Cryptocurrencies are no longer as hot as they used to be when they were at the peak of bitcoin’s soaring price. However, the risks and threats associated with it remain. They even occasionally intensify when cybercriminals discover new vulnerabilities to exploit. Crypto users should remain vigilant as new forms of attack emerge.
According to a report by SonicWall, cryptojacking and ransomware attacks have decreased in the second half of 2022. Researchers attribute the drastic drop in the number of cryptojacking incidents to the shutdown of Coinhive.
This has led crypto hackers to turn to more targeted attack vectors. Hackers are making up for the decreased viability of cryptojacking with an increase in malware attacks specifically to steal cryptocurrencies.
In 2022, the cryptocurrency risk and threat landscape is likely to be similar to previous years. It will continue to be dominated by data breaches, ransomware, malicious mining, disruptive regulations, and continued use of insecure places.
6 Cryptocurrency Risks and Threats in 2022 (Update)
In early March, the Trident Crypto Fund data breach exposed more than a quarter of a million passwords along with email addresses, cell phone numbers and IP addresses.
The stolen passwords were encrypted, but the hackers managed to decrypt them and publish them online. This incident shows one of the main vulnerabilities of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Cryptographically secured and chain-backed currencies may be perfectly secure, but intermediaries are not. Thus, stealing these digital assets is still possible.
Crypto exchanges, online payment systems, and other financial service companies offering cryptocurrency-related services need to employ high-level data breach security solutions to address the threats posed to digital currencies.
They are a prime target for cyber thieves targeting digital assets and malicious players seeking to discredit cryptocurrencies.
Crypto Mining Threats
Cryptojacking may slow down with the introduction of effective measures to tackle the problem, but it is still one of the biggest threats to cryptocurrencies in 2022.
The use of malware to steal computing resources from unsuspecting computer users is unlikely to disappear completely, especially when the price of cryptocurrencies rises.
Recently, security researchers discovered a botnet referred to as “Vollgar,” which is believed to have infected up to 3,000 Microsoft SQL database servers every day since 2018. This crypto mining malware mines the digital currency “vollar” as well as monero. It infects servers with weak security systems through brute force attacks.
Crypto mining does not steal coins or information from infected devices or servers. However, they significantly affect the performance of the computer turning into a miner for the benefit of the perpetrator.
Ransomware and Blackmail
The previous year may have seen a reduction in the volume of ransomware attacks, but this does not indicate a reduction in the lucrativeness of this attack vector.
Cyber threats have evolved into something more sophisticated and disruptive, instead of focusing on mass attacks. The latest ransomware statistics show the emergence of the so-called “big game hunting.”
Companies are forced to pay ransoms under threat of interruptions in their operations, which could mean serious losses and reputational damage. Also, news of incidents of cyberattacks can damage customers’ perceptions of security – not to mention possible penalties for any privacy breaches or data loss.
Bitcoin and other digital currencies are the ransom of choice for most ransomware attackers, especially since crypto assets allow anonymous ownership and use of funds. This anonymity is the reason why black markets use cryptocurrencies alongside peer-to-peer tumblers or mixers. The movement of funds can be traced on the blockchain, but it will be very difficult to identify the ransom recipient.
Another significant cryptocurrency risk factor in 2022 is the possibility of unfriendly regulation. Many governments are already studying the regulations of bitcoin and other crypto assets.
While many countries have shown an openness to using crypto assets, others still have vague and restrictive policies.
Banks are trying to incorporate crypto assets into the mainstream financial system, but most efforts are centered on controlling digital currencies and controlling their democratizing nature.
In China, a lot of activity is related to bitcoin. The country hosts most of the world’s network hashrates. It is also home to many of the world’s largest cryptocurrency companies.
Moreover, it has a dynamic OTC trading sector, which accounts for the huge demand on the bitcoin network. However, the Chinese government appears to have a love-hate relationship with cryptocurrencies in general.
The Chinese government plans to release a state-operated cryptocurrency in 2022. This may sound like an idea for a cryptocurrency, but proponents of a decentralized currency argue that China’s state involvement is counterintuitive. This is set to affect Bitcoin negatively, especially in terms of price and growth.
With regards to regulatory risk, it also shows how much of the world’s crypto assets are held by some person or organization – sometimes called the “crypto whale” because of their large holdings.
Their decisions can easily influence the behavior of these digital assets. While crypto proponents vigorously promote the decentralization and democratization of currencies, it’s hard to ignore the fact that big crypto holders have an opinion on what’s going on with alternative currencies. They can even influence or dictate a “crypto civil war” that manifests as forks.
The world has not seen the failure of the technology that underlies Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Blockchain and related technologies are very complex (even voracious energy consumers), so there is a fear that the complexity of these technologies can create complex problems.
Complex systems fail in complicated ways, the modern word refutes. No one can say for sure when complex technological problems will arise. Maybe in 2022, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide economic turmoil.
Read: How to Make Money During Lockdown
The risks and threats surrounding cryptocurrencies are unlikely to diminish, much less disappear. It is incumbent on crypto owners to be aware of the challenges, problems and issues they may face when they use this digital asset or make it a store of value.
Security risks and other micro-level threats aren’t the only issues to worry about. It is also important to look at the macro level, especially when it comes to government regulation, the influence of “whales” and technology risks.