Attacks/Breaches

12/26/2017
12:00 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

EtherDelta Hack Begins Rocky Weekend for Crypto

Popular cryptocurrency exchange EtherDelta announces a potential DNS attack and suspends service just days before Bitcoin hit a five-day drop.

EtherDelta last week suspended service when cyberattackers allegedly gained temporary access to the company's DNS servers.

The incident was part of a rough week for cryptocurrency, preceding a sharp drop in values at Bitcoin that hit a low ebb on Friday. The events illustrate the continued volatility of digital currencies, despite their rapid growth.

EtherDelta, a popular cryptocurrency exchange known for its broad selection of alt coins, posted a tweet on Wednesday, Dec. 20 indicating its server was compromised by attackers.

(Image: EtherDelta via Twitter)

(Image: EtherDelta via Twitter)

It seems the attacker(s) spoofed EtherDelta's domain to trick users into sending money. EtherDelta posted a follow-up tweet reporting the impostor's app had no chat button on the navigation bar, nor did it have an official Twitter feed on the bottom right. It also had a fake order book. After a series of updates, EtherDelta said it was running again on Dec. 22.

Users using MetaMask or a hardware wallet on EtherDelta were safe from the attack, as are those who had never imported their private key on the imposer's phishing site. Deposits can only be accessed through a user's individual key, the company noted on Twitter.

"If EtherDelta's tweets are to be interpreted literally, this was a rare kind of DNS attack, in which the registry and registrar were uninvolved, and the break-in happened on EtherDelta's own primary authoritative name server," says Farsight Security CEO Dr. Paul Vixie, a DNS security expert.

In this case, DNS was "incidental" to the attack, he explains. The same attacker could use a similar method to break into any other server using a similar trick, such as password guessing.

"If there's a lesson for all of us here, which there almost always is, it's that the keys to our kingdom are everywhere in our infrastructure, and there is no server or service we can operate with less care for its security than others," Vixie adds.

Shortly after the news of EtherDelta's attack, Bitcoin had a rough holiday weekend with a five-day drop that ended Tuesday, Dec. 26. While the two events were unrelated, the volatility of crypto should not go unnoticed, Vixie says. The recent "boom and bust" in crypto is almost entirely driven by "ignorance and the resulting bandwagon effect," he observes. Prices are unstable and any news -- from a cyberattack to political commentary -- can send them up or down.

"Unfortunately, this is just a tip of the iceberg," agrees High-Tech Bridge CEO Ilia Kolochenko. "Many crypto currency platforms and exchanges are compromised without even being noticed or publicly disclosed." Further, many don't have the resources to protect themselves, he notes.

Indeed, Youbit, a Korean cryptocurrency exchange, is filing for bankruptcy after two cyberattacks in 2017. Nicehash, a marketplace based in Europe, reported losing millions in a breach this month.

"We have collectively built systems so complex that we can't understand them," Vixie states. Attackers have the time and ambition to test enterprises' defenses in ways that the enteprises don't test themselves.

This is especially true of cryptocurrency systems like EtherDelta, which have so much money and many new systems and operators, Vixie notes. However, any enterprise is vulnerable and this should be viewed as a potential attack "against everything and anything," says Vixie. The only way to be even partially secure is with red-team testing, and internal and external auditing, he says.

Related Content:

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
8 Ways Hackers Monetize Stolen Data
Steve Zurier, Freelance Writer,  4/17/2018
Securing Social Media: National Safety, Privacy Concerns
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/19/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How to Cope with the IT Security Skills Shortage
Most enterprises don't have all the in-house skills they need to meet the rising threat from online attackers. Here are some tips on ways to beat the shortage.
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
Most enterprises are using threat intel services, but many are still figuring out how to use the data they're collecting. In this Dark Reading survey we give you a look at what they're doing today - and where they hope to go.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.