New Research Reveals America as Hacker-Target Number 1
After thoroughly researching and inspecting leaks of personal user data from several cryptocurrency exchange platforms, a study has determined that American traders and investors are the most targeted victims of cyber-attacks. Group-IB (GIB), a cyber and information security company based in Russia conducted the research before publishing their report.
GIB reported that last year, exposed login data climbed over 369% than those reported in 2016 and 212 account violations resulting in exposed user data was reported in January of this year alone. This amounts to an almost 700% increase on an average rate every month last year.
Additionally, the findings attribute the climb in cyber-attacks to the scaling popularity and following of digital currencies. Furthermore, it names three superpowers as the most-likely locations for hackers, including China, Russia, and the US. Ongoing in the research, it mentions that many of the attacked platforms and those yet to come have struggled heavily under these attacks because of the consistent evolution of resources and methods used to conduct attacks.
As of now, hackers have managed to create specific patterns and routines to follow during an attack on financial institutions that part of the exchange platform, rendering them widely exposed to these attacks. As researchers have stated, digital trading platforms have experienced significant losses calculating to about $80M through leaked account information of cryptocurrency exchanges.
GIB states that the company has discovered around 50 botnets, essentially malicious software, that caused the leaks and that hackers have already implanted themselves on a global scale with the US as the most targeted country among and an equal amount in the Netherlands.
As the researchers at GIB have mentioned, the continuous focus on cryptocurrencies is a result of a large number of attacks occurring. In December of last year, Bitcoin and methods of purchasing it became part of the top three searched topics on Google’s search engine. The company believes that an unexpected climb in user interest was also directly at fault for the surge in attacks on user accounts from December of last year to January of this year.
The research highlighted the lack of a duo-factor verification process on exchanges and simple, predictable passwords as reasons that break-ins were successfully pulled off. Ruslan Yusufov, a project director at GIB said that it was time for the industry to learn from previous mistakes and enhance its own security. As he said, more acts of fraud and a growing interest by hackers towards the industry, increased malicious programs designed for criminal use and the incredible number of funds and assets that have already been stolen is enough proof to everyone involved in crypto that stronger and more reliable protective updates were desperately needed.
The company suggests that users place different passwords for separate digital trading platforms and using the duo-factor verification feature. Additional warnings are aimed at public internet access used to facilitate transactions. As for digital exchanges, the company strongly suggests using the two-factor protocol and mandate its availability towards users, make periodic security checks and spread awareness in regards to self-protection.