The responsibility for the theft of cryptocurrencies worth in total up to $1 billion rests with hackers from just two groups. They are still active.

Alpha and Beta

The blockchain surveillance company Chainalysis published a report according to which only two cybercriminal organizations are responsible for the theft of $1 billion in cryptocurrencies. These groups are called Alpha and Beta in the report. Most of the stolen cryptocurrencies were immediately or sometime later converted into fiat currencies on various exchanges.

 “On average, the hacks we traced from the two prominent hacking groups stole $90 million per hack. The hackers typically move stolen funds through a complex array of wallets and exchanges in an attempt to disguise the funds’ criminal origins.”

According to Chainalysis, Alpha is “a giant, tightly controlled organization at least partly driven by non-monetary goals,” while Beta is “a less organized and smaller organization absolutely focused on the money.” Alpha usually is in a hurry to convert stolen cryptocurrency, with about 75% of the funds exchanged for fiat within one month after the attack, on average. Beta, as a rule, waits up to 18 months, without moving the cryptocurrency from the address, and then cashes 50% in a few days.

Cryptocurrencies are often laundered through regulated exchanges, Philip Gradwell, chief economist at Chainalysis, said, as those exchanges do not notice that they receive stolen funds.

More than half of hacks

Two groups of highly skilled cybercriminals account for about 60% of all known hacks, including the attacks on Mt. Gox and Bitfinex. They have an extensive staff of hackers, and there is an extensive network of cryptocurrency wallets in their toolkit.

Both groups are still active.