The world has slowly slipped back into the Cold War era. Two global superpowers, the United States and Russia have been at loggerheads for the past couple of years. Unlike the earlier Cold War, this one has the Internet as an additional front.
With both nations accusing each other of hacking into their IT infrastructure and disrupting their administration processes, innocent internet users may fall victim to escalating tensions. Recent reports indicate the outgoing US President, Barack Obama’s willingness to retaliate against alleged Russian hackers who might have “disrupted” the US Presidential elections.
It is not clear how the United States wants to retaliate against unnamed actors. Irrespective of the method they choose, it is quite possible for Bitcoin and other digital currencies to be dragged into the messy affair, either as a smokescreen or as a recruitment tool.
It is quite possible for the security agencies to target individuals, government infrastructure or suspected groups disguised as non-state actors. They can also throw in a ransom demand in Bitcoin as misdirection. The practice of hiring private contractors in the military is not a secret. The government agencies can as well go about shopping for hackers on the deep web and avail their services. With Bitcoin price almost touching $1000, they may as well try to steal any digital currency they come across during their retaliation, just to make it much more painful.
Enough of these conspiracy theory-esque scenarios. The hacker group, Shadow Brokers have already offered us a glimpse of the tools in NSA’s cyber-arsenal. By using similar or much advanced cyber tools, security agencies can create backdoors or punch holes in the networks and computers connected to them, leaving thousands, if not millions of people vulnerable to follow-up attacks by hackers and cyber criminals.
What makes it much worse is the shroud of secrecy covering all the activities. There is possibly no way to anticipate the problems one has to face due to increasing animosity between the United States and Russia. It is better to not take anything for granted and start taking necessary precautions to safeguard sensitive data and of course, the cryptocurrency stash. The Bitcoin community should invest in hardware wallets or make it a habit of storing their bitcoins on paper wallets. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry later.
Ref: TechCentral | Image: NewsBTC
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