Cybercriminals steal millions using fake ICOs to lure crypto victims: Kaspersky

Posted: 16 August 2018 3:44 am
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The leading cryptocurrency to pilfer is Ethereum's token, given the increasing number of coin offerings.

Global cybersecurity company Kaspersky has released findings from its latest quarterly report, conceding that despite preventing tens of thousands of phishing attacks, crypto bandits made away with millions last quarter.

Kaspersky's Spam and phishing in Q2 2018 report highlighted that cybercriminals, exploiting initial coin offerings (ICOs), stole US$2,329,17 between April and June 2018. This doesn't include traditional phishing acts.

This figure is only a rough estimate, based on data received from over 1,000 ETH wallets used by offenders.

In addition to classic phishing, which aims at gaining access to the victim’s accounts and private key information, cybercriminals try every way to entice a victim to willingly send them cryptocurrency. One example of this is cryptocoin giveaways. Cybercriminals continue using the names of new ICO projects to collect money from potential investors that are trying to gain early access to new tokens.

The Internet security company claims that its anti-phishing system managed to prevent 58,000 user attempts to connect to phishing websites that were masquerading as popular cryptocurrency wallets and markets.

Throughout Q2 2018, Kaspersky's anti-phishing system prevented 108 million attempted attacks via malicious websites. This means that over half were crypto-related. 1 in 10 Kaspersky Lab users was subject to an attack.

"Sometimes phishing sites pop up before official project sites," according to Kaspersky's quarterly report.

Phishing attacks were most common in Brazil (15.5%), China (14.7%), Georgia (14.4%), Kyrgyzstan (13.6%), Russia (13.2%), Venezuela (13.2%), Macao (12.8%), Portugal (12.5%), Belarus (12.2%) and South Korea (11.6%).

Although bitcoin is the world's most notable and popular digital currency, Ethereum (ETH) is currently the most sought-after cryptocurrency among cybercriminals, given its attractive, burgeoning ICO marketplace.

How to spot and avoid a cryptocurrency scam

The latest Skybox Security mid-year trends report reveals that, at its peak in June 2017, ransomware was the most popular option amongst cybercriminals, by a long shot, accounting for over 70% of attacks. A month later, that figure dropped to about 30% and now it's down to only 8%. It's being neatly replaced by cryptojacking, which accounted for only 7% of attacks in the second half of 2017, but now makes up 32% of attacks.

Last month, a global operational taskforce, the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, was created to share and facilitate information and intelligence regarding international tax crime and money laundering activity.

Additionally, independent platform game Abstractism has been pulled from the Steam stores after a series of allegations culminating in reports that it installs cryptocurrency miners on players' computers.

You can learn all about different exchanges, understand exactly how to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, calculate your taxes, discover digital wallets to hold assets and explore a list of all the alternative coins on the market.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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