Shutting down Bitcoin could become an option in the fight against illicit cryptomining. In recent months, governments and corporations found themselves the victims of these activities where hackers hijack their systems to illegally mine cryptocurrencies.
Cybersecurity vendors are already hard at work at developing new systems to combat this new threat. However, ZapThink President Jason Bloomberg believes that to put down this new form of cyberattack is to make cryptocurrencies illegal.
In a recent article on Forbes, Bloomberg argued that while prevention and mitigation technologies might be able to stem the rise of illicit cryptomining desperate actions might be needed. This is mainly due to the fact that Bitcoin and many other digital currencies are open-source.
With a permissionless (open or public) blockchain, anyone can create an address and interact with the network allowing them to sell, buy, and mine digital currencies. In contrast, with a permissioned (closed or private) blockchain, access of each participant is well defined inside a closed and monitored ecosystem.
The problem with permissionless blockchains is that no one is stopping criminals from accessing the network. While not all mining ventures are criminal, some hackers use this opportunity to hijack other people's hardware to mine cryptocurrency. All that's needed is for the victim to give up their log-in credentials, visit a malicious website, or download a fake app from the app store.
Tesla was among the most recent victims of this type of cyberattack after hackers took control of their cloud infrastructure and began their mining operations at the company's expense. While the electric automaker was able to remove the malware, some companies just don't have the same resources as the billion-dollar corporation.
As long as permissionless cryptocurrencies remain in circulation, hackers will continue to do everything they can to profit from it. If illicit cryptomining goes out of hand, digital currencies will to either switch to permissioned blockchains or risk being shut down.