Cybersecurity giant McAfee has released a report which identifies online security risks associated with digital currencies, stating that cybersecurity is now the company’s top priority, writes Econotimes.
McAfee has urged that this needs careful consideration, as the growth of this burgeoning economy could be threatened by cyber risks. The company’s report has also identified four of the major risks associated with cybercrime in the crypto space.
Growing cybercrime has latched on to early adopters who have established themselves in the space, and McAfee sees these users as a typical target. Phishing or fraud schemes, malware, “implementation exploits” and technology vulnerabilities are seen as major areas of concern. The report explains how millions of dollars are stolen from unsuspecting users by phishing scams, malware attacks, and crypto jacking.
Incidents of crypto jacking are currently on the rise, defined as the secret use of one’s computing device to mine cryptocurrency. The hacking used to occur when the victim unknowingly installed a program on their computer which secretly mined cryptocurrency. Now, hackers are infecting websites with software that utilizes the victim’s computer power to mine cryptocurrency on the attackers’ behalf.
Recent McAfee Labs research in this cybercrime category found that total coin miner malware grew a stunning 629% in Q1 2018 — from around 400,000 samples in Q4 2017 to more than 2.9 million samples in the first quarter of this year, according to Econotimes.
The report notes that due to some major attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges, tougher measures need to be introduced by companies to safeguard implementation and operational processes. McAfee researchers warn against a further rapid implementation of blockchain without proper safeguards first being put in place:
McAfee’s chief scientist Raj Samani warns that cybercriminals currently seek every opportunity to strike at “available technical and human vulnerabilities” in blockchain’s emerging ecosystem:
“Governments, cybersecurity vendors, and businesses must be diligent in understanding the threats and minimizing the risks. Without adequate education for users and industry, secure implementation best practices, and strong technical security standards, the widespread adoption of blockchain by major industries and governments could end up costing billions of dollars and impacting millions of people.”
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