Blockchain hackers stole over $3.5 billion in 2022
Blockchain technology has garnered a great deal of attention in recent years for its potential to revolutionise a wide range of industries.
One of the key selling points of blockchain is its security. The technology’s decentralised nature should make it resistant to tampering and fraud. However, as with any technology, blockchain is not immune to hacking.
According to the data collected by the Atlas VPN team, blockchain hackers stole over $3.5 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in 2022.
Blockchain bridges and Binance Smart Chain (BSC) ecosystem were the prime targets of cybercriminals, as combined, they lost over $2 billion in 92 hacks and scams. A blockchain bridge is a mechanism that enables the transfer of assets or data between different blockchain networks.
The data is based on the numbers provided by Slowmist Hacked, which collects information about disclosed attacks against blockchain projects. Monetary losses were calculated based on the conversion rate of a particular cryptocurrency at the time of a hack or scam event.
Blockchain bridges lost $1.2 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in just 16 events. Bridges are a new category, as we have not analysed it before, so some hacks from earlier in the year were moved here for a more accurate blockchain hack landscape.
Ronin Network sidechain bridge suffered the biggest hack of the year, as the attacker walked away with $610 million.
Furthermore, the BSC ecosystem lost over $870 million in 76 attacks or scams in 2022. In October, a hacker stole about $588 million in an attack on BNBChain, the second-biggest hack of the year. The Ethereum ecosystem is not far behind, with 49 events resulting in losses of more than $500 million in cryptocurrencies.
Other crypto-related projects and people were victims of 48 hacks, causing nearly $370 million in losses. Attackers hacked the Solana ecosystem 12 times last year and stole $196 million. Moreover, 57 hacks and scams in the NFT space resulted in nearly $90 million in losses.
Other crypto ecosystems, exchanges, or wallets also suffered significant losses ranging from $70 to $8 million. In addition, it is worth mentioning that while we did not include the FTX collapse that lost more than $8 billion of its customers’ money, it is considered a fraudulent exchange by most crypto experts.
Blockchain hacks are on the rise
Despite the fall of the crypto market in 2022, cybercriminals are still targeting blockchain networks and exchanges for their financial gain. As blockchain technology becomes more widespread, the potential for profit from hacking these systems becomes even more significant.
In 2022, cybercriminals and scammers caused a total of 301 blockchain incidents. Last year hacks rose by 27% compared to 2021, when researchers registered 237 blockchain events. While there were fewer hacks in the second half of 2022, the total number at the end of the year is still an all-time high.
The first quarter of 2022 started strong with 79 blockchain incidents, the most recorded in a quarter at that time. Not only that, but also, during this quarter, attackers stole more than $1.2 billion worth of cryptocurrencies.
However, in the second quarter, hacks were up by 24% and reached new heights at 98 events. Despite that, cybercriminals stole more than $800 million from blockchain, less money than in Q1.
Due to the fallen prices of most crypto, blockchain hacks have dipped significantly to 56 events in the third quarter, a 43% drop compared to Q2. While the crypto market is still down, blockchain hackers and scammers came back with more schemes in the last quarter of the year, with 68 incidents and more than $1 billion in stolen profit.
As the use of blockchain technology continues to grow and become more mainstream, we can expect to see a corresponding increase in the number of hacking attempts targeting these systems.