Digital Currencies Hacked Thanks to the NSA
by: The Knowledge GroupSeptember 25, 2018
When Bitcoin was first launched and realized, it became extremely popular due to one particular aspect: it couldn’t be hacked. The specific code structure made the electronic currency extremely reliable and generally impossible to fiddle with. However, that was more than a decade ago. Since then the federal government has become very familiar with Bitcoin and similar. Enforcement agencies have since created tools for surveillance which also been stolen. Long story short, what was supposed to be secure has now become unsecured thanks to the government’s original need to control society’s behavior.
Hackers have been quite appreciative of all the work federal agencies spent years on creating, and they put those tools to good use. Bitcoin, Monero and similar digital currencies have now been realizing exploits, which have also potentially undermined the future use of these currencies. Like any currency, when someone starts printing dollar bills like crazy, the buying power of every dollar existing then decreases from rapid inflation.
Identified cases of actual digital currency hacking, the electronic form of runaway Argentine currency presses running 24/7, have jumped more than 450 percent in one year. Much of this increased hacking has been tied to one tool, Eternal Blue. That tool got loose by a hack on the NSA and the culprits turning around and making the software available on the dark-net right after. It’s important to note that the currency code itself is not what is being attacked, so a given Bitcoin is not suddenly being changed in value from $100 to $1 million. Instead, Eternal Blue is being used to hack other users’ computers to use them for zombie mining or generating Bitcoins without the owners knowing how their equipment is being used. That, in turn, floods the digital field with lots of illegal Bitcoins owned by the hacker. Again, an uncontrolled flow of new currency availability introduces rampant inflation which then kills the value of the same currency.
Monero has been the main victim so far with almost 9 out of 10 attacks, but Bitcoin has seen about 10 percent of criminal activity as well. The NSA was not very verbose in a response on the matter; while the agency provided the standard response that criminal activity is a high risk in the digital world, destabilizing electronic currencies is seen in some Washington DC corners as a good thing. It forces people back to government-controlled monies and dampens markets the government can’t regulate as well. And that means far more predictable taxing as well as societal economic restraint.
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