Cryptocurrency has boomed in the last several years, with beginners and experts alike jumping into the industry. It’s proven now to be more than a passing hobby or trend. Cryptocurrency is a way of conducting business and making money for people around the world.
As the intrigue and interaction with crypto grows, cybercriminals are finding new ways to exploit the system. According to CNBC, a recent crypto hack resulted in the loss of over $320 million across two major blockchain networks.1 Here’s what you need to know about this latest breach, plus some tips on how you can protect your crypto assets.
Down the Wormhole
There’s more than one kind of cryptocurrency, and many users spread out their investments across various currencies and blockchain ecosystems. To link their activities, some crypto users employ a type of bridging software that can easily connect their different accounts. Wormhole is a popular bridge that allows users to freely move their tokens and NFTs between the Solana and Ethereum blockchains.
In this recent crypto hack, a cybercriminal installed a bug that minted 120,000 fake currency on the Solana side of the Wormhole bridge. Then, the criminal transferred 120,000 counterfeit currency to the Ethereum side to claim Ethereum tokens. This resulted in the hacker gaining at least $251 million worth of Ethereum, nearly $47 million in Solana, and upwards of $4 million in USDC, a third type of cryptocurrency.
The Wormhole team offered the hacker $10 million to return the stolen currency and explain how they executed the hack. Wormhole has since tweeted that they’ve restored all stolen funds and that the system is now back to normal. Experts think they have successfully reverse-engineered the exploit and suspect that the attacker gained access through bypassing the verify signature process.2
Staying Safe From Crypto Losses
As cryptocurrencies continue to take the world by storm, it’s key that users learn how to engage with this emerging industry safely. Even though the Wormhole breach affected the crypto platforms and not individual users, this incident is a reminder to be diligent about your crypto safety. Check out these tips to help you protect your crypto investments:
1. Do your research.
Like with any process that involves investing your own, hard-earned money, you should be diligent about researching every cryptocurrency, blockchain, and accompanying software you use. Never trust your money to a product or service that you’re not completely confident in their security protocols. Keep up with national and world news and crypto-specific news outlets to stay on top of the latest security breaches and to gather tips on which system may be the safest option for you. When jumping into cryptocurrency, make sure that any benefits outweigh the risks.
2. Secure your accounts.
As with all your online accounts, protect your cryptocurrency logins with secure, unique passwords and two-factor authentication. Never reuse passwords, since it’s possible for wily cybercriminals to buy lists of login and password combinations on the dark web. Two-factor authentication often makes it impossible for anyone to break into your account, as it requires a randomly generated passcode for entry. Passcodes are often sent by text or through a smartphone application. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember all your passwords, so consider trusting them to a password manager, such as McAfee True Key. An online account locked behind a secure password and two-factor authentication will likely frustrate a cybercriminal and cause them to move along, keeping your account safe.
3. Use a hardware wallet.
Add an extra layer of protection to your crypto assets with a hardware wallet. A hardware wallet stores private keys that are necessary to unlock your blockchain accounts. This device is compatible with various blockchains and helps back up and protect your investments, even if your device is compromised by malware or a phishing attack. Hardware wallets are often protected by PINs and a passphrase, so even if the device is lost or stolen, you can feel confident in the safety of your crypto accounts.
4. Check your accounts regularly.
Make it part of your weekly routine to check in on your crypto account to ensure that there are no suspicious transactions. Keep the pulse on the news, so that whenever there’s a breach, you can make a timely report of any losses you may have experienced. Also, consider changing your login credentials to be on the safe side.
Boost Your Crypto Confidence
The only way to enjoy your cryptocurrency experience is to be confident in it. While the Wormhole loophole was almost impossible for a casual everyday user to predict, as long as you have a contingency plan and safeguards in place, you can be confident in your crypto activities.