As reported by CNBC, the total amount of stolen cryptocurrencies in just the first six months of 2018 was $1.1 billion, as referenced to the data of the Cybersecurity Carbon Black company.
"Basic malware costs an average of $224. Some of them even have a form of customer support! And the total cost of the entire malware market is about $6.7 million," said Rick McElroy, a security expert at Carbon Black.
It is noteworthy that the thefts are committed by both loners and real criminal cartels. Usually a criminal is a simple, highly-skilled engineer who wants to earn some money. In general, according to McElroy, cybercrime is quite easy to commit.
"There are countries in which you can learn coding, but there is no decent work. The attackers may well be a couple of people from Romania, who have nothing to pay for rent," added the speaker.
In contrast to conventional fiat financial sectors, cryptocurrency holders often do not have legislative support to protect their savings or cover losses in the case of hacker attacks and other illegal fraudulent schemes.
"Usually, we rely on banks and their tools, but investors need to know how to use them. Many people afflicted by the new gold rush, use cloud wallets and do not care about the safety of their savings," said McElroy.
It is noteworthy that the most popular target of the scammers (about 27%) is the moment of exchange.
Problems of the Current Fiat World and the Crypto Industry
The banal hacking of wallets or exchange operations, however, as well as commonplace scams, are by no means the most horrible types of modern crypto crimes. Unfortunately, theft and looting have become common not only for the fiat world but also for the cryptocurrency market. For instance, in Dubai, an organized criminal group of ten people pretended to be responsible for issuing trade licenses for cryptocurrencies. As a result, two brothers, who wanted to purchase these "permits" brought $1.9 million to the fraudsters. After that, the scammers attacked them and took the money. The attackers were tracked and handed over to law enforcement agencies.
Several eminent incidents of money laundering using digital currencies were also recorded. For example, in April 2017, Thomas Mario Costanzo was arrested for using cryptocurrency to launder proceeds from drug trafficking. The evidence obtained during the investigation proves that Costanzo used the cryptocurrencies for the purchase of narcotic substances. He also solicited people who, naturally, had not passed KYC identification procedures, to buy the cryptocurrencies.
What Does the Future Hold?
In the future, the number of atrocities that are somehow connected with digital currencies will only grow, as the popularity of cryptos increases daily because they offer a huge number of advantages, such as transaction confidentiality, individual user control over investments, and free movement.
This is only one side of the coin, however. These same qualities are possible sources of problems in the future. It is possible that soon the prevention of cryptocurrency crimes will become even more difficult. The smarter criminals become, the more difficult it is for law enforcement to stay abreast of the latest trends in the darknet.
On the other hand, the amount of scams will likely decrease due to the growth of venture investments in the industry. It is possible that new levers aimed at the reduction of other types of crypto crimes will be eventually found and will thus naturally normalize the criminal situation.