According to a new report released today by the National Police Agency of Japan, the number of crypto-thefts in Japan have exploded to triple of what they were last year. Just in the first six months of 2017, some $540 million in cryptocurrency assets have been stolen, the equivalent of 60.503 billion yen. The story first broke from one of Japan’s popular national newspapers, the Asahi Shimbun.
Interestingly, the report comes at a time when the Osaka-based exchange Zaif recently disclosed that they had been hacked for around $60 million just a few days ago. However, the timing of the report’s release by the National Police Agency and this breach seems to be oddly enough just coincidental.
As per the National Policy Agency, they found that during the period from the beginning of 2018 until Sept 20th, 158 crypto-related thefts have been reported. This was triple the amount for the same period in 2017. All of the heists have been purely digital and have even exceeded the entire amount stolen for the whole 2017 year.
A disproportionate amount of the hacked funds counted were from Coincheck Inc., a Japanese-based exchange which experienced a stunning heist in January. Some $500 million or more of NEM was stolen in one of the largest crypto hacks al year. The bombshell incident brought the entire world of crypto-related hacking to the utmost attention of the state which forced Coincheck to reimburse customers for all the damages.
Other than exchange hacks, the National Police Agency reports that the remaining hacked amount in the yearly total came from individual cryptocurrency accounts. That, too, according to the report remains a significant problem amounts to $100s of millions in stolen funds just this year.
However, some of this could be easily avoided. For example, the National Police Agency’s report also speaks of most cases being as simple as using the same password and ID for cryptocurrency dealings as for shopping and email. This basic blindspot account for some 60% of all cryptocurrency thefts in Japan which shows that the public at large is still behind on properly securing their crypto assets.
It is both the National Police Agency and the Financial Services Agency that are now getting involved in stopping future hacks. For example, the necessity of stricter disclosure agreements and audits for exchanges caused a sizeable drops in crypto-related hacks and they decreased substantially from April to June of this year.
The report goes on to conclude that this increase in crypto hacking began to really spike sometime around August of 2017, with the most hacked cryptocurrency being Bitcoin.