Blockchain hackers stole nearly $1.3 billion in Q1 2022

William S. | March 30, 2022

Despite the cryptocurrency price slump at the start of the year, cybercriminals were not resting at all. Attacks on various crypto projects and ecosystems brought millions of dollars to hackers and scammers.

According to the recent findings by the Atlas VPN team, blockchain hackers stole nearly $1.3 billion in 78 hack events throughout Q1 2022. In addition, hacks on Ethereum and Solana's ecosystems attributed to over $1 billion in losses alone during this quarter.

The data is based on the numbers provided by Slowmist Hacked, which collects information about disclosed attacks against blockchain projects. Monetary losses were calculated based on the conversion rate of a particular cryptocurrency at the time of a hack or scam event.

The Ethereum ecosystem lost nearly $636 million to attackers in 18 hack events throughout Q1 2022. The biggest hack of the quarter happened just at the end of March when the Axie Infinity sidechain Ronin Network experienced a security breach. Attackers stole 173,600 Ethereum and 25.5 million USDC worth $610 million.

The Solana ecosystem suffered 5 hack events and lost $397 million in 2022 Q1. Wormhole, a communication bridge between Solana and other DeFi networks, experienced the second most significant hack of the quarter. An attacker exploited a signature verification vulnerability in the network to mint 120K Wormhole-wrapped Ether on Solana, worth about $334 million.

Cybercriminals hacked projects in the Binance Smart Chain ecosystem 14 times, accumulating nearly $100 million in losses. The Qubit protocol was subjected to an attack by exploiting the QBridge deposit function. The exploit allowed the hacker to mint $80 million worth of xETH (xplosive Ethereum) collateral.

Other types of hacks on blockchain caused almost $57 million in losses throughout 10 events. IRA Financial Trust, which provides self-directed retirement accounts, lost $36 million to a crypto hack.

NFTs were the top target among cybercriminals with 20 hacks and nearly $49 million in losses. Some attackers use phishing attack methods on Discord to steal victims' NFTs. Furthermore, many scammers are launching NFT projects, which turn out to be rug pull scams.

Exchanges were hacked out of $42 million in just 3 events.

Blockchain hacks reach an all-time high

Ever so expanding blockchain industry is continuing to bring more and more investors. The growing market of cryptocurrencies entices not only legit people interested in the technology but also cybercriminals who want to exploit it.

Cryptocurrency projects experienced only 5 blockchain-related hack events in Q1 2018. Next year, in the first quarter of 2019, hacks increased by 1140% to 62. While in Q1 2020, hacks decreased to 13, in Q1 2021, blockchain-related breaches and scams jumped up by 154% to 33.

Blockchain-related hack events have reached an all-time high of 78 in Q1 2022. It represents a 136% increase in hacks compared to the first quarter of 2021. With the rise of new crypto ecosystems, cybercriminals get more targets they can exploit. In addition, the surging NFT trend attracted even more scammers to the industry.

The Ethereum ecosystem suffered 16 hack events in the 2021 and 18 breaches 2022 first quarters. That has made the ecosystem one of the most likely targets for hackers for two years in a row. Despite that, other ecosystems such as Solana and Binance Smart Chain had the biggest losses, which might entice cybercriminals to change their targets.

Blockchain project security should be one of the primary concerns for a person looking to invest in cryptocurrency. Most blockchain-related hack events happen because cybercriminals exploit flaws in the project code. A successful hack could cause significant losses to the creators and investors of the crypto platform.

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William S.

William S.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Focused on revealing the latest cybersecurity trends around the world.

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