Recent reports from the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) show that USD 1.2 billion in cryptocurrencies has been stolen since the beginning of 2017. Less than 20% of the stolen funds have been recovered.
Bitcoin received a massive influx of popularity in 2017 due to price increases up to USD 20,000, which has brought attention to this sector. Over 1,500 alternative cryptocurrencies have emerged as well, with some of the biggest thefts coming from altcoins.
“One problem that we’re seeing in addition to the criminal activity like drug trafficking and money laundering using cryptocurrencies is the theft of these tokens by bad guys,” Dave Jevans, CEO of cryptocurrency security firm CipherTrace, told Reuters in an interview.
Ethereum alone has seen millions lost in hacks. The Ether stolen from the DAO hack would now be worth USD 2 billion but was an event in 2016. Even so, the Ethereum community went through many hardships in 2017 due to Parity hacks.
Despite the massive losses, Bitcoin has taken quite a beating as well. Last year saw Nicehash being hacked and many users are still experiencing the aftermath of Bitfinex and Mt Gox.
But NEM takes the cake with the Coincheck hack earlier this year, which saw USD 500 million worth of the tokens being stolen from a Japanese exchange.
The EU’s new GDPR will make it harder for Bitcoin companies to function in the future, and will also enable further thefts and hackings in the future Jevans said.
“GDPR will negatively impact the overall security of the internet and will also inadvertently aid cybercriminals,” said Mr Jevans. “By restricting access to critical information, the new law will significantly hinder investigations into cybercrime, cryptocurrency theft, phishing, ransomware, malware, fraud and crypto-jacking,” he added.
The chairman for APWG predicts more cybercriminals will move to Europe and exploit GDPR. Many cryptocurrency projects are based in Europe, due to the United States’ strict and sometimes ambiguous regulations regarding crypto. This makes them easy targets for hackers, due to proximity to servers.
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