency hacking.

Cryptocurrency has become an increasingly attractive target for cybercriminals. A panel of experts monitoring United Nations sanctions has revealed that North Korea has increasingly relied on hacking to fund its missile and nuclear weapons programmes, as publicly declared trade dwindled under sanctions and COVID-19 lockdowns.

“It isn’t a stretch to say that cryptocurrency hacking is a sizable chunk of the nation’s economy,” said Chainalysis, a US-based blockchain analytics firm.

Targets in “decentralized finance” or DeFi, a thriving segment in the cryptocurrency sector, accounted for more than 82% of the cryptocurrency stolen in 2022. DeFi applications are financial platforms that enable crypto-denominated lending outside of traditional banks.

For the first time last year, US law enforcement seized $30 million in stolen funds from North Korea-linked hackers. “These hacks will get harder and less fruitful with each passing year,” Chainalysis predicted.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the last time we hear of cryptocurrency heists. With the cryptocurrency market still volatile, and North Korea’s hacking capabilities only improving, cryptocurrency owners must be vigilant in protecting their assets.


(Reporting by Josh Smith, Writing by Michael O'Sullivan, Editing by Louise Heavens, Michael O'Sullivan)

Bywire will email you from time to time with news digests, stories & opportunities to get involved. Privacy

Bywire - Claim your free account nowBywire - Claim your free account now