Carbon Black, the cybersecurity company’s new research has revealed that around $1.1 billion in cryptocurrency has been stolen in the first five months of 2018. The study further states that there are now an estimated 12,000 marketplaces and 34,000 offerings related to crypto theft for hackers to choose from making it fairly easy for hackers.
Darkweb a haven for hackers
The dark web is a part of the World Wide Web accessible only through special software such as a Tor network. As dark web users remain anonymous and largely untraceable, it is slowly becoming a haven for cybercriminals and vendors who purchase and sell these stolen assets. These thefts come from organized and systematic cartels or crime groups extorting exchanges and companies, but it is more often as done by an unemployed engineer looking to make extra cash.and their favorite weapon of choice: a malware
The necessary malware, which these criminals use occasionally comes with customer service, costs an average of $224 and can be priced as low as $1.04. That marketplace selling this has emerged as a $6.7 million economy, according to the study.
The crypto universe, which includes ICO ’s, exchanges and wallets, is being ever more targeted by cybercriminals. Exchanges were the most popular target for cybercriminals, making up 27 percent of attacks this year (remember Mt Gox). Although dark web elements have been exploiting digital assets for several years, their efforts have increased since the bull market began in January 2017.
Economics of cybercrime: A tough reality
The study further states that it’s basically unavailability of jobs giving birth to these cybercriminals. To quote Carbon Black Security strategist Rick McElroy
“It’s surprising just how easy it is without any tech skill to commit cybercrimes like ransomware.”
He also mentions that
“You have nations that are teaching coding, but there are no jobs, It could just be two people in Romania needing to pay rent.”
In Today's News: $1.1 billion in cryptocurrency has been stolen this year, and it was apparently easy to do; Cryptocurrency theft malware is now an economy worth millions; & Cryptocurrencies spark cybercrime gold rush – https://t.co/t1XeV76uuA #infosec pic.twitter.com/AyKegcBhNz
— Carbon Black, Inc. (@CarbonBlack_Inc) June 7, 2018
According to the study hackers often demand payment in cryptocurrency yet bitcoin (10%) and Ethereum (11%) does not seem to be the top choice. Criminals appear to prefer Monero. The lesser-known cryptocurrency was used in 44 percent of all attacks because of its privacy and its difficulty to trace compared with bitcoin and comes with relatively low transaction costs. Geographically The United States was the most vulnerable country, with 24 crypto-related attacks. China was next with 10, and the U.K. came in third with eight.
It is believed that as cryptocurrencies mature these loopholes will be filled up by compliances and laws. which would bring down the criminal activities. But the economic problem that the study brings out is slightly concerning and long-lasting and will need some radical changes to stop people getting attracted to these criminal activities.
Will there be a scenario where cybercriminal activity could be curbed down? Do let us know your views on the same
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Nilesh Maurya has been associated for past 8 years as an Investment Banker with Omega Capital, a bespoke Investment Banking outfit having offices in Mumbai, New York, Singapore, and Dubai. He has been a regular contributor to business publications such as Business India and Market Express and has been a mentor to many start-up companies. Nilesh Maurya has been associated for past 8 years as an Investment Banker with Omega Capital, a bespoke Investment Banking outfit having offices in Mumbai, New York, Singapore, and Dubai. He has been a regular contributor to business publications such as Business India and Market Express and has been a mentor to many start-up companies. Follow him on Twitter at @KoinKing1 or connect with me on linkedin.