British security firm G4S to offer crypto storage facility

October 18, 2018
Chris Wheal

British security firm G4S announced this week it was to offer a new offline cryptocurrency storage facility to help protect digital assets from hackers and other cybercriminals.

G4S, more commonly known for providing physical security services

More commonly associated with running prisons and transporting large sums of cash for banks, G4S said on Wednesday it had developed a custody service for cryptocurrencies that would protect digital assets from theft.

Institutional clients

The service will be offered mainly to institutional clients – with cybersecurity long regarded as one of the main barriers preventing institutional participation in the cryptocurrency market.

G4S said in its statement that the combination of the unique requirements of exchanges and the immaturity of the sector had made exchanges a prime target for hackers and other criminals.

Dominic MacIver, senior risk analyst at G4S Risk Consulting, said: “The sector has attracted the same old threats for financial systems, including robbers, scammers, market manipulators and many others.”

It is therefore not surprising that there remains much trepidation among major financial institutions about whether to enter the fray, the company said.

Taking assets offline

MacIver added: “Our innovative security solution helps protect against some of those threats by taking the assets offline and storing them in high-security vaults. This gives people and businesses peace of mind to trust that their crypto-assets are secure.”

The company said it was already providing security services to a cryptocurrency exchange in Europe, but declined to name the exchange.

This week Group-IB, a cyber security firm in Russia estimated that organised hackers had stolen nearly $900m from cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017-18. This is a conservative estimate compared with that of Carbon Black, which in June said as much as $1.1bn had been stolen in hacks in just the first half of 2018.

‘Vault’ storage

Nevertheless, the proliferation of cryptocurrency exchanges has increased the target area for those criminals looking for any vulnerability to exploit for cash.

MacIver concluded: “Our security solution is built on a foundation of ‘vault storage’. We not only take the assets offline, but break them up into fragments that are independently without value and store them securely in our high security vaults, out of reach of cyber criminals and armed robbers alike.”

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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