According to a Crystal Blockchain report, hackers have learned to withdraw stolen cryptoassets faster and are less likely to use centralized exchanges with KYC to launder money.
According to Crystal Blockchain analysts in a recent report, the rapid growth of the cryptocurrency industry and the emergence of new analytical tools are forcing cybercriminals to seek new ways to obfuscate the transaction flows of stolen cryptocurrencies.
Analysts have found that cybercriminals are now much faster at hiding stolen crypto assets. This is due to the fact that both the volume of stolen money and the number of hacks reached their highest level in 2019-2020. The average withdrawal time of 80% of stolen money has steadily decreased over the past five years. While in 2015 cryptocurrency criminals could leave stolen money idle for up to 365 days, in 2020 the average withdrawal time for 80% of illegally obtained money was about 28 days. In five years, criminals have learned to withdraw money 13 times faster.
The authors of the report suggest that potential reasons for such radical changes include the general direction of the cryptocurrency industry, which has come under increased scrutiny from law enforcement agencies, as well as the emergence of various companies involved in blockchain analysis.
According to a Crystal Blockchain report, “This has led to changes in the behavior of cryptocurrency criminals, forcing them to work harder to obfuscate and conceal the flows of stolen money.”
Other research findings indicate a trend among hackers to no longer transfer cryptoassets to centralized exchanges requiring KYC checks, instead sending money to sites that do not have such checks. The volume of stolen money withdrawn through exchanges with KYC fell from 53% to just 8%.
Cybercriminals are also increasingly using coin mixing services. In 2015, mixing services received 5% of stolen money, but last year this figure rose to 27%.
Since 2011, criminals have been able to steal about $ 7.7 billion in cryptocurrencies, according to a November report by Crystal Blockchain. In total, 113 cryptocurrency exchanges were hacked and 23 major fraudulent schemes were implemented.