Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis said 2022 was the “biggest year ever for crypto hacking,” with $3.8 billion stolen from the cryptocurrency business. The firm added that hacking of decentralized financial (defi) protocols accounted for 82.1% of all cryptocurrencies stolen by hackers that year.
Crypto hacking hit a record high in 2022
Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis released a portion of its upcoming 2023 Crypto Crime Report on April 2, stating.
2022 was the biggest year ever for crypto hacking, with $3.8 billion stolen from cryptocurrency businesses.
The company explained that crypto hacking activity increased significantly in March and peaked in October – a month that “saw $775.7 million stolen in 32 separate attacks, making it the largest single month ever for cryptocurrency hacking,” Chainalysis explained.
The company added that “82.1% of all cryptocurrencies stolen by hackers, totaling $3.1 billion” came from decentralized financial (Defi) hacks. Noting that this percentage was up from 73.3% in 2021, the company noted that 64%, or $3.1 billion, came specifically from cross-chain bridge protocols.
Chainalysis also noted that “hackers associated with North Korea . . have been far more cryptocurrency hackers over the past few years,” elaborating.
In 2022, they broke their own record for theft, stealing an estimated $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency over several hacks we have attributed to them.
Additionally, a blockchain analytics firm stated that hackers associated with North Korea stole $1.1 billion of that amount from the defi protocol, making North Korea “one of the driving forces behind the defi hacking trend that intensified in 2022.” In addition to the defi protocol, Chainalysis noted that “hackers associated with North Korea also tend to send large sums of money to mixers, which are usually key to their money laundering.”
The company further elaborates that “for most of 2021 and 2022, hackers associated with North Korea used Tornado Cash almost exclusively to launder cryptocurrency stolen in hacks.” Tornado Cash, an Ethereum mixer, was sanctioned by the U.S. government last August.
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