As recently reported by Core Media, cryptocurrency mining marketplace NiceHash was hacked and about 4,700 bitcoin were stolen from its users. Security breaches like this one, which forced the website’s owners to shut it down for 24 hours, may soon be common in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, according to technology firm A10 Networks.
Speaking to CNBC, A10 Networks’ chief executive, Lee Chen, stated that the hacking trend in the cryptocurrency world is going to grow next year as the “digital transformation is the underlying motivation for hackers.” Per Chen, we can as such expect the “frequency, the size, the volume of hacks to continue to increase in 2018.”
Bitcoin recently hit a new all-time high above $17,400, according to data from Cryptocompare, while ICOs have raised over $3 billion this year. When asked about the rise of Bitcoin and ICOs as a cybersecurity “hot topic” in 2018, Lee Chen notably replied:
“I think that cryptocurrencies and blockchain are here to stay. As cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin get mainstream, I think that attackers will target Bitcoins as well as the next major target.”
As a follow-up question, CNBC’s reporter asked if the chief executive believed companies are prepared for the cybersecurity challenge they’ll have to face next year. Chen replied that he believes “companies are always ready to invest in cybersecurity,” but that they aren’t always fully prepared, as it’s “like a mouse and cat [game].”
The cryptocurrency ecosystem’s growth simply makes it more attractive to hackers trying to get paid. Earlier this year, two fake Poloniex trading apps were found and removed from Google’s Play store, as their goal was to steal users’ login credentials. Moreover, despite low profits, security experts have found that cybercriminals even hacked mobile devices to mine cryptocurrencies.
In another case, a piece of malware dubbed CryptoShuffler was found taking over users’ clipboards, so it could replace wallets copied onto them with those belonging to the attackers. Surprisingly, the malware’s simple system netted its creators 23 BTC, worth over $390,000 at press time.
Per Chen, many of the incidents reported this year were financially and politically motivated, and the attacker can be anyone. He told CNBC:
“It could be a professional, could be an innocent teenager who has nothing to do at home – it can come from anywhere.”