Bitcoin and Ethereum are booming, altcoins are on the rise, and other crypto categories such as DeFi and NFTs have taken off like never before. Money is being made with digital currency and it is very visible in the public eye due to the mainstream media coverage of the cryptocurrency revolution.
With more eyes on the asset class, this also means that cyber threats are on the rise. Here’s what the latest numbers say about rising crypto crime, cyber threats and how companies in the blockchain industry can do a lot more to protect customers – and themselves.
Crypto scams are on the rise year after year, what can blockchain companies do?
The 2018 bear market was plagued with high-profile exchange hacks around the world. It set the industry itself back years and while things have improved in exchange operations and security, crypto-related crime and cyber threats continue to increase year after year.
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According to a breakdown of the recent report by analyst firm Bolster of Alexander Vasiliev, the co-founder and CCO of the global payments network Mercuryo, crypto-related scams have grown 40% year over year from 2019 to 2020, with another expected increase 70% in 2021.
“The attacks usually include fake prizes and giveaways, celebrity impersonations and phishing attacks,” added Vasiliev.
The scam could even involve real, verified Twitter accounts hijacked by cyber criminals. A particularly major hack last year involved several high-profile Twitter accounts, including politicians, CEOs like Elon Musk, and other celebrities like Kim Kardashian West.
Vasiliev highlights several critical ways blockchain and crypto companies can protect users and themselves. Tactics include multi-sig systems, advanced automated security protocols, and mandatory identity checks.
With the crypto market at $2 trillion, criminals are taking notice | Source: CRYPTOCAP-TOTAL on TradingView.com
Bitcoin, Ethereum and Chainlink are top targets for cyber criminals
Vasiliev also revealed that Bolster’s report cited three primary cryptocurrencies used in these types of scams: Bitcoin, Ethereum and Chainlink. These coins tend to have some of the most outspoken supporters behind them, making them the prime target of cyber criminals when targeting unsuspecting social media users.
We now know how companies can protect themselves and therefore their users, but how can users themselves strengthen security? For example, always use two-factor authentication with Google Authenticator and not SMS-based 2FA. Man-in-the-middle attacks and SIM swap attacks can be eliminated.
Related reading | The Most Common Bitcoin Scams and How to Avoid Them
By using a pseudonym online where possible, a mailbox for ordering hardware wallets, and relying on malware protection, cyber criminals can avoid many simple ways to access crypto assets.
Never disclose to anyone that you own crypto assets or how many, and use unique passwords that do not end with nine or an exclamation point for all accounts. If you are, change them now.
There are almost endless ways to protect yourself, yet the smartest criminals will still find a way. Keep your eyes peeled and follow as many safety precautions as possible, and your chances of success can improve dramatically.
Featured image from Pixabay, Charts from TradingView.com