The biggest crypto hacks of 2022

Picture of Andrés Peña

Andrés Peña

According to Chainalysis, October 2022 has seen the most hacks in the cryptocurrency industry in history. At the time of publishing its report on October 12, $718 million had been stolen, mainly on bridges connecting one blockchain to another, during the first half of the month.

As of that date, the theft was estimated at US$ 3 billion, in a total of 125 computer attacks. One of the most important was the one suffered by the BNB Chain for US$ 100 million at the beginning of the month, which led to the network being shut down and a hardfork to secure it.

Another emblematic case occurred a day before Chainalysis was published. Solana’s Mango Markets platform suffered an exploit that allowed the hacker to steal more than $100 million.

In an unusual way, the Mango community approved a reward of 47 million dollars to Avraham Eisenberg, a hacker who, through his Twitter account, admitted to being the mastermind. But by returning the remaining 63 million, people who had their cryptocurrencies deposited on the platform were able to recover their liquidity, although the MNGO token suffered a depreciation of more than 40%.

Another attack in October 2022 was suffered by the Twitter account of the Ópera de Oviedo, in Spain. Unlike attacking a platform, on this occasion the hackers decided to modify the profile (which was verified by the social network) to redirect to a website. 

In it, it was claimed that Elon Musk was raffling Bitcoin (BTC), promising users to win double their investment if they sent cryptocurrencies. Unfortunately, movements of $6,800 were detected while it was happening, as the Oviedo Opera has already recovered its account.

YouTube crypto-scams

This type of attack is quite similar to what was reported by Group-IB, a Singapore-based cybersecurity firm. In their report published on September 16, they stated that crypto-scams on YouTube increased by 335% during the first half of 2022.

The modus operandis consists, precisely, in using renowned figures such as Elon Musk and Vitalik Buterin to deceive people, through the promise of seeing their funds multiply. These fraudsters have even used Nayib Bukele, president of El Salvador, the first country in the world to make Bitcoin a legal tender, to create malicious websites.

Source: Group-IB.

Axie Infinity and the Ronin hack

Undoubtedly, the most important cryptocurrency hack this year (and probably in history) was the one suffered by the Play-to-Earn video game, Axie Infinity. In March, the Ethereum sidechain called Ronin, developed by Sky Mavis (the company behind the game), suffered a theft of 173,600 ETH and 25.5 million USDC.

Some time later, it was claimed that the attack was organized by North Korea’s Lazarus Group. According to South Korean media, its North Korean counterpart has stolen more than $1.7 billion in cryptocurrencies from different exchanges. On the other hand, the UN claimed earlier this year that North Korea has funded its missile program thanks to stolen cryptocurrencies.

With just over 2 months to go until the end of 2022, it will probably be remembered as the year in which the most crypto hacks have occurred. Therefore, in the future we will share different recommendations to reduce the risks associated with these attacks.