Last year was a record one for crypto hackers, according to a new report from New York–based research firm Chainalysis.
The firm reported that US$3.8 billion was stolen from cryptocurrency businesses in 2022, marking a record loss.
“Hacking activity ebbed and flowed throughout the year, with huge spikes in March and October,” it said, noting that October was the biggest month ever for crypto hacking, with US$775.7 million stolen in 32 separate attacks.
The biggest target of hackers was decentralized finance protocols, it said, noting that they accounted for 82.1% of all the crypto stolen during the year, up from 73.3% in 2021.
Hackers with ties to North Korea were the leading perpetrators of crypto hacks last year, it said, estimating that they stole US$1.7 billion during the year.
“North Korea–linked hackers such as those in cybercriminal syndicate Lazarus Group have been by far the most prolific cryptocurrency hackers over the last few years,” it said, adding that North Korea was one of the driving forces behind the decentralized finance hacking trend that intensified in 2022.