According to a report on the wall street journal on Monday Jan 28, only 2 groups of highly sophisticated cyber criminals could be behind an estimated $1 billion worth of crypto thefts.
According to a report from crypto transaction tracking software manufacturer Chainanalysis, which concluded that the two groups dubbed; “Alpha” and “Beta” are quite likely responsible for around $1 billion to date.
$1 Billion Worth of crypto thefts accounts for at least 60 percent of all publicly reported hacks. Tracking software manufacturer Chainanalysis, reportedly spent around three months tracking a web of transactions to reach their conclusions, according to the wall street journal report but they do admit that they could be wrong.
The report suggests that Alpha “is a giant, tightly controlled organization at least partly driven by non-monetary goals,” while Beta “seems to be a less organized and smaller organization absolutely focused on the money” and which is less concerned about hiding its digital tracks”.
Chainanalysis wrote that both suspected outfits were operating on large-scale targeting roughly 90 million per hack, while also moving stolen crypto through a maze of wallets in order to lose any tracker who has hot on their virtual heels.
According to Chainanalysis, the stolen funds were moved around at least 5,000 times before conversion into cash. The Alpha group was always quick to cash out compared to the Beta group. According to the report;
Alpha tends to immediately begin shuffling the funds around, according to the report. One hack involved 15,000 transfers. The entity converted about three-quarters of its stolen funds into cash within an average of 30 days.
Beta, on the other hand, may sit on the stolen funds for up to 18 months, waiting for any publicity surrounding the hack to fade. “When they feel ready to cash out, they quickly hit one exchange, cashing out over 50% of funds within days,”
If the contents of this report are real, then it says a lot about the state of the crypto world, than their own talents. Crypto exchanges are an easy target for hackers since unlike stock exchanges who only facilitate trading, they maintain digital wallets for customers.
According to the president of BLAKFX, a cubersecurity firm based in New-york, crypto exchanges are “easy to breach, with minimum effort and expense from attackers and with maximum return on investment,”
September last year saw the New-York Attorney general’s office release a report about 10 popular crypto exchanges. The report found that some platforms did not have measures in place barring clients from having multiple accounts. Some exchanges also according to the report lacked robust and real-time historical market surveillance capabilities.
The report concluded that these trading platforms lacked a consistent and transparent approach for auditing virtual currency options in their possession, which makes it almost impossible to confirm whether exchanges are responsibly holding customer’s coins or not. This according to the author of report leaves crypto investors quite vulnerable in the event of an attack.
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