The number of successful hacks taking place in the first half of 2020 was approximately three times less than the number that took place during the same period the year before, the research shows.
“Indeed, 2019 was a record year for blockchain hackers, who launched 94 successful blockchain attacks in the first half of the year alone and a total of 133 successful blockchain attacks in 2019 overall,” according to Atlas. “Since 2020 is not over, we can expect more blockchain-related breaches to happen before the end of the year. Nevertheless, based on the historical data, it seems that 2020 will not reach the record heights of last year, and blockchain hacks will remain on the decline.”
According to Investopedia, some notable attacks from 2019, a record-setting year, included $195 million lifted from the Italian exchange BitGrail as well as ones against South Korean exchanges Bithumb and Coinrail, which were ripped off within weeks of each other for $30 million and $37.2 million, respectively.
Also notable, in 2018, Japanese exchange Coincheck suffered a massive $534 million NEM coin attack. According to Investopedia, Lon Wong, president of the NEM Foundation, called the attacked “the biggest theft in the history of the world.”
The Atlas VPN report shows there had never been more than three successful hacks in the first half of any year between 2012 and 2017, however, in 2018 there were 22 and in 2019 there were 94. While the drop to 31 is a drastic reduction compared to previous years, it is still much more than the number of successful attacks that took place as blockchain technology was first being explored.
“Since blockchain technology was first invented in 2009, it has gone through many stages—from the introduction of the first cryptocurrency Bitcoin to smart contract creation to the initial coin offering craze and beyond. However, blockchain hacks have evolved over the years as well,” reads the report.
"Centralized blockchain projects might have better UX to end users, but have 3rd party risk and prone to hacks. However, financial infrastructure on a decentralized blockchain will disrupt wall street and silicon valley."
Since Atlas VPN has been keeping track of the data, hackers have successfully pulled off 330 separate blockchain attacks. Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology is used mainly for recording cryptocurrency transactions but has other uses as well. Data is stored on thousands of servers across the globe and everyone on the network can see everyone else’s transactions in real-time, explains Atlas.
The Atlas VPN report notes EOS DApps were successfully targeted the most of any other type of blockchain-related breach, however the amount taken from those attacks was a relatively small at $28.28 million.
On the other hand, cryptocurrency exchanges were hit the next most frequently with 87 successful attacks. Those attacks, though, were far more lucrative. They netted $4.82 billion total or $55.41 million each successful hack, notes the report.
“While there were significantly less successful hacks aimed at blockchain wallets, such breaches were the most profitable. Over the past 8 years, blockchain wallet providers faced 36 hacks, which together amounted to $7.19 billion in losses or around $199,932,146.7 per breach,” according to Atlas VPN.