Orbit Bridge hack pushes December crypto theft to nearly $100M

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The recent attack on Orbit Chain’s cross-chain bridge has pushed up the amount of crypto stolen in December 2023 to almost $100 million, according to blockchain security firms.

On Jan. 1, blockchain security firm PeckShield said the $81.5 million cross-chain bridge exploit on Orbit Bridge meant that December was the fifth-highest month for hacks in 2023.

The exploit was also ninth-largest hack targeting a cross-chain bridge over the past three years, it said.

Orbit Bridge is the bridging service of the cross-chain protocol Orbit Chain, launched in South Korea in 2018, which later confirmed it was hacked due to an unauthorized breach of access to its ecosystem on Dec. 31 at 8:52 pm UTC. 

On Jan. 1, the Orbit Chain team requested that major global cryptocurrency exchanges freeze the stolen assets.

“We are in close contact with law enforcement agencies, and we are working diligently to track down and freeze the assets that have been stolen,” it added.

Billions lost to hackers in 2023

The total crypto losses due to hacks, scams, and exploits throughout 2023 ranged between $1.51 billion and $2 billion, according to estimates from blockchain security firms PeckShield, CertiK, and Beosin. 

September and November were particularly devastating, with over $700 million lost during those two months alone, according to PeckShield data. 

This included the Mixin Network losing $200 million in September, while the largest exploits in November occurred on the Poloniex and HTX/Heco Bridges, with losses of $131.4 million and $113.3 million, respectively.

Other notable hacks in the year included Euler Finance being exploited for $197 million in March and Multichain being hacked for $125 million in July.

Related: Crypto phishing scams took almost $300M from 324K victims in 2023: Report

Blockchain security firm Beosin, however, noted that hacks, phishing scams, and rug pulls all saw significant declines compared to 2022, with total losses down from roughly $4.38 billion.

Losses from hacks saw the biggest drop, from $3.6 billion in 2022 to $1.4 billion in 2023, a decrease of about 61.2%, it noted.

Crypto hacks, phishing, and rug pulls in 2023. Source: Beosin

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