Q&A: How to protect initial coin offerings against cyberattacks

The rise of ICOs has also resulted in an increase in cyberattacks—a new service looks to counteract the problem

The rise of initial coin offerings (ICOs) has suddenly become a big ticket news item. This has seen $150 billion of capital raised this year, but on the flip side $150 million has already been stolen—with some very high profile attacks on DAO, Parity and Coindash. To counteract this, Positive.com has launched a brand new service to safeguard ICOs against theft. Leigh-Anne Galloway, cybersecurity resilience lead at the company explains more in the lightly edited Q&A below.

How did the ideas for this come about?

In the same way that Uber used technology to revolutionise modern transport, ‘technologisation’ is causing drastic development in the fintech sphere for both the traditional companies—i.e., the banks—and consumers. The strong reaction of the banks against developments in blockchain is simply further evidence that a revolution is underway.

The challenge is that the new blockchain/cryptocurrency companies leading this wave do not have risk at the forefront of their mind. Their motivation is to be novel, which means they are aiming to develop as quickly as possible and rushing. As a result, there have been a number of notable attacks that have cost companies, and their investors, very substantial sums of money. It was clear to us that ICOs have become a target for cyber criminals—in 2017 alone we are looking at $150 million stolen.

What is also clear is that these attacks are preventable if the right precautions are taken in advance of and during an ICO. Furthermore, cryptocurrencies that already exist, such as Ethereum, can be checked in real life, studied, and we can learn to understand the vulnerabilities that will affect the world’s financial system during the blockchain implementation. This means that in the future we could help the whole system, all large financial organisations, which is what primarily drives us.

Why are cyberattacks a particular issue for companies going thorough ICOs?

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