About $1.7 billion in cryptocurrency had been obtained via illicit means in 2018, according to research published by crypto analytics company CipherTrace on Jan. 29.
Of that $1.7 billion, over $950 million was stolen from crypto exchanges, representing a 3.6 times increase over 2017. On the other hand, at least $725 million was lost in 2018 to scams such as ponzi schemes, exit schemes and fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs).
CipherTrace also listed what the company believes to be the top ten cryptocurrency threats: the highest is SIM swapping, which is a kind of identity theft involving taking control over the victim’s phone number, usually to obtain access to two-factor authentication codes.
Other major threats cited include crypto dusting, which involves sending tainted cryptocurrency to huge quantities of addresses, and the evasion of international sanctions with crypto promoted by states like Venezuela and Iran. The report also references cryptocurrency mixers — non-licensed shadow money service businesses — cryptojacking attacks on data centers and lightning network anonymity.
The research warns about decentralized stablecoins — which could be anonymous — online extortion and blackmailing and, lastly, cryptocurrency-stealing ransomware that not only prevents access to user data, but also steals wallet private keys.
As Cointelegraph recently reported, research outlined by blockchain analytics company Chainalysis has revealed that two probably still active hacker groups have reportedly stolen $1 billion in cryptocurrency.
Also, news broke yesterday that two weeks after it first reported a hack, New Zealand-based cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia is still compromised by cybercriminals.