51% attacks are getting more common – this is how they work

51% attacks getting more common – this is how they work.

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Jan Granroth

jan.granroth@trijo.co

So far this year, crypto thefts amounting to $1.1 billion has been committed, many made by 51% attacks. Trijo News explains what it means.

The heavy influx of capital to cryptocurrencies has attracted also the criminals. The cybersecurity company Carbon Black recently announced that so far this year, cryptocurrencies for a value of $1.1 billion has been stolen, CNBC reports.

Crypto exchanges and crypto-related businesses are the main targets, with losses corresponding to about half of the total amount stolen.

51% attacks on the rise

Nowadays, 51% attacks are being widely discussed, even though they up until recently weren’t considered as a big threat for cryptocurrencies due to them being rather costly, especially when it comes to larger blockchains with many stakeholders.

On the contrary, the smaller cryptocurrencies are more vulnerable to these attacks. On the web site 51crypto, one can read about how costly (or not) it would be to buy the computing power necessary to conduct a 51% attack against various cryptocurrencies, at least in theory.

In a 51% attack, someone manages to take control of over more than half of the cryptocurrency network, in order to enable themselves to validate unwarranted transactions or arbitrarily change the rules of the network.

On top of this, a market for services and consultation intended to aid cybercriminals has appeared, making it easy, even for someone with limited technical skills, to commit cyber theft.

Also banks fall victims

Having said this, one should remember that also banks, who often have old and insufficient IT systems, fall victim to cybercrime. Trijo News has earlier reported on attacks on Canadian banks.

The difference, however, is that banks almost always reimburse client losses, even though the clients indirectly end up paying through increased fees.

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