November most ‘damaging’ month in 2023 as thieves pilfer $363M in crypto

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The cryp­tocur­ren­cy indus­try has now seen its most “dam­ag­ing” month for cryp­to thiev­ery, scams and exploits, with cryp­to crim­i­nals walk­ing away with $363 mil­lion in Novem­ber, accord­ing to a blockchain secu­ri­ty firm.

Around $316.4 mil­lion came from exploits alone, flash loans inflict­ed $45.5 mil­lion in dam­age, and $1.1 mil­lion was lost to var­i­ous exit scams, Cer­tiK stat­ed in a Nov. 30 X (for­mer­ly Twit­ter) post.

The largest exploits in Novem­ber occurred on Poloniex and HTX/Heco Bridge, with loss­es of $131.4 mil­lion and $113.3 mil­lion, respectively.

The third largest exploit was inflict­ed on a sin­gle vic­tim who lost $27 mil­lion from a phish­ing attack.

Mean­while, the $45 mil­lion Kyber­Swap attack account­ed for near­ly all dam­age done for flash loan attacks in the month. 

The lat­est month­ly fig­ure has sur­passed an ear­li­er record of $329 mil­lion, set in Sep­tem­ber, caused main­ly by the $200 mil­lion Mix­in Net­work attack.

As of the end of Novem­ber, about $1.7 bil­lion has now been lost to exploits, exit scams and flash loan attacks in 2023. This makes up only 54% of the cryp­to drained in the full year 2022, when $3.7 bil­lion was drained to cryp­to inci­dents, while 2021 saw loss­es of $1.7 bil­lion, accord­ing to CertiK.

Relat­ed: Blockchain audits: The steps to ensure a net­work is secure 

In recent com­ments to Coin­tele­graph, Ronghui Gu, one of CertiK’s founders, argued that get­ting a stan­dard smart con­tract audit isn’t enough these days.

He stressed that thieves con­tin­ue to find new and cre­ative ways to exploit pro­to­cols and vic­tims, with SIM-swap­ping and mul­tisig­na­ture vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties among the most recent secu­ri­ty pit­falls being cap­i­tal­ized on.

Exploits of this nature are hin­der­ing adop­tion, believes Chris­t­ian Seifert, a researcher at secu­ri­ty firm For­ta Net­work, who also spoke with Cointelegraph:

“Imag­ine you los­ing all your sav­ings because the branch of your bank got bro­ken into overnight. You wouldn’t bank there.”

These inci­dents “scare away” peo­ple who were pre­vi­ous­ly open to explor­ing the Web3 space, said Jer­ry Peng, a research ana­lyst at Web3 ana­lyt­ics firm 0xScope, in a recent note to Cointelegraph.

Mag­a­zine: Real AI use cas­es in cryp­to, No. 3: Smart con­tract audits & cybersecurity

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