Cryptocurrencies exchanges are main destination for hackers, says American report

Christian MacLeod
cryptocurrency and blockchain virtual background

Crypto exchanges are the number one most vulnerable destination for internet hackers looking to exploit weak nodes in cyber systems, a report from a major American research firm has found.

According to Carbon Black Inc, which has published its “Global Threat Report: Year of the Next-Gen Cyber attack”, crypto exchanges are particularly vulnerable for those looking to extract information, steal currency and preserve the information for future attempts at crime.

Carbon Black also looked at the impact of the dark web on the overall crypto fraud statistics, as well as taking into account widely available open-source reports.

Overall, it said that $1.8 billion US dollars were taken from traders in the crypto sphere during 2018.

In another area of focus, the report’s authors examined which sectors were most at risk from cyberattacks. The computers and electronics category rose towards the top – indicating perhaps one reason why cryptocurrencies, which often rely on sophisticated computing power for their existence, were so vulnerable.

The wide-ranging report covered several other major points of interest for traders looking to avoid falling victim to crypto fraud.

The geographical sources of the cybercrimes, for example, were also highlighted. It is believed that 47 out of 113 cybercrimes which Carbon Black’s investigation partners carried out stemmed from one of two nations: Russia or China.

The main sorts of interfaces used to carry out cyberattacks were Windows Management Instrumentation, PowerShell and Secure File Transfer Protocol.

In the report, the authors said that the types of cryptocurrencies targeted by hackers was changing too.

“Although bitcoin is still the lead cryptocurrency for legitimate cyber transactions, cybercriminals are moving to alternative and more profitable currencies, such as monero, used by major retailers and online services”, the report’s authors said.

“It is estimated that underground cyber criminals spend some RM4 trillion yearly to develop attacks, while businesses spend RM391 billion to protect themselves, making defenders outspent by a ratio of 10:1.”

“Cyber criminals are continuing to hide in plain sight and move laterally — leveraging on non-malware or fileless attack methods”, it added.

The report also claims that so-called “island hopping”, which sees a cyberattacker search for and exploit weaker nodes in a network as a way to reach the main destination, is now popular.

“This (would) not only put your data at risk, but every bit of data from that point in your supply chain including clients and partner firms”, the report claimed.

With 2018 now over and 2019 well underway, it’s a popular time of year for annual reports into the crypto markets to hit the headlines.

Just recently, for example, a joint investigation by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and Action Fraud revealed that people were losing a total of £197 million British pounds to investment scams – including crypto and forex.

“Investment scams are becoming more and more sophisticated and fraudsters are using fake credentials to make themselves look legitimate”, the FCA’s Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight Mark Steward said.


Christian MacLeod

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