The rise in the popularity of cryptocurrency isn’t without scams and thefts of digital currencies.
Hailed as an alternative to traditional, bank-controlled currency, cryptocurrency has evolved from its early wild speculative trading days. They have made significant gains among mainstream companies, with the likes of IBM, Google and Microsoft exploring blockchain technologies.
But many blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies are still at a nascent stage and they are vulnerable to attacks from hackers who are using increasingly sophisticated tools to gain access to crypto wallets.
Here are some of the most significant cryptocurrency heists since 2018:
Hackers exploited vulnerabilities in the decentralized finance (DeFi) platform, Poly Network and stole $600 million in Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and USDC (USD Coin) tokens. Poly Network announced the hack on Twitter and said that the vulnerability was between contract calls.
Raees and Ameer Cajee, two brothers who run Africrypt, a currency exchange service based in Johannesburg, South Africa, ‘vanished’ with $3.6 billion in investments. They have been “missing” since April, when they informed the investors of the hack.
A lone hacker stole cryptocurrency assets worth $24 million from Harvest Finance, a DeFi platform which lets users invest and also farm the price variations in crypto for small profit yields. The investigation found that the hacker stole $13 million worth of USD Coin (USDC) and $11 million worth of Tether (USDT).
The Singapore-based cryptocurreny exchange detected “some large withdrawals” of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and ERC-20 tokens. According to estimates, at least $150 million was stolen but the CEO said a majority of it has already been recovered.
An organized hacker group operating out of Eastern Europe, CyptoCore is responsible for $200 million stolen from various online cryptocurrency exchanges. They have been active since 2018 using the same modus operandi to target exchanges around the world.
A hacker stole 342,000 Ethereum worth $50 million and managed to transfer it to an unknown address. Similar to many crypto thefts, the hacker used Upbits hot wallet to gain access to their exchange.
The South Korean exchange was hacked by thieves who stole $37.2 million worth of digital currency. The bulk of tokens stolen include Pundi X and Aston coins. In its aftermath, Bitcoin lost around 11% of its total value.
Hackers managed to steal 7000 Bitcoin from the exchange’s hot wallet. Binance after investigating the hack reported that sophisticated phishing methods were used by the hackers.
Italy-based exchange BitGrail was robbed of $195 million in nano tokens. Coin Telegraph suggested that BitGrail’s founder Francesco Firano along with the nano development team may have been responsible for overlooking safety measures.
Thanks to a hot wallet, the Japanese exchange platform Coincheck suffered an attack where NEM coins valued at $534 were stolen. Hot wallets, a tool to send and receive tokens, is one of the most popular cryptocurrency wallet. Since hot wallets are connected to the internet, they are inherently more vulnerable to attacks.