The good news: Users were able to recover nearly $675 million worth of crypto assets stolen last year. But the bad news is that criminals were able to steal a total of $2.6 billion, according to a new report from blockchain security firm PeckShield.

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By PeckShield's count, that means the total amount stolen through illicit means dropped from $3.6 billion in 2022.

"DeFi protocols remained prime targets," the firm wrote in a Twitter post, "accounting for 67% of total stolen value."

After PeckShield shared its report this morning, it was soon back to business as usual. The firm flagged that $6.5 million worth of crypto assets have been compromised in an attack on lending and staking protocol MIM Spell.

Earlier this month, Chainalysis said in its own report that illicit activity fell significantly in 2023. But it noted that ransomware and darknet activity were on the rise last year.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system or data, often by encrypting it, until a sum of money (ransom) is paid. The darknet is a part of the internet that is not indexed by standard search engines and accessible only through specialized anonymity-providing tools like Tor.

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It is known for maintaining user privacy and is often associated with various illegal and secretive activities. Privacy coins like Monero and Zcash have grown in popularity on the darknet because they make it difficult for law enforcement to trace transactions.

The "illicit activity" report from Chainalysis differs from that of Peckshield in that it looks at all illicit activity, not just funds stolen from unsuspecting users.

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