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digital daily: Hack Away

Hack Away: Who is Dragos Ruiu? Long before the hacks of crypto value, security flaws were a source of frustration for new technologies. Apple was busy ridiculing Microsoft’s security flaws and ignoring Mr. Ruiu’s cries for improvement. Dragos took that frustrated energy to create the hacking contest “Pwn2Own” in 2007. Hacks or “pwn” were competing to own an Apple Mac under the marketing campaign that “Macs can’t get hacked.” The event is now a regular occurrence that Tesla took to the next level in 2020 with a $1 million reward and Model 3 cars for those who could hack and control the vehicle. As product value rises, so too does the seriousness around security. Building an infrastructure around code audit is a profession, and Drago Ruiu is its unfamiliar godfather. The recent hacks to digital asset technologies need to be put in that context. They are serious. They demonstrate the immaturity of the architecture. To operate across protocols, you need a bridge. Those bridges can communicate innocuous information or ones with high value. Hackers look to maximize expected value, like any investor. Notice major centralized exchanges are not being hacked – this is a credit to their security efforts, not the absence of hacker interest. The $200 million value extracted from the Nomad Bridge brings the year-to-date total to nearly $2 billion on the digital ecosystem. North Korea accounts for roughly half. For digital assets to scale into the mainstream of finance, the probability of trivial hacks needs to be precisely zero. We’re building ONE Bridge in a “walled garden” with this consideration in mind. Widely embraced bug bounty platforms like Immunefi have led to over $20 billion in hack damage averted. As the ecosystem matures and the stakes increase, so do competitive code audits. Just ask Dragos.