Wherever there’s a cryptocurrency, there’s always a cybercriminal waiting to abuse it. At least, that’s what it feels like right now. There are always reports of crypto mining botnets, developers taking advantage of a loophole within a certain smart contract as well as ransomware hackers asking for Bitcoin doing the rounds on the internet.
And while Monero may be the coin of choice for most crypto-jackers, according to a report by Kaspersky, Ethereum takes the gold as far as phishing attacks are concerned.
The study shows that over the course of Q2 2018, cybercriminals siphoned off more than $2.3 million worth of Ethereum via ICO related phishing attacks. Kaspersky also found that the biggest source of these hoaxes were fake ICO websites and phony emails with links to the wrong Ethereum addresses.
Why Ethereum? Many new startups are powered by the Ethereum blockchain and are thus designed to accept funding in Ether. So, if you’re thinking you’d never fall for a phishing attempt, don’t underestimate the power of the perpetrators.
They’re usually after investors looking for early access to tokens and–in some cases–the phishing websites appear before the official one. But it’s not just fake websites and spam emails you have to look out for. Phishing attacks can also happen through social media, and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Skype.
And remember the heavily anticipated Telegram ICO which brought hackers of all shapes and sizes out of the woodwork? Before the official presale was even over, phishing sites had already gathered funds that were comparable to Telegram’s personal fundraiser.
Kaspersky claims to have prevented some 58,000 user attempts to connect to illegal websites thanks to their anti-phishing system. These pages were all pretending to be popular cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets.
The company report also mentions that malicious phishing code can also be found on supposedly “secure” pages. This is due to the ease with which security certificates can be accessed. In fact, Google and other browsers are beginning to change their stance on certifying pages, but until then one has to be extra careful before sending any funds across the internet.
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