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Crypto exchange Upbit was targeted by hackers 159K times in H1: Report

source-logo  cointelegraph.com 09 October 2023 05:02, UTC

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit has been targeted by hackers on more than 159,000 occasions in the first half of 2023, according to its operating firm.

The figures were reported by Dunamu — the firm operating Upbit — to South Korean Representative Park Seong-jung of the People Power Party, according to an Oct. 9 report by South Korea-based Yonhap News Agency.

The figure marks a 117% increase from the first half of 2022 and a whopping 1800% increase from the first half of 2020.

Upbit is one of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges with 24 hour trading volume of around $1.2 billion, according to CoinGecko. Other major exchanges include Bithumb, Coinone and Gopax.

To counter the rise in security breach attempts, Dunamu said Upbit increased the proportion of funds it holds in cold wallets to 70% to strengthen security. Upbit also upped its security measures for funds held in hot wallets.

Hot wallets tend to be hacked more often than cold wallets because the private keys are stored online as opposed to a cold wallet where they’re stored on external hard drives and USBs.

Upbit suffered a $42 million exploit (58 billion South Korean won) in 2019. But since then, Upbit hasn’t suffered a single security breach, a Dunamu spokesperson told Yonhap.

"After the hacking incident in 2019, we took various measures to prevent recurrence, such as distributing hot wallets and operating them, and to date, not a single cyber breach has occurred."

However, Upbit had to halt Aptos token services in late September after the platform failed to recognize a fake token “ClaimAPTGift.com” which made its way to 400,000 Aptos wallets.

1/ Crypto Deposits Security Thread

Today’s Upbit incident highlights a crucial aspect that is often overlooked - the security of crypto deposits. While a lot is discussed around private key management & withdrawals security, deposits have a similar attack surface. ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/5NEAyJB63N

— Nass Eddequiouaq (@nassyweazy) September 25, 2023

Seong-jung acknowledged that cryptocurrency hacks have increased across the board but called on the South Korean government to take more action:

“The Ministry of Science and Technology must conduct large-scale whitewashing 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 them is ambiguous,” Seong-jung added.

Cointelegraph reached out to Upbit for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

Meanwhile, crypto exchanges have been targeted in a string of attacks in September.

Hong Kong-b exchange CoinEx suffered a $70 million hack in September after one of the firm’s private keys was compromised. The firm 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 a Sept. 24 exploit.