Written by Alex Bach
Data theft has struck again! This time targeting a new and emerging currency instead of our credit cards and dollars. Bitcoin, the all digital currency made popular by Mt. Gox and Silk Road, suffered a devastating blow last month that shows us just how wide and penetrating data theft is right now.
What this data breach proves is that no one–even those in the tech world–are entirely safe from the threats of hackers and financial data thieves. If these guys (which include many hackers) can get hit, why not you?
And if you feel you’ve been targeted by hackers or had your identity stolen, here’s what you can do to remedy the theft.
So What Happened?
Well the biggest bitcoin theft so far occured with Mt. Gox in Japan. Mt. Gox, one of Bitcoin’s major exchanges (which started out as a Magic The Gathering exchange before branching out, hence their name), was gearing up for the largest bitcoin exchange to date when suddenly all 750,000 of their customer’s bitcoins “vanished.”
That’s about $446 million dollars worth of the digital currency.
The company has since had to file for bankruptcy while trying to prove the fraud and likely theft. What’s sad is that much of this could have been prevented with proper security.
Despite being one of the biggest bitcoin exchanges, the company did not take enough steps to secure their transactions, accounting, and software, believing more in the cause and excitement of this new currency than in the robbers that would poach it. And Mt. Gox isn’t the only company to suffer at the hands of Bitcoin thieves.
Of course there’s also the aspect of “they should have seen this coming” that makes Bitcoin’s recurring theft a bit less dire than those of Target or other major thefts. After all, who could have thought to take extra measures to protect a currency used by tech savvy people already using it to make illegal transactions?
What Do We Learn?
Unfortunately Bitcoin is an abject lesson in just how cautious we really need to be in this digital world, where our identities and finances are held in virtual storehouses. Because unfortunately, many people out there have the coding skills to dynamite the safe and take whats within. If anything, this proves a reminder to protect yourself in the Wild West of this digital age.