With cryptocurrencies gaining more and more ground in today’s business field, how do we shield ourselves from its potential harms, while keeping abreast of changes? Below are some 2018 Cryptocurrency threats you should know, and advice on how to tackle them.
23 December, AtoZForex – In 2017, cryptocurrency is stronger than ever and shows no signs of decline. However, this growth in value means more malign activities directed towards gathering such resources.This is largely applicable to companies that are focused strictly on mining and trading cryptocurrencies – an attractive target for cybercriminals.
2018 Cryptocurrency threats you should know
Some cyber threats have been inherited from e-payments, however operating principles specific to cryptocurrencies have opened up new opportunities for criminals to monetize malicious activity.
1. Beware of Ransomware
The cryptocurrency market, as we know it, is highly unregulated and anonymous, which means there is more space for cybercriminals to perform malicious attacks and steal user data. Ransoms are a form of criminal activity whereby criminals blackmail users and ask for money in return for their data.
Cryptocurrencies have an obvious flaw – which by some could be considered an advantage – transactions cannot be tracked. This means there is little to no likelihood of the perpetrator being caught.
2. Ethical and practical issues of Cryptojacking
Web-mining is a mining technique whereby a special script is installed on a web-page, but cryptojacking does so unbeknownst to the user. By loading such scripts to compromised websites, hackers can engage visitors’ computers to mine coins for them. What makes it easier for hackers is that there is no need for a software installation.
Other than extremely high electricity bills, there are also ethical and practical issues connected to cryptojacking. Some see this as a viable alternative to advertisement revenues.
- However, first, it is noteworthy that even if legitimate websites incorporate an opt-in and opt-out option, numerous cryptojacking scripts are already out there for hackers to use undetectable.
- Second, such scripts could degrade hardware since they put an enormous strain on system resources.
- Lastly, mining glitches could potentially result in the loss of a plethora of important documentation, especially when discussing company computers. Such instability would surely be detrimental to the organization’s network.
3. Loss of wallet files
Other than having user data stolen, it can also be lost as a consequence of a crash of the hard disk, or a bug in the system.
Just last month over $300 million of cryptocurrency was lost accidentally, according to statistics. While fixing a bug that let hackers steal $32million, Parity inadvertently produced another bug. This flaw would allow a single user to become the owner of all virtual wallets in the system. Subsequently, one user came across this bug, unintentionally taking control of hundreds of wallets. Having realized what had happened, the user tried to give back the funds, but instead locked them up, effectively freezing $300 million without a way to “unfreeze” them.
4. How Insider miners target your business
It is unsurprising that companies would be the major targets for hackers, rather than individuals – the more resources hackers have access to, the fatter their virtual wallets get. In light of this, we can also expect illegal activity within organizations.
Be it, employees of government organizations or huge corporations, these insider miners can use publicly- or company-owned facilities for the best thing miners could wish for – a free and stable source of electricity.
5. Unsafe Initial Coin Offerings (ICO)
In recent years crowdfunding through cryptocurrencies, or ICO has experienced tremendous growth. $1.7 billion was collected in 2017 alone. The danger here is that as the number of failed projects rise, the negative effect on the cryptocurrency exchange rates becomes starker.
A reason for such lack of success of big projects could be the insecure characteristics of ICOs. Such investments are completely unregulated. Essentially, the investor trusts the goodwill of project owners to provide them with a return on investment. No risk-assessment mechanisms mean no guarantee against frauds. Not only might the investor not receive returns, but also the project itself might not even be implemented in the first place. Nothing prevents the project owners from taking off with the money. As already mentioned before, tracking and de-anonymisation are not easily achievable.
Overall, even though we have entered the golden age of cryptocurrencies, we are still facing many threats. The improvement in security will be a challenge, to say the least, as it will have to keep up with the unprecedented growth in the value and popularity of cryptocurrencies. However, until we get a stable, safe currency that is not easily lost or farmed for malicious purposes, what can we do to shield ourselves from potential threats?
How to protect yourself from crypto – threat?
- Always verify a web-wallet’s address and do not follow links to an internet bank or web-wallet;
- Before making a transaction, ascertain that the recipient’s address, the amount of money, and the size of the associated fee are correct;
- Make informed decisions when crypto investing and do not invest more than you are ready to lose;
- Diversify your investments;
- Make hard copies of your secret key and purchase USB hardware wallets to prevent loss of data.
- Run high-end antivirus software to protect the devices you use to access cryptowallets, and trade on cryptoexchanges.
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