Blockchain technology has immensely evolved over the years. The crypto market where the technology is being implemented has been in existence for more than a decade. With the advancement of today’s technology, the presence of threats has also multiplied. A long list of cybersecurity threats has infested the whole cyberspace and the crypto market despite all the innovations was not exempted.
The constant and massive effort to combat these cyber threats has been a concern of all industries. But in order to eliminate these risks, it is very important to determine their type and characters. By doing this, proper action and countermeasure can be taken. It’s like administering the right antidote for a certain disease, that’s how important it is to recognize the threat.
Cybersecurity Attacks that Make Crypto Vulnerable
Here is the list of cybersecurity threats that continue to hound industries worldwide including the crypto industry.
A cyberattack that aims to exploit a computer system or a private network inside a computer. This is executed by cracking passwords and codes which give access to the systems. Hackers obtain passwords using password-cracking algorithms programs. There are six common types of hackers: (ethical hacker (white hat), cracker (black hat), grey hat, script kiddies, hacktivist, and phreaker. The $534 Million Coincheck hacking in 2018 was recorded as the biggest hacking incident in the history of crypto to date. Crypto exchanges were usually the target of this attack and have been one of the reasons why some exchanges have shut down. Bithumb, Coinrail, and Coinrail were among the exchanges that suffered huge losses due to this attack.
- Social Engineering & Phishing
This is a type of social engineering attack used to steal user’s sensitive data like usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, or other sensitive details. In this method, the attacker would pose as a trusted entity to dupe a victim into opening an email, instant message, or text message. There four different kinds of phishing: spear phishing, whaling, smishing, vishing, and the most common of all, email phishing. The leading crypto exchange Binance has almost fallen victim to this type of attack. In 2008, a homoglyph attack was launched on the trading platform where the attackers used a fake Binance website. Fortunately, the attack was not successful and the perpetrators were later on apprehended and were charged by the US Department of Justice.
- Ransomware / Malware-Injecting Devices
This a common cyberattack where malware (normally malicious software) executes unauthorized actions on the victim’s system. The most common types of malware are worms, trojan virus, spyware, adware, and crypto-ransomware. The last one is a type of harmful program that encrypts files stored on a computer or mobile device in order to extort money. While other threats are hidden, this prominently displays lurid messages to call attention to itself, and explicitly uses shock and fear to pressure you into paying the ransom. One example of this is the old variant TeslaCrypt.
- Cracking Passwords
This is a process where the attacker recovers passwords from data that has been stored in or transmitted by a computer system in scrambled form. The most common types of cracking passwords are dictionary attack, brute attack, rainbow table attack, offline cracking, malware, social engineering, and shoulder surfing. In 2016, hackers have siphoned $103,000 out of Bitcoin accounts that were protected with an alternative security measure. According to reports, users have used easy-to-remember passwords to protect their accounts, and not long cryptographic keys normally required. A total of 900 accounts were affected by the attack.
- Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS)
Also referred to as Distributed Network Attacks, this method is executed by sending multiple requests to the attacked web resource – with the aim of exceeding the website’s capacity to handle multiple requests. The most common types of DDOS attack: ICMP (Ping) Flood, SYN Flood, Ping of Death, Slowloris, NTP Amplification, HTTP Flood, Zero-day DDoS Attacks, and Volume Based Attacks.
EXMO, a UK-based crypto exchange was the latest victim of this attack. On Feb. 15, the exchange suffered a DDOS attack after its website was unavailable for two hours. It was a massive attack, the crypto exchange claimed which drove 30 GB of traffic per second.
On Feb. 28, 2020, major exchanges OKEx and Bitfinex have also suffered the same attack which routed 400 gigabytes per second of traffic. But in recent reports, the number of cases has dropped which was attributed to the growth of cryptomining.
It is a malicious cryptomining that occurs when cybercriminals hack into both business and personal computers, laptops, and mobile devices to install the software. The software uses the computer’s power and resources to mine cryptocurrencies without consent from the owner. Also, to steal cryptocurrency wallets owned by victims. In recent reports, cryptojacking has now more opted over ransomware attacks. The bullish crypto market has attributed to the rise of numbers of cryptojacking incidents. Cryptojackers have become more brazen that have not spared government IT infrastructure. In February of this year, the Russian government has fallen to this kind of attack. According to Nikolai Murashov, the deputy director of the National Coordination Center for Computer Incidents, cryptojackers have launched a massive attack on government bodies like defense contractors, research institutes, and medical institutions to in order to mine cryptocurrencies.
Cybersecurity risks remain to be one of the major threats affecting all industries. Some experts have already presented solutions to combat these threats. But as technology advances, bad actors also become more sophisticated. A cyberthreat can be eliminated but another that is more advance emerges. As blockchain technology evolves and so are these threats. But how will you protect an industry with more than a $2T market cap? The solution may lie in blockchain, the technology that runs the whole crypto market.