Upbit Crypto Exchange Targeted by Hackers More Than 159,000 Times in 2023


Surge in Hacking Attempts – Upbit

Upbit, the cryptocurrency exchange, saw a surge in hacking attempts during the first half of 2023, according to data shared by its parent company, Dunamu. Compared to the same period in 2022, hacking attempts increased by a staggering 117%. Moreover, there was a remarkable 1,800% rise in hacking attempts when compared to the second half of 2020.

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Escalating Hacking Attempts

Here are the specific numbers: In the second half of 2020, Upbit recorded 8,356 hack attempts. This number surged to 34,687 in the first half of 2021, followed by 63,912 in the second half of 2021. The first half of 2022 witnessed 73,249 hacking attempts, and this number remained the same in the second half of 2022.

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Enhancing Security Measures

This concerning trend of increasing hacking attempts began after Upbit suffered a significant hack in 2019, resulting in a loss of 58 billion won, equivalent to approximately $50 million. Subsequently, the exchange took extensive measures to enhance its security, which included distributing hot wallets and operating them. Since 2019, Upbit has not experienced any further security breaches.

Focus on Cold Wallets

Among the measures implemented to bolster security, the exchange increased the percentage of funds retained in cold wallets by 70%. Cold wallets, storing private keys offline, are considered more secure than hot wallets, which keep keys online and are more vulnerable to breaches. Notably, most cryptocurrency exchange hacks have occurred in hot wallets, as seen in several incidents, such as the $70 million hack of Hong Kong-based CoinEx and the $200 million hack of Mixin Network in September 2023.

Government Intervention

The escalating number of cryptocurrency hack attempts in South Korea has prompted Representative Park Seong-jung to call upon the South Korean government to take significant measures to address the issue. Park stressed the need for the Ministry of Science and Technology to conduct large-scale mock tests and investigate information security conditions, particularly for virtual asset exchanges where hacking attempts are frequent.

Recent Incident and Losses

In a recent incident in late September 2023, Upbit encountered an issue when it failed to identify a fake token, “ClaimAPTGift.com,” present in 400,000 Aptos wallets. This led to the suspension of Aptos token services.

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September 2023 Cryptocurrency Losses

During September 2023, several cryptocurrency exchanges experienced significant losses, with approximately $332 million in crypto assets stolen in that month. Blockchain security firm Certik reported that these losses resulted from a variety of factors, including exploits, exit scams, and flash attacks. Exploits accounted for the majority, with over 98% ($329.8 million) of the total amount stolen, while exit scams and flash attacks accounted for the rest.