Crypto Theft Loss Reached $4.4B By September

The rising value of crypto assets sparked new attacks, with Plus Token at the lead.

The recovery in the crypto market has re-sparked interest in attacks and schemes to divert valuable crypto assets. Cipher Trace, a blockchain analytics startup, estimates that up to $4.4 billion’s worth of assets.

“The 150% increase in crypto theft and fraud reflects how criminals are adapting for bigger and better scores,” Dave Jevans, CipherTrace chief executive officer, said for Reuters.

The bear market in all of 2018 led to thefts and heists to the tune of $1.7 billion. The reason was not only the higher price of assets, but also the greater number of hacks. The latest heist took out 342,000 ETH in a single transaction, affecting the Korean exchange Upbit. The hacker is also moving the funds around, and testing with small-scale selling on Huobi.

Exit scams and schemes are more common, and the attacks seem well thought out and planned, CipherTrace discovered.

“Today’s attackers are patient and willing to spend more time waiting for a payout,” said Jevans.

“Not only have we seen more and more $100 million thefts and scams, those responsible are acting carefully, only cashing out small amounts to stay under the radar.”

The other large-scale loss involved the QuadrigaCX exchange. This time, the loss was not due to a hack, but latest revelations show the market may have functioned at a deficit for a long time, while co-founder Gerald Cotten used some of the funds for personal enrichment.

CipherTrace also tracks illegal crypto usage, already expanding its tracking to 700 coins and tokens. The startup is aiming to educate the crypto space about upcoming money-laundering procedures that may affect on-chain transactions, as regulators learn about the record-keeping capabilities of blockchains. CipherTrace also noted that out of 120 surveyed international exchanges, 65% had some weakness in their KYC procedure.

Small-scale crypto scams are also making the rounds, collecting limited crypto payments. Mining malware is still active, despite the lowered prices of Monero (XMR).

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