The global appeal of cryptocurrency hasn’t diminished much throughout 2018. Despite falling prices, Bitcoin and altcoins remain incredibly popular. Unfortunately, that popularity also attracts attention from criminals. With around $1.1 billion worth of cryptocurrency being stolen since January 1st, there is still plenty to worry about.


Cryptocurrency Theft Remains a Big Problem

Carbon Black is a well-respected cybersecurity firm. Their research indicates $1.1 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen in 2018. That is a staggering amount, especially when considering May has only just passed. Criminals are still quite keen on this new form of money despite the lack of anonymity and privacy traits. Especially on the deep web, the interest in cryptocurrencies is reaching new levels.

As one would expect, ransomware is still one of the major culprits. Anyone can now distribute their own malware without the necessary skills. All it takes is a bit of money to get the ball rolling. Ransomware-as-a-service has become a growing industry which doesn’t bode well for cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Shutting down such nefarious schemes will prove to be extremely challenging as well. Every service which is shut down is usually replaced by two or three others within the week.

Criminals steal over $1.1 billion in cryptocurrency in 2018

Additionally, cryptocurrency exchanges remain another popular target for criminals. They represent over 25% of all related cyberattacks throughout 2018, and multiple platforms have lost money in the process. Coincheck, for example, lost $530m worth of NEM earlier this year. It was another stark reminder of how insecure centralized trading platforms can be.

One interesting trend is how Bitcoin is losing market traction among cybercriminals.  Instead, Monero is taking center stage. The anonymity-oriented cryptocurrency represents 44% of all successful attacks involving cryptocurrency. Combined with its lower transaction fees, it is vastly preferable to Bitcoin and Ethereum. In Japan, the trading of Monero has been shunned by the government exactly because of its popularity among criminals and anonymity aspects.

In one sense, the sheer amount of money stolen by cybercriminals in the cryptocurrency space may lead many people to welcome increased regulation and oversight. Everybody loves the freedom of the Wild West until a bandit shows up and steals all your stuff.

What do you think about cybercriminals stealing over $1.1 billion this year? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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