Bitcoin [BTC] and Monero [XMR] more vulnerable with NSA leak; regulators vigilant

On Wednesday, 19th September, Cyber Threat Alliance [CTA] announced that hackers and fraudsters were using malicious means to generate cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin [BTC] and Monero [XMR].

Cyber Threat Alliance is a non-profit organization that works towards changing the present cybersecurity measure for the better by “enabling near real-time, high-quality cyber threat information sharing among companies and organizations in the cybersecurity field.”

The main aim of the CTA is to protect the end users, disrupt malicious actors and to elevate the overall security standards by collaborating with various other parties. The latest report released on Wednesday talked about how Eternal Blue, a software tool developed by the National Security Agency [NSA], was a factor in the cryptocurrency hacks. The Eternal Blue leak opened up a window of opportunity for hackers, enabling them to utilize the source code to attack vulnerable blocks of the ledger.

CTA reports have also specified that most of the attacks are based in the United States with effort now on the double to clamp down on the software issues. Neil Jenkins, the Chief Analytic Officer of CTA has stated that the hackers have it easy and “money just rolls in for them”.

The main victims of the rampant attacks have been Monero and Bitcoin, out of which Monero-targeted attacks encompassed a staggering 85% of all cryptocurrency hacks. The main impact area of Eternal Blue was the Microsoft Windows Server Message Block 1.0, a “protocol that allows applications on a computer to read and write to files and to request services”, on the same computer network. Reports suggest that this loophole infringement is what allowed hackers to illegally generate cryptocurrencies.

Monero’s affair with hacks and ransomware attacks have been going on for quite some time with the privacy-oriented cryptocurrency repeatedly coming under the knife due to one issue or another. In August 2018, reports emerged from Brazil that over 200,000 routers were discreetly programmed to mine XMR across systems.

This systematic point to point attack was discovered by a researcher who zeroed in on a wrongly configured microchip embedded within the router that allowed the hackers to mine Monero illegally.

In a more recent case, Monero had warned users that the official MEGA Chrome extension was hacked, leaving users’ XMR tokens vulnerable to attacks. The vulnerability also gave hackers the power to access saved passwords and usernames from sources like Google, Github, and Amazon.

Riccardo Andsaskiaspagni, the Lead Maintainer of Monero had said on Twitter:

“Confirmed that it also extracts private keys if you log in to MyMonero and/or MyEtherWallet in a browser with the extension installed.”

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