A recent report of security company FireEye disclosed that North Korea’s state operated cybercriminals have moved beyond their attacks on individual companies and the international banking system to cryptocurrency exchanges. Cryptocurrency is the name for digital currencies first created in 2009 that have become increasingly popular. Perhaps the most well known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin.
FireEye reported about continuing cyberattacks on cryptocurrency exchanges that began earlier this year. As with so many computer crimes, the attacks begin with spear phishing emails carrying malware that when downloaded enabled the hackers to steal from individual accounts.
It can be expected that these attacks will increase. In fact, my prediction is that while there is little likelihood of a missile attack by North Korea on the United States in the foreseeable future, we can well expect a significant increase in cyberattacks by North Korean cybercriminals on vulnerable American companies, financial institutions and even governmental agencies.
Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies are popular with many people due to the anonymity involved with cryptocurrency transactions as well as the lack of fees involved in their use. However, digital currencies, just as everything else tied to computers carry inherent vulnerabilities. The best ways to avoid problems is to take particular care in choosing where you store your Bitcoins online. Many Bitcoin exchanges have had security breaches and will always be a prime target for hackers. Additionally, you should use not just a strong password, but also dual factor authentication to provide greater security, encrypt your wallet and backup your entire wallet. Finally, make sure that your Bitcoin software is updated with the latest security patches as soon as they become available.