Cyber Crime: Man-in-the-Browser Attacks Are On The Rise 7 1623

If you’re like the rest of the US, you’ve already ditched traditional cash when making purchases. If you actually go to a store, rather than order online, you’re kind of a rare beast. But if you’re one of an estimated 8 percent of Americans who are buying and selling cryptocurrency online, you’re an early adopter in a technological revolution that could see the end of fiat currencies completely. That is, if it can win the battle in fighting cyber crime. 

Any cryptocurrency investor knows, it’s not all plain sailing. If you’re smart enough not to get duped by a fly-by-night ICO scam team, and you manage to buy and sell before avoiding colossal drops, hats off to you! But, whatever you do, don’t get complacent. While Bitcoin and friends are impossible to counterfeit, making them safer than traditional cash, they can (and have) been stolen. The secondary software made for crypto users, like wallets and exchanges, is also inherently insecure. This leaves your currency potentially vulnerable to cyber crime.

In fact, it seems like almost daily that we hear about high profile hacking attacks and ICO thefts. The criminal’s vehicle of choice for laundering money and avoiding taxes is under attack itself. Cryptocurrencies are attracting cyber criminals by the bucket load, and it’s important to stay updated on the latest techniques they’re using.

According to a report by SecurityScorecard, a security ratings firm based out of New York, alongside traditional methods of phishing and using fake websites and cryptocurrencies, Man-in-the-Browser Attacks (MitB) are on the rise. And that can leave anyone vulnerable to attack, including you.

Cyber Crime: Man-in-the-Browser Attacks (MitB)

It seems that MitB attacks are gaining in cyber crime popularity as a way of stealing cryptocurrency. SecurityScorecard found that hackers had even made attempts on some of the industry’s most important sites, including coinbase.com and blockchain.info. So, how do you know if you’re under attack from a MitB? There are a few things you can check:

  1. If you’re using blockchain.info and a “service unavailable” message pops up immediately after logging in, your machine could have been compromised.
  2. If you can’t use the “Enter” key when filling out the sign-in forms, that may be because it’s been disabled by a hacker. They want you to click the “sign-in” button to generate their malicious code, so disabling the Enter key is common in a MitB attack.
  3. If you’re not certain, inspect the website’s source code by right-clicking your mouse and selecting “inspect.” If you see obfuscated code, you may be infected and should refrain from signing in.
  4. If you’re using Coinbase, see if you can access the settings page as, if for some reason you can’t, you may be under attack.
  5. Finally, always use at least a 2-step authentication every time you sign in and for all transactions. It takes a few more minutes, but it will give you greater peace of mind.

It’s not all champagne and roses in the crypto world just yet. The technology that surrounds the blockchain still has a lot of ways to improve. But you can stay safe online and still invest, just be sure that you know the signs.

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Christina is a technology and business communicator who has worked with high profile ICOs and blockchain influencers to break industry news.

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How to Mitigate Risk When Investing in ICOs 1,317 62

With the ICO offering expanding almost daily and the top ten raising over $3.7 billion in funding last year, you may be considering making an investment. We’ve all heard stories of ICO overnight millionaires, as blockchain crowdfunding provides an effective way of raising millions of dollars fast. However, as with any investment, ICOs certainly do not come without risks.

Ethereum founder, Vitalik Buterin, controversially proclaimed that as much as 90 percent of token startups will fail. According to Descrow, the first international platform for securing investments in ICOs, it pays to be cautious before parting with your cash. This is a new and fast growing market, and investors can face a lot of problems.

The Main Risks Associated with ICOs

Lack of regulation in any industry goes hand in hand with lack of consumer protection. Being such a new area, ICOs are not subject to formal audits yet. In this somewhat kamikaze landscape, investors may come across scam teams looking to raise funds fast without having a project to follow through on. For a novice investor who doesn’t fully understand the technical talk or how ICOs really work, this is a recipe for losing money fast.

If you’re fortunate enough to invest in a solid project after carrying out some prior research, it’s still possible that you’ll experience some unprofessional behavior when interacting with your ICO team. This is due to the lack of standard practices. While the ICO Governance Foundation has recently launched to tackle this matter, there’s still a long way to go before standards improve.

A further concern when investing in ICOs is its propensity to attract hackers. In fact, hackers stole more than $400 million from ICOs in 2017 alone, raising alarm bells as to the safety of the technology and investors’ money. Moreover, being a decentralized currency, ICOs are prone to hairraising volatility.

With all the hype surrounding bitcoin, many an opportunist investor has placed their money in fast and taken it out almost as quickly, leading to giant fluctuations and bursting bubbles. This was showcased last December when bitcoin’s value reached over $20,000 then crashed shortly after to almost half that amount.

How to Invest Safely in ICOs

Taking the time to carry out due diligence is essential, so be sure to examine the idea behind the project. What’s the ICO team like? Is their plan really viable? What does the white paper say? Is there any real evidence that the project will be carried through to completion?

If you’re still concerned by the many unknowns of investing in this gray area, the cryptocurrency community is starting to come up with solutions and safe platforms to carry out the heavy lifting for you.

Platforms like Descrow are trying to make investing in ICOs safer, with a 5-step model to ensure that risks are minimized. Each project on the platform must present a roadmap, to ensure that the idea behind the project is viable. The roadmap lays out a clear, step by step plan with a schedule and stages to be fulfilled.

To avoid problems with hackers, each project must include safe holding, by which investments are accumulated in the personal accounts of investors, instead of in one common account that could easily be hacked.

Funding can only be secured in installments, when each stage is accompanied by a report of the work done by the startup team, demonstrating that they are putting investors’ money to good use. A smart contract is key to managing each stage, and allows investors to vote for further investments or against them, depending on the success of the work so far.

Finally, Descrow protects investors from scam artists through an insurance policy that allows them to recover as much as 100 percent of their original investment.

Other resources, like the Pareto Network, which motivates unbiased content surrounding ICOs, can help to keep potential cryptocurrency investors informed.

However you decide to make your move into the ICO world, be sure to put in your research. You wouldn’t invest in a company that made square wheels, so why should your judgment lapse when it comes to the crypto space? With common sense and due diligence, and secure platforms like Descrow, you can be a part of the headlines for the right reasons, rather than ending up as a target for scammers or hackers.

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