January’s biggest crypto hacks earn criminals $39m

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Nearly $50 million was stolen from web3 platforms in the year’s first month as crypto remains engaged in a cyber war with hackers and scammers. 

Quantstamp, a defi security startup, reported five smart contract protocols with the highest losses from exploits and hackers in January. A total of $38.9 million was lost to a basket of attack vectors deployed by bad actors, including other smart contract hacks, key compromises, and scams, according to Quantstamp.

Four days into the year, Gamma Strategies was rocked by a flash loan attack. The code bug allowed exploiters to drain $6.1 million from Gamma’s public-facing vaults. Gamma shut off deposits to resolve the issue, effectively closing the loophole. 

Although less than $10 million was stolen, roughly $500,000 denominated in Ether (ETH) was at risk during the incident.

Radiant Capital lost $4.5 million to an empty market exploit on Jan. 3, hours before the attack on Gamma. According to Peckshield, the root cause was not novel and stemmed from a brief period where new markets were activated on lending protocols. 

The defi lender paused its Arbitrum-based USDC pool to address the issue. Radiant also noted that user funds were not exposed, and the protocol resumed operations following an investigation. 

On Jan. 16, the multi-chain protocol Socket was breached via a user verification input vulnerability. The compromise allowed hackers to siphon almost 2,000 ETH worth over $4 million. However, Socket has since recovered 1,032 ETH, worth around $2.3 million. All affected users were also reimbursed as part of Socket’s plan to make users whole. 

Goledo Finance’s security breach was identical to Gamma’s exploit and the most recent, as hackers used a flash loan attack and stole $1.7 million. At press time, negotiations with the culprit were underway, and Goledo offered a reward for the returned funds. 

Additionally, the hacker’s accounts on centralized exchanges were frozen, and Goledo was assessing the loss to finalize a recovery plan while local law enforcement was briefed on the matter. 

Finally, Wise Lending lost at least $460,000 in a flash loan attack on Jan. 12. This particular flash loan exploit was orchestrated by manipulating the price oracle used by Wise Lending. It was the second attack experienced by the protocol within six months.

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