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Blockchain-related hacks cost victims $3.8 billion in 2020

By Valentina Perez

The year 2020 had much going on. A global pandemic brought fear and uncertainty not only into our physical but also digital lives, and cybercriminals were quick to take advantage of it. They picked blockchain projects as one of their targets.

The Atlas VPN team found that in 2020, blockchain hackers launched 122 attacks stealing $3.78 billion, even though blockchain-related hacks dropped for the first time in the last five years.

ETH DApps, decentralised apps built on the Ethereum smart contract, were cybercriminals’ favourite target last year. In 2020, cybercriminals launched 47 attacks aimed at DApps, netting around $436.36 million. 

Cryptocurrency exchanges were also highly attacked. In 2020, cryptocurrency exchanges were hacked 28 times and cost victims $300.15 million. 

Blockchain wallets, however, proved to be the most profitable prey. Together, criminals looted $3.03 billion in 27 blockchain wallet attacks.

Other popular cybercriminal targets include different blockchains, EOS, and Tron DApps, and Ethereum-based tokens. Together they account for the remaining 20 attacks and $18.76 million in losses. 

The January 12th, 2021 conversation rate was used to calculate monetary losses.

Blockchain-related hacks declined in 2020

While it seems that blockchain projects experienced quite a few attacks in 2020, blockchain-related attacks actually dropped for the first time in the last five years. The number went down by 8%, from 133 hacks in 2019 to 122 last year. 

Cybercriminals launched 52 attacks aimed at blockchain exchanges, wallets, apps, and tokens in the third quarter of 2020 — more than in any other quarter. The first quarter of the year was the calmest and saw only 13 hacks.

While cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are booming, blockchain projects remain an attractive target for cybercriminals. The year 2021 has only started, and several blockchain hacks have been already reported. 

Nevertheless, only time will tell if blockchain-related hacks will remain on the decline or if we are yet to see a new wave of cyberattacks targeting blockchain projects.