As cryptocurrencies - from Bitcoin to Monero - are unregulated and hard-to-trace, they make an ideal target for fraudsters, organized cartels, and crime groups.
In 2018, crypto thefts, including attacks on exchanges and investor scams, surged 400% to a whopping $1.7 billion.
And, this spike doesn't appear to stop, as someone just carried out another hit, stealing $49 million at once.
$49 million worth Etherium stolen from South Korean exchange
Just recently, South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit confirmed an attack, wherein an unknown party broke into its wallet and transferred 342,000 Etherium coins, worth about $49 million, to an anonymous wallet.
Following the attack, the exchange suspended all crypto deposits and withdrawals and transferred the remaining assets to an offline wallet which isn't susceptible to an attack.
Upbit promised to replace stolen assets
Along with protecting the remaining assets, Upbit also announced that it would replace the stolen coins with its digital assets.
However, the organization noted that the replacement would take about two weeks as deposits/withdrawals have been suspended for now.
Additionally, it has also asked the members of its community to block incoming transfers from the wallet that was involved in the theft.
No word on who carried out the attack
The attack was carried out on November 27, but there are no leads on who is the culprit. It could be an organized crime group, state-sponsored attackers, or a highly-trained coder and his colleague looking to make extra cash in a matter of hours.
Normally, money stolen from crypto-exchanges is transferred between wallets before being encashed.
Attacks continue to increase, investors remain unaware
The continuation of exchange-based thefts and individual scams - through malware/ransomware - poses a major threat to the finances of people.
And, the worst part is, despite a significant surge in such attacks, investors aren't looking at this side of things.
They are in this gold rush of crypto-coins, and completely ignore the aspect of safety by using unsecured cloud-wallets.