December Month Hacks Adds To 2023’s $1.77B Crypto Loss

December Month Hacks Adds To 2023’s $1.77B Crypto Loss

December 2023 is a month of noteworthy contrasts in the face of crypto losses. According to QuillMonitor, a Web3 hack and vulnerability analytics tool, the month saw a decline in losses, totalling $103.88M across 32 attacks. This marks a significant 59% decrease compared to the previous month’s recorded losses.   

  • In December 2023, crypto losses totalled $103.88M across 32 attacks, a 59% decrease compared to the previous month.
  • The 2023 yearly loss amounted to $1.77B from over 440 hacking incidents, showcasing the prevalent vulnerability in the crypto space.
  • Rug pulls and smart contract vulnerabilities contributed to being the prime contributors, constituting 21%, and code exploits 12% of the total losses throughout the year.

However, when assessing the broader picture, 2023 tells a tale of substantial losses, summing up to over $1.77B from over 440 hacking incidents. The patterns from this data shed light on the persistent vulnerabilities and ongoing threats in the crypto sphere.

Rug pulls, and smart contract vulnerabilities have been consistent players in this narrative of losses throughout the year. Rug pulls accounted for a staggering 21% of the total losses, with code exploits not far behind at 12%. 

Apart from this, the month witnessed a range of incidents, from phishing scams to compromised private keys, resulting in considerable losses for various projects.

Revealing the Rug Pull Menace for the Month

Rug pulls have been a persistent headache in the Web3 space throughout 2023. These schemes involve deceitful developers creating tokens or projects, enticing investors with promising prospects, and swiftly vanishing with investors’ funds, leaving them with worthless tokens and heavy financial losses.

The rug pull stood at the top of the list by attack type in 2023. Among them the top rug pull projects in December were:

  • Stoic DAO – $1.1M
  • MegabotETH – $742k
  • CKD Token – $539k

These projects amassed significant investments before abruptly absconding with investors’ hard-earned money, underlining the necessity for increased vigilance and due diligence among investors.

Spotting the Red Flags – How?

To safeguard oneself from falling victim to rug pulls, users must exercise caution and conduct thorough research before investing in any project. Tools like QuillCheck can be immensely helpful in assessing token health and market credibility. By leveraging such tools, potential scam tokens can be identified early on, saving investors from significant losses.

Cracking the Nuances Of 2023 Code Exploits

Smart contracts, known for their efficiency and autonomy in executing transactions, have unfortunately been a breeding ground for vulnerabilities in the crypto space for a long time. Throughout the year, these vulnerabilities have been consistently disrupting the space after rug pulls, making them a significant concern for the industry.

December’s Impact – Code Exploits

Nevertheless, December also contributed its fair share of losses to code exploits, amounting to $7.6 million. Here are the top hacks in December resulting from smart contract vulnerabilities:

  • NFT Trader – $3M 
  • Flooring Protocol – $1.5M 
  • Telcoin – $1.25M
  • Levana Protocol – $1.1M
  • BEARN DAO – $769k

Trends & Analysis On Smart Contract Errors

Among the smart contract vulnerabilities prevalent in 2023, several key patterns were observed, resulting in notable breaches such as,

Error with logic calculations: This surfaced as one of the broadest categories of vulnerabilities encountered in smart contracts. These errors stemmed from mathematical or logical mistakes in deployed code, spanning incorrect collateralization requirements, miscalculations in token decimal scaling, and inappropriate reward distributions. These issues affected notable projects including Euler Finance, Platypus Finance, etc.

Approval permission mishaps: The approval mechanism, a cornerstone in token permissions within EVM chais, emerged as another vulnerability hotspot. It stemmed from granting permissions for token usage, often resulting in expensive processes. 

Pricing/Oracle manipulations: The reliance on oracles for off-chain data input into on-chain applications posed another area of vulnerability. Ensuring accurate off-chain data transmission remained a hurdle, with discrepancies in oracle-reported prices leading to potential arbitrage opportunities. Projects like BonqDao and DKP tokens faced issues related to Oracle dependency.

Security Approach To Coping Up?

To combat the intricate landscape of smart contract vulnerabilities, a multi-layered approach to security becomes imperative:

  • AI-Assisted Auditing: AI-driven auditing tools like QuillAI can be an embedded security measure. These tools can be leveraged during development itself to analyze code, enhancing the security of the protocols right from the beginning.
  • Multiple Audits: A series of manual audits alongside ongoing assessments is pivotal. Multiple audits help maintain the integrity and security of Web3 protocols by identifying and addressing vulnerabilities at various stages.

End Thoughts

As December 2023 draws to a close, it serves as yet another stark reminder of the ongoing vulnerabilities within the Web3 ecosystem. It underscores the critical necessity for continuous innovation in implementing robust security measures to safeguard against the ever-evolving Web3 threat landscape.

Discover a comprehensive analysis of 2023 hacks, expert insights on smart contract security and predictions for Web3 security in 2024 from the Annual Web3 Security Report 2023 published by QuillAudits.

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