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As Bitcoin’s Price Rises Security Shouldn’t Be Taken for Granted

Recently there have been numerous reports of people losing their bitcoins to hackers and malware as bitcoin’s price continues to grow in value. It is safe to assume that organizations and individuals trying to steal people’s bitcoin reserves will persistently increase because the decentralized cryptocurrency becomes more valuable to thieves.

Also read: Rising Network Fees Are Causing Changes Within the Bitcoin Economy

‘Faster and More Lucrative Than Robbing a Suburban Bank’

As Bitcoin's Price Rises Security Shouldn't Be Taken for GrantedAt the time of writing one bitcoin is worth roughly $2900 as it has become a treasured digital asset. While bitcoin’s value has increased the number of people losing money to malware attacks and hackers cracking bitcoin accounts usually follows the price rise in unison. Just recently Cody Brownfounder of the virtual reality community Roomscale.org, lost $8000 worth of bitcoin held on Coinbase.

Brown’s attack vector was through Verizon where the hacker easily took over his cell phone number with a some “simple billing information.” After his phone was compromised the attacker swiped his Coinbase funds in less than fifteen minutes. Brown does detail that he did not use two-factor authentication with his email account, but feels that it shouldn’t be so easy to access Verizon information. He also believes that he may have been targeted after tweeting about bitcoin a week prior.

“The main thing that struck me by the hack was the extraction speed possible in the current cryptocurrency ecosystem,” explains Brown’s testimony.  

$8,000 in 15 minutes is faster and more lucrative than robbing a suburban bank.

Hackers Attacking Bitcoin Users Worldwide

Another story this past week comes from India, as a Bengaluru techie lost his funds due to his Unocoin account being compromised. The Indian bitcoin trader says he used Google Authenticator on his Gmail account and his phone wasn’t compromised. “The hack seems to have happened on the Unocoin server where both the password reset link and OTP are generated,” explained Makrand the Bengaluru techie. Makrand says he lost 120,000 INR worth of bitcoin or roughly US$1850 at the time of writing.

Pastejacking Malware

As Bitcoin's Price Rises Security Shouldn't Be Taken for GrantedOn June 6 a Reddit user detailed he lost 13 BTC or around $36,000 because of malware that changes a bitcoin address after you copy and paste it to send. The malware replaces the address on the clipboard with an address owned by the thieves. According to the publication, Naked Security by Sophos, “Pastejacking with Javascript” malware has been around for quite some time. The Reddit user details his horrifying experience of losing 36 grand in minutes due to this type of malicious software, saying;  

I copied and pasted a BTC address into Electrum and confirmed the bitcoin transaction. The clipboard replaced my bitcoin address with a different one. A few minutes later I discussed it with a friend to see if it was in his wallet —  It was sent to the wrong address.

A few days later another Reddit user tried to send funds to Poloniex and lost his money due to cut and paste malware.  

“So I just lost $150 USD in BTC by transferring them to an address that was inserted on the Poloniex balances page,” the post’s author details on June 8. “Dumb @$$ me just copied the address and pasted it into Coinbase to transfer, and now it’s gone. According to blockchain.info, looks like they have scammed a bunch more folks.”

As the Price Rises, It Should Remind Us to Better Our Security Measures

As Bitcoin's Price Rises Security Shouldn't Be Taken for GrantedAll of these stories took place within the last three weeks as bitcoin’s value has climbed higher. Although negative, these stories may increase more awareness for people forgetting to take better security measures. For instance using two-factor authentication (2FA) should definitely be used on exchanges but alongside that the email used for these exchanges should also be protected with 2FA. Furthermore, talking about where you hold your bitcoin online is also not the best idea as many hackers use social engineering tactics to compromise your funds. Additionally, a lot of people use the cut and paste clipboard software to copy addresses, but people should always cross-examine the copied address with the receiving address on the screen.

Bitcoin’s price rise is great but also reminds us all that we have to keep our bitcoin safe in a secure fashion or suffer a significant financial loss in a matter of minutes.

What precautions do you take to secure your coins? What types of security measures would you recommend to others? Let us know in the comments below. 


Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, and Bitcoin.com.


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  • +1 for obviousness 😉

  • CurtisGreenSR

    I think using a trezor device is crucial if you own more than 500 dollars worth of digital currency. The private keys never leave the device. If used properly, Trezor should help secure many coins/tokens. It works with Ether and others. I also sleep better knowing my crypto is secure..

  • Excellent reminder…when they’re gone they’re gone and nothing can be done then.

  • De Wilde Weldoener

    If the malware is smart enough it will change the receiving address and QR code displayed in your browser so you never even see the “real” address.
    I don’t know of a reasonable way to protect against that.

    • McTunder

      Usually hardware wallets are not that easy to be tricked…

      • De Wilde Weldoener

        You don’t have to trick the hardware wallet, just the browser and thus the user.
        It’s the user who enters an address into the hardware wallet, it that is already the wrong address because malware made your browser display that, the hardware wallet now won’t save you.