The number of leaks of users' data from cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017 jumped almost fivefold compared to the previous year. Cybercriminals use the same malicious software earlier involved in attacks on banking infrastructure, the research finds.

The number of users' data leaks from crypto exchanges increased by 369% compared to 2016. And in January 2018 it rose by 689% compared to the average monthly number in 2017, cybersecurity firm Group IB reported. The experts analized hacker attacks on customers of 19 world cryptocurrency exchanges.

"The wave-like activation of scammers and the increased attention of hacker groups to the cryptocurrency industry, the modification of malicious programs for cryptocurrencies, as well as the significant amounts of stolen funds are signals that the industry is not yet ready to protect itself and its users," said the director of special projects department at Group IB Ruslan Yusufov.

The residents of the United States, Russia and China formed the majority of victims of hacker attacks. The infrastructure used by cybercriminals was mainly based in the USA (56.1%), the Netherlands (21.5%), Ukraine (4.3%) and Russia (3.2%).

The experts identified 50 botnets used by criminals to attack customers of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Most often, cybercriminals used the AZORult and Pony Formgrabber trojans, as well as Qbot . The authors of the study note that there is a tendency that cybercriminals prefer to use the same tools for hacking crypto exchanges that were previously involved in attacks on banks.

Group-IB emphasizes that currently no cryptocurrency exchange, regardless its scale, does not provide absolute security to its users due to insufficient attention to information security and protection of digital assets.