PeckShield, a leading blockchain security company, recently published a comprehensive report detailing the financial implications of hacks and scams in 2023, excluding multichain losses.
On January 29, its findings indicated a noteworthy decline in losses, totaling $2.61 billion — a substantial 27.78% decrease from the global cyber theft total of approximately $3.6 billion in 2022.
A significant stride in the recovery of stolen cryptocurrency was highlighted, with over $674 million reclaimed from 600 significant breaches, constituting a quarter of the total losses. This progress is attributed to improved communication channels with hackers and the surge in bug bounty initiatives.
PeckShield’s insights extended beyond mere hack recoveries, shedding light on various dimensions such as flash loans, decentralized finance (DeFi), and the volume disparity between hacks and scams — a type of exploit that involves manipulating smart contracts within the realm of DeFi, rendering them susceptible to unauthorized modifications or breaches.
Despite assertions suggesting that heightened DeFi security contributed to the decline in crypto theft, PeckShield emphasized that DeFi remained a substantial target. Ronghui Gu, the co-founder of CertiK, expressed optimism, pointing to positive advancements in blockchain security, including the growth of bounty platforms and proactive security measures.
However, the report emphasized that 67% of the losses in 2023 were associated with DeFi, as opposed to 33% in centralized finance. The breakdown highlighted that 58% of incidents resulted from hacks, while 42% were attributed to scams.
Malicious hackers diversified their focus during 2022 and 2023. In the preceding years of 2018-2021, Bitcoin dominated illicit transaction trading volume, but stablecoins claimed a larger share in the subsequent years, signaling a noteworthy change in their strategic targeting.