Group-IB, a Russian-based cyber intelligence firm, has released a new report that looks into user account leaks within the cryptocurrency exchanges. The study, titled “2018 Crypto Currency Exchanges-User Accounts Leaks Analysis,” revealed that Americans are most vulnerable to crypto hacking with one in every three cyber-attacks targeted U.S.-based victims.
The study looked at the number of login and password leaks within exchange users and made recommendations that would bolster security within these exchanges.
Some of the key findings of the report showed that there has been a spike in the number of compromised accounts within crypto exchanges. According to the report, in 2017, the number of compromised login information within crypto currency exchanges increased by 369% compared to 2016. In January 2018, there were about 212 leaks of login data.
In 2017, the average monthly account leaks started at less than 50, but rose steadily throughout the year, reaching an all-time high in the beginning of 2018. This figure witnessed in January 2018 represented an increase of over 600% compared to the average monthly leaks of 2017.
While America bore the brunt of these cyber-attacks, other top targetsfor the hackers were Russia and China.
The report further noted that hackers have adopted the use of sophisticated hacking software, which made it even harder for authorities and cyber security experts to track them. The mode of operation through which the attacks were carried out closely resembled the attacks carried out on financial institutions such as banks.
The report also stated that the exchanges have suffered losses to the tune of $80 million as a result of these leaks. Hacking infrastructure used by hackers were distributed across the world, although nearly half of the total were found to be based in the United States. Other notable countries playing host to the hackers are Netherlands, France, Russia, Ukraine and Germany.
Meanwhile, it was found that there were over 50 active botnets that were employed in carrying out the attacks across the world. Popular exchanges, like CEX.io, Bithumb and Binance, have been most vulnerable to attacks due to an increase in the number of users within these exchanges. According to the study, these exchanges have been struggling to keep up with the increased subscriptions, which meant less emphasis has been placed on account security.
It was found that over 20% of exchange users preferred to use passwords that were shorter than 8 characters. Some of the passwords used were also pretty basic. Most of the exchanges also lack two-factor authentication, according to the report.
— Group-IB (@GroupIB_GIB) August 6, 2018
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