Cybercrime Statistics Overview
The most notable cybersecurity trends naturally involve emerging technologies as they cross over into the mainstream. In 2022, several blockchain-based technologies have reached the point where their popularity far exceeds the general level of understanding of associated cybersecurity threats and potential vectors of attack.
While the concept of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) dates back to 2014, the market for NFTs has exploded in popularity in a very short time, attracting financial speculators flush with cryptocurrency. Platforms such as OpenSea and Binance have sprung up to facilitate the lucrative trade in NFTs.
With individual NFTs often changing hands for a million dollars or more, and sometimes much more than that, it’s inevitable that the NFT ecosystem would become a target for hackers.
We found that while hacks on NFT platforms may have started small in early 2021, targeting individual users for a few tens of thousands of dollars, less than a year later, cybercriminals are now regularly making off with millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.
In the first four months of 2022 alone, NFT hacks have led to losses of almost $52 million compared with less than $7 million over the whole of 2021.
Our findings are based on an analysis of data from Slowmist, which monitors blockchain security issues.
Cryptocurrency itself, another highly lucrative blockchain-based tech, is at the heart of another big cybersecurity trend in 2022. Cryptojacking is the unauthorized use of victims’ devices to mine for cryptocurrency, typically after infection with malware.
Our research found cryptojacking to be the fastest growing form of malware in 2022, no doubt thanks to a cryptocurrency market whose total value was over $2 trillion at the time of writing.
The average monthly incidence of cryptojacking in 2022 to date is 86% higher than it was in 2021, with the bulk of detections taking place in the North American region.
Our analysis, which draws on threat intelligence data captured by firewall vendor SonicWall, shows that the growth of cryptojacking far outstripped the general trend for malware, which is so far up 16% in 2022.
Only malware specifically targeting IoT devices, ie “smart” devices such as network-connected appliances and sensors, has seen anything like the same rate of growth this year.
Why did we conduct this research? Our goal is to educate the public about emerging trends in cybercrime so that they can protect themselves appropriately, ideally using a combination of two-factor authentication, a VPN (Virtual Private Network), password managers and cybersecurity software, such as Malwarebytes.