Cryptocurrency exchanges are no strangers to being targeted by hackers, as they hold large amounts of money on their platforms. However, few people realize just how many attacks these platforms face, something that the Upbit exchange has shed light on with a new report.
Based in South Korea, Upbit experienced at least 900 attempted hacker attacks per day in the first half of 2023. Yes, per day: in total, the exchange faced 160,000 attempted attacks over the first six months of the year. These figures come from the South Korean regulatory agency YNA.
Naturally, not all of these attacks were successful. In fact, Upbit managed to repel all of these actions, but the data shows just how much hackers are targeting exchanges and how often attacks occur. The last time an attack hit Upbit was in 2019 when the exchange lost the equivalent of $50 million in cryptocurrencies.
In South Korea, cryptocurrency exchanges are required to submit regulatory documents periodically to YNA. These data are public, and in Upbit’s case, they were presented by Dunamu, the company that controls the exchange.
The company presented its findings to the National Assembly’s Committee on Science, Technology, Information, Broadcasting, and Communications. This took place on Monday (9th), and the report was delivered to Representative Park Seong-jung (Popular Power Party).
Precisely, the number corresponds to 879 attempted attacks per day, according to the report. Dunamu does not specify the types of attacks, but it is estimated that email phishing or DDoS attacks are the most common. Phishing is a fraudulent attack, while DDoS is an attack that aims to block the services of an exchange.
In a DDoS attack, the attacker floods a server with internet traffic to prevent users from accessing connected online services and websites. Dunamu said that attempted attacks grew by 117% compared to the first half of 2022, which saw just over 73,200 cases.
Upbit may not be among the largest platforms in the market outside of South Korea. However, the exchange trades billions of dollars in tokens and South Korean won trading pairs. In many cases, investors use the exchange to profit from tokens as soon as the platform releases their trading, similar to what happens on Coinbase.
Earlier this year, the exchange processed about $2.5 billion in XRP trading volumes during a 24-hour period, one of the highest volumes of the year. This came after Ripple, the issuer of the cryptocurrency, won against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). At the time, the price of XRP on Upbit was 10% higher compared to the global markets of the cryptocurrency.