Protection strategies against hacking and APT attacks in blockchain ecosystems

From the team of SecuX, a blockchain security technology and engineering company

After over a decade of development and evolution, the global blockchain ecosystem in 2020 now includes a multitude of businesses and enterprises, for example, information system integrators, integrators of fintech, financial holdings, banks, life insurance companies, and other financial technology industries.

In addition, examples of the sectors related to blockchain or cryptocurrency, or industries that have incorporated blockchain technology and achieved technological integration include domestic and foreign cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency software, hardware wallets, healthcare, cashless payment, digital asset integrators, supply chains, logistic system companies, business services providers (hotels, restaurants, and other companies in the service industries), e-commerce (online shopping), innovation, media services, and businesses that are prepared to achieve blockchain technology integration.

The blockchain ecosystem has undergone a remarkable boom in the past decade and is able to generate more value for all kinds of services. In the past, hackers set general servers or systems as the target for their attacks. In recent times, however, the whole blockchain ecosystem has become a lucrative target for cyber attacks. After summarization and analysis, the blockchain ecosystem can be categorized into the following four categories below. Common forms of a cyberattack are also analyzed:

Figure 1: Types and Methods of Attacks in the Blockchain Ecosystem

Figure 1 lists digital currency exchanges (DCE), different types of cryptocurrency wallets, payment ecosystems, and other e-commerce service software, programs, or platforms offered by players in blockchain-related service industries.

Among the common types of cyberattacks, damage or disruption to the network bandwidth (in the lower-left corner of the figure) includes DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attacks which aim to exhaust the resources of the targeted network or system to crash its services. Eg. Affecting normal transactions or causing currency fluctuations.

The second type of attack is one targeting account systems, including phishing, user-end cracking using reverse engineering, installing backdoor or Trojan viruses, scams and frauds, wiretapping, traffic analysis and masquerading, message modification, man-in-the-middle attacks, and so on. e.g. stealing accounts, modifying addresses, and transferring ownership in digital assets.

Attacks to payment and relevant service platforms include exploiting vulnerabilities, loopholes, zero-day threats in web app codes, using hacking software or self-developed software to intrude information systems, and obtain the administrative permission to unlawfully use the system to gain legitimate access and authorization; ultimately stealing users’ important data or transferring users’ digital assets.

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