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Criminals Stole $19 Billion from Crypto Industry in the Past 13 Years


June 13, 2024

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Criminals Stole $19 Billion from Crypto Industry in the Past 13 Years

Roughly $19 billion has been stolen from the crypto industry  in the past 13 years in various crimes, according to a new report that looked closely at 785 incidents since June 16, 2011.

The crypto market has grown and evolved constantly over the past decade, but so has all criminality associated with this industry and the threat actors who directly targeted businesses dealing with cryptocurrencies. With $19 billion in losses, finding a more affected online industry is difficult.

As it stands, security problems that lead to cryptocurrency losses are a regular occurrence. In some cases, threat actors profit from vulnerabilities in whichever software criminals target, but human mistakes are also part of the problem.

The report from Crystal Intelligence highlights that nearly $19 billion have been stolen through various means, including major hacks and scams, with the largest being the Plus Token fraud in 2019, involving $2.9 billion in one swoop.

However, one notable discovery, besides the sheer amount of stolen crypto, is the fact that the criminals' targets have begun to shift, with threat actors going after decentralized finance (DeFi).

"While early years were dominated by crypto exchange security breaches, recent times have seen more DeFi hacks and crypto frauds," the report found. "The year 2023 alone marked the highest number of theft incidents with 286 reported cases, totaling over $2.3 billion in losses."

"In contrast, 2022 holds the record for the costliest year, with nearly $4.2 billion lost to various crypto crimes. And to date, 2022 also saw the highest number of DeFi hacks with 132 reported incidents," researchers added.

This report makes it clear that criminals will continue to target this industry, now more than ever, for a very simple reason: the crypto ecosystem is getting larger with each passing day, which means that the attack surface is increasing as well.




Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between.

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