The crypto space witnessed a tumultuous November, which marked a rise in illicit activities culminating in substantial financial losses.
Blockchain security company CertiK has reported that November 2023 has become the most “damaging” month of the year when it comes to cryptocurrency-related crimes. The total loss incurred is approximately $363 million, underscoring the challenges of the crypto industry.
This increase in criminal activities has once again highlighted the urgent need to improve security measures in the digital asset space. The main contributors to this unfortunate history were a series of exploits and attacks on various platforms.
Of the total amount, exploits accounted for a significant amount of $316.4 million, while flash loan attacks resulted in $45.5 million in damages. Additionally, different exit scams contributed to the theft of $1.1 million.
November Major Crypto Incidents: A Closer Look
Digging into the details, the biggest exploits of the month involved two major platforms: Poloniex and HTX/Heco Bridge, where the former lost $131.4 million and the latter lost $113.3 million. These incidents stand out for their magnitude and impact on overall trust in the crypto ecosystem.
Additionally, a single victim lost $27 million in a phishing attack, highlighting the sophistication and severity of individual cybercriminal attacks. Flash loan attacks, particularly the $45 million KyberSwap attack, accounted for almost all of the damage in this category during November.
These attacks, which exploit vulnerabilities in decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, have become increasingly frequent, posing significant challenges to the security of these platforms. Total losses for November 2023 surpassed the previous record of $329 million set in September, mainly attributed to the $200 million attack on Mixin Network.
On November 30, CertiK Alert posted the following on X:
“Combining all the incidents in November we’ve confirmed ~$363M lost to exploits, hacks and scams
This makes November the most damaging month this year
Exit scams were ~$1.1M
Flash loans were ~$45.5M
Exploits were ~$316.4M.”
Comparative Analysis: 2023 in Perspective
According to CertiK Alert, as of the end of November, cumulative losses from exploits, exit scams, and payday loan attacks in 2023 amount to approximately $1.7 billion. This figure makes up for only 54% of the total losses in 2022, a year in which $3.7 billion was drained due to similar incidents.
Comparatively, losses worth $1.7 billion were also recorded in 2021, according to CertiK analysis. These statistics highlight a trend of increasing attacks and vulnerabilities within the crypto space, underscoring the growing need for more effective security protocols and measures to safeguard investors’ assets.
In response to these concerns, some countries are taking proactive measures. For example, in August, Dubai announced the introduction of a new licensing program aimed at crypto service providers.
As reported by outlet media platforms, the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) proposed new guidelines for the marketing, advertising and promotion of cryptocurrencies, improving investor protection measures in the region.
Bulls Are Coming and Hackers Too.
Malicious actors stole $363 million in crypto assets during the “most damaging month” of 2023, according to blockchain security company CertiK. This represented a staggering 11-fold jump from the losses recorded in October.
An overwhelming 87% of stolen funds were due to exploits alone, while flash loan attacks resulted in 12.5% of total losses. Exit scams, which have become one of the biggest headaches in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space, siphoned off $1.1 million worth of cryptocurrency during November. The most shocking incident was an address that lost a whopping $27 million in a phishing scam.
By Audy Castaneda