Latest Crypto Hacks and Its Threat to the Market
Latest Hacks 2022
The boom in the crypto space has paved the way for new open-source contracts, especially De-Fi applications. However, the vast expansion of these new decentralized applications have deliberately created vulnerabilities for hackers. Until now, most of the hacks have occurred in De-Fi applications, including the prominent $650 million Axie Infinity exploitation.
Well, there are several reasons why loopholes in De-Fi arise in the first place. Firstly, most of the hacks took place due to code exploits. See, these De-Fi contracts are open-source codes and can be analyzed by anyone. Therefore, cybercriminals analyze these scripts for vulnerabilities and plan to hack them in advance.
Flash loan attacks are another type of exploitation occurring due to unstable oracles – platforms tasked with maintaining accurate pricing of all cryptocurrencies. All hackers need to do is tap into an insecure oracle and manipulate the price.
Moving forward, the cross-chain bridges and crypto mixers are the prime sources of cryptocurrency exploitations. In case you don't know, crypto mixers maintain users' anonymity by pooling funds of multiple investors and erasing the traces.
Prominent Hacks of 2022
Here's a list of notable hacks that deprived the crypto market of several billion dollars:
Cream Finance Hack: It was an attack using a series of flash loans to mint $1.5m crYUSD. The hackers exploited Cream's Oracle and ultimately inflated the price artificially by upto three times.
Wormhole Hack: Hackers exploited smart contracts on the Solana - Ethereum bridge through a signature verification vulnerability and stole over $325 million on February 2nd.
Harmony Bridge: On July 23rd, 2022, the Lazarus group was able to access two of the five keys on Binance – Ethereum bridge, leading to a $100 million loss.
Qubit QBridge: On January 27th, hackers manipulated a smart contract bug on the Ethereum-based bridge and stole over $80 million.
Poly Network: A code exploit allowed hackers to withdraw funds from Ethereum, BSC, and Polygon, totaling $613 million.
Ronin Hack: it's by far the largest heist that ever took place on the blockchain. A game hosted on Ronin Network, Axie Infinity, was exploited when hackers gained control of several cryptographic keys, causing a colossal loss of $650 million.
Effect of Hacks on The Market
Here's a bummer: the BTC and major cryptocurrencies don't react swiftly to hacking incidents. According to a comprehensive study by Klaus Groby, an explosive reaction on crypto exchanges is seen after the first day of the hack, but the prices revert swiftly in a few hours. Similarly, the significant volatility increase is registered four days after the hacking incident. Isn't it surprising?
Well, the delayed response is due to inefficiency in the crypto market. What does it mean? See, the hack may likely occur at low-securitized small exchanges, causing the information diffusion to slow across the exchanges. Furthermore, a hack in the BTC market may also influence other cryptocurrencies like ETH, but the response is usually delayed.
What's more? Several studies, articles, and observations also reveal that the frequency of scams and frauds is directly correlated with the crypto's market cap. For example, the recent market cap revolves around $1.1 trillion - almost 50% lower than the start of the year. Similarly, the reported scam rate in July was 65%, down to $1.65 bn since last year.
In addition to this, the crypto prices slumped nearly 48% and are hovering at around $20,000. Hence, it clearly shows a correlation between market capitalization and scam rate.
One reason to support this contention is the shutdown of the Hydra marketplace – the hub of illicit activities. Other reasons may include investors choosing better-vetted projects and an increase in regulation orders.
Furthermore, most of the scams are related to investment projects. If the investment is declining, fewer funds will flow across the network, which may ultimately deter the hackers.
But hey, it doesn’t mean the cyber-criminals are leaving the crypto industry.
Currently, the De-Fi market is a hot target right now, possibly because it's in the infancy stage. Moreover, over $1.7 bn loss have been subject to De-Fi hacks in 2022 alone, and the attacks mentioned earlier are mostly related to De-Fi protocols.
The prime reason might be the vulnerable open-source codes of De-Fi protocols that may be easily analyzed for loopholes by hackers.
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