Increase in Ransomware Targeting Cryptocurrencies
By Christine Schönig, Regional Director Security Engineering CER, Office of the CTO, at Check Point Software Technologies GmbH
Christine Schönig, Regional Director Security Engineering CER, Office of the CTO at Check Point
The world of crypto-currencies has attracted a lot of interest from investors over the past two years. The attractiveness of Bitcoin and its derivatives has increased enormously, among other things, due to the low transaction costs, its use as inflation protection, confidentiality and decentralization. An attraction that, however, also attracts hackers. For example, ransomware targeting cryptocurrencies has been involved in thousands of incidents worldwide in recent months – and the number is growing.
Those who know the dangers of buying cryptocurrencies are better equipped to protect themselves against criminals who are active on the platforms for this new market. Here are the four most important pieces of advice:
- Diversification of wallets: A private, digital wallet is the first step to buying and selling cryptocurrencies. An important aspect for security is to have at least two different wallets. The user should use one of them for storing and storing his purchases, and the other for trading and exchanging crypto currencies. In this way, his assets are better protected, since only one wallet interacts with external web pages. If a cybercriminal manages to access the trading wallet by attacking the external web page connected to the wallet, the savings wallet is secure.
- Ignoring advertising: Users often search for wallet platforms via Google. At this moment, you can make one of the biggest mistakes: you click on one of the Google ads that appear in the first place. Behind these links are often cyber criminals who create malicious Internet pages to steal currencies from the wallet, as our security researchers even reported recently. Therefore, it is advised to go to web pages that appear further down in the search engine and do not display a Google Ads ad at the same time – or even visit them directly.
- Test transactions: Before sending large amounts of crypto, you should first perform a transaction as a test with a minimum amount. In this way, you can detect a scam if you send the amount to a fake wallet. So the loss is more under control.
- Double attention for more safety: One of the best measures to protect against any type of IT attack is to enable two-factor authentication for the platforms on which you have an account. When an attacker tries to access one of these platforms, the user receives a message to verify his authenticity, so that he is warned and a criminal does not get access. With two-factor authentication, not only is a password required for authentication, but the user must enter a second piece of information – such as an SMS code – to log in to an account, which significantly increases security.
The market for crypto currencies is enjoying a growing popularity and this applies not only to the top dog Bitcoin. Transactions with this new form of payment are increasing exponentially, which is why hackers are targeting them in a growing style. It is important that all users and owners of crypto-currencies exercise basic caution. Security measures, such as two wallets for different activities or the waiver of access via Google Ads as well as test transactions, help to keep the acquired crypto coins instead of experiencing a big scare one day.