Japan: Crypto Thefts Have Tripled This Year, Totalling $540 Million So Far
Japan’s National Police Agency has revealed that a staggering 60.503 billion yen ($540 million) worth of crypto was stolen in the first six months of 2018, Asahi Shimbun reports September 20.
The agency is said to have stated that the number of reported incidents involving crypto thefts has hit 158 over the course of the first half of this year, triple the number of incidents reported for the same time period in 2017.
For the entirety of 2017, around 662.4 million yen ($5.91 million) worth of crypto was reportedly stolen online, in 149 incidents – a figure dwarfed by almost 100-fold this year.
The largest single incident was the industry-record-breaking hack of crypto exchange Coincheck, in which the equivalent of 58 billion yen ($520 million) worth of NEM was stolen this January.
According to Asahi Shimbun, the remaining 2.5 billion yen ($22 million) stolen in crypto this year involved the hacking of individual accounts, rather than crypto exchanges. 60 percent of such cases reportedly involved individuals who use the same password across their email, e-commerce and online crypto dealings.
The report notes that the lion’s share of reported incidents was between January and March, with 120 cases accounting for 76 percent of the six-month total, followed by just 38 cases reported in April and June. Asahi Shimbun attributes this decline to “greater consumer awareness” triggered by the Coincheck theft, as well as intensified measures from both Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) and the national police.
Largely due to the Coincheck case, thefts of NEM tokens accounted for 58.062 billion yen (almost $520 million) in 36 cases, with 860 million yen ($7.7 million) worth of Bitcoin (BTC) reportedly seized in 94 cases and 1.52 billion yen ($13.5 million) worth of Ripple (XRP) in 42 cases. Losses in Ethereum (ETH) totalled around 61 million yen ($540,000) in 14 incidents.
Police officials have reportedly said that their computer detection systems identified an increase in crypto-related hacking attempts as of August 2017.
Just yesterday, Cointelegraph reported on the hacking of 6.7 billion yen ($60 million) worth of crypto from Japanese exchange Zaif. According to local reports, as a result of a security breach on September 14, hackers managed to steal 4.5 billion yen ($40 million) from users’ hot wallets, as well as 2.2 billion yen ($20 million) from the assets of the company.
A server error was first detected on September 17, with the exchange only realizing it had been caused by a hack on September 18.