It seems like just a few years ago that cryptocurrency was confined to the world of dark web market and extorting ransom payments. From there onward, the progress of Bitcoin has been amazing. It has made impressive strides toward achieving legitimacy within recent years. As a result, more cybercriminals are following the trails of these Bitcoins to have a shot at stealing them from people. In the future, the growth of Bitcoin is expected to get a lot better. In the future, the banking industry stands to benefit over $1 billion dollars worth of business value from the use of blockchain.
However, this is a double-edged sword for investors. On the one hand, it advances the need for people to have access to a decentralized method of transaction. On the other hand, the continued endorsement of cryptocurrencies will only increase the security risks associated with digital transactions. This is on top of all the risks that are shouldered by investors when they enter into the cryptocurrency market. Fortunately, there are some ways that organizations and consumers can keep cryptocurrency investments safe.
How did Bitcoin rise to fame?
If you have only known about Bitcoin for the past three years, the reality is cryptocurrencies have been around for almost a decade. Bitcoin is one of the many cryptocurrencies in the market today. Understandably, Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency because it’s the most widely used currency. It was launched in 2009. Initially, its value did not increase as much as it did last year, but it shot up in value a few years after it was released. The main reasons why people are attracted to this cryptocurrency is because it’s easy to use and it also allows anonymous transactions.
Unfortunately, these are also the same reasons that cybercriminals are interested in cryptocurrencies. Cybercriminals have been using cryptocurrencies as a method to extort people’s money. None of the earlier electronic currencies ever achieved wide adoption, but when Bitcoin managed to do so, they saw an opportunity to gain a quick profit. Suddenly, a ransom demand could be made in Bitcoin, providing a reasonable chance that the victim can figure out how to pay. In fact, the industry has seen an increase in the attempts to hack infrastructure that contains cryptocurrencies. This directly coincides with the time period when Bitcoin shot up in value.
Although the dark past and the recent volatility of cryptocurrencies are well known, what is less known is that it has a growing acceptance among banks and other financial institutions as consumers get involved in the cryptocurrency market. For instance, platforms such as Coinbase allow people to pay their apartment rent using Bitcoin.
Meanwhile, another significant trend around cryptocurrency adoption is from large investments from fintech companies that are trying to hedge against future ransomware attacks. Ransom attackers always asked for payments in cryptocurrency, so these institutions always buy them earlier in large quantities at lower prices.
Hackers becoming smarter at stealing cryptocurrencies
When it comes to cryptocurrencies, major ones such as Bitcoin require mining to maintain its infrastructure. Mining Bitcoin requires an enormous amount of computing power. In fact, countries around the world have warned against the mining of Bitcoin because it may cause residential areas to lack power, especially for those who mine in smaller cities.
As a result, business networks have become a popular target among cryptocurrency hackers. The cybersecurity research team recently identified, tracked, and dismantled a massive botnet. The botnet included individual companies with thousands of compromised endpoints, all working surreptitiously to mine cryptocurrency and spread the infection further across the corporate network.
Cybercriminals are always quick to follow the money, especially with the exploding popularity of cryptocurrencies. They did it in a few ways. For instance, Russia, China, and North Korea have dedicated teams that run illegal cryptocurrency mining rights. Among the targets include Android phones and Windows servers.
On top of that, hackers are also using email phishing as a method. Using this method of hacking others, these hackers will try to steal the private keys to a cryptocurrency wallet to grant access to cryptocurrency funds. On top of that, criminals are also targeting other cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin. For instance, Monero and Ethereum offer a greater privacy compared to Bitcoin, which makes it a favourite among cybercriminals.
How can cryptocurrency traders protect themselves?
As we face intense attacks from people targeting cryptocurrency investors, here are some precautionary measures you should follow. It is important that consumers of cryptocurrencies make it a priority to ensure their credentials remain intact. If you are investing in an ICO, make sure that the address you receive matches the one available on the official website. To be sure, you should always contact vendors through their established emails, especially when you receive an unexpected notification from the exchange. On top of that, online wallets should never be used to store cryptocurrencies.
- Implement secure technology solutions
In the organization, make sure that your systems are updated and patched, as this helps to ensure that systems in computers are constantly fixed, and the security is strengthened after each update. Technology solutions play an important role as it stops cryptocurrency related email attacks before they reach their intended victims. If your computer is working slowly, this can be a minor infection.
- Educate your workforce
If your business deals with cryptocurrencies, it is not enough to warn your workforce about the risks. In fact, you let your staff know how to identify and report potential threats. You can’t just rely on technology as it can be manipulated. Instead, you should teach your staff how to maintain a more secure work environment.
- Forecast potential targets
Cybercriminals don’t always go for the big shots in the market. Although the top management of your company’s most likely targeted by those most unsuspecting. Therefore, teach your staff how to handle sensitive information that deals with cryptocurrency information.
Think of cryptocurrencies as cash. The only difference is that it doesn’t have a physical representation and it is In a wallet. However, as it doesn’t have a physical representation, any losses will be less likely to be detected and impossible to retrieve.
As the number of crimes in the cryptocurrency space is increasing, you should be smarter about how you store your cryptocurrencies. On top of that, you must know the financial risks and security risks that you are getting yourself into by involving yourself in the cryptocurrency space. Be a smart investor and research the best ways you can protect your cryptocurrency assets.