Criminal attacks have increased on crypto entities since 2020; data from Chainalysis and other sources points to billions of dollars lost to bad actors. In 2023, the trend has continued, with attacks on the nascent industry increasing in the past few months.
Crypto Exchanges Under Siege
According to a local report, South Korean-based crypto exchange Upbit suffered over 160,000 hacking attempts in the first half of 2023. The company provided this information to the country’s National Assembly via their Science, Technology, Information, Broadcasting and Communications Committee.
The data provided by crypto exchange coincides with that of Chainalysis and other sources: the industry has been getting more and more cyber attacks over the years. In the second half of 2020, Upbit recorded around 8,300 attacks.
In contrast, the company saw over 34,000 hacking attempts a little over six months later. By late 2021, the company suffered over 90,000 attacks, almost ten times the previous year’s.
This trend continued, and in 2022, Upbit saw as many as 73,249 hacking attempts in the first half of the year alone. A similar figure was recorded in the second half, up to around 150,000 hacking attempts.
In 2023, the total number of attacks were registered in the first half, as mentioned. These attacks have cost the company millions of dollars in damage.
South Korea Should Protect Its Exchanges?
A spokesperson for the exchange, the report claims, indicates that the trading venue has been taking steps to increase its security. The company has become more reliant on cold hardware wallets disconnected from the internet and storing their private keys on separate hardware.
The spokesperson indicated:
After the hacking incident in 2019, we took various measures to prevent recurrence, such as distributing hot wallets and operating them, and to date, not a single cyber breach has occurred.
Representative Park Seong-Jung, a member of the Committee and South Korea’s People Power Party, urged the country to take measures to support crypto exchanges to withstand these attacks. Upbit and other South Korean exchanges could face half a million in cyber attack attempts if the trend continues.
The financial impact for these companies could be devasting. The South Korean government’s role in this situation remains “ambiguous,” Representative Park believes, contributing to the status quo and the crypto exchange’s situation.
Cover image from Unsplash, chart from Tradingview