Cryptocurrency market sees over 50% decline in hacks over 2023

Cryptocurrency hacks dropped by over half in 2023 compared to the previous year, indicating that heightened security measures and increased law enforcement scrutiny may be paying off.

According to research by TRM Labs and other blockchain security firms, cybercriminals stole roughly $1.85 billion in 2023, starkly contrasting the nearly $4 billion lost in hacks throughout 2022.

While the number of attacks remained steady at around 160, the value of stolen digital assets plummeted, indicating a significant improvement in the industry’s defenses.

Infrastructure Attacks Top the Charts

Infrastructure attacks, where hackers gain access to a system’s underlying infrastructure, were the most damaging types of hack in 2023. These attacks accounted for nearly 60% of the total amount stolen, with an average value of nearly $30 million per incident.

Some of the most notable infrastructure attacks of 2023 included the hacks against Euler Finance in March, Multichain in July, Mixin Network in September, and Poloniex in November. Each of these attacks exceeded $100 million in stolen funds.

A Multi-Pronged Approach to Security

TRM’s report attributed the decline in hack volumes to three key factors:

  • Improved industry security measures: Cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet providers have invested heavily in real-time transaction monitoring and anomaly detection systems, making it more difficult for hackers to slip through the cracks.
  • Increased law enforcement action: Law enforcement agencies worldwide have stepped up their focus on cybercrime involving digital currencies. This has led to quicker responses to hacking incidents and the recovery of stolen assets.
  • Greater industry coordination: Cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet providers, and blockchain networks are sharing information about vulnerabilities and threats more readily. This collaboration has made it harder for hackers to exploit systemic weaknesses.

Vigilance Remains Key

While the decline in hack volumes is encouraging, the cryptocurrency security landscape remains dynamic and unpredictable. The emergence of a new sophisticated threat could quickly reverse the positive trend.

“The industry and law enforcement agencies need to remain vigilant and adaptable,” Redbord said. “They need to constantly be on the lookout for new threats and be prepared to adjust their security measures accordingly.”

The success of the cryptocurrency industry in combating cybercrime will depend on its ability to maintain this multi-pronged approach to security. By continuously improving their defenses, collaborating with law enforcement, and sharing information, the industry can create a more secure user environment and foster greater trust in digital assets.

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