The amount of cyberattacks, big thefts and money laundering activities is rapidly arising within the cryptocommunity, and it can hardly be stopped. According to the latest research made by U.S.-based cybersecurity firm CipherTrace, which was released on Wednesday, October 10, hackers stole $927 million from the cryptocurrency exchanges during the first nine months of 2018. By the end of this year this scaring number is about to grow up to $1 billion.
In comparison to the preceding year of 2017, the total amount of losses indicated this year is 3.5 times higher – an unprecedented increase of about 250 percent. The recent study also revealed that 97 percent of direct bitcoin payments from criminals went to exchanges in countries with weak anti-money laundering laws, which have laundered a significant amount of bitcoin, totaling 380,000 BTC or $2.5 billion at current prices.
One of the biggest cyber attacks of the year was recorded in September. A Japanese licensed cryptocurrency exchange Zaif fell the victim of hackers and reportedly lost about $60 million in bitcoins. Among other major attacks can be recalled two South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges. In June, over $40 million was stolen from Coinrail exchange and over $30 million from Bithumb.
But apart from big hacks highlighted in the press, the CipherTrace research also demontrated a rapidly growing number of smaller thefts ranging between $20 million and $60 million, but totaling a significant amount of $166 million since the company’s previous report made in the second quarted of 2018.
According to CipherTrace:
“This data indicates a pattern of smaller robberies on a regular basis and sophisticated professional cyber thieves who carry out hacks at both the exchange and platform levels by capitalizing on exposed vulnerabilities, as well as by socially engineering employees who work at these companies.”
Some governments from around the globe are beginning to take this factor under consideration and to solve the existing problem by strengthening Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations. By the end of 2018, the number of countries with stricter mesures related to cryptoexchanges is expected to grow significantly, as the scaring tendency is not going to stop.
Dave Jevans, CipherTrace CEO and the chairman of the global anti-cyber crime organization, commented:
“All exchanges get these money-laundered funds. You really can’t stop them. This extensive research shows that regulation does have a direct correlation in hindering criminal activity, and we are on the right track to instill further trust in the crypto ecosystem. We will see the opportunities to launder cryptocurrencies greatly reduced in the coming 18 months as cryptocurrency AML regulations are rolled out globally.”
Cipher Trace represents itself a U.S.-based cybersecurity firm, which develops cryptocurrency AML, cryptocurrency forensics, and blockchain threat intelligence solutions. The company was founded in 2015 by experienced Silicon Valley entrepreneurs with deep expertise in cybersecurity, eCrime, payments, banking, encryption, and virtual currencies. Initially funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) and DARPA, Chipher Trace is currently backed by leading Silicon Valley venture capital investors.