Even though the markets have clearly been declining in the last period, 2022 was one of the worst years for the crypto world regarding as far as hacks and exploits are concerned.
The industry recorded losses of about $2.8 billion, a figure not seen since as far back as 2013.
47% of these funds were stolen using various hacking and exploit methodologies.
Cryptocurrency has been one of the most significant technological innovations of recent times.
It has the potential to change the way the world operates by offering decentralized, secure and fast financial transactions.
However, the same features that make cryptocurrencies so attractive also make them a prime target for cyber attacks. In this article, we will examine the most malicious methods of cryptocurrency hacks and exploits that occurred in 2022.
The most frequent hacks and exploits in the crypto sector in 2022
Phishing scams remain one of the most popular methods used by hackers to steal cryptocurrencies. It is a type of social engineering attack in which the hacker poses as a trusted entity and induces the victim to provide his or her private information, including cryptocurrency wallet credentials.
In 2022, phishing scams were particularly prevalent on social media platforms, where hackers posed as well-known cryptocurrency exchanges and offered free coins to induce users to provide their information.
Malware attacks are another common method of cryptocurrency theft. In these attacks, the hacker infects the victim’s device with malware designed specifically to steal cryptocurrencies.
The malware can steal the victim’s private information, monitor their online activity, and even manipulate their transactions to steal their funds. In 2022, several cases of malware attacks causing large losses to cryptocurrency users were reported.
Cryptocurrency exchanges are the backbone of the cryptocurrency industry.
They provide users with a platform to buy, sell and store their cryptocurrencies.
However, these exchanges are also prime targets for hackers because of the large amounts of cryptocurrency that are stored on their servers.
In 2022, several well-known cryptocurrency exchanges were hacked, resulting in the theft of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies. This not only caused significant financial losses for users, but also resulted in a loss of confidence in the security of cryptocurrency exchanges.
The 51% attack is a type of attack that occurs on a decentralized network such as a blockchain. In this attack, a group of miners gains control of 51% of the network’s computing power and uses it to manipulate the network’s transactions.
This can lead to the theft of cryptocurrencies and the cancellation of legitimate transactions.
In 2022, several small-scale cryptocurrencies were affected by 51% attacks, resulting in significant losses to their users.
Exploitation of smart contracts
Smart contracts are self-executing contracts built on the blockchain. They are designed to be tamper-proof and secure, but like any code, they can contain vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers.
Several high-profile smart contract exploits were reported in 2022, leading to the theft of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.
Crypto: how can hacks and cyber attacks be prevented?
It remains difficult to achieve a conclusive method of protection that will put an end to ransomware and make browsing safer. However, there are practices that are recommended to avoid falling for certain attacks.
First of all, it is necessary to have strict control of what enters the devices, thanks to this one can avoid or rather, check for malware entry.
The possible entry points are through any network sharing medium, i.e., email, instant messaging, torrent uploading/downloading, file sharing, cloud, but also external storage often connected via USB ports or portable disks.
It is therefore recommended to reject every attachment received, except the expected ones, so that there are no surprises once opened. This process is called whitelisting and it helps a lot, reducing the number of threats, but it clearly does not totally solve the problem.
Another tip is to avoid sites of questionable quality, mainly illegal download sites. Also avoid the dark web or torrent files, there is no certainty about what you are downloading or searching for.
The processes of prevention are a combination that creates what is called digital hygiene. Digital hygiene helps a lot against ransomware and is the strategic leading tool of digitization and innovation.
Unfortunately, even though it is indeed important, it is still not completely sufficient for prevention. By adopting proper digital hygiene, the risk is reduced, but not nullified.
The good news is that attacks are decreasing a lot over time, if we continue with this trend, they will fall even more in 2023. Hopefully, even more digital hygiene techniques will increase.
In conclusion, the cryptocurrency industry has come a long way since its inception, but it is still vulnerable to cyber attacks.
As the industry continues to grow, it is critical that users are aware of the methods used by hackers and take the necessary steps to protect their funds.
These include using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and avoiding suspicious links or emails. By taking these precautions, users can reduce the risk of falling victim to hackers and cryptocurrency exploits.