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Cryptocurrencies could be rocked by major hacks next year, expert warns

  • The frequency, size and volume of cyberattacks will increase in 2018, according to A10 Network's founder and CEO, Lee Chen
  • Cryptocurrencies, which are becoming more common, could be the main target in the coming year

The past year has seen some of the largest data breaches and ransomware attacks being reported in recent history, but 2018 could see larger, more frequent attacks, technology firm A10 Networks warned Tuesday.

The company's founder and chief executive Lee Chen added that cryptocurrencies could become the main target of hackers as they gain in popularity.

"I think the digital transformation is the underlying motivation for hackers ... So expect the frequency, the size, the volume of hacks to continue to increase in 2018," Chen told CNBC on Tuesday.

Just last week, cryptocurrency mining platform NiceHash confirmed that it has been compromised and lost around 4,700 bitcoin to hackers.

The NiceHash incident followed other cyberattacks that made headlines throughout the year, including Equifax's data breach that affected close to 146 million consumers and a hack on Uber that saw the personal data of 57 million users stolen. The Uber hack took place last year but was reported in 2017.

Ransomware WannaCry also affected more than 10,000 organizations and 200,000 individuals across 150 countries.

Many of those incidents reported in 2017 were financially and politically-motivated, said Chen, but the source and cause of cyber attacks can be anything.

"It could be a professional, could be an innocent teenager who has nothing to do at home – it can come from anywhere," he said, adding that it has become increasingly important for companies to shore up security.