Cyber thefts in Japan are making their presence felt in a big way as police reported that hackers in the first six months of this year made off with the equivalent of 60.503 billion yen ($540 million) in cryptocurrency.

The most stunning case, in January, siphoned 58 billion yen from a cryptocurrency exchange.

The National Police Agency said Sept. 20 that the number of reported incidents came to 158, triple the figure for the same period in 2017.

Total seizures far exceeded that for all of last year, when about 662.4 million yen was stolen over the Internet in 149 cases.

Cryptocurrency exchange operator Coincheck Inc. was hacked in January, and the equivalent of 58 billion yen was stolen.

The remaining 2.5 billion yen did not involve exchanges, but mainly illegal accessing of individual cryptocurrency accounts.

More than 60 percent of all cases, or 102 incidents, involved individuals who used the same ID and password for their e-mail account and other Internet services, such as online shopping, for cryptocurrency dealings.

The Coincheck theft triggered greater consumer awareness as the number of incidents decreased dramatically in the months following the incident.

Between January and March, 120 Internet thefts were reported, or about 76 percent of the total.

The Financial Services Agency intensified its efforts to discipline exchange operators in the aftermath of the Coincheck hacking.

The NPA also ramped up its efforts to strengthen confirmation of user IDs.

That led to a decrease in Internet theft reports between April and June to 38 cases.

The most targeted cryptocurrencies were Bitcoin, where the equivalent of 860 million yen was seized in 94 cases, and Ripple, which involved 1.52 billion yen in 42 cases. Losses in NEM cryptocurrency, which was at the center of the Coincheck case, as well as other cryptocurrencies, totaled 58.062 billion yen in 36 cases.

There were 14 cases of Ethereum cryptocurrency theft, with losses of about 61 million yen.

NPA officials said an around-the-clock computer detection system they operate recorded an increase in hacking attempts at cryptocurrency networks from about August 2017.