The head of security for cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase describes his biggest challenge: Education

Coinbase security chief Philip Martin has a big challenge: Explaining the fundamentals of security to customers whose financial worth absolutely depends on remembering their passwords and keeping their keys safe. But at a typical bank, cryptography is often limited to two basic categories: masking personal information, like Social Security numbers, and ensuring websites are secured. What that means is that you can’t revoke a cryptocurrency key, if that key is lost, compromised, there is no abili


Coinbase security chief Philip Martin has a big challenge: Explaining the fundamentals of security to customers whose financial worth absolutely depends on remembering their passwords and keeping their keys safe. But at a typical bank, cryptography is often limited to two basic categories: masking personal information, like Social Security numbers, and ensuring websites are secured. What that means is that you can’t revoke a cryptocurrency key, if that key is lost, compromised, there is no abili
The head of security for cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase describes his biggest challenge: Education Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-08-18  Authors: kate fazzini
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, key, keys, encryption, head, way, challenge, biggest, exchange, describes, coinbase, cryptocurrency, information, social, martin, security, education, transactions


The head of security for cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase describes his biggest challenge: Education

Coinbase security chief Philip Martin has a big challenge: Explaining the fundamentals of security to customers whose financial worth absolutely depends on remembering their passwords and keeping their keys safe.

“We have the problem of a global cryptocurrency company figuring out how to talk about security, in a way that plays in Japan in San Francisco and in Europe, and across the age divide, in a way that actually resonates to the people we’re talking to,” he said.

Coinbase is one of the largest cryptocurrency trading and payment platforms, most recently valued at around $8 billion, and supports more than a quarter million bitcoin transactions per day.

Financial companies have to deal with encryption as part of the day-to-day security duties. But at a typical bank, cryptography is often limited to two basic categories: masking personal information, like Social Security numbers, and ensuring websites are secured. But cryptocurrency wallets are different, because encryption plays such a fundamental role. This is new to a lot of consumers working with Bitcoin for the first time, Martin said.

“We deal with long-lived keys that we generate that live for a very long time, that are the direct controller of liquid value,” said Martin, who previously served as an information security lead at Palantir Technologies and in U.S. Army counterintelligence.

“Possession of a key is possession of your currency. What that means is that you can’t revoke a cryptocurrency key, if that key is lost, compromised, there is no ability to get [the value] back.”

This makes the stakes of theft of encrypted data more severe, than, say, the theft of encrypted social security data at a financial institutions, he explained. “The consequences of loss are much higher.” It also means attackers are much more aggressive about gaining access to that encryption, he said.

Those high consequences mean Coinbase’s security organization must help contribute to a broad communication plan to customers, that helps explain clearly how to handle their keys, passwords and other important information for securing their accounts.

For those new to cryptocurrency, “a lot of work is going to how do I interact with the ecosystem? How do I act differently here than if I am protecting my social media account?” he said.

Traditional banks have an advantage, he added, in that “transactions in the traditional fiat system are reversible,” whereas transactions via blockchain are by and large irrevocable. Banks might have more problems with wire fraud involving CEO impersonation, but cryptocurrency users are often subject to cold-call “tech support” scams, he said, in which a criminal calls a customer to convince them to give up valuable security information, starting with “I’m here to help you with your coinbase account problem.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-08-18  Authors: kate fazzini
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, key, keys, encryption, head, way, challenge, biggest, exchange, describes, coinbase, cryptocurrency, information, social, martin, security, education, transactions


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