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Cryptocurrency Changes the Security Landscape

Evident Blog 4-12

April 12, 2018

Modern organizations are navigating an increasingly fraught digital environment. With every innovation in enterprise information technology, cybercriminal activity surges as external actors rush to develop strategies for exploiting cutting-edge hardware and software.

Cryptocurrency is among these transformative disrupters. This digital tender, used in combination with open ledger technology, has the potential to revolutionize how all industries conduct themselves financially. A brief, informative video explanation of cryptocurrency can be found here.  But the rise of cryptocurrency also presents a golden opportunity for hackers who choose to steal or counterfeit spendable assets. They no longer have to target sensitive information and then shop it on the dark web, a much slower money-making method.

The emergence of cryptocurrency also eases the logistics of deploying well-established attack vectors such as ransomware, according to researchers from SonicWall. As more enterprises embrace cryptocurrencies and their related technologies - think blockchain - IT security stakeholders must be sure to engineer effective protections. These safeguards must both allow businesses to safely take advantage of cryptocurrency and empower consumers to fearlessly participate in evolving online marketplaces.

Understanding the threat environment

Numerous data security firms and white hats have outlined the risks that accompany the adoption and use of cryptocurrency, effectively predicting the accelerated development and deployment of malware specifically designed to attack both enterprise and private users.

Hackers have already let loose multiple malware variations centered on online tender. Earlier this month, data security specialists came across ComboJack, a nefarious program that swaps a legitimate digital wallet address for one configured by a hacker, ZDNet reported. Tesla was the victim of another newly developed type of cryptocurrency malware in February, according to Fortune. Cybercriminals infiltrated the Tesla's Amazon Web Services account and used it to illegally mine cryptocurrency, an attack methodology called cryptojacking.

With these threats in play, both commercial and private cryptocurrency users face serious risks as they explore the technology.

Finding an effective data security solution

Protecting decentralized digital dollars requires more than a secure digital piggy bank. Organizations using cryptocurrency are responsible for protecting the tender, the private encryption key and the users who exchange it. How can enterprises do this effectively? By emphasizing physical security measures such as the use of offline currency storage. Implementing more basic IT security protections can help as well. For example, had Tesla IT stored the company's AWS credentials properly, the cryptojackers would have never succeeded in exploiting the firm's cloud services.

Businesses interested in adopting cryptocurrency would be wise to bolster their basic data security controls, starting with those related to the collection and distribution of customer and employee information. Connect with us today to learn more about our secure data sharing and management solutions.

Nathan Rowe brings over 15 years practical experience in information technology and enterprise software strategy and product management with a focus on security, networking, and wireless technologies. He maintains a customer-centric mindset to understanding needs and pain points. He has extensive background working with commercial and government organizations to help define and implement security and network support strategies.