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Cybercriminals stole $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in 2018

Cybercriminals stole $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in 2018
  • Scams resulted in the loss of $725 million worth of cryptocurrencies both from investors and exchange users.
  • Of these scams, a cryptocurrency exit scam exploiting ICOs, was found to be a favorite among the perpetrators.

Cryptocurrency hack has hit a new low. Bad actors have managed to steal $1.7 billion in cryptocurrencies from investors in 2018.

According to a new report from CipherTrace, theft from cryptocurrency exchanges accounted for more than $950 million worth of cryptocurrencies. This represents 3.6 times more than that recorded in 2017 ($266 million).

"These numbers only represent the loot from crypto crimes that CipherTrace can validate; we have little doubt that the true number of crypto asset losses is much larger," said Dave Jevans, CEO of CipherTrace, CNBC reported.

The research further found that scams resulted in the loss of $725 million worth of cryptocurrencies both from investors and exchange users. Various scams such as fraudulent ICOs, phony exchange hacks and Ponzi schemes were leveraged to steal cryptocurrencies from the owners.

ICO scams top the chart

Of these scams, a cryptocurrency exit scam was found to be a favorite among the hackers. The scam involves scammers pretending as the promoters of an ICO-backed company and informing the users that they cannot return users’ assets - and then abscond with the money.

Apart from the scam, the report has also cited other crypto threats. This includes SIM Swapping, Crypto dusting, sanction evasion, lightning network transactions, decentralized stable coins, crypto robbing ransomware and more.

Commenting on the evolving nature of cybercriminals, Jevans said, “Cryptocurrency criminal activity continues to evolve and accelerate. Fortunately, pending global legislation will hamstring many criminals, global gangs, and terrorist groups by greatly reducing their opportunities to launder.”

The report suggests that there should be tough cybersecurity laws in order to keep such hackers and scammers at bay.

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