Crypto thefts on the rise in Japan

September 21, 2018
Chris Wheal

Japan’s daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun reports that cybercriminals targeting the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges and investors stole Yen (JPY) 60.503bn (equal to around $540m) in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies over the first six months of 2018.

The report follows the news that Tech Bureau’s exchange Zaif was hacked earlier this month, with the loss of nearly $60m in User funds.

The data for H1 of 2018 comes from Japan’s National Police Agency, adding that 158 separate incidents were reported over the six months or triple the figure for the same period in 2017. Total seizures far exceeded the figure for the whole of last year, when about JPY 662.4m was stolen over the internet in 149 cases.

Coincheck the main target

By far the worst case in the first six months of 2018 was the siphoning in January of JPY 58bn from cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck. The remaining JPY 2.5bn did not involve exchanges, but mainly the illegal accessing of individual cryptocurrency accounts.

The FSA has tightened up security standard requirements

Following the Coincheck hacking, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has subsequently implemented new security standards, issued warnings to several exchanges, and taken a number of other steps to create a safer environment for cryptocurrency investors.

The FSA also issues licenses to select cryptocurrency exchanges, certifying that certain safety protocols and operational guidelines are met.

More than 60% of all cases in H1, or 102 incidents, involved individuals who used the same ID and password for their e-mail account and other internet services, such as online shopping, for cryptocurrency dealings.

After Coincheck was hacked, the FSA put every cryptocurrency exchange in Japan under increased scrutiny. Since then, the FSA has implemented new security standards, issued warnings to a number of exchanges, and taken a number of other steps to create a safer environment for cryptocurrency investors. The FSA also issues licenses to select cryptocurrency exchanges, certifying that certain safety protocols and operational guidelines are met.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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