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No Place for Security as Cryptocurrency Skills Demand Soars

Demand for cryptocurrency skills has rocketed by over 1000% over the past two years, but a disconnect between cybersecurity and the fast-emerging sector is exposing organizations to greater risk, according to Trend Micro.

The security vendor analyzed data from popular recruitment site ITJobsWatch, revealing UK demand for cryptocurrency skills has jumped by 1130% since 2016.

Yet cybersecurity is apparently nowhere to be seen on the list of the top 30 skills most commonly associated with cryptocurrency roles. That list is led by blockchain (73%), finance (50%), Java (46%), bitcoin (31%) and JavaScript (28%), according to the vendor.

Similarly, crypto skills do not seem to be a priority for cybersecurity professionals, failing to make the top 30 despite emerging areas like GDPR (8%) starting to make an impact.

This security/crypto skills gap is leaving cryptocurrency exchanges dangerously open to attack, according to Bharat Mistry, Trend Micro principal security strategist.

“If cybersecurity professionals were more aware of crypto and the risks the platform is open to then they could secure or reduce the attack surface for crypto exchanges,” he told Infosecurity.

These organizations are already being impacted by cyber-attacks: over recent months there’s been a $60m raid on Zaif, a $31m theft at Bithumb and an attack on Coincheck which netted hackers $500m.

What’s more, a report from Ernst & Young earlier this year revealed that 10% of all initial coin offering (ICO) funds are lost to hackers. Experts claimed that some crypto ventures aren’t resilient enough to DDoS, phishing attacks, or web exploits, and that the underlying code of smart contracts is often riddled with vulnerabilities.

More cybersecurity expertise in the industry would help mitigate some of these risks.

Trend Micro also warned of the growing cryptojacking threat, claiming that it recorded a 956% increase in detection of this malware between 1H 2017 and 1H 2018.

The global cybersecurity skills shortage is now almost three million, according to the latest data.

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