South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit was targeted by hackers on more than 159,000 occasions in the first half of 2023, according to its operating company.
These numbers were reported by Donamo – the company that runs Upbit – to South Korean lawmaker Park Seung-jung of the People Power Party. According to For a report issued on October 9 by the South Korea-based Yonhap News Agency.
This number represents an increase of 117% over the first half of 2022 and a whopping 1,800% increase over the first half of 2020.
Upbit is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea with a 24-hour trading volume of about $1.2 billion, according to CoinGecko. Other major exchanges include Bithumb, Coinone, and Gopax.
To combat the rise in security breach attempts, Donamo said Upbit has increased the proportion of funds it holds in cold wallets to 70% to enhance security. Upbit has also strengthened its security measures for funds held in hot wallets.
Hot wallets tend to be hacked more than cold wallets because private keys are stored online instead of a cold wallet where they are stored on external hard drives and USB devices.
Upbit suffered a $50 million exploit in 2019. But since then, Upbit has not suffered a single security breach, a Dunamu spokesperson told Yonhap.
“After the hacking incident in 2019, we took various measures to prevent its recurrence, such as distributing and operating hot wallets, and so far not a single cyber breach has occurred.”
However, Upbit was forced to halt its Aptos token services in late September after the platform failed to identify a fake “ClaimAPTGift.com” token that made its way into 400,000 Aptos wallets.
1/ Topic of security of encrypted deposits
Today’s Upbit incident highlights an important aspect that is often overlooked: the security of cryptocurrency deposits. While much has been discussed about private key management and the security of withdrawals, deposits have a similar attack surface. pic.twitter.com/5NEAyJB63N
– Nas Edikuyak (@nassyweazy) September 25, 2023
Seong-jung acknowledged that cryptocurrency hacks have increased across the board, but called on the South Korean government to take further action:
“The Ministry of Science and Technology should conduct large-scale mock tests and investigate information security conditions in preparation for cyber attacks against virtual asset exchanges where hacking attempts are frequent.”
“The role of the Ministry of Science and ICT in managing and supervising it is ambiguous,” Seong-jung added.
Cointelegraph reached out to Upbit for comment but did not receive an immediate response.
Related: CoinEx exchange drained $27 million worth of cryptocurrencies in a suspected hack
Meanwhile, cryptocurrency exchanges were targeted in a series of attacks in September.
Hong Kong’s CoinEx exchange suffered a $70 million hack in September after one of the company’s private keys was compromised. The company stated that affected users will be compensated for any lost funds.
In a separate attack, Huobi Global’s HTX exchange lost $7.9 million in an exploit on September 24.
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