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Over $500 million in crypto stolen during Q1 through exploits: CertiK

The rise of private key compromise-related breaches is worrisome since they are the most profitable exploits on average.

Over $500 million in crypto stolen during Q1 through exploits: CertiK

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Exploits on crypto-related applications resulted in over $500 million in losses in 2024 Q1, according to CertiK’s latest “Hack3d” report. This is an increase of 54% compared to 2023 Q1, yet a minor decrease of almost 4% compared to the $522 million stolen by exploiters in a quarter-on-quarter period.

January was the month with the most exploit cases, with 78 of the 223 incidents that occurred in Q1 happening that month, the report highlights. Those incidents ended up in losses of over $193 million for the victims.

Over $500 million in crypto stolen during Q1 through exploits: CertiK

The predominance of security incidents happening over Ethereum draws attention, as $139 million was extracted through 131 scams, hacks, and exploits. Usually, the BNB Chain is home to the most exploits and heavier losses.

However, the single incident with the highest amount stolen involved Ripple and its native crypto, XRP. On January 30, Ripple’s co-founder Chris Larsen lost approximately $112 million in XRP. Larsen took to X to communicate that his personal wallet was compromised, and potentially “multiple others.”

Over $500 million in crypto stolen during Q1 through exploits: CertiK

The attack vector used in the security incident that affected Larsen was a private key compromise. Those exploits are the most costly attack vector for the second consecutive quarter, with the amount stolen through 26 incidents surpassing $239 million. The average loss in these incidents is $9.2 million, which makes private key compromises the most profitable kind of exploit.

The report highlights the fact that losses due to private key compromises have increased by over 1,100% since the first quarter of 2023. Furthermore, the number of incidents more than doubled in the same period, with 26 in 2024 compared to 11 in the same period of 2023.

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