Cryptocurrencies had a strong start this year, with crypto asset prices, such as Bitcoin, reaching record-heights. However, that caught the attention of cybercriminals.
The Atlas VPN team found that cybercriminals stole around $108.3 million from various blockchain projects in the first quarter of 2021 — a 46% rise from the same period last year. Ethereum DApps, blockchain wallets, and cryptocurrency exchanges were the criminals’ target of choice.
Ethereum DApps were the target of choice for criminals
Ethereum (ETH) DApps were the most popular among cybercriminals in the first quarter of 2021. They were affected by a total of 11 breaches and 5 scam events, which amounted to over $86 million in losses.
Blockchain wallets were also commonly attacked. There were nine blockchain wallet breaches recorded in the first three months of this year, as well as one scam event and two blackmail cases. In total, they cost victims approximately $19.3 million.
Finally, cryptocurrency exchanges had 4 breaches and 1 scam event. Together cybercriminals collected around $2.9 million from cryptocurrency exchanges in 2021 Q1.
Blockchain-linked hacks are on the rise again
In 2020, blockchain-related breaches declined for the first time in the past five years. However, a new year brings new challenges, and it seems that in 2021 blockchain-related breaches are on the rise once again.
The first quarter of 2021 already saw 33 blockchain breaches, including scams, affecting Ethereum DApps, blockchain wallets, and cryptocurrency exchanges. It signifies a 154% rise compared to Q1 of 2020, when 13 blockchain breaches were detected.
However, the number of blockchain-linked breaches in Q1 of 2021 is still almost two times lower than in the record year of 2019. In the first quarter of 2019 alone, 62 blockchain breaches were detected.
Ruth Cizynski, the cybersecurity researcher and writer at Atlas VPN, shared her thoughts on the situation: “Due to their nature, blockchain projects remain profitable targets to cybercriminals because fraudulent transactions cannot be reversed as they may be in the traditional financial system. With cryptocurrencies continuing to boom, it is safe to say that we can expect more hacks to pour in by the end of this year. ”