Cybersecurity Risks Detrimental to Blockchain Mainstream Adoption, McAfee Reports
Cybersecurity firm McAfee has underscored the potential of cybersecurity risks associated with blockchain hindering its mass adoption.
In a new report, McAfee detailed the various cybersecurity risks associated with cryptocurrencies and emphasized on making cybersecurity a top priority.
“Given blockchain’s potential for creating value, and the tremendous enthusiasm to implement it, cybercriminals will seek every opportunity to strike at all available technical and human vulnerabilities in the emerging blockchain ecosystem. Governments, cybersecurity vendors, and businesses must be diligent in understanding the threats and minimizing the risks,” said Raj Samani, chief scientist at McAfee.
According to the report, bad actors have aggressively sought to leverage the rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies and the users are often the easiest target. The company sees this activity in four key attack vectors: Phishing or fraud schemes, malware, implementation exploits and technical vulnerabilities.
The report cites examples of how phishing scams and malware attacks have been draining millions of dollar worth of cryptocurrencies from unsuspecting users. It also illustrates the growing trends of malicious miners and cryptojacking, which create a vector for infection (via malware) and monetization (via mining). Recent McAfee Labs research in this cybercrime category found that total coin miner malware grew a stunning 629% in Q1 2018—from around 400,000 samples in Q4 2017 to more than 2.9 million samples in the first quarter of this year.
The report further noted the number of cryptocurrency exchanges that have suffered cyber-attacks since this year – Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck lost $532 million, affecting 260,000 investors earlier this year. This suggests that cybersecurity measures must be an important consideration in the development of blockchain technologies and the critical implementation and operational processes upon which they rely.
The researchers noted that there are detrimental costs to rapid implementation of blockchain technologies at the expense of proper cybersecurity measures.
“Without adequate education for users and industry, secure implementation best practices, and strong technical security standards, the widespread adoption of blockchain by major industries and governments could end up costing billions of dollars and impacting millions of people,” the report stated.
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