New Exchange Security Ranking Released, Hackers Target Gate.io

In a new ranking of cryptocurrency exchanges by the level of security they provide, the US-based crypto exchange Kraken comes out as number 1, judging from criteria like reliability of key storage, technical security, as well as how it handles user’s personal data. The ranking comes out just as news broke that hackers may have been able to hijack bitcoin transactions made on cryptocurrency exchange Gate.io.

The assessment tool that ranks exchanges by the security they offer was developed by cyber security firm Group-IB as a way to determine the appropriate insurance premiums for users who wish to insure their holdings on exchanges through a service known as CryptoIns.

As a result of Kraken’s high score, users of that platform received the lowest insurance premiums when they insure their crypto holdings. Following Kraken came the major crypto exchanges Bittrex and Coinbase Pro with the second lowest insurance premiums.
Chinese crypto exchanges OKEx and Huobi Pro, as well as Japanese exchange Coincheck, a victim to a major hack in January, were deemed to be among the riskiest exchanges to use, the ranking revealed.

In addition to technical aspects, the ranking looked at how the exchanges handled know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) procedures.
“This assessment focuses on open source data — white papers, information about founders, security policies. In some cases, with founders’ consent, the assessment includes penetration testing using social engineering methods aimed at the network compromise through the most vulnerable link at any organization— humans,” Group-IB wrote in an update on its website.

In a previous ranking of exchanges by rating agency ICORating, Kraken again stood out as one of the most secure exchanges, coming in at second place. On the first place was Coinbase Pro, while BitMex secured the number three spot. Other notable exchanges on the list were Binance on 17th place, HitBTC on 18th place, and Bitfinex on 54th place.

The new security ranking comes out just as news broke that hackers have successfully breached the website StatCounter.com and inserted malicious code in its site-tracking script.
According to Matthieu Faou, the malware researcher who first noticed the breach, hackers may have been able to hijack bitcoin transactions made on cryptocurrency exchange Gate.io, as reported by ZDNet on Tuesday.

Statcounter.com is a service similar to Google Analytics, and companies loads the now-breached site-tracking script to view their website analytics.
“We contacted [StatCounter], but they haven’t replied yet,” Faou told ZDNet.
However, it appears that Gate.io removed the StatCounter script from its website once it became aware of the breach, although no statement has been issued by the exchange.
“Gate.io doesn’t use StatCounter anymore, thus Gate.io customers should be safe now,” Faou confirmed. It remains unclear how many, if any, bitcoin was actually stolen before the breach was discovered.


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Author: Fredrik Vold
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Bittrex Exchange Will Let Investors Swap Their Dollars For Cryptocurrency

  • A U.S.-based crypto exchange lets investors buy coins using U.S. dollars.
  • In the past, the majority of alt coins could only be purchased by first converting dollars into bitcoin.
  • Working with U.S. agencies to help solve the “regulatory puzzle” of cryptocurrencies will help unlock capital, says Bittrex Founder and CEO Bill Shihara.

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Investors now have a new way to purchase cryptocurrencies using U.S. dollars.

Bittrex, a Seattle-based cryptocurrency exchange, has struck an agreement that allows investors to buy digital coins with American dollars. In the past, only coins traded on Coinbase, a digital currency exchange in California, could be bought with dollars. That is a fraction of the approximately 1500 digital coins floating around the universe of cryptocurrenices.

To buy any of the other coins, investors had to convert their money to bitcoin first. Now they have Bittrex.

Founder and CEO Bill Shihara told CNBC that the goal is to “expand out to as many markets as possible on Bittrex,” he said on “Fast Money” Friday.

“As well as expand it so that every customer on Bittrex will be able to have access to U.S. dollar trading,” he said.

The exchange might even help move the market. Since so many alt coins could only be purchased by way of bitcoin, the value of bitcoin and many other digital currencies were closely correlated. The value of those crypto units may now begin to decouple from bitcoin, Shihara said, as more investors transact in dollars.

Currently, nearly 200 different digital coins can be traded on Bittrex. The CEO said that a “small, select number of launch partners” are working with the exchange to pay in dollars.

“In this phase, we’re stress-testing our system,” he said. “We’re working with the banks very closely to ensure that they can process the FIAT deposits and withdrawals. Also, the engine itself that we use to trade, is going to be able to properly handle the load.”

Cryptocurrency is still largely unregulated in the United States, which has led many financial institutions and investors to be cautious of the coins, amid a landscape of widespread fraud and fake ICOs. Other traders have sought out foreign markets to invest in digital assets like bitcoin.

But Shihara said working with U.S. regulatory agencies on better ways to use cryptocurrency will add value to the space.

“We think that solving the regulatory puzzle in the United States really unlocks a lot of capital that really can’t trade on a foreign exchange that doesn’t have proper [anti-money laundering] controls or proper compliance,” Shihara said.


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Author: Kellie Ell
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