Russian Kaspersky Lab Prevents 100K Crypto Theft Attempts in 2018

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Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based anti-virus provider, reported 100,000 prevented crypto thefts so far in 2018 and shared some of the most popular approaches used by cybercriminals to steal cryptocurrencies.

Russian anti-virus and cybersecurity provider Kaspersky Lab has prevented over 100,000 crypto theft attempts since the beginning of 2018, the company said in a report analyzing the main patterns and trends related to cryptocurrency hacks. Kaspersky said it helped users avoid fake crypto wallets and exchanges.

The cybersecurity company noted that cybercriminals are exploiting the current hype in the cryptocurrency market, targeting both experienced and novice traders. Kaspersky Lab experts tracked 1,000 Ethereum wallets where users were scammed to transfer over ETH 21,000, which is the equivalent to about $10 million based on current rates. This figure doesn’t include the funds that criminals have stolen directly from the victims’ online wallets.

Initial Coin Offering (ICO) investors continue to be one of the primary targets of cryptocurrency-oriented cybercriminals. Kaspersky said that it was not that difficult for them to obtain data like email addresses of potential investors in a particular project. Once the swindlers have such information, they send fake letters on behalf of the startup team right before the pre-ICO starts. The letters are informing the victims about the token sale event and encourage them to move their crypto funds to criminals’ addresses. This approach resembles a type of phishing.

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Another type of phishing used by fraudsters is to create fake pages similar to ICO projects and promote these via social media, e-mail, and on search engines sites like Google.

Also, cybercriminals sometimes mislead victims by promising them generous bonuses and free coin in exchange for the transfer of a certain amount of funds. The first transaction is needed to check the online wallet, the criminals say. For instance, the fraudsters created fake social network accounts of famous people like Elon Musk or Pavel Durov, offering to give away money.

According to the recent report prepared by Kaspersky Lab, the registered fraudulent schemes are based on simple and old methods of social engineering. The success of cybercriminals relies on the skillful exploitation of the “human factor.”

In March, Kaspersky warned that hackers were implementing more sophisticated tools to infect computers with malware and use them for cryptocurrency mining.

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