Whether it’s stealing billions or just a few dollars, the question is, how can we protect ourselves?
Now if you’re thinking, “Oh no, I don’t have any Bitcoins!” you’re not alone. This is undoubtedly the case with a number of people who hold virtual currencies. But why? Because – as current events confirm – crypto heists are never going to go away.
Last month, Bitcoin fell by more than 40% in 24 hours after French security expert Frederic Brejvaux exposed the existence of crypto-forgeries. Brejvaux detailed how any user with the correct activation certificate could open up a website and change the price of Bitcoin in real time.
Within hours of news of the attack reaching the internet, Troels Oerting, chief of Europol, said that such security flaws are posing a “very serious problem” for Bitcoin.
It’s not just criminals who have access to the technology, either. The recent data breach of TalkTalk, which cost the UK telecommunications company £20m, meant that hackers gained access to the personal data of 143,000 customers. The breach also revealed that 4.4 million identity card numbers were also at risk of theft, as was personal information for up to four million addresses.
After the attack came to light, BT, which offers security services to TalkTalk, said the attack came close to having a “critical impact” on the company’s vital services, after the entire customer database was dumped onto the internet by cyber criminals.
Following the release of this data, TalkTalk was subsequently accused of underestimating its security risks.
TalkTalk was quick to respond, saying that the data hack had been “an isolated incident and was not part of a wider broader security attack”.
However, data breaches have often forced the government to take action to ensure the protection of consumer data. In a letter to the BBC in March, Theresa May, then home secretary, said that data breaches had “hurt businesses and our economy”.
“Our message to firms is simple. We do not tolerate data breaches, and if you don’t take immediate action to protect your customers from criminals, we will,” she said.
May told businesses that she is looking at new rules that will place further restrictions on “previously disregarded data security practices” and introduce criminal penalties for companies that fail to comply.
TalkTalk, which has vowed to protect its customers, has offered a membership-only reward scheme for its most vulnerable customers in an attempt to rebuild their trust in the firm. Customers in the Scheme will be given a range of free, complimentary and discounted services over the next 12 months.
But data breaches are not the only reason why you should not hold any Bitcoin or any virtual currency. Just three months ago, Conficker malware infiltrated bitcoin exchanges and took millions of dollars of Bitcoin and Debit-American funds from customers. The attack served as a wake-up call to cryptocurrency exchanges to boost their cyber security.
All this has certainly contributed to the rollercoaster of fluctuating prices of cryptocurrency that has been occurring in recent months. While this has driven up speculation and increased the value of virtual currencies, it’s also pushed prices down for everyone else.