Cryptocurrency exchanges are used for working with digital assets, trading. Many of them offer internal coin storage wallets. Cryptocurrency turnover reaches millions of dollars per day. Attracts scammers, lovers of easy money. Site owners pay serious attention to safety. At the same time, successful hacker attacks periodically occur, which lead to the loss of their savings by the users of the crypto exchange.
The reason for the popularity of sites among hackers is the ability to access the wallets of thousands of users.
In total, during the period of active use of cryptocurrencies in the world, 46 exchanges have been subjected to hacker attacks (successful). Of this number, 19 sites were hacked in 2019. Since then, the number of attacks has decreased slightly, but such cases still occur regularly. In 2021, the owners of crypto platforms took security seriously and the number of successful attacks dropped significantly. However, it has not yet been possible to completely eradicate hacks.
So, in October 2021, the second-largest exchange, Coinbase, was attacked. More than six thousand people were affected; hackers were active in the period from March to May. Accounts were hacked through a vulnerability in the access recovery function.
In the summer of 2021, the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Liquid was attacked. Assets totaling $100 million were stolen (BTC, XRP, TRX, ETH).
- the total amount of stolen money from cryptocurrency exchanges is $2.6 billion (since 2012);
- violation of the security regime led to successful attacks on 46 sites;
- most often, hacks were carried out by getting private keys into the hot wallet of the crypto-exchange;
- hardware wallets provide maximum security, you cannot trust the exchanges 100% yet.
It is worth noting that cryptocurrency exchanges do not always report hacker attacks to the general public. Such facts affect the reputation of the site, user confidence, and resource income.
The most famous successful hacker attacks on crypto exchanges
Among the TOP-10 largest hacks of cryptocurrency platforms are not only the largest in terms of funds but also the most impressive in scale and fame.
In 2014, the Japanese cryptocurrency platform was attacked, as a result, $460 million was stolen. The platform could not continue its work after that and in 2014 it ceased to exist. The victims have filed a lawsuit, but have not yet received compensation.
By the way, at the beginning of its activity, in 2011, the exchange was also attacked by hackers, bitcoins worth $8.75 million were stolen. At that time, it was the largest cryptocurrency platform in the world.
In 2016, hackers hacked the Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange and stole over $72 million. To compensate for the losses of depositors, the site issued BFX tokens. They were received by the affected users. Tokens could be sold or exchanged for securities. In this case, some of the perpetrators were found and arrested. We also managed to recover some of the stolen money.
A cryptocurrency platform from South Korea was attacked by hackers in early 2017. They managed to withdraw cryptocurrencies for a total of $80 million. In the summer of 2018, the same site again found itself in the center of a scandal. Hackers stole $32 million worth of digital assets.
Cryptocurrency exchange from Japan. In 2018, hackers stole $533 million worth of NEM cryptocurrency. The platform paid compensation to the affected users and ceased its activities. The attack used hot wallets through which hackers distributed malware.
The Italian site was damaged in early 2018. Hackers stole Nano tokens in the amount of $170 million. In order to return the stolen funds to the users of the exchange, the funds of the site itself were arrested by a court decision. The exchange went bankrupt.
Founded in 2013, the Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange ran until 2020 without too many problems. But in September it was attacked by hackers who managed to withdraw over $280 million. At the same time, the site managed to return $240 million as a result of its own investigation. This is one of the most successful investigations that ended positively.
The largest exchange in the world has always been under the scrutiny of malefactors. In 2019, hackers were able to steal $40 million worth of cryptocurrencies. This is not the biggest theft, but the case clearly shows that even the grandees have security problems.
The South Korean site was once the world’s largest in terms of daily transactions. The hackers organized a large-scale cyberattack and withdrew assets worth $45 million. It is noteworthy that only one transaction was carried out for this (unlike other cases). The identities of the attackers were identified.
Another Japanese cryptocurrency platform. In the fall of 2018, a hacker attack was organized on it, and hot wallets were again under attack. The total losses amounted to $60 million. To compensate for the losses, the owners of the exchange used the services of investors, who received a controlling stake for this.
The exchange from Singapore is one of the largest in the world. In the spring of 2019, cybercriminals stole $105 million worth of cryptocurrency. The site owners tried to hide the fact of theft under the guise of technical problems.
In August 2021, the hacker Mr. White Hat organized an attack and stole digital assets worth $600 million. Later he returned part of the funds, leaving himself $33 million. By the way, the owners of the exchange paid the hacker a bonus of $500 thousand, allegedly for a refund and an identified security problem.