By Evan Spicer
Director of Cryptocurrency Investigations
Crypto hackers have stolen a total of $1.4 billion so far in 2022 thanks, in large part, to blockchain bridges. These bridges, which connect various crypto networks, serve as a channel for funds and are easy for cybercriminals to access.
In the first half of 2022, hackers stole $190 million on Nomad Bridge and a record $516 million on Ronen Bridge. Although the latter was the largest crypto heist in history, Sky Mavis, the company that is in charge of the sidechain, managed to recover funds and return them to the victims of the massive theft.
Blockchain experts are sounding the alarm about sidechains and blockchain bridges. Tom Robinson, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at Elliptic, told CryptoPotato:
“Blockchain bridges have become the low-hanging fruit for cybercriminals, with billions of dollars of crypto assets locked within them. Hackers have breached these bridges in various ways, suggesting that their level of security has not kept pace with the value of assets they hold.”
Just as a poorly-constructed bridge will collapse under the weight of traffic, these blockchain bridges may be a great idea in the making, but they aren’t yet secure enough to protect funds. Nevertheless, many crypto users are presumably prepared to take the risk, given the convenience provided by these bridges.
Crypto Bridges Create a Pathway for Terrorism and Totalitarian Regimes
Hackers behind crypto bridge thefts aren’t simply lining their own pockets; many of them are working on behalf of totalitarian regimes and are involved in funding global terrorism.
The FBI has identified the hackers behind the Ronen Bridge heist as members of the Lazarus Group, a North Korean front that funds illegal activities carried out by Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship, including the unauthorized development of nuclear weapons.
In addition, stolen cryptocurrency is being channeled to Russian groups as a way to bypass international sanctions imposed since the country invaded Ukraine. The FBI has also uncovered efforts in the past to fund terrorist groups using cryptocurrency stolen from crypto wallets.
Are Crypto Bridges Safe?
One drawback of the multiplicity of cryptocurrencies has been the difficulty converting one to the other, and the tendency of each crypto coin to require its own network. Crypto bridges are a solution to this problem.
For example, blockchain bridges will allow customers to use bitcoin, to pay someone in ethereum. One analogy is the way platforms such as PayPal can pay clients through various payment methods.
However, with this convenience comes substantial risk. When we send funds through a crypto bridge, they are often out of our hands and are at the mercy of whoever is making the exchange.
One way of staying safe using crypto bridges is to insist only on so-called “trustless” crypto bridges, which allow the original crypto holder to maintain control over funds while they are being transferred.
What to Do If You’ve Lost Funds Through a Crypto Bridge?
If you’ve lost money through a crypto bridge, you aren’t alone. Hackers are stealing billions from these bridges. However, there is reason to hope – most of the victims of the Ronen Bridge heist have received their funds.
Talk to MyChargeBack if you’ve lost funds to a crypto fraud. Our experts will investigate your case with crypto trace technology and will help you track down your funds.
If You’ve Lost Money to a Crypto Bridge Theft, Don’t Give Up! Contact MyChargeBack
However, it’s important not to give up if you are a victim of online fraud, but to seek recourse immediately. MyChargeBack has developed working relationships with law enforcement agencies worldwide, has extensive knowledge and experience with crypto tracking and can improve your prospects of getting your funds back.