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hackers find new ways to gobble up crypto | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack | #hacking | #aihp


Online thieves stole crypto worth $1.3 billion from exchanges, platforms and private entities in the first three months of 2022, according to a report by Chainalysis. A staggering 97% of this was stolen from decentralised finance (DeFi) platforms. That’s up from 72% in 2021 and just 30% in 2020.

At this rate, digital crooks are on track to steal crypto worth $5.2 billion in 2022, after swiping $3.2 billion in 2021.

And with DeFi emerging as their top target, you can expect these platforms to be under intense bombardment for the rest of the year and beyond.

What’s DeFi? Decentralised finance refers to blockchain applications that cut out middlemen from financial products and services such as loans, savings and swaps. Rather than trust a middleman like a bank or fintech firm with their money, people trust “the code”. DeFi essentially uses blockchain technology to unlock value that traditional finance cannot. It comes with high rewards but also carries plenty of risks.

Bug hunters: Many cryptocurrency “hacks” are actually the result of simple security breaches in which hackers gain access to victims’ private keys. That’s more like picking someone’s pocket than doing any actual, you know, hacking.

The largest DeFi thefts, on the other hand, are due to more sophisticated attacks that target specific bugs in software that hackers spend hours poring over. Their job is made easier by DeFi’s faith in decentralisation and transparency, which means most such apps are open source.

Since DeFi protocols move funds around without a central authority, it’s important for users to be able to check the underlying code so they can trust the protocol.

But hackers exploit this openness, scouring scripts for vulnerabilities and turning DeFi’s biggest strength upon itself.

Following the money: DeFi is still in its infancy but has grown rapidly over the past couple of years. The sector currently has over $210 billion in digital assets flowing through its veins, according to data collected by DeFi Llama.

In June 2020, that number was around $1 billion.

Hackers have caught on just as quickly. Chainalysis’s report showed that seven of the 10 largest crypto thefts from January 2021 to March 2022 involved DeFi protocols. Just three targeted centralised exchanges.

How is it laundered? According to Chainalysis, a larger share of stolen funds flowed to DeFi platforms (51%) in 2021 than ever before.

It said centralised exchanges, once the top destination of stolen funds, have been falling out of favour of late, receiving less than 15% of the total.

This, it said, was probably because more centralised crypto exchanges now have know-your-customer and anti-money laundering processes, which threaten the anonymity of cybercriminals.

Open source DeFi platforms, on the other hand, actively shun these processes – and all other middlemen – and are thus likely to remain the top target of crypto crooks for the foreseeable future.

Written by Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai.


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Nykaa makes strategic investments in Earth Rhythm, Nudge Wellness and Kica Active: Nykaa, the listed beauty and personal care company, said it has made strategic investments in brands across categories such as clean beauty, athleisure and neutri-cosmetics. In a stock exchange filing, the company said it has acquired 18.51% of Earth Rhythm, a clean beauty and personal care cosmetics brand, for Rs 41.65 crore, and 60% of Nudge Wellness, dietary supplement and nutricosmetics products maker, for Rs 3.6 crore.


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From the EV corner

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RBI ups scrutiny on fintechs as it issues payments aggregator licences

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CRYPTO-1_THUMB IMAGE_ETTECH3

Shunned by banks and payment firms, crypto exchanges turn to P2P transactions: Many crypto exchanges are facilitating peer-to-peer (P2P) deals while some are directly accepting deposits from coin buyers to bypass curbs imposed by banks and payment companies.

Also Read: Crypto investors may switch to peer-to-peer transfer in case of ban

CoinDCX raises $135 million, doubles valuation to $2.15 billion: Crypto trading exchange CoinDCX has raised $135.9 million (about Rs 1,000 crore) from investors led by Pantera Capital and Steadview Capital, doubling its valuation to $2.15 billion in less than a year to make it the highest-valued crypto trading platform in India.


IT services wrap

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ETtech Done Deals

NFT Platforms

■ Cricket non-fungible token (NFT) platform Rario has raised $120 million in a round led by Dream Capital, the corporate venture capital and M&A arm of Dream Sports.

■ Mattress maker Peps Industries is in talks with Rajeev Gupta-led Arpwood Capital for a complete sale of the company, valuing it between $130 million and $150 million, said three people with knowledge of the company’s plan.

■ Restaurant management platform UrbanPiper raised $24 million in a new funding round led by existing investors Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global, and food aggregator majors, Swiggy and Zomato. This is the first time both these food-delivery majors have invested together in a startup.

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Curated by Judy Franko in New Delhi. Graphics and illustrations by Rahul Awasthi.

That’s all from us this week. Stay safe.

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