Last week, Korean cryptocurrency exchange Youbit has announced that it is filing for bankruptcy after losing 17 percent of its assets in a cyber attack – the second it has suffered this year.
Leigh-Anne Galloway, Cyber Resilience Lead at Positive.com, has made the following comments:
“2018 has been a remarkable year for cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin hitting heights that even the most optimistic spectators wouldn’t have predicted. However, this has been matched in equal measure by an increase of attacks on the cryptocurrency ecosystem. This is far from limited to Youbit and cryptocurrency exchanges, this year we’ve seen attacks on cryptocurrency wallets, countless initial coin offerings (ICOs), and even the launch of new cryptocurrencies such Bitcoin Gold.
“Youbit’s announcement of its closure today is simply another example of the devastating consequences of getting security wrong. As cryptocurrencies continue to generate greater value and are adopted more widely, they will become an increasing target for cybercriminals who can smell out an opportunity to make a lot of money, very quickly.
“While the exact details of the attacks on Youbit are unknown, an examination of the other cryptocurrency attacks over the year suggest that organisations need to start with the basics. Firstly, server infrastructure and the applications that host cryptocurrencies need to be seen as a security risk – as this is a vector for attack we have seen time and time again. No matter how secure a currency is, if the web application, mobile application, server or network the currency operates on is vulnerable, the contents are at risk. Secondly, there needs to be a greater focus on preventing social engineering attacks – protecting against website clones and educating users to avoid malicious websites and apps as quick as possible.
“If cybersecurity continues to be a second thought, we will continue to see sustained attacks that damage the reputation of virtual currencies as a whole, and ultimately results innocent users losing their money to criminals.”