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Ransomware Attacks

Here at Crypto Clothesline, we’ve asked a number of experts and enthusiasts in their fields to comment on the areas of interest that came up in the interview with CryptoGat (Ivan S.) who has over 70k followers on Twitter and recently had a fall from grace after he was found to be part of a market manipulation scheme.

Thomas Jreige of Focus Cyber Group Commenting on Cybersecurity in Relation to our Interview with CryptoGat, on Crypto Clotheline.

In an interview with Thomas Jreige, Crypto Clothesline discussed how cybersecurity must be top priority with cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Thomas has over 20 years’ experience in cybersecurity and online safety.

“The cyber threats associated with cryptocurrencies are almost exactly the same as the threats we have with digital money that we have now.”

We use online banking and PayPal all the time, so the problems associated with those systems are also impacting on those dabbling in cryptocurrency.

The main issue however is that specific principles behind cryptocurrencies are the driving force behind the attacks.  These principles are responsible for the risks that are unique to cryptocurrencies.

Thomas explained that in many cases, those who are known to hold cryptocurrency are at some risk, but those who have a significant following or who are crypto influencers suffer the greatest risk.

This is the case especially with respect to an influencer we interviewed who goes by the pseudonym ‘CryptoGat’. CryptoGat is an influencer with a Twitter following of over 70,000 people and was recently hacked and extorted for his cryptocurrency after a fall from grace: being identified in a market manipulation scandal.

Thomas went on to explain that:

“…it’s very commonplace with hackers to first hack or bribe those close to the target with the intention of getting close enough to execute their attack. The hacker then goes on to install malicious software on the target’s computer, encrypts their data and then demands the balance of the victim’s cryptocurrency or fiat. “

This type of cyber threat is called Ransomware and is very common in the cryptocurrency space. The FBI estimated in 2016 that the ransomware industry took in US$1 billion.

One of the largest Ransomware attacks we have seen was in June 2017 where over 150 servers at the South Korean web hosting firm Nayana were hit.   Nearly 3500 of Nayana’s customers were affected before Nayana took out loans to cover over $1000,000 in Bitcoins payable to the attackers in order to protect their customers’ websites.  More than 3,400 of the company’s customers were affected – mostly small businesses running their websites on Nayana’s equipment.

Hacking is rife in the cryptosphere and it’s important to make appropriate choices in order to protect ourselves from the threats. Thomas explains that we need to “…look after our computers like we would look after a baby…” because they’re incredibly important to our daily lives and our businesses.

The choices we make affect those around us and by having a weakness in our security Thomas explains can have a direct impact on those in our social networks.

Thomas concludes that the best defence is a healthy business with respect to cybersecurity.  A simple health-check for your business is as easy as seeing your doctor.

Focus Cyber Group can perform a health-check on businesses to determine if they are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and hacking.

Listen to the full podcast here

By Amy-Rose Goodey

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