Upbit, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, faced over 159,000 hacking attempts during the first half of 2023, as reported by its operating company, Dunamu. This figure represents a significant surge, with a 117% rise compared to the same period in 2022 and an astounding 1,800% increase compared to the first half of 2020.
Upbit is one of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, boasting an impressive 24-hour trading volume of approximately $1.2 billion, as reported by CoinGecko. Other significant South Korean exchange market players include Bithumb, Coinone, and Gopax.
Upbit Bolstered its Security Measures
In response to the surge in security breach attempts, Dunamu revealed that the exchange had bolstered its security measures. That includes increasing the proportion of funds stored in cold wallets to 70%, thus fortifying its security infrastructure. Additionally, Upbit has implemented enhanced security protocols for funds held in hot wallets.
Upbit faced a $50 million exploit in 2019. After the hacking incident, a spokesperson from Dunamu, in a statement to Yonhap, said the company implemented various measures to prevent a recurrence, including the distribution and operation of hot wallets.
To date, not a single cyber breach has occurred. It’s worth noting that hot wallets, which store private keys online, are more susceptible to hacking than cold wallets, where private keys are stored on external devices like hard drives and USBs.
However, Upbit faced a setback in late September when it had to suspend Aptos token services. That was due to the platform’s failure to detect a counterfeit token named “ClaimAPTGift.com,” which managed to infiltrate 400,000 Aptos wallets.
Crypto Hacks Surge in South Korea
Seong-jung acknowledged the surge in cryptocurrency hacks and urged the South Korean government to take more decisive action.
He emphasized the need for the Ministry of Science and Technology to conduct extensive cybersecurity tests and investigate the information security readiness of virtual asset exchanges, particularly in light of the frequent hacking attempts. He also pointed out the ambiguous role of the Ministry of Science and ICT in overseeing and managing these exchanges.
In a series of attacks in September, several crypto exchanges fell victim. Hong Kong-based CoinEx suffered a $70 million hack after one of the firm’s private keys was compromised. The company assured users affected by the breach would be compensated for lost funds. Huobi Global’s HTX exchange also experienced a $7.9 million loss in an exploit on Sept. 24.