Business & Finance

USA is #1 Crypto Hacking Target – Study Reveals

The American users are more prone to hacking and malpractice at the hands of hackers, faulty firms and scams according to a recent study.

The study has been conducted by Group-IB, a Russian based computer forensics and information security firm. The firm has revealed their findings in a report titled “2018 Cryptocurrency Exchanges-User Accounts Leaks Analysis.”

The findings suggest that the leaks from the networks are predominantly owed to American users. This meant that the leaks from cryptocurrency exchanges have been American funds. This pattern may allow a greater insight into the hacker psyche and the dynamics of the current web of virtual asset management systems.

The report revealed that in 2017, the number of “compromised login data” was increased by 369 percent in comparison to 2016. While in January 2018 alone, there were 212 leaks of login data, which represented an increase of 689 percent to the monthly average experienced in 2017. According to the study, the three major countries that are targeted the most by hackers are the United States, Russia, and China. It also revealed that one in every three victims were Americans.

The report credits the excitement about cryptocurrencies as a significant factor in the increase of incidents against the monthly average of 2017. This can be related to the way hackers choose their targets. The popularity that cryptocurrency gains makes the hacking more and more satisfying for the hackers, especially in places where the hype is the most. This includes the U.S. because of a general movement and spike in the interest levels of people.

There is a direct relationship between the growing interest of cryptocurrencies and the number of crypto hacks, claims the experts at Group-IB. Towards the tail end of 2017, the second most popular topic in global news was ‘Bitcoin’ and the search query ‘How to buy bitcoin’ made it into the top 3 most searched query in Google.

This also means that as and when new entrant enter the market with nonexistent levels of expertise and high hopes, they make uninformed decisions ending up in faulty transactions and investments that may be prone to a greater risk than other technologies available.

As the blockchain and cryptocurrency technology improves, the horizons of hacking also tries to compete. Both opposing industries try to wage a better battle each time with each new and improved update. As the cryptocurrencies become more influential and sophisticated, the hackers become more vary. So after various vendors of crypto currencies claim that they have made their systems fool proof, the hackers try and match up, as the tools used become advanced too.

According to the study, hackers have now “adapted patterns of attack” used on banks on digital asset platform, which makes them quite vulnerable. Crypto exchanges have suffered cyber attacks that have resulted in financial losses totaling $80 million through “account leaks” on exchanges. Group-IB says it has identified “at least 50 active botnets” responsible for the leaks and it says the hackers infrastructure spreads across the globe, with the majority based in the United States and the Netherlands.

It listed popular malicious software such as Pony Formgrabber, a malware that works by retrieving authorization and login credentials among others for security and awareness purposes. Great revision and regulation is required in the young industry.

The compromised accounts used in their study featured users of popular exchanges such as Bithumb and CEX.io. which raises red flags for the users associated with these networks. Passwords and poor management has also been a reason behind this security debacle.

Cryptocurrency-exchange-passwords-1024x787

Director of Special Projects at Group-IB Ruslan Yusufov, however, said that the industry needs to learn from its mistakes and do more to protect itself. He highlighted within the report:

Increased fraudulent activity and attention of hacker groups to crypto industry, additional functional of malicious software related to cryptocurrencies, as well as the significant amounts of already stolen funds,  signals that the industry is not ready to defend itself and protect its users.

This means that the fields are green and the pests are ever ready to attack for their share of yield. The only way to go is with better precautionary measures and foresight.

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Khunsha Javed

A Filmmaker, PR enthusiast & Editor of BlockPublisher-Unfiltered. I like things that make my brain tingle. Email: khunsha@blockpublisher.com or editor.unfiltered@blockpublisher.com

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