Be Vigilant For These 4 Cryptocurrency Security Threats

2 men looking at laptops

The world of cryptocurrency offers convenience and profitability for businesses. By that same token, there are significant cryptocurrency security issues that need to be weighed as well. In recent years, hackers have increased their crypto-jacking efforts and stolen billions. If you have crypto assets or plan to utilize digitized money, developing a cryptocurrency risk management strategy is crucial to prevent data breaches.  

What is Cryptocurrency & How Does it Work?

Cryptocurrency arrived during the Great Recession as the powers of central banks expanded. Users wanted a way to decentralize money, launching Bitcoin in 2009. Like so many innovative ideas, its beginnings were humble. The first Bitcoin transaction involved buying a pair of Papa John’s pizzas on May 22, 2010. A Florida man reportedly used 10,000 bitcoins for a $25 delivery, thus establishing the cryptocurrency’s value. Some celebrate the date, calling it “Bitcoin Pizza Day.”

Today, major corporations such as Microsoft, AMC theaters, Starbucks, AT&T, and many other household names accept Bitcoin. These digital currencies are made possible by technologies known as “blockchain,” an intricate online ledger system. The funds are stored in what are known as crypto wallets, and next-gen coding processes facilitate movement from wallets to public accounts. Businesses and individuals can make encrypted digital transactions without traditional banks or greenbacks.

Benefits of Using Cryptocurrency

The popularity of cryptocurrency in private use and business is undeniable. In less than 15 years, more than 220 million people worldwide and 2,300 American companies work with cryptocurrencies. A Deloitte survey indicates that upwards of 75 percent of merchants are planning to integrate cryptocurrency into their business model. These are reasons why onboarding crypto proves beneficial.

  • Cashless Transactions: Businesses eliminate the worry that cash will be mishandled or stolen.
  • Borrowing: Because the central bank does not regulate crypto, organizations may be able to secure loans and improve liquidity not available through traditional channels.  
  • Expansion: An increased number of consumers prefer digital payment processes. Recent polls show that 79 percent of Americans use mobile payment apps. Crypto continues to gain popularity.
  • Privacy: Cryptocurrencies are not necessarily associated with a person or organization. This facet creates a layer of privacy not present with credit cards and mobile apps.  

Although the sky appears to be the limit, cryptocurrency security issues are something users should consider. Anytime digital assets are in play, cybercriminals will try to devise a scheme to steal them. While many blockchain systems provide robust security, there are risks.

Common Risk Factors in Cryptocurrency

While crypto proponents hail it as inherently secure, hackers have pulled off major heists in recent years. Upwards of $20 billion in crypto was reportedly stolen in 2022, with the largest hack hovering around $625 million. These rank among the top cryptocurrency security threats.

1: Cryptojacking

This threat mirrors many other common cybercrime efforts. Hackers find a way to penetrate a system or device and hide malware in plain sight. The malicious software goes to work mining cryptocurrency or pilfering it from crypto wallets.

Cryptojacking detection methods typically involve monitoring for telltale signs a hacker is at work. These include device slowdowns, overheating, and CPU spikes, among others. If your organization is considering tapping into the benefits of cryptocurrency, it’s essential to sync your cybersecurity services accordingly.

2: Crypto-Malware Ransomware Attacks

In crypto-malware ransomware attacks, hackers are simply retooling a common form of thievery to hold digital assets hostage. Cybercriminals trick unsuspecting internet users to click on a malicious link or download a malware-laced file. Once the ransomware infiltrates a device or system, it takes control of the cryptocurrency wallet. Then hackers demand a crypto payment to release the wallet.

3: Crypto Wallet Theft

The most common pathway to pull off crypto wallet theft is through smartphones. People who use crypto to make routine payments at Starbucks or Papa John’s are vulnerable to malware or brute force attacks.

4: Crypto Exchange Attacks

Crypto exchanges function like brokers, allowing businesses and individuals to buy and sell digital funds. Because of the vast sums linked to them, crypto exchange hacks routinely result in tens of millions in losses. It’s important to understand that the losses suffered from crypto exchange attacks are not typically insured.

How to Protect Your Cryptocurrency

When dealing with a crypto exchange, knowing whether it follows the cryptocurrency security standard is essential. These techniques and methods are designed to improve cybersecurity and cryptocurrency risk management. The cryptocurrency security standard loosely follows the Information Security Management System, ISO 27001:2013.

As you may have gleaned from the methods hackers use to steal crypto, many of the same cybersecurity measures used to protect business networks are applicable. Endpoint protection, two-factor authentication, enterprise-grade antivirus software, cybersecurity awareness training, and encryption are all viable cryptocurrency risk management practices. It’s also prudent to add specific cryptojacking detection measures to your cybersecurity services.

Work with a Cybersecurity Consultant to Prevent Cryptocurrency Theft

At CyberTeam, our managed IT and cybersecurity consulting experts have the experience and technology to protect your company from cryptojacking threats. We work diligently with industry leaders to harden defenses and develop a comprehensive cybersecurity plan. Contact us today and let’s get the process started.

Ready to learn all the details of the powers of an IT consultant?