In 2023, hackers continued their cryptocurrency theft spree, but for the first time since 2020, the trend witnessed a downturn, according to reports from crypto security firms De.FI and TRM Labs. The aggregated amount stolen amounted to approximately $2 billion across numerous cyberattacks and thefts. De.FI, known for its REKT database, highlighted significant incidents such as the largest-ever breach in history, where hackers stole over $600 million in crypto from the Ronin network in 2022. Another substantial hack occurred against Mixin Network in 2023, resulting in hackers netting around $200 million.
De.FI’s report underscores the persistent vulnerabilities and challenges within the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem. Despite the industry’s ongoing efforts to address security issues, the report emphasizes that 2023 served as a testament to both ongoing vulnerabilities and the progress made in addressing them. The firm noted that the interest in the DeFi space was relatively muted in the first half of the year, reflecting the ongoing bear market. TRM Labs estimated the total crypto stolen by hackers in 2023 at about $1.7 billion as of mid-December, aligning with De.FI’s findings.
Some of the notable crypto thefts of the year included the hack against Euler Finance, where hackers stole almost $200 million, as well as major incidents involving Multichain ($126 million), BonqDAO ($120 million), Poloniex ($114 million), and Atomic Wallet ($100 million), among others. The decline in the trend, compared to the previous year, could be attributed to strides made in addressing security concerns within the crypto and decentralized finance sectors. However, the industry remains a lucrative target for cybercriminals, prompting the need for continued vigilance and enhanced security measures.
Last year, Chainalysis reported a record $3.8 billion stolen by cybercriminals in the crypto space. While 2023 saw a decrease, the report warns that the poor security implementation in many crypto and web3 projects, coupled with their substantial monetary value, makes them an ongoing and attractive target for hackers. The unpredictable nature of the crypto landscape raises concerns about the potential for continued targeting by hackers in 2024.