Are You a Victim of Crypto Theft?

10 Jul 2024

If you've been a victim of a crypto theft in 2024, you're not alone.

A new report from blockchain researchers TRM Labs says that hackers stole more money in the first six months of 2024 when compared to the same period last year.

Anecdotally, it is likely that at least one person reading this newsletter has been a victim of that theft.

Looking at the numbers, hackers made off with $1.4 billion in crypto in the first half of 2024, compared to $657 million in the comparable period of 2023. In short, double the amount.

Most of the damage came from a "small number of large attacks" with the top five hacks and exploits accounting for 70% of the amounts stolen, the report said. Hackers relied on private key and seed phrase compromises to make off with users' crypto and also used smart contract exploits and flash loan attacks to steal assets.

The biggest attack in 2024 so far has been the theft of over 4,500 bitcoins at Japanese cryptocurrency exchange DMM Bitcoin in May which resulted in a loss of over $300 million based on the cryptocurrency's value at the time.

"While the exact cause of the attack remains unknown, potential vectors include stolen private keys or address poisoning—a tactic wherein attackers send tiny amounts of cryptocurrency to a victim’s wallet to create fake transaction histories, potentially confusing users into sending funds to the wrong address in future transactions," TRM Labs said in its report.

Is 2024 the worst year for crypto hacks? Apparently not. According to TRM, the worst year for crypto hacks was 2022. While people did not lose as much crypto to hacks in 2023, this resurgence in 2024 is worrying and TRM said it had not observed any fundamental changes in the security of the cryptocurrency ecosystem that may explain this upward trend.

It also said that it had not found any significant differences in attack vectors or in the number of attacks between the first halves of 2023 and 2024.

The United Nations previously accused North Korean hackers of crypto-related thefts, alleging that crypto was being used to fund the country's nuclear and missile programs.

TRM suggests that organizations implement a multi-layered defense strategy to protect themselves from hacks and exploits by unruly actors (who may or may not be North Korean hackers).

If you've been a victim of crypto theft, drop me an email, and let's tell the world your story. Even if you don't want to tell your story, that's fine – just don't fall for the charlatans on the internet who claim they can recover your crypto. They probably can't.

It's a Great Time to be an AI Startup 🤖

If you're the founder of an artificial intelligence startup, boy do we have some great news for you! Funding for your startup should not be a problem. At least, according to the data available at Crunchbase.

Investments in AI startups more than doubled in the second quarter of 2024 to $24 billion, according to Reuters, which cited Crunchbase data.

Five out of six billion-dollar funding rounds went to AI companies, Reuters said. Surprisingly, the list included Elon Musk's xAI, which raised $6 billion during the second quarter of 2024.

In case you don't know, Musk announced his own AI startup soon after OpenAI's ChatGPT became all the rage. Musk was a "co-founder" of OpenAI but had a spat with the company which resulted in him leaving the firm.

Initially, Musk wanted to name his company TruthGPT because he felt generative AI products like ChatGPT were too woke, but then named it xAI because this was around the same time Twitter was rebranded to X and the Tesla owner is weirdly obsessed with the alphabet.

xAI's aim is "to advance our collective understanding of the universe," according to its website and the company has a chatbot called Grok which is supposedly trained on tweet data. It's not very good though.

Still, it looks like investors are piling up for Musk's xAI, in hopes that Grok will finally stick.

In Other News.. 📰

  • It's Not Germany Selling Bitcoin. It's One of Its States and It Has No Choice. — via CoinDesk
  • Humane execs leave company to found AI fact-checking startup — via TechCrunch
  • Meta will now remove some posts attacking ‘Zionists’ as a form of hate speech — via CNN
  • Microsoft to offer Apple devices to employees in China, cites absence of Android services — via Reuters
  • The Washington Post debuts AI chatbot — via Axios
  • San Francisco’s AI boom can’t stop real estate slide, as office vacancies reach new record — via CNBC

And that's a wrap! Don't forget to share this newsletter with your family and friends! See y'all next week. PEACE! ☮️

Sheharyar Khan, Editor, Business Tech @ HackerNoon

*All rankings are current as of Monday. To see how the rankings have changed, please visit HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings page.

Tech, What the Heck!? is a once-weekly newsletter written by HackerNoon editors that combine HackerNoon's proprietary data with news-worthy tech stories from around the internet. Humorous and insightful, the newsletter recaps trending events that are shaping the world of tech. Subscribe here.