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Month in Review

Month in Review: Top DeFi Hacks of November 2023


Rob Behnke

December 4th, 2023

After a relatively slow October, DeFi hackers performed a number of high-value attacks in November 2023. Eight attacks involved thefts of at least $1 million, and the total losses summed to over $320 million.

The Top DeFi Hacks

DeFi hackers performed a range of high-value attacks in November 2023 with losses totaling over $1 million. 

The biggest hacks of this month include:

  • Onyx Protocol: Onyx Protocol, a Compound Protocol fork, suffered a hack of a well-known rounding error. Exploiting this vulnerability enabled the attackers to steal an estimated $2.1 million from the protocol.

  • CoinSpot: CoinSpot suffered a private key theft for two of its hot wallets. The attacker stole approximately $2.5 million from the protocol.

  • Poloniex: The Poloniex cryptocurrency exchange suffered a private key theft believed to have been performed by the Lazarus Group. The attackers stole an estimated $126 million from the project’s hot wallets.

  • Raft Protocol: The Raft Protocol experienced a $3.3 million hack in November 2023. The attacker liquidated positions to inflate the value of collateral and mint 7.7 million R stablecoins.

  • dYdX: Liquidations on the dYdX protocol caused $9 million of the protocol’s insurance fund to be used to fill the gaps. In the end, the protocol lost an estimated $9 million.

  • Kronos Research: Kronos Research suffered a theft of API keys for its crypto trading platform. With the access these provided, the attacker was able to drain an estimated $26 million from the protocol.

  • HECO Bridge and HTX: HECO Bridge and HTX suffered hacks due to a compromised operator account and private key theft respectively. In total, an estimated $99 million was stolen from the protocol.

  • Kyber Network: In November 2023, KyberSwap Elastic suffered a liquidity exploit. In a sophisticated exploit, the attacker took advantage of double liquidity counting in the protocol to steal an estimated $54.7 million.

Lessons Learned from the Attacks

The major DeFi hacks of November 2023 exploited a range of potential attack vectors. Some took advantage of known issues, such as vulnerabilities in Compound Protocol forks or the theft of private keys to drain hot wallets. Others exploited novel vulnerabilities in smart contract code.

In many cases, these hacks could have been prevented by cybersecurity best practices such as the use of multi-signature or cold wallets to store funds or performing a smart contract audit before releasing new smart contract code. 

To learn more about protecting your protocol against these types of hacks, get in touch.