Kaspersky : Over $10 Million Were Stolen in Ethereum Over The Past Year
The famous Russia based cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky recently released a report stating that it found that cybercriminals stole over 21,000 Ethereum Tokens with roughly a value of $10 Million. They say that this was done through ‘social engineering schemes’ over the past one year.
The report stated that Initial Coin Offering(ICO) and cryptocurrency giveaway scams were the most popular. The report stated,
Some of the most popular targets are ICO investors, who seek to invest their money in start-ups in the hope of gaining a profit in the future.
For these ICO related scams, the criminals created fake websites and emails/projects that were meant to ‘draw inspiration’ from legitimate business operations. This is similar to a phishing scam where scammers send emails to get secure information from their targets by acting like a trusted and legitimate party.
The report gives the Switches ICO as an example. In this situation, criminals stole over $25,000 in cryptocurrency by posting an offer through a fake twitter account that was ‘stated’ to be associated with the real ICO. Another example is the OmiseGo project which is one of the biggest projects on the Ethereum network. Similar to the Switches scam, the criminals created hundreds of fake websites drawing users to send their crypto to these ‘legitimate websites’. According to Kaspersky, this scam led to the theft of around $1.1 million.
Another common social engineering scam is the cryptocurrency giveaways in which victims are promised higher payouts later for a smaller payment of the same cryptocurrency now. This was done by criminals creating fake twitter accounts claiming to be celebrities, entrepreneurs and cryptocurrency personalities including Elon Musk and telegram founder, Pavel Durov. Nadezhda Demidova, the lead web content analyst at Kaspersky Lab says that because the attack patterns continue to evolve, it becomes difficult to protect against them. She gave the following statement.
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. 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 capitalize on user behaviors.
While traditionally focused on malware such as viruses, Trojans and ransomware, Kaspersky has recently started focusing on criminal activity in the cryptocurrency world as well.
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