Why is Bitcoin a Holy Grail for Hackers?

By Tarun Wig

Globalisation and technological advancements have created ample of opportunities for businesses that want to grow and expand. Authentic companies follow international laws and procedures for cross-border trades, while others choose illegitimate paths to meet their goals. Up till 2009, making online payments and transactions was a challenging task for businesses which were not comfortable with legal and ethical compliance. Many of them were dependent on PayPal, but once the platform adopted stringent KYC norms and identity validations, things seem out-of-the-control for a while, but the advent of Bitcoin reinstates them, and fishy businesses start flourishing again.

Losses that are Unrecovered

According to Tyler Moore, Assistant Professor of Cyber Security at the University of Tulsa’s Tandy School of Computer Science, “I am skeptical there’s going to be any technological silver bullet that’s going to solve security breach problems. No technology, crypto-currency, or financial mechanism can be made safe from hacks.” Bitcoin is safe or not is another question, but it allows anonymous access; the need of many perpetrators – deceptive enterprises as well as demanding hackers. But, greed always ends in grief; first, Mt. Gox hacking attacking caused a loss of over 450 million dollars in 2014, then on a similar pattern Bitfinex fiasco hurled the Bitcoin holders with a loss of almost 70 million dollars in August 2016. Of late, the WannaCry ransomware attack jolted the entire world, and the damage made by it can even go as high as $5 billion, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. WannaCry captured 150 nations, and once again hackers demanded the ransom amount in their favourite currency – Bitcoin.

Tackling the Hackers

Cybersecurity experts believe that anonymity in making transactions is the main reason of growing popularity of Bitcoin in the parallel economy and among the hackers. While traditional banks required account details and identity proofs to transfer money, Bitcoin protects identity and saves from various structural interrogations. When a person trades in Bitcoin, a private key linked with his/her wallet is used to create code, and that code allows the anonymous transaction, but anyone can find the value of the transaction. Though, it’s impossible to track the transaction for anyone except hackers who can breach the security with cutting-edge technology and shrewdness.

When Decentralisation is no more an Advantage

Unfortunately, Bitcoin exchanges are decentralized and they are not controlled or regulated by any apex body or governing council; a quite different scenario than the traditional financial system where banks and other institutions work under the strict guidelines of the central authority. Moreover, hackers are well aware of the performance of Bitcoin exchanges and they make every possible effort while targeting the hot destinations. In pursuit of their objectives, they are constantly developing innovative tools to snatch digital wallets. Hackers usually achieve their targets through DDoS attacks, so, prevention is the best solution to ward off these hacking attacks.

Security Measures to Ward off Hacking Attempts

The use of Multi-Factor Authentication and Multisignature are effective security tools to protect IoT devices from viruses and cyber attacks, but due to anonymous profiles on Bitcoin exchanges, these proven security tools are incapable to resist hackers from their malicious practices. In fact, many exchanges are already employing these security solutions in the interest of their customers, and despite their rigorous efforts, hackers are not afraid of plundering the cryptocurrency. Hence, it is advisable to keep one’s funds in a Cold Wallet; disconnected from the Internet because no internet means no hacking. Also, if a computer/tablet found infected in the system, then it should be immediately isolated from the network or unaffected devices. This practice will not allow the hacker to expand its activity in the Network/Cloud.

( The author is co-founder, Innefu Labs)

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