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Security Expert Names Bitcoin As Cybercrime’s Biggest Game-Changer

‘I think the way attackers are monetizing the attacks now have changed in the last 10 years, and the way they have monetized it is through Bitcoin,’ says Jerald Dawkins, founder of True Digital Security.

It’s no secret that cybercrime is on the rise, but it might surprise you that the mechanisms behind these attacks aren’t necessarily getting more sophisticated. That was the message from security experts at The Channel Company’s IT Security University held in Denver.

“If you look at a lot of the attacks, they are doing the same kind of methods they did in the past,” said Jerald Dawkins, founder of True Digital Security. “They are tricking users into doing something new … into opening an attachment or doing some sort of transfer,” he said.

“The typical attack is that we will research you and the company, learn as much as we possibly can, and whoever is targeted will be very strategic,” said Joshua Crumbaugh, CEO of PeopleSec and Chief Ethical Hacker.

Those tricks appear to be paying off: The World Economic Forum says 2 billion data records were compromised in 2017, and more than 4.5 billion records were breached in the first half of 2018 alone. And, while human error is largely to blame, there’s another reason these attacks are increasingly difficult to beat, according to Dawkins.

“I think the way attackers are monetizing the attacks now have changed in the last 10 years, and the way they have monetized it is through Bitcoin,” he said.

Research from CipherTrace finds that cryptocurrency thefts, scams and fraud hit $4.3 billion in 2019 so far. That’s nearly four times higher than the amount in 2018.

“It’s an anonymous cryptocurrency so it’s allowed attackers to have a direct path. In the past, they would steal credentials, but it would take time to go get a credit card and make charges on a credit card, or even on a credit card they would still have to do something else.”

The ease through which hackers can steal large sums of money has security experts urging MSPs to go back to the basics.

“Sometimes I think companies are too enamored with the latest splash and security like the newest tools. We really need to make sure we are doing the basics. That means we are back to fully understanding the devices our customers have, back to good processes and procedures,” said Dawkins. A lot of cybersecurity is just good managed IT.”

For more coverage, watch CRN’s video.

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