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Cybercriminal Activity a Result of Underestimation

According to an international security company, Group-IB (GIB), dedicated to fighting cyber attacks, the company has revealed through research that cyber attacks related to cryptocurrency have climbed at least 369 percent in just one year between 2016 and 2017. In January of this year, crypto-hacks reached an all new high, almost doubling in the percentage of hacks from the previous two years in just one month, up to 689 percent.

Three Main Targets

Group-IB’s blog has also reported that most of these cryptocurrency hacks and attacks on users occurred within the US, China, and Russia. Additionally, the firm states that every third attack is within the United States. During the cryptocurrency spike in 2017, many of the networks operated by crypto-companies and service providers were saw increased hacks and exploitation. Using Group-IB’s Threat Intelligence protocol (TIS), experts analyzed over 700 exposed cryptocurrency accounts from 19 of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges.

The group also discovered 50 operational bots designed solely to conduct attacks on digital currency exchanges and as per data by Group-IB, the US possessed over 50 percent of cryptocurrency hacking. Additionally, the firm did discover that an alarming amount of malware and ransomware was being utilized by hackers on the regular. According to Group-IB, three malicious programs are the most popular among hackers, including Pony Formgrabber, Qbot, and AZORult.

Pay More Attention

Following their research, the firm then determined that many of these attacks would occur and go through due to a lacking care for data security and how cybercriminals were severely underestimated in their potential. Another important factor is that many individuals, including cryptocurrency exchanges, do not employ due-factor verification within their storage systems.

Additional lack of focus on security comes as a result of users opting for simple passwords they won’t forget as opposed to extensive and secure ones for even more protection through stronger, longer and more original passwords as the report states. Another revelation within the blog report states that no matter how strong or large an exchange is, there is absolutely no way to promise and provide complete protection.

Five specific digital currency exchanges were also noted in the report, including Bitfinex, Poloniex, HitBTC and two others. These exchanges were exposed to controversial and widespread reports by media outlets.

Exposed and weak source codes, poorly protected databases, unreliable and vulnerable transactions and transfers, as well as phishing attacks, were noted as more common methods. Head of Special Projects at GIB, Ruslan Yusufov, said that more cases of fraud and hacker groups being drawn towards crypto increased malware and ransomware and hefty amounts of theft all display the lack of readiness among the industry in terms of self-defense against any sort of attack.

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