sb-nz logo
Story image

Cybercriminals reap benefits of cryptocurrency hype

17 Jul 2018

 Cybercriminals are reaping the benefits of the cryptocurrency hype, bringing in millions of dollars through fake exchanges and fake ICO offers.

New research from Kaspersky Lab found that cybercriminals netted almost US$10 million worth of the Ether cryptocurrency in 2017, and this year’s scams are proving to be just as prevalent.

During the first half of 2018, Kaspersky Lab products apparently blocked more than 100,000 triggers related to cryptocurrencies on fake exchanges and other sources such as initial coin offerings (ICOs).

“The results of our research show that cyber-criminals are adept at keeping up to date and developing their resources to achieve the best possible results in cryptocurrency phishing,” comments Kaspersky Lab lead web content analyst Nadezhda Demidova.  

“These new fraud schemes are based on simple social engineering methods, but stand out from common phishing attacks because they help criminals make millions of dollars.”

ICO investors are some of the most popular targets. These investors seek to invest their money in startups with the aim of gaining a future profit.

However criminals are taking full advantage of ICO scams. They create fake websites that mimic official ICO projects. Generally well-known ICO projects work well, Kaspersky Lab says.

 Criminals can also use phishing emails to trick investors into putting their cryptocurrency right into the criminal’s e-wallet.

“For example, by exploiting the Switcheo ICO using a proposal for the free distribution of coins, criminals stole more than $25,000 worth of cryptocurrency after spreading the link through a fake Twitter account.”

“Another example is the creation of phishing sites for the OmaseGo ICO project, which enabled scammers to earn more than $1.1m worth of the cryptocurrency. Of equally great interest among criminals were rumours surrounding the Telegram ICO, which resulted in the creation of hundreds of fake sites that were collecting ‘investments’.”

Cybercriminals also use cryptocurrency giveaway scams. These scams ask people to send a small amount of cryptocurrency in exchange for a larger payout in future.

Criminals also create fake accounts that mimic high profile people such as Elon Musk.

“By creating fake accounts or replying to tweets from legitimate users through fake accounts, criminals are able to confuse Twitter users into falling for the scam by clicking on replies from fraudulent accounts.”

To protect their cryptocurrencies, Kaspersky Lab researchers advise users to follow a few simple rules:

·         Remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch and treat offers that seem too tempting to be true with skepticism.

·         Check official sources for information regarding the free distribution of cryptocurrencies. For example, if you see information about the distribution of coins on behalf of the recently hacked Binance blockchain ecosystem, go to the official source and clarify this information.

·         Check if any third-parties are linked to the wallet transaction to which you plan to transfer your savings. One way of doing this is through blockchain browsers such as etherscan.io or blockchain.info, which allow users to view detailed information about any cryptocurrency transaction and identify if the particular wallet may be dangerous.

·         Always check the hyperlink addresses and data in the browser address bar. It should be, for example, “blockchain.info’, not “blackchaen.info”.

·         Save the address of your e-wallet in a tab and access it from there – in order to avoid making a mistake in the address bar and accidentally going to the phishing site instead.

“The success criminals have enjoyed suggests that they know how to exploit the human factor, which has always been one of the weakest links in cybersecurity, to capitalise on user behaviours,” Demidova concludes.

Story image
CrowdStrike targets Zero Trust blind spot with new offering
CrowdStrike has officially launched CrowdStrike Falcon Zero Trust Assessment (ZTA), designed to aid in overall security posture by delivering continuous real-time assessments across all endpoints in an organisation regardless of the location, network or user. More
Story image
BlackBerry partners with ServiceNow for incident response management
BlackBerry has announced it has entered into a partnership with ServiceNow to integrate the BlackBerry AtHoc service within the Now platform for rapid crisis communications and IT service management. More
Story image
BlackBerry, Microsoft enter partnership for Teams integration
"Integrating BlackBerry AtHoc will ensure that any organisation managing critical events using Teams is able to contact, alert, and account for everyone within the organisation directly."More
Link image
The importance of data resilience in the current cybersecurity climate
Protecting an organisation's data is one of the most crucial functions of any CISO. Strategies should be in place where data is stored securely and cost-effectively.More
Story image
New project development inhibited by cybersecurity, Kaspersky research states
"There are still some practical steps that can be taken to make sure that an emerging technology or a product reaches its launch. Cybersecurity doesn’t have to be another corporate barrier, but it should be on an integral part of the project all long."More
Story image
Insider threat report reveals deception in the workforce
Insider threats come from people inside an enterprise, whether they divulge proprietary information with nefarious intentions, or are just careless employees that unwittingly share sensitive data, writes Bitglass product marketing manager Juan Lugo.More