Cryptocurrency is becoming a popular payment method and is no longer confined to the “dark net”. Researchers at Moscow-based cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Labs say one-in-ten people have used Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to make online purchases. The study collected responses from more than 12,000 consumers in 22 different countries. Data from Bitcoin directory service platform, Coinmap also shows that businesses accepting Bitcoin have grown with 14,346 venues accepting BTC against 1,789 recorded almost six years ago, an increase of more than 700 percent.
“Despite a fall in cryptocurrency prices, there is still a strong desire for digital transactions amongst consumers,” said Vitaly Mzokov, Head of Verification at Kaspersky Lab. “Our consumer research has found that thirteen percent of people have used cryptocurrency as a payment method, which was surprising to see. However, there are also real dangers associated with online exchanges as they are still in their infancy.”
Do Your Own Research, Be Vigilant
Their press release states that as more and more people are using cryptocurrencies to invest and spend, their funds are “vulnerable to being stolen” from crypto wallets, insecure exchanges and ICOs. As the cryptocurrency market isn’t regulated, and there are no risk assessment mechanisms in place, poor actors in the space leave people unable to protect their funds should an incident, like an exchange hack, take place.
“With threat actors becoming more sophisticated in their attacks, cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs are prime targets and offer cybercriminals a straightforward solution to stealing substantial funds due to the lack of cybersecurity measures in place,” said Mr Mzokov. “There is also no substitute for vigilance, if something looks suspicious in any way, do not make an investment”.
Kaspersky Labs are working towards securing the future of cryptocurrencies and ICOs and have run a cybersecurity audit for Merkeleon, an Austrian crypto exchange software provider, to ensure their solution was protected against potential threats.
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