Next Crypto Hack Trend: AI Scams, BRC-20 Exploits, and Sneakier Hackers

Vignesh Karunanidhi
Next Crypto Crime Trend: AI Scams, BRC-20 Hacks, and Sneakier Hackers

As crypto adoption grows, so too do the threats facing investors and projects. According to leading blockchain security firms, 2024 may see an uptick in sophisticated phishing scams, attacks on the burgeoning BRC-20 ecosystem, and crypto hacks targeting cross-chain bridges.

Generative AI could enable alarmingly realistic scams

While crypto-related scam losses dropped from $4 billion in 2022 to $1.7 billion this year, attacks are growing more advanced, warns Jesse Leclere, a blockchain analyst at CertiK, according to Cointelegraph. He expects phishing scams utilizing generative AI to target both individual users and corporate systems through highly tailored social engineering.

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“One of the key elements that will see phishing scams become more nefarious is the use of generative AI, allowing hackers to automate operations and create convincing fake calls, videos, and messages through which to ensnare potential victims,” Leclere said.

Cross-chain bridges remain prime targets

Cross-chain bridges enable convenient asset transfers between blockchains but have been the source of many of crypto’s largest heists, like the $650 million Ronin hack. Leclere believes bridges will continue to attract skilled attackers in 2024.

“As the industry increasingly adopts cross-chain solutions for greater interoperability, these protocols will become attractive targets for attackers, exploiting vulnerabilities arising from complex interactions between different protocols and chains.”

Leclere warned

Phil Larratt, Director of Investigations at Chainalysis, anticipates significant growth in the sophistication crypto criminals employ to hide illicit activity and launder funds in 2024.

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As regulations and blockchain analytics improve, the next wave will likely leverage privacy coins, bridges, mixers, and obfuscation techniques to a greater degree to evade authorities. This will create new challenges for investigators working to track down criminal proceeds.

While the crypto sector made security strides in 2023, substantial risks remain for investors and developers. The insights shared by experts highlight the growing threat posed by AI-powered deception tactics, vulnerabilities in new ecosystems like BRC-20, persisting bridge risks, and increasingly crafty efforts by criminals to cover illicit fund flows.