In 2022, the cryptocurrency sector suffered about a hundred computer attacks. By targeting the most fragile decentralized finance protocols, hackers have made off with billions of dollars…and they don’t plan to stop there.
The world of cryptocurrency comes to life a very complicated year. As some major players bit the dust, the number of hacks exploded. Last year, blockchain security experts at Beosin identified 167 major attacks targeting Web services 3. During these attacks, 3.6 billion dollars were distributed by hackers. This is an increase of 47.4% compared to 2021.
“Blockchain Crime […] has seen a significant increase compared to 2021″explains Beosin in its annual report.
Several studies confirm Beosin’s observation. Since the first half of last year, Chainalysis, one of the specialists in blockchain analysis, noticed a sharp increase in piracy. In six months, hackers stole $1.9 billion worth of digital assets.
Favorite targets of hackers in 2022
Unsurprisingly, it is above all decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols that have suffered the most attacks. Beosin counts 113 hacks of DeFi services, more than 65% of the attacks identified last year. DeFi projects lost a total of $950 million to hackers in 2022.
Among the favorite targets of hackers are also bridges. A cryptocurrency bridge, also referred to as a gateway, allows assets to be transferred from one chain to another. These protocols are currently essential to the functioning of the ecosystem, fragmented in an ocean of networks. During these operations, attackers exploit a security flaw discovered in the protocol to remove funds in transit.
Beosin has identified 12 major bridge attacks in 2022. These dozens of incidents resulted in the disappearance of 1.89 billion dollars. Bridges are the most profitable targets for pirates. These attacks are also part of the top 10 hacks of last year.
The Ronin hack, a parallel network to the Ethereum blockchain, remains last year’s most profitable hack. By the end of the attack, which took place in March, the thieves made off with $624 million. The funds were stolen through the bridge that connects the Ronin blockchain to other blockchains. The North Korean hackers of the Lazarus group allegedly instigated the entire operation. We should also mention the hacking of Wormhole (326 million), Nomad (190 million) or even Harmony (100 million dollars).
After the hacks, the funds are usually transferred to a cryptocurrency mixing service, which makes it possible to anonymize transactions and cover their tracks. Tornado Cash, one of the industry’s leading mixers, saw 38.7% of all funds hacked in 2022, or $1,396 million. Blacklisted by the United States last summer, Tornado Cash has seen a decline in transfers, in favor of alternative solutions.
No rest for pirates in 2023
The trend is expected to continue in 2023. Asked by CoinTelegraphTommy Deng, CEO of Beosin, believes that hackers will continue to attack decentralized financial infrastructures in the future:
“As long as there is interest in the cryptocurrency market, the number of hackers will not decrease”.
To protect against cybercriminals, the expert recommends Web3 developers to be extra careful. According to him, many DeFi protocols ” don’t pass comprehensive security testing before going live”. De facto, pirates are the first to discover potential flaws security… and definitely don’t hesitate to exploit them to the detriment of users.
“2022 has been a difficult year for blockchain security in general, and there are higher and more pressing demands in 2023”declares Beos, contrite “Industry Shortage”.
CertiK, a company specializing in security audits of blockchain-based projects, shares Beosin’s analysis. For Certic, “so we don’t anticipate any deadlines”. The firm adds that Crypto-asset gateways will remain prime targets criminals. New attacks are expected to be organized by hacker groups, despite the fact that the bear market will continue.