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Mitigating cyber risks around cryptocurrency

Hackers stole 523 million NEM (valued to £385 Million) from the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange – Coinbase in 2018. NEM Foundation president Lon Wong described it as “the biggest single theft in the history of the world.”

Cryptocurrency is currently causing a frenzy across the globe and are rapidly becoming a widely used type of currency. Bitcoin in particular is now stated to be worth up to $53,000 (£38,000) per Bitcoin. Recently, philanthropist and CEO of Tesla & SpaceX – Elon Musk, announced that Tesla would begin taking Bitcoin payments, with Microsoft, Twitch, Lush and Expedia also accepting Bitcoin transactions in the UK.

With this new form of finance beginning to take control across the world, it is crucial that we stop to think about the cyber risk that entails cryptocurrency. In 2020 alone over $1.9 billion (£1.4 billion) was stolen through crypto cyber-attacks, with 122 attacks taking place on cryptocurrency exchanges, blockchain apps and decentralised apps on the Ethereum platform. Considering the inflation of crypto rates, this would be worth around $3.8 billion (£2.7 billion) today.

What is Cryptojacking?

The vulnerability of cryptocurrency is a direct consequence of the currency’s anonymity due to the issue of blockchain technology in cryptocurrency being decentralised, meaning there is no authority who can overview each transaction or crypto activity. Therefore, this structure allows criminals to find the perfect opportunity to thrive. On top of this troubling issue, cryptocurrency is the number one preferred form of exchange during ransomware attacks, meaning companies are at risk of losing corporate data in exchange for a hefty crypto payment. This form of attack is formally acknowledged as cryptojacking.

Golden bitcoins. Cryptocurrency on black background.

How to minimise risk of crypto specific attacks

Despite the financial benefit that cryptocurrency can bring to consumers and businesses alike, due to the clear vulnerabilities in the structure of crypto, it is therefore apparent that any business involved with a form of cryptocurrency is in immediate risk of falling victim to a cyberattack. We do want to assure you however, that despite this threat, there are in fact strategies can be implemented into a personal or organisational structure to ensure you can either minimise risk of attack or are not at risk of losing money or data. Firstly, to minimise risk of a hack, it is essential to remain vigilant when opening any emails, messages or other forms of communication. To access a cryptocurrency account, use suitable security hygiene and create a complicated password with two factor authentication to minimise the risk of an intelligent hacker discovering your password. When storing cryptocurrency , it is highly recommended to store any savings to an encrypted storage solution, preferably with government approved certifications such as FIPS 140-2, to ensure that there is no backdoor access in which a criminal could steal your hard earned savings.

At iStorage, we are already working with cryptocurrency exchange services and decentralised app hosts to provide secure solutions to any crypto specific threats facing their organisation. If you are concerned about cryptocurrency impacting your security, ask an expert today to understand how we can assist you.

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