More Than A Billion Dollars Worth Of Cryptocurrency Stolen In 2018
An estimated $1.1 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen in 2018 already and we have not even entered the second half of the year.
Dark Web has been a brewing ground for large-scale cryptocurrency theft. There are now an estimated 12,000 marketplaces and 34,000 offerings related to crypto-theft for hackers to choose from. Thefts can come from organized cartels or crime groups extorting exchanges and companies. But it is often as simple as a highly trained but unemployed engineer looking to make extra cash. Malware offerings range from as little as $1.04 to as much as $1,000, with an average price of $224.
Exchanges were the biggest target for cybercriminals, making up almost 27 percent of attacks this year. This January, hackers stole $530 million worth of a lesser-known cryptocurrency called NEM from Japanese exchange Coincheck. In December, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange called Youbit lost 17 percent of its digital assets and its parent Yapian later filed for bankruptcy.
Businesses are the second most targeted group and made up 21 percent of the hacks. In many cases, criminals hack the internal system of these companies and demand cryptocurrency as a ransom. Data from businesses was harder to gather as in the US, companies don't have to report a ransomware incident because it does not involve a loss of personal data.
According to Security Crypto Security Company Carbon Black the majority of the hacks have been aimed at businesses being the most vulnerable. No names were provided since some of these reports have not been made public. Carbon Black aims to strengthen cybersecurity through cloud delivered solutions. Their data focused technology sets them apart from all other security vendors. It works by consuming massive quantities of endpoint data to analyze and predict attacks.
Bitcoin remains the primary cryptocurrency used for legitimate cyber transactions, but cybercriminals are moving to alternative and more profitable currencies, such as Monero, which is now used in 44% of all attacks. Cybercriminals are increasingly moving away from Bitcoin (for example, as ransomware payment) because the associated fees are high, and the transactions take too long to process. Amongst countries, United States is the most vulnerable one with 24 crypto-related attacks. China was next with 10, while the UK came in third.
“These cybercriminals appear to prefer Monero due to privacy, non-traceability and comparatively low transaction fees,” says the report.
Recently cryptojacking has been becoming popular which is aimed at individual users. a growing number of websites are either intentionally deploying cryptocurrency scripts or are being used to deliver illicit mining malware to unsuspecting users. This is most commonly referred to as ‘cryptojacking', and, even if you aren't being targeted for your own cryptocurrency, there's a chance your endpoint may be abused for someone else's gain.
In February 2018, Italy's BitGrail lost 17 million units of Nano (XRB) to hackers, valued at around $170 million. Coincheck in Japan had $530 million stolen in NEM (one of the lesser-known currencies) in January 2018. In December 2017 South Korean Youbit filed for bankruptcy following two separate hacks — one in April and one in December.