Blockchain hackers have stolen over $13.6 billion in 330 hack events

Ruth C. | October 28, 2020

According to data analyzed by the Atlas VPN team, over a lifetime, hackers stole $13.6 billion through 330 blockchain hacks.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that allows data to be stored on thousands of servers worldwide while allowing anyone on the network to see everyone else's entries in near real-time. Blockchain is primarily used for recording transactions made with cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. However, it has many other applications as well.

Most successful in terms of the number of breaches were hacks targeting EOS DApps. EOS DApp providers faced 117 breaches, which make up almost 36% of all blockchain-related breaches. Together they amounted to $28.28 million in losses or approximately $241,785.8 per single breach.

EOS DApps are decentralized applications based on the EOS blockchain. Founded in 2017, EOS smart contract platform was created to provide a user-friendly and business-friendly infrastructure for creating DApps.

Next up are hacks aimed at cryptocurrency exchanges. In total, hackers launched 87 successful attacks aimed at crypto exchanges, collectively netting $4.82 billion or a whopping $55.41 million per hack.

Cryptocurrency exchanges are businesses which provide crypto holders with an opportunity to exchange their cryptos to other assets.

While there were significantly less successful hacks aimed at blockchain wallets, such breaches were the most profitable. Over the past 8 years, blockchain wallet providers faced 36 hacks, which together amounted to $7.19 billion in losses or around $199,932,146.7 per breach.

A blockchain wallet is a digital wallet where users can store and manage their cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain wallets are closely followed by Ethereum (ETH) Dapps in terms of the number of breaches. There were 33 successful hacks aimed at ETH Dapps, which cost victims $364.38 million — approximately $11,041,895.68 per hack.

Similarly to EOS DApps, ETH DApps are decentralized web applications backed by Ethereum smart contracts. Launched in 2015, Ethereum is the second most valuable blockchain project by market capitalization and one of the most well-known to the public after Bitcoin.

Blockchains themselves have not avoided cyber breaches. Since 2012, there have been 28 successful attacks aimed at different blockchains. Together criminals made $45.8 million from blockchain hacks — $1,635,716.23 per attack. Among targeted blockchains are Bitcoin Gold and Litecoin Cash.

Tron DApps have also been targeted by hackers. Cybercriminals launched 21 successful TronDApp attacks stealing $1.22 million or around $58,301.64 per breach.

Tron DApps are applications based on the Tron protocol. Founded in 2017, Tron is a blockchain-based decentralized platform with a goal to build a free, global digital content sharing system.

Finally, Ethereum-based tokens had the least amount of successful hacks. Hackers looted $1.14 billion from just 8 breaches collecting approximately $143,196,250 per breach. Ethereum based tokens are tokens designed and used solely on the Ethereum blockchain.

Blockchain-related hacks are on the decline

Since blockchain technology was first invented in 2009, it has gone through many stages — from the introduction of the first cryptocurrency Bitcoin to smart contract creation to the initial coin offering craze and beyond. However, blockchain hacks have evolved over the years as well.

The data from previous years shows that the number of blockchain-related hacks grew by 1450% from 2 registered breaches in 2012 H1 to 31 breaches in 2020 H1. In fact, the first half of 2020 saw more than ten times the amount of blockchain-related breaches than the entire year of 2012 when 3 blockchain breaches were registered.

However, the number of successful hacks in 2020 H1 dropped more than three times compared to the same period last year. Indeed, 2019 was a record year for blockchain hackers, who launched 94 successful blockchain attacks in the first half of the year alone and a total of 133 successful blockchain attacks in 2019 overall.

Since 2020 is not over, we can expect more blockchain-related breaches to happen before the end of the year. Nevertheless, based on the historical data, it seems that 2020 will not reach the record heights of last year, and blockchain hacks will remain on the decline.

Ruth C.

Ruth C.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Interested in cybercrime, online security, and privacy-related topics.



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