Cryptocurrencies, often associated with computer gays (“geeks”) or those who want to make money quickly, have become a popular pay method. According to a recent Kaspersky Lab report, one in ten (13 percent) has used them so far to buy something. However, cybercriminals also adopt this trend, targeting cryptocurrencies exchanges and altering older threats to attack investors. Thus, they can lose their savings stored in new unprotected technology, while hackers develop complex techniques to access their funds.
More and more companies offer payouts through cryptocoins, including retailers and grocery stores that support this method. There are even major sports teams that start making partnerships with cryptocurrencies scholarships. Meanwhile, increased interest in investing in cryptocurrency and use them to increase vulnerability to thefts from shopping electronic wallets, scholarships and launch of unsecured ICO (Initial Coin Offerings). There have been a few incidents of scale, being stolen up to USD 530 million.
Attackers can use a variety of practices to steal money from virtual coins, as well as from stock exchanges and ICOs. Among the famous cases of theft are Bitfinex – four years ago and half were stolen from Bitcoin wallets 120,000 customers and 530 million Coincheck lost following an attack in 2018. Therefore, these scholarships are not safe and criminals cybercriminals can easily access and cause damage. And if the money is stolen from a scholarship, investors have nothing to get back.
ICO’s are especially at risk because those who have not launched, often training or experience in cybersecurity and unable to protect their money or respond effectively when an incident occurs. Last but not least, the cryptocoins market is still unregulated and there are no risk assessment mechanisms.
“Despite falling cryptocurrency prices, there is still a growing interest in digital transactions,” says Vitaly Mzokov, head of Verification, Growth Center at Kaspersky Lab. “Our study showed that 13 percent of people used cryptomonads as a method of payment, which was not surprising at all. At the same time, there are real dangers associated with online stock exchanges because they are still at the beginning, which could lead to disastrous financial consequences for users if the funds are not safe. Since the attackers are becoming more complex, stock cryptocurrency and ICO’s are the main targets and provides a handy solution cybercriminals to steal money, lack of cyber security measures. Vigilance is essential – if something seems as little suspicious, do not make the investment.”
Investors in cryptocoins who do not keep their money on the exchange for security reasons need to be aware of the following:
- Exchanges usually involve commissions for money withdrawal;
- Users can not react quickly to exchange rate fluctuations if they decide to withdraw their money;
- A large number of anonymous fiduciary currency operations may raise questions from regulators
Kaspersky Lab recommends those who want to continue using cryptocoins for investment and as a method of payment:
- Always check the address of an electronic wallet and do not enter the links to an online bank or e-wallet;
- Use hardware wallets for cryptocoins;
- Carefully check the address of the recipient, the amount sent and the associated commission before making a transaction;
- Write down a mnemonic phrase so you can recover your encrypted wallet if you lose or forget your password;
- Install a high-quality security solution that protects your devices from accessing cryptocoin wallets and trading on the stock market.
Kaspersky Lab actively contributes to securing virtual coins and ICOs. The company has conducted a security audit for Merkeleon, an Austrian provider of the cryptocoins industry, to ensure that their solution is protected against potential threats.
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