Analysis


By CCN Markets: Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX has just issued a security advisory telling its customers that it is witnessing an increase in unwarranted attempts to access customer accounts. BitMEX has warned customers to shore up their account security through strong passwords and two-factor authentication.

According to a BitMEX blog apprising customers of the situation:

We have observed an increased number of unauthorised attempts to access customer accounts. We would like to remind all customers and users to please protect your BitMEX and personal accounts by: using strong and unique passwords; enabling Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your accounts; and using a password manager.

BitMEX says that criminals have become smarter

While BitMEX is witnessing an increase in the number of attempts to access customer accounts in an unauthorized manner, the cryptocurrency exchange also points out that hackers have become smarter than before. The company’s blog states that:

We have observed a continued increase in the sophistication and tactics utilised by financially motivated criminals. One example of this: rather than the attacker immediately executing a withdrawal request, we have observed attackers trading funds out of accounts by deliberately making losses against another account which they also control.

Disabling BitMEX’s email login notification is turning out to be another favorite tactic among hackers trying to gain unwarranted access to customer accounts. As a result, the crypto exchange is stressing on the fact that its customers need to use two-factor authentication.

That’s because this mechanism is able to reduce the risk of hackers getting into customer accounts by a great degree. BitMEX points out that according to a Google survey, all hacker attacks can be pushed back if customers use a security key for two-factor authentication.

As a result, BitMEX is considering the mandatory enforcement of two-factor authentication, which isn’t surprising given the increase in attacks on crypto exchanges this year.

Strong security is the need of the hour

In the first half of 2018, cryptocurrency exchanges lost $731 million to hackers, up significantly from $266 million lost the previous year. By the end of 2018, hackers ended up stealing a whopping $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies.

The attacks have continued in 2019, as a number of high profile cryptocurrency exchanges have borne the brunt of hackers.

Popular bitcoin exchange Binance was the victim of a $40 million security breach last month as hackers managed to steal 7,000 BTC from its hot wallet.

In February this year, cryptocurrency brokerage firm Coinmama revealed that 450,000 email addresses and passwords were compromised. This was a big deal as Coinmama is one of the largest crypto brokerage firms out there with 1.3 million active users.

Given these mishaps, BitMEX’s advisory to customers to shore up the security of their accounts in light of the recent increase in attempts to hack the crypto exchange makes all the more sense. If you are a BitMEX customer who has a weak password and/or no two-factor authentication, you need to rush and get your house in order before you lose any money.

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