Upbit Grapples with a Surge in Cyberattacks, Underlining Broader Security Concerns in Crypto Exchanges

Upbit Grapples with a Surge in Cyberattacks, Underlining Broader Security Concerns in Crypto Exchanges

Upbit, a major South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, reported a significant increase in hacking attempts, with 159,000 recorded during the first half of 2023.

Key Takeaways

  • Upbit, a South Korean crypto exchange, confronted 159,000 hacking attempts in the first half of 2023.
  • The aforementioned figure represents a remarkable 117% increase compared to the previous year.
  • Enhanced security measures are deployed by Upbit, including storing 70% of funds in cold wallets.
  • The increasing cyberattacks across various exchanges spotlight imminent and potent security threats in the crypto realm.

Upbit, a prominent South Korean cryptocurrency exchange managing daily trades around $1.2 billion, recently found itself ensnared by a considerable 159,000 hacking attempts during the initial six months of 2023. Revealed by Dunamu, Upbit’s parent company, to Park Seong-Jung of the People Power Party in South Korea, this figure is not just a statistic. It marks a 117% uptick from last year and a startling 1800% increase since 2020, highlighting a worrying trajectory in cyber threats aimed at cryptocurrency exchanges.

In the shadow of its 2019 security breach, where $50 million was irrecoverably lost, Upbit has fortified its defenses. A substantial 70% of its funds are now securely tucked away in cold wallets, shielded from the online vulnerabilities that hot wallets—due to their internet-connected private keys—might present. Additionally, security protocols surrounding their hot wallets have been markedly tightened.

Despite the rigorous defenses, the exchange encountered recent turmoil, having to momentarily suspend its Aptos token services due to its failure to identify a fraudulent token, “ClaimAPTGift.com,” which impacted roughly 400,000 Aptos wallets.

In response to this concerning ascent in cryptocurrency-related cyber intrusions, Park Seong-Jung has called upon the South Korean government to deepen its involvement. He advocated for the Ministry of Science and Technology to spearhead comprehensive simulated security evaluations and critically analyze information security circumstances to fortify preparations against impending cyberattacks, especially on virtual asset exchanges, which are frequent targets.

The reality is, Upbit is not navigating these stormy cyber seas alone. In recent times, CoinEx, situated in Hong Kong, fell victim to a formidable $70 million hack following the compromise of one of its private keys. Moreover, Huobi Global’s HTX exchange bemoaned the loss of $7.9 million in a separate attack, cementing the notion that the security of digital assets is becoming a paramount concern amidst the increasing cyber threats.


The escalating scale and complexity of cyberattacks against cryptocurrency exchanges like Upbit underline an imperative: the urgent need to amalgamate advanced technology, policy frameworks, and international cooperation to safeguard digital assets. While exchanges like Upbit are taking strides to protect assets with enhanced security measures, the recurrent nature of these cyber onslaughts signals that security in the cryptocurrency landscape needs to be ceaselessly evolving, adaptive, and anticipatory.

A strategic approach, encompassing stringent security protocols, legislative oversight, and consumer education, is pivotal to fortify defenses and, in doing so, underpin the credibility and stability of the burgeoning digital asset marketplace. The collaboration between governments, tech innovators, and exchanges will be pivotal in weaving a security net that is capable of countering the ever-advancing threats in the crypto space.