2019 was the best year for them hackers aimed at cryptocurrency exchange platforms. They were successfully breached 11 great exchange services that led to the theft of cryptocurrency value $ 283 million.
This is the largest number of successful attacks in a single year. In 2018, only six incidents were recorded.
However, despite the increase in violations, hackers did not have the expected profits. In 2018, nearly half of the attacks were able to steal $ 875,5 million worth of cryptocurrency. In 2014, they acquired $ 483 million with just three violations.
According to Chainalysis, the sharp rise in the number of successful hacks is related to use of more sophisticated and sophisticated methods of accessing systems of exchange services.
However, these services have also begun to use more sophisticated means of protection and systems transaction verification, which helped not to steal a lot of money.
When the breaches are successful, cryptocurrencies are usually sent to other exchange services and converted into cash.
However, Chainalysis says that many times "a significant portion of the funds remain unused, even for years".
"In these cases, there may still be an opportunity to seize stolen funds from the authorities," say researchers.
Criminals use concrete exchange platforms for ransoming stolen cryptocurrency
According to Chainalysis, during 2019 more than $ 2,8 billion in Bitcoin they were transferred from criminals to specific exchange portals and quickly redeemed into "fiat money".
The $ 2,8 billion has also come from other scams (not just platform exchange violations), such as payments after ransomware attack, funds from Phishing businesses, online scams and resources associated with known ones criminal and terrorist groups.
About half of these illegal funds were transferred to accounts on exchange platforms Binance and Huobi, two of the largest such services. There, criminals turned cryptocurrency into cash.
KYC regulations apply to almost all countries in the world and require companies to ask customers to certify and verify their identity before any activity.
However, Chainalysis reports that many criminal groups are overcoming this obstacle by using the so-called OTC (Over The Counter) system.
OTC (Over The Counter) Mediators are bodies that operate on exchange portals and act as intermediaries for facilitating transactions between buyers and sellers που they don't want their identity to be visible when trading on open blockchains.
However, some of these agencies are not legal and offer services to Criminals.
For OTC mediators, the KYC rules are looser. "Many of them take advantage of this relaxation and help criminals steal cryptocurrency," the researchers said.
To stop criminals, investigators must discover and track blockchain addresses used in criminal and terrorist operations.
Ransomware payments are the easiest to track, as the ransom payment address is usually included in the notes left by hackers in victims.
Chainalysis says that based on its data, in 2019, ransomware gangs received more than $ 6,6 million in ransom.
However, Chainalysis believes that the ransomware gangs certainly made a lot more money, but the researchers did not find it.