According to the US-based cyber security firm CipherTrace, in the nine months of this year, there has been $927 million cryptocurrency theft. This heist has mainly been conducted through hacking of cryptocurrencies exchanges and trade platform.
This year’s crypto heist has increased by about 250% compared to the same period in 2017. In 2017, hackers made away with at least $266 million digital currencies from exchanges.
The CipherTrace tabled this report on Wednesday, October 10th. The report goes into details of the online criminal activities and money laundering, showing a steadily growing of smaller kleptomaniacs within the $20 – $60 million range, which totals to $173 million as per the third quarter of 2018.
The recent surge in bitcoin’s popularity among other more than 1,600 other digital coins and tokens has drawn a lot of interest not just from the general public. But also hackers who see it as an expanding field to steal from the increased number of users online on particularly keen on cybersecurity.
“The regulators are still a couple of years behind because there are only a few countries that have really applied strong anti-money laundering laws,” said Dave Jevans, the CEO of CipherTrace during an interview with Reuters.
Jevans is also chairing the Anti-Phishing Working Group, an international organization that endeavors to curb cyber crimes across the globe. He believes that there are at least 50% criminal activities unearthed in the report. For instance, the report talks about a $60 million cryptocurrency heist that went unreported.
The report also shows that the world’s top cryptocurrency exchange platforms from countries with weak anti-money laundering policies have been used to launder at least $2.5 billion worth of bitcoin since 2009. The report analyzed the top 20 virtual currency exchanges platforms in the world; though they did not mention the names of the exchanges.
In the report, the money-laundered funds represent transaction the CipherTrace has directly monitored and identified to be criminal and highly suspect. CipherTrace data crunched about 350 million transactions from the 20 top exchanges and discovered 100 million being counterparties. The firm then cross-checked the 100 million transactions with its own data on criminal activities.
The exchanges have also been used to but 236,979 bitcoins worth of criminal activity services. That is about $1.5 billion in current prices.
“All exchanges get these money-laundered funds. You really can’t stop them. And here’s the reason why. We learn about the criminal stuff often times after it actually happened. So there’s no way to know in real time. You can know 80-90% of the time, but it’s impossible to know 100%,” said Jevans.