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Hackers hacked the cryptocurrency exchange Upbit 159K times in H1: Report

Startling statistics reveal that the numbers have surged at an astonishing rate, surpassing twice the figures documented in the initial half of 2022 and witnessing an astronomical 1,800% surge compared to the corresponding period in 2020, as reported by Dunamu.

Upbit, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, has fallen victim to hacking attempts on over 159,000 instances during the first half of 2023, according to its operating entity.

These staggering statistics were disclosed by Dunamu, the entity that holds the reins of Upbit, and subsequently relayed to South Korean Representative Park Seong-jung of the People Power Party, as disclosed in a report by the South Korea-based Yonhap News Agency dated October 9.

Remarkably, this report highlights a remarkable 117% upswing from the statistics in the first half of 2022 and an astonishing 1,800% spike when compared to the same period in 2020.

Upbit stands tall as one of South Korea’s foremost cryptocurrency exchanges, boasting a robust 24-hour trading volume, estimated at approximately $1.2 billion, according to CoinGecko. Other prominent exchanges in the South Korean landscape include Bithumb, Coinone, and Gopax.

In a proactive stance against hacking endeavors and a bid to fortify security, Dunamu has substantially augmented the proportion of funds stored in cold wallets, now accounting for an impressive 70%. Furthermore, Upbit has bolstered its security protocols for funds entrusted to hot wallets.

It’s worth noting that hot wallets are more susceptible to breaches in comparison to their cold counterparts, primarily due to the online storage of private keys, in contrast to the offline storage on external hard drives and USBs employed by the latter.

Significantly, Upbit endured a $50 million exploit back in 2019. However, since that fateful incident, Upbit has remained unscathed, without a single security breach, as confirmed by a spokesperson from Dunamu in a statement to Yonhap.

“After the security incident in 2019, we implemented a slew of measures aimed at averting any recurrences, including the distribution and operation of hot wallets. To date, we take pride in declaring that not a single cyber breach has tarnished our security measures.”

Nevertheless, in late September, Upbit was compelled to suspend its Aptos token services. The decision came in the wake of the platform’s failure to detect a fraudulent token by the name of “ClaimAPTGift.com,” which had already amassed a staggering 400,000 Aptos.

Seong-jung, while acknowledging the escalating frequency of cryptocurrency hacks across the industry, called upon the South Korean government to take more resolute actions.

“The Ministry of Science and Technology must embark on comprehensive mock tests and investigative efforts to evaluate the state of information security, preparing for the incessant onslaught of cyberattacks targeting virtual asset exchanges.”

He further remarked, “The Ministry of Science and ICT’s role in overseeing and managing these exchanges remains ambiguous.”

Cointelegraph reached out to Upbit for comments but had yet to receive an immediate response at the time of this report.

Meanwhile, crypto exchanges endured a barrage of attacks in the month of September. Notably, Hong Kong-based exchange CoinEx fell victim to a $70 million breach, attributed to the compromise of one of the firm’s private keys. The firm has assured affected users of adequate compensation for their losses.

In a separate incident, Huobi Global’s HTX exchange incurred losses amounting to $7.9 million in a September 24 exploit.

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