Lastline has today released results from a study of over 200 infosecurity professionals and found that one in seven (14.5 percent) would rather take their salaries in cryptocurrency than traditional, government-backed currency. A further 84 percent of the experts believe cryptocurrency is here to stay – with 45 percent of those saying it would go mainstream. Just 9 percent of security professionals called cryptocurrency a passing fad.
The results come at a time when there are nearly 1600 cryptocurrencies, which is up by 300 in just the first half of 2018 and the market appears to be changing on an hourly basis. Andy Norton, director of threat intelligence from Lastline explained: “The cryptocurrency market is a volatile one to say the least. If you look at the value of the top three cryptocurrencies today as compared to their all-time peak in January, these professionals would be taking home only 48% of their January salary if paid in Bitcoin, 64% if paid in Ethereum, or in the case of Ripple, 21% of one’s salary. In just four months, one could go from taking home say £4000 in January to a mere £1920, £2560 or £840 respectively in May.”*
Furthermore, cyber criminals are increasingly developing malware that acts as coin miners to help them capitalise on the surge in cryptocurrency.
The study also pointed to cryptomining becoming a security threat to organisations. While almost 30 percent of respondents said that it is a clear and present danger to their businesses, Norton believes that number is lower than expected.
“It’s surprising that only three out of ten professionals see cryptomining as a clear threat to their organisations in light of some well-documented press that shows how criminals are launching specific attacks turning devices in cryptominers to line their pockets,” he said. “However, if the nearly half who believe it will go mainstream are correct, then it’s likely that criminals will find new ways to exploit cryptocurrencies, increasing the risk in the eyes of security professionals as the attack surface expands.”