There is a growing threat to NFT-based services by cybergangs
More than $100m worth of NFTs have been reported as stolen between July 2021 and July 2022, according to cryptoasset risk firm Elliptic.
In its newly launched 2022 NFT report, Elliptic warns that NFT platforms have become an ever more lucrative hunting ground for illicit actors to launder, manipulate and scam customers.
Over $8m of illicit funds have been laundered through known sources on NFT platforms with a further unsourced $328.6m originating from crypto mixers, which may reflect a proportion of the laundered funds.
The months of May and July have been particularly lucrative for cybercriminals.
In May, the highest confirmed value of NFTs fell just short of $24m and July experienced more than 4,600 NFT thefts – the most on record.
Social media has represented a key avenue for NFT heists. Discord servers linked to NFT projects have accounted for 23 per cent of all NFTs stolen this year.
According to Elliptic, a new wave of malware capable of bypassing multi-factor authentication is the likely culprit behind the Discord hacks.
Over the past months, crypto firms and blockchain platforms have been cast in a nefarious light.
Earlier this month crypto mixer Tornado Cash was subject to sanctions from the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control for facilitating the laundering of $7bn worth of crypto.
Research from Elliptic suggests that $137.6m of NFTs were associated with Tornado Cash, which was responsible for 52 per cent of NFT scams before being sanctioned.
Groups associated with the scams include the North Korean cybercriminals Lazarus Group, who have been involved in some of the largest crypto heists to date.