Ira Goldstein Speaks about Infosec 101 for ICOs at the 2018 RSA Conference
April 18, 2018
On Tuesday, April 17, Herjavec Group’s SVP of Technical Operations, Ira Goldstein, presented a session at the industry-leading 2018 RSA Conference on blockchain and the rise of initial coin offerings (ICO).
Recently, there has been a lot of hype in the cyber industry about the dramatic rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In 2017, Bitcoin reached a peak valuation of $19,000 USD which led many to question its future as a real currency. Where is Bitcoin heading? Will it crash? And if so, what will the future hold for other cryptocurrencies?
Whatever the future may hold, smaller startups and businesses not mature enough to go public on the stock market have realized a new use for cryptocurrencies — initial coin offerings (ICOs). An ICO operates similar to an initial public offering (IPO) but differs in that it is normally used to raise funding without having to go public.
Another key difference is that start-ups offering ICOs usually ask their investors, who may be normal consumers looking to invest in a new business, to make the investment using cryptocurrency to a ‘secure’ wallet address.
However, it may not be the cryptocurrency but the encryption technology behind it, known as blockchain, that may be more valuable in the cybersecurity realm. The blockchain technology was first created to track transactions, each of which can only be added, not removed. Simply put, think of blockchain like a chain and each transaction as a chain link that cannot be removed once it has been added. Each chain link provides a historical view of what data set has been recorded or what kind of transaction has taken place.
While ICOs are rapidly gaining popularity, they come with many limitations, especially in regard to their own security. For example, there have been several notable ICO hacks in the past few years. Normally, when a company offers an ICO, it publishes the wallet address on its site and asks interested investors to transfer their money to the address.
However, if a hacker is able to gain access to their site and change the wallet address to their own, not only will the company lose the ICO but the investor will lose their money as well.
In his session at the 2018 RSA Conference, Ira Goldstein addresses the security concerns that lie within the cryptocurrency world and aims to address three learning objectives:
- Explore the vulnerabilities that are costing investors millions.
- Explain the basic premise behind blockchain and cryptocurrency to infosec professionals.
- Apply infosec principles to solve a problem faced in the cryptocurrency world.
View his session in full below.