Think twice before trusting us with your personal information…said no 21st century business ever. Whether it’s the swipe of a card at a local convenience store, or that social media app you always find yourself on, using software that could potentially compromise your information is the norm, not the exception.
We’d go insane if we worried about every single transaction that could lead to identity theft or a depleted bank account. So instead, we put our trust in the technical leadership of brands to avoid these disasters on our behalf. Most of the time, there’s nothing to worry about. Most of the time.
Mt.Gox, the world’s largest Bitcoin (digital currency) exchange, recently lost track of 740,000 Bitcoins, resulting in a projected $350 million dollar loss after hackers allegedly planted a bug into the system. Here’s the scoop:
“In its announcement on Monday, Mt. Gox said that a bug in the Bitcoin software made it possible for someone to use the Bitcoin network to alter transaction details to make it appear that a Bitcoin transfer had not taken place when, in fact, it had.”
Mt.Gox reportedly handled about 80% of the world digital currency! Trading and withdrawals were halted, and users returned to a blank page on their website, and the “cryptocurrency” industry is now dealing with a major blow to its validity. There are lessons to be learned from this heist into the Bitcoin network, both for software developers and for consumers alike. Here are four, in no particular order:
Lesson 1: If a system can be hacked, it will be hacked. Someone will always try to get their hands on valuable information. Whether it’s the stealing of credit card numbers directly, or the selling of emails and passwords on the internet, criminal hacking is a business – a very big business in fact. So stealing Bitcoins (a currency stored in virtual wallets and not backed by any country’s currency) and exchanging them for another currency? An internet thief’s dream come true. The same is true for any company really: If there is sensitive data to be had, it’s only a matter of time before someone goes looking for it.