In the initial half of 2024, global cryptocurrency traders faced a staggering setback, losing an astonishing $1.4 billion to cyber thieves, as revealed in a recent study by TRM Labs, a prominent firm specializing in crypto research. This amount represents a substantial surge from the $657 million pilfered during the corresponding period last year.

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The report sheds light on a troubling trend of increasing cryptocurrency theft, with a small number of major breaches accounting for an outsized portion of the losses. The top five cyber intrusions and exploits of 2024 alone were responsible for a staggering 70% of the total amount stolen.

“Although the precise triggers behind these attacks are still being investigated,” noted TRM Labs, “compromised private keys and seed phrases, alongside exploits of smart contracts and flash loans, continue to be primary tools employed by cybercriminals.”

The study detailed the largest breach of 2024, which targeted DMM Bitcoin, a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange. Hackers successfully absconded with over 4,500 BTC, valued at more than $300 million at the time. TRM Labs acknowledged that the marked increase in stolen funds is in part due to the rising prices of cryptocurrencies. Despite no notable alterations in security protocols or attack vectors from 2023, the heightened average token prices during the first six months of 2024 likely inflated the sums looted.

These findings arrive amid a period of volatility in cryptocurrency markets. Although Bitcoin reached an unprecedented peak exceeding $73,000 in March, its value subsequently plummeted below $54,000, prompting apprehensions regarding the overall stability of the market.