Why Is Cryptocurrency Such an Appealing Target?
Ten months ago we asked a rhetorical question : will losses from cryptocurrency exchange hacks hit one billion dollars in ? Indeed, they did. The Libra currency is a type of stablecoin; that is, its value will not fluctuate significantly the way that, for instance, bitcoin does. However, it will not be pinned to the value of an existing fiat currency like the USD or Euro. Instead, its value will be guaranteed by a basket of deposits that will be diversified across several different currency markets, which are brought to the table by the Libra Association.
This association, which is the other unique aspect of the Libra currency, will be composed of a number of organizations from different industries, including tech, finance, and consumer goods and services. Members of the association will have votes on the future of the currency, placing Libra in a sort of middle position in terms of decentralization.
It is less centralized than if Facebook were running the entire show, but more centralized than other cryptocurrencies, making it sort of a corporate oligarchy rather than either a nation-state fiat currency or a completely decentralized, community-run currency.
However, new evidence from a panel of experts reporting to the United Nations Security Council provides a better sense of the scope of the threat. There is also growing evidence that the DPRK is using the pseudonymous nature of blockchain transactions to launder money and operate clandestine global financial operations.
A variety of factors contribute to the appeal of cryptocurrency as a target for malicious actors. Many digital thefts leave the attacker with illiquid assets—that is, something that still needs to be converted into money. By contrast, cryptocurrency is essentially cash, so it is much more liquid.
The cryptocurrency ethos, which espouses deep personal privacy, anonymity or at least pseudonymity , and autonomy, can be both a helps and a hindrance to security. Some of the same principles and tools that draw people to cryptocurrency can work to the advantage of attackers, and the field has more than its share of scammers. In the same way that fiat currency like the U. Every part of this infrastructure has the potential to be the focal point of an attack, including wallet software, exchange platforms, the blockchain algorithms underpinning the currency itself, and the people who use it.
This has led to the use of some unusual and unanticipated attack vectors, in addition to many familiar ones. Cryptocurrency exchanges have been subjected to distributed denial of service DDoS attacks on multiple occasions, probably for the purpose of suspending trading in order to achieve some kind of pricing advantage. DDoS attacks do not require much sophistication or effort, and can have a devastating impact on the perceived stability of platforms—like exchanges—that thrive on traffic to drive their marketplaces.
The trove of documents that Edward Snowden revealed in showed that the NSA had cultivated techniques to deanonymize bitcoin users. In one case, the NSA created an anonymization service probably a VPN to bitcoin users in geographic areas of interest that had a backdoor deliberately built in.
Fortunately for users, the malicious code was discovered by a security researcher and quickly remediated by Gate. There are no reports of any losses. In February , , user credentials for the prominent exchange Coinmama, specifically email addresses and hashed passwords, were posted on the dark web as part of a larger dump of compromised credentials. Attackers reportedly exploited a vulnerability in the PostgreSQL database management system to download credentials from a swath of sites.
Fortunately, there are no reports of any loss of assets by Coinmama users. One of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, Binance, was hacked in May through a combination of phishing and malware attacks that provided attackers with a large number of multifactor authentication codes and application programming interface API keys. In late January , attackers compromised a third-party discussion forum platform running on the LocalBitcoins site and set up a false login prompt which they used to collect user credentials, including multifactor codes.
Using these credentials attackers gained access to six user accounts and transferred BTC 7. The attack was tentatively ascribed to an insider. All of the assets stolen were Bithumb reserves, not user assets. This highlights the issues surrounding visibility that APIs have introduced into contemporary systems.
The attackers exploited an unspecified vulnerability in order to gain access to 90 user accounts. Bitrue quickly detected the attack, suspended the account in question, and contacted other exchanges trading in XRP and ADA currencies to freeze the corresponding transactions.
Exit scams are not really security breaches, but rather fraud events in which exchanges or currencies collect money from investors, often in initial coin offerings that are subject to a great deal of financial speculation, then disappear.
These scams exploit the cryptographic capabilities of cryptocurrencies to make it impossible to recover funds once they are stolen. The popular Irish exchange Bitsane was notable for being one of the first exchanges to trade the XRP currency. Users began reporting technical difficulties for withdrawals in May and the exchange went offline mid-June In October , the Canadian exchange MapleChange went down for site maintenance shortly before it announced that it had been hacked.
Exit scams and exchange hacks are only a risk to those who store their currency on exchange platforms. Storing currency in wallets offers significantly greater security, but hot wallets can still be compromised under certain conditions. While breaches like this result in smaller losses overall than what occurs when an entire exchange is breached, the loss is catastrophic for the affected user.
Thus far, the most prominent tactic has involved using SIM swapping to gain access to hot wallets. SIM swapping involves convincing a wireless carrier to move a wireless account to another SIM card and therefore another phone , so that the attacker can bypass multifactor authentication, or simply log in to crypto exchanges to move currency.
In November , a man was arrested and charged for multiple SIM swapping frauds against Silicon Valley executives and other prominent cryptocurrency personalities. The combination of the technologies underpinning cryptocurrencies and the people participating in the cryptocurrency community make the crypto market a strange beast.
Trust is in short supply, and while there is a lot of money to be made, it is even harder than normal to completely minimize risk. Nevertheless, there are a few things you can do to improve your security profile as an individual cryptocurrency investor. At this point, it should be clear that not all exchanges are started in good faith. You should vet your exchange thoroughly before you commit any money. Third-party audits are a good sign that an independent entity considers the organization a well-run and safe platform for investment.
Cold wallets that rely on hardware authentication and that are physically disconnected when not in use that is, air-gapped are a good way to retain control over your assets. With over 20 years of experience in Internet security, he has worked closely with federal law enforcement in cyber-crime investigations.
He was directly involved in several major intrusion cases, including the FBI undercover Flyhook operation and the NW Hospital botnet prosecution. He has worked in information security, geopolitical risk, and linguistic consulting. So, we get to work.
We obsess over effective attack methods. We monitor the growth of IoT and its evolving threats. We dive deep into the latest crypto-mining campaigns. We analyze banking Trojan targets. We dissect exploits. We hunt for the latest malware. And then our team of experts share it all with you. For more than 20 years, F5 has been leading the app delivery space. With our experience, we are passionate about educating the security community-providing the intel you need to stay informed so your apps can stay safe.
Reports All Reports October 24, Top Risks. September 11, Cryptocurrency Hacks By Raymond Pompon, Sander Vinberg. Attack Type: App Infrastructure Attacks. DDoS Attacks. Client-side Attacks.
Web Application Attacks. Attack Method: DNS hijacking. API Attacks. Credential stuffing. Credential theft. Credential Theft. Attack Motive: Cybercrime. Attacker Attribution: North Korea. App Tiers Affected:. Introduction Ten months ago we asked a rhetorical question : will losses from cryptocurrency exchange hacks hit one billion dollars in ? Obscure Threat Models In the same way that fiat currency like the U. Denial-of-Service Effects Cryptocurrency exchanges have been subjected to distributed denial of service DDoS attacks on multiple occasions, probably for the purpose of suspending trading in order to achieve some kind of pricing advantage.
Hacking Incidents Below are the incidents that are suspected malicious attacks that have unfolded since our last report in October Vet Your Exchange At this point, it should be clear that not all exchanges are started in good faith. Air-Gap Your Wallet Cold wallets that rely on hardware authentication and that are physically disconnected when not in use that is, air-gapped are a good way to retain control over your assets. Related Articles Top Risks.
July 22, July 16, June 25, About the author. More articles from Raymond Pompon. More articles from Sander Vinberg.
Where are my keys?
Do you know how many types of cryptocurrency wallets actually exist in the market? These articles tell you about the tales of cryptocurrency wallet hacks. However, if you are not familiar with wallets, read this:. Any type of wallet is simply a combination of your private key and public address. Based on how and where you store them, you can categorize your wallets in the following segments. Hardware wallets, as the name suggests, are hardware devices build specifically for handling private keys and public addresses.
Table of Contents :
There is a lot to be said about blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies that came out of them as a result. There are many types of wallets and platforms that developed their own solutions. These storage programs differ in terms of security, cryptocurrencies supported, and additional services that they provide. If you are a beginner that wishes to purchase cryptos for the very first time, this guide is a must-read. Putting it simply, wallets are storages for your cryptocurrencies. However, whereas banks have numerous intermediaries, crypto wallets usually have one or none service providers. You can also have more than one cryptocurrency in a single wallet. Crypto wallets use address codes, expressed in letters and numbers. The size of the code varies according to the cryptocurrency, with usual length ranging between 14 and 35 alphanumeric characters. Addresses are usually represented as QR codes for mobile phones to read easily.
Do you know how many types of cryptocurrency wallets actually exist in the market? These articles tell you about the tales of cryptocurrency wallet hacks. However, if you are not familiar with wallets, read this:.
Any type of wallet is simply a combination of your private key and public address. Based on how and where you store them, you can categorize your wallets in the following segments. Hardware wallets, as the name suggests, are hardware devices build specifically for handling private keys and public addresses.
It is a USB-like device with an OLED screen and side buttons to navigate through the interface of the wallet and comes with its native desktop apps for different cryptocurrencies.
It is a battery-less device which you can connect to a PC or mobile device via USB even on an infected device. And lastly, needless to say, they are the safest way to store your cryptocurrencies.
Paper wallets are not for everyone because they are a tad bit technical and requires a high level of caution from the user. It is so because in a typical paper wallet you just print your private keys and public addresses on a piece of paper and start transferring your bitcoins or altcoins on it.
Continue reading to say, as it keeps your private keys offline, it is another secure way of storing your cryptos but not all cryptocurrencies offer paper wallets. Still, for all the popular cryptocurrencies you will easily find paper wallets and can use them easily with caution. Desktop wallets for Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies are installable software packs that are available for most of the desktop operating systems such as Mac, Windows, Linux.
Any cryptocurrency that is serious about itself will launch their desktop versions of wallet on day one. But as it is your desktop or laptop that often connects to the internet, you need to follow the basic security measures such as antivirus and anti-malware software and a strong firewall. Currently, there правы.
bitcoin trading hours in usa извиняюсь many desktop wallets available for Bitcoins and other popular cryptocurrencies that one should use instead of keeping their cryptos on exchanges. Desktop wallets are the third most secure way to store your cryptocurrencies. Mobile wallets for Bitcoins and altcoins are the most used wallets right now on the market and it is so because they are mobile-based and also easy to use.
For popular cryptocurrencies, you will find mobile wallets compatible with both Android and iOS and for less popular ones you can expect a decent Android version atleast. But before trusting a mobile wallet, one should do the due diligence of it based on the following factors such as:. Mobile wallets are the fourth most secure way to store your cryptocurrencies because they are always connected to the internet hot wallets and can be flawed by its development community.
The private keys are held online in these kinds of wallets in your browser itself in some web wallets and they are also prone to DDOS attacks. Web wallets are sometimes hosted wallets and sometimes non-hosted too, depending on what type of wallet you are using. They are the least secure type of wallets if you are using a hosted wallet because they are safe as long as they are not getting hacked or DDOSed.
I have deliberately listed down the different types of crypto wallets in an order moving from safest to less secure types of wallets. It means one needs to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each type of wallet and use it accordingly. So go ahead and enjoy this post and let me know your thoughts in the comment section.
Also, do share which type of wallet do you use the most and why. An international speaker and author who loves blockchain and crypto world. After discovering about decentralized finance and with his background of Information technology, he made his mission to help others learn and get started with it via CoinSutra. Your email address will not be published.
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How Bitcoin can easily be Hacked - John McAfee
What is a cryptocurrency wallet?
The Komodo blockchain platform revealed this week that its Agama cryptocurrency wallet app had been targeted by hackers. Of course, the same goes for regular laptops or smartphones. It is less centralized than if Facebook were running the entire show, but more centralized than other cryptocurrencies, making it sort of a corporate oligarchy rather than either a nation-state fiat currency or a completely decentralized, community-run currency. However, as the researchers said, Trezor did a really good job with hardening the firmware, so researchers had to go for hardware hacking, where they found success. Market cap by Coinstats. These two keys have some resemblance to login and password pairs: The public key is used as a wallet address, and the private key is used to access coins — that is, to sign outgoing transactions. They usually do so by spreading the Bitcoin mining malware. It is almost impossible to detect these programs and you might even have it how easily are cryptocurrency wallets are hacked on your smartphone or computer right now without noticing it at all. Finding the cryptographic seed in this dump turned out to be no problem; it was stored in RAM unencrypted, in the form of a mnemonic phrase meaning actual words instead of random number that was easy to spot. As a result, the hijacked computers are also slowed down as. Attack Motive: Cybercrime. That report claims