It is not a surprise for anyone : a lot of cryptocurrency is being stolen throughout the whole year. It has been since Bitcoin's creation in 2009 that these thefts in all kind are raging, even if a lot of cyber security societies are trying everyday to prevent these terrible and relentless robberies. Cryptocurrency and its technology are located on computers linked to internet which make it easy for hackers to steal cryptocurrency's wallets.
Despite the fact that the means deployed are increasingly important, it doesn't deter the most reckless and as a result since January 1st 2020 over $1.4 billion in crypto assets have been stolen. Let's jump into this sad story.
1. Does this theft business in the crypto world intensify over time ?
It is a sad observation but it seems that this is the case, in 2018 around $1.1 billion were stolen, last year over $4.1 billion and from January to May 2020 about $1.4 billion like I previously said. Thefts in the cryptocurrency aren't new, it actually started with the multiplication of the use of cryptocurrencies (especially Bitcoin) on the Dark Net, indeed because it was (and still is) almost untraceable for the authorities. As a result hackers saw the potential of cryptocurrencies and realized how "easier" it could be to steal, indeed Hot wallets are connected with internet and so allows hackers to get in via "basic hacker tricks".
As you might know COVID-19 changed and is changing our world, and unfortunately COVID-19 is kind of responsible concerning these thefts. During the quarantine people were a lot more on their computer and as a result the number of cryptocurrency's scam increased dramatically, users were attracted outside legitimate trading platforms through fraudulent emails or messages.
With this method hackers managed to directly obtain the crypto assets of the victim just by linking their wallet addresses. The society CipherTrace also stated that more "traditional" methods were used by hackers, revealing that a lot of people aren't being precocious for example a lot of them didn't use the double authentication factor (which is a really basic technique).
2. Let's talk cryptocurrency trading platforms and safety :
Although this huge amount was stolen it appears that the cryptocurrency trading platforms are receiving less and less assets deriving from illicit activities, CipherTrace estimates it around 0.18% of the total in 2019. It actually dropped by 49% in comparison of 2018, this statistic is the result of the increasing difficulty for hackers to sell their badly acquired cryptos. According to some analysts it is mainly due to the start of implementation of the FATF directives.
It shows that those platforms are developing methods in order to stop this wave of "dirty crypto", the law encourages these platforms to create better systems to fight against terrorist financing and money laundering. But issues remain regarding thefts, hackers are more and more clever and still manage to find solutions to sneak in these Hot wallets in order to steal its assets.
Concerning the safety of your assets it depends of your wallet, Hot wallet are connected to internet and as a result are the most vulnerable, all you can do is to find a strong password, activate double authentication factor, create a backup sentence and especially be careful when you use/spend you money or crypto assets.
If you have a big amount of crypto to store don't take risks and put them on an Hardware wallet (a Cold wallet), a device "off" the internet and safe as long as you own it. However some "smart" people still managed to find techniques and steal despite this "stronger" wallet, if you want more details about it go check my article about it.