Cryptocurrency users have become frequent victims of online hacks, as highlighted by the recent incident involving Mark Cuban losing nearly a million dollars from his digital wallet. To protect your funds, it’s important to follow three simple guidelines, which will be discussed in this article. However, before diving into these guidelines, it’s crucial to understand the current threat landscape.
The Lazarus Group is a well-known North Korean state-sponsored hacking group that has been linked to various cyberattacks and cybercriminal activities, including the notorious WannaCry ransomware attack. This attack disrupted critical services in numerous organizations, such as healthcare institutions and government agencies, by encrypting files on infected computers and demanding ransom payments in Bitcoin.
One of the Lazarus Group’s earliest crypto-related hacks was the breach of the South Korean crypto exchange Yapizon (later rebranded to Youbit) in April 2017. This attack resulted in the theft of 3,831 Bitcoin, worth over $4.5 million at the time. The group’s activities in the cryptocurrency space have raised concerns about its ability to generate funds for the North Korean regime and evade international sanctions.
In 2022, the Lazarus Group was also linked to several high-profile cryptocurrency hacks, including the theft of $620 million from the Axie Infinity bridge Ronin. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has attributed the group to several other hacks, such as those targeting the Alphapo, CoinsPaid, and Atomic Wallet platforms. The losses from all these hacks combined amount to over $200 million that the group has stolen in 2023 alone.
Recently, the FBI identified the Lazarus Group as the perpetrators of a $41 million hack on the crypto gambling site Stake. The attack was carried out through a spear-phishing campaign targeting employees of the platform.
It’s important to note that most hacks involve social engineering and exploit human error, contrary to what is often depicted in movies. Hackers rely on phishing and social engineering techniques, using human curiosity or greed to entice their victims.
Phishing attacks involve sending deceptive emails or messages to trick recipients into taking malicious actions. These attacks may impersonate reputable organizations, such as banks, and ask users to click on links to verify their accounts. By doing so, victims unknowingly provide their login credentials to fraudulent websites.
Baiting attacks offer something enticing to victims, such as free software or job opportunities. Hackers create convincing job postings and even conduct fake video interviews to establish trust. They then send seemingly harmless files, like PDFs or Word documents, which contain malware.
To protect your crypto assets from such hacks and exploits, there are three simple steps you can take:
1. Use hardware wallets for long-term storage. Hardware wallets are not directly connected to the internet, making them highly secure against online threats like phishing attacks or malware. These wallets provide an extra layer of protection by keeping your private keys offline and away from potential hackers.
2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) on all your crypto exchange and wallet accounts. 2FA adds an extra security step by requiring you to provide a one-time code generated by an app like Google Authenticator or Authy. Even if an attacker manages to steal your password, they won’t be able to access your accounts without the additional code.
3. Exercise extreme caution when clicking on links in emails and social media. Scammers often use enticing offers or giveaways to lure victims. Set up separate “burner” accounts or wallets for experimenting with new decentralized applications and participating in airdrops to reduce the risk of losing your funds.
In conclusion, cryptocurrency users need to be vigilant against online hacks and take necessary precautions to protect their funds. Following these three simple guidelines can substantially enhance the security of your crypto assets. However, it’s important to stay informed about the evolving threat landscape and adapt your security measures accordingly.