Crypto hackers and scammers made off with $452 million in the first quarter of 2023, according to a report released by antivirus and app provider De.Fi. But that is both good and bad news, as losses were down from $1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2022. The recovery rate was down, too, however.
According to the report, nearly half of the losses this quarter ($215 million) occurred in the first three weeks of March. The Euler Finance and Bonq DAO exploits were the quarter’s loss leaders at $196 million and $120 million, respectively. Due to those exploits, the Ethereum blockchain suffered the highest losses in dollar terms, even though Binance outnumbered it 18 incidents to 10.
The CoinDeal scheme was next, with $45 million exploited, followed by the Monkey Drainer phishing scammers, who came in fourth, with $16.5 million lost.
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In the 49 cases examined in the report, six flash loan attacks accounted for the most significant losses at over $200 million, with Euler Finance representing the bulk of the total. Smart contract exploits were the most common type at 17 incidents. Decentralized finance (DeFi) accounted for only five incidents but suffered the lion’s share of losses at $336 million.
In the first quarter, $130 million was recovered from the exploits. All of that money was recovered in March, with $129 million returned by the Euler Finance hackers. In the first quarter of 2022, $520 million had been returned out of $1.3 billion lost, amounting to 40% of the stolen funds, compared with 28.7% this year.
While DeFi dominated the losses reported, losses on decentralized exchanges and from crypto tokens and nonfungible tokens likely hit retail users as well. Theft is not uncommon for retail users, with scams constantly evolving.
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