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Binance Hit by Targeted Hack: Temporarily Suspends Transactions

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When it comes to cybercrime, it doesn’t matter how reputable you are as a company– it’s still possible to fall victim to it. Hackers are attracted to anything they can take advantage of, and the crypto market makes no exception. In July alone, cybercriminals have stolen around $2 billion worth of crypto. Consequently, users struggle to stay safe and private online, and many need to familiarize themselves with practices that can help them strengthen their account security. 

Recently, Binance – the leading cryptocurrency exchange in the world- has lost billions of dollars after experiencing a hack in its network. This came as a surprise for those who have always relied on the platform. Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to withstand cyber attacks in a digital world where hackers lurk in your network, waiting for the right time to attack and steal your data or money. This year was rough for the crypto industry, and Binance is the latest enterprise to experience a cybercriminal target attack, as other transfer services have also suffered devastating consequences.

Hackers stole around $570 million from the BNB chain

According to Binance CEO Chengpeng Zhao, hackers managed to steal tokens from a blockchain bridge within the BNB Chain. The hack occurred due to a bug in the smart contract of the bridge that enabled the cybercriminal to carry out transactions and then send cash back to their own crypto wallet. Blockchain bridges allow crypto transfer between different applications and have been increasingly targeted by hackers, especially this year, with around $2 billion stolen in 13 hacks. The BNB Chain mentioned in a blog post that the hacker withdrew 2 million of the BNB crypto. While most of the BNB remained in the cybercriminal’s digital wallet address, around $100million worth was unrecovered.

Binance took immediate action after the shocking incident

After the incident, Binance’s CEO assured users that the issue was contained and they didn’t need to worry about their funds, as they were safe. The company took the necessary measures to stop the hack from spreading further and causing even more damage. The first step Binance took was temporarily suspending all the transactions on its network. The BNB Chain contacted the blockchain’s ‘validators’ to agree with them on putting the activity to an end for a while. 

Moreover, Binance has managed to minimize the losses significantly to under $100 million. As Zhao said in a CNBC interview, the crypto industry is vulnerable to criminal activities every time customers move an asset from one blockchain to another. However, learning from this unpleasant experience and strengthening security practices in the following years matters. This incident is an important reminder that cybersecurity is paramount in a world where data can easily be compromised.

As hackers’ activities continue to pose risks, strong cybersecurity measures are a must

If hackers managed to attack the largest crypto exchange in the world, there’s no doubt they can succeed in accessing other platforms or individuals’ crypto wallets as well. This is why it’s so important to prioritize cybersecurity and learn how to protect your digital assets. That said, consider the following advice.

Use cold wallets

Crypto wallets include two categories: 

  • Hot wallets, connected to the Internet;
  • Cold wallets, like a USB device that you can access when you’re offline. 

The difference between the two is that cold wallets are safer than hot wallets because they are linked to an encrypted key – a code that enables users to decrypt the wallet to access their digital assets. On the contrary, hot wallets are susceptible to cyberattacks. Suppose a hacker manages to access your investment account; they will steal all your funds immediately. That said, using a cold wallet is a safer alternative, as it ensures hackers won’t be able to access your funds. 

Beware of phishing scams

Phishing scams are a standard tactic hackers use to steal users’ cryptocurrency. They happen when cybercriminals trick users into accessing a seemingly trustworthy website to compromise their data. Users should use caution whenever they receive an unfamiliar email that looks suspicious.

Cybercriminals have developed more sophisticated tactics as they constantly research and carefully plan their next move. For instance, hackers may look on a blockchain exchange for information about executives and employees and find their job titles and addresses. They can use this valuable information to execute bogus emails to lure customers into clicking malicious links and entering their keys and login data. Once they do this, hackers can get their hands on users’ digital assets in only a few steps. To avoid phishing scams, make sure that a website is genuine by checking its URL. 

Keep a solid password and change it regularly 

It’s common for millennials to use the same password across several devices. Believe it or not, some use a password as simple as 123456 that hardly takes a second to crack. If you store your hard-earned crypto in a wallet with such a password, you can’t blame anyone else but yourself if something happens to your assets. That said, you must create strong and complex passwords that are different for each account. However, you’ll want to use a password manager, as it can be quite a hassle to remember all your login credentials. To create a solid password, you should use the following: 

  • At least eight letters;
  • Lowercase and uppercase;
  • A combination of special characters, alphabets, and numbers. 

Use a VPN 

Remote work is indeed beneficial, as you can complete your tasks while enjoying a cup of coffee at your favorite café. But as ideal as it sounds, working remotely has a downside: it makes you more susceptible to cybercriminal activities because you’re using public WiFi most of the time. This may seem like a good thing – after all, who wouldn’t enjoy free access to the internet? 

However, it isn’t secure and is not an option when carrying out a transaction from your bank account or crypto wallet. So, what’s the solution? When connecting to a public WiFi, you should use a secure private internet connection, a VPN. A virtual private network encrypts users’ online traffic by making their location and IP address unknown to third parties. It’s an effective solution to keeping your online data protected from cybercriminals.  

Final thoughts

While Binance didn’t manage to escape from cybercriminals’ harmful intentions, the company handled the situation confidently and efficiently, assuring users that they had nothing to worry about regarding their funds. Things are under control now, but as Binance’s CEO has stated, it’s paramount to focus on enhancing security practices to reduce the chances of such an incident happening again.

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