Cryptocurrencies had a great year in 2021. In this period, we have seen the market go from being classified as a billion-dollar economy into a trillion-dollar economy. Aside from that, cryptocurrencies are gaining visibility in the mainstream world with, for example, El Salvador's adoption of Bitcoin as the official digital currency. As a result, investors are looking for the "new Bitcoin" on the market, hoping to find a great alternative in so-called altcoins. Unfortunately, many traders value an altcoin exclusively…
Cryptocurrency got its name from the fact that it uses advanced coding and encryption to transmit data. It was created to remove reliance on banks and necessitate peer to peer payment transactions. Heavy encryption and coding are necessary to provide secure transactions for purely digital currencies.
In fact, crypto transactions require a two-factor authentication process that makes it even harder for hackers to tamper with. However, even with the securities set in place, cryptocurrencies aren’t entirely unhackable. One of the most recent hacks was South Korea’s Bithumb exchange, where $30 million digital tokens were stolen. Roughly a week before that, thieves took away with $37.2 million from Coinrail.
Moreover, one of the most significant attacks happened to Coincheck in January 2018. The hackers got away with 523 million NEM coins valued at approximately $534 million. These hacks have cost cryptocurrency companies heavily and sometimes dropped the value of bitcoin by a significant amount.
How are Hacks Happening?
Cryptocurrency can’t be counterfeited, so that protects its owners from fraud and identity theft. Personal information is well secured behind a cryptographic wall that is hard to get by unauthorized.
Unfortunately, the same feature of pseudonymity also makes it possible for criminals to hide behind. Once behind a pseudonym composed of numbers and characters, these criminals employ malware to skirt around the security measures in place. The crypto-malware then illicitly mine coins by turning infected devices and machines into mining botnets.
These threats infected devices and machines and turned them into money-mining botnets.
Cryptocurrency-mining malware infects a computer similarly to all the other digital viruses, through spam emails, junkware, malicious URL downloads, and potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). In 2014, when the company’s Java-based ads network was compromised, the Yahoo! European end-users received advertisements that contained bitcoin mining malware.
Furthermore, the mining malware derails infected devices’ performance, increases its power consumption, causes wear and tear, and steals its resources.
What Can You Do to Be Secure?
Cryptocurrency-mining malware is an all-around risk to whatever systems they infect. The victims are pretty much exposed and left vulnerable to information theft and hijacking. So let’s look at some ways we can deter these criminals from accessing our systems and devices.
The first and most apparent step is avoiding opening links and attachments from suspicious websites or emails. This is especially when they ask you to log in to your usual service providers or ask for your passwords.
Secondly, frequently update your devices with the latest software available. This is to fix any vulnerabilities the previous software had and prevent attackers from taking advantage of the weaknesses.
Also, be sure to make your devices’ default credentials strong (as unique as possible) to reduce the chances of unauthorized access.
Lastly, deploy devices intrusion detections, firewalls, or whatever is available to prevent device incursion attempts.
Large corporations and companies can also work toward securing their systems. They can start by directing their IT department to apply whitelisting or similar security mechanisms. This is in a bid to deter suspicious executables from running or installing.
Furthermore, they could keep a keener eye on their network traffic for early identification of any red flags that may indicate a malware infection. This includes measures like securing their data gateway, such as emails and accessing websites. In the case that the systems are already infected, the company should have countermeasures against web infections.
Finally, the companies must implement and cultivate a cyber security-aware workforce, right from giving corporate mobile phone parameters.
Let’s say you’ve done all this, and you’re secure in your systems and devices. Why should you go ahead and invest in crypto?
Reasons to Invest in Cryptocurrency
With the industry having fewer hacker vulnerabilities, there are plenty of reasons to invest. Once the sector shows growth and maturity in its security and has safeguards to prevent theft, more investors will get into crypto. Let’s look at some reasons why.
- It’s trustworthy
Cryptocurrency is based on blockchain technology that is decentralized and works under a peer to peer network. This means investors don’t have to deal with corruption or influence from any governing body. They can follow the chain of transactions and figure out how their currency was made and will be used.
There is a very transparent aspect of cryptocurrency that many other transactions lack.
- It’s Prompt
Crypto transactions are fast in propagation and confirmation. This is because of the lack of a middleman kind of prior authorization required. Moreover, the transaction accounts are connected to false identities that protect the investors’ real-life identity.
All this is appealing in that cryptocurrency is global and thus eases speed and means of transaction. The investors’ identity remains anonymous unless they reveal it themselves.
- It’s irreversible
After a transaction has happened, it cannot be reversed. Clients who have paid for products aren’t able to take back their money while keeping the product. However, refunds between the vendor and client are possible when the product is considered subpar.
How to Secure Cryptocurrency
As an investor, you’ve decided cryptocurrency is the right stock for you, and now you need to figure out how to keep it safe. Here are a few pointers on how you can. We’ve already mentioned a few earlier.
- Create strong passwords for your email and crypto accounts.
- Make use of the 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) to all of your accounts. Please don’t take it for granted.
- Use robust antivirus software. As we’ve seen, mining malware is destructive.
- Spread your cryptocurrency in several wallets, preferably decentralized.
- Create a new email exclusively for cryptocurrency exchanges
There is a bit of an improvement to be made in securing cryptocurrency both at the industry and personal level. Phishing is an unfortunate experience, but it does happen to the best of us. All we can do is remain vigilant and do our best to secure our assets from all ends. However, the industry also needs to work to ensure more security and ultimately get more investors.