Kapersky Report: $10 Million in Ether Stolen Through Phishing Last Year

A new report from Kapersky Labs claims that cybercriminals are turning to cryptocurrency as a domain for scams and frauds. The schemes target ICO investors, who are perhaps vulnerable as they are seeking to invest money to begin with.

“Kaspersky Lab experts have exposed a relatively new fraudulent trend: the development of cryptocurrency is not only attracting investors, but also cyber-criminals seeking to boost their profits,” reads the report.

Kapersky Labs is a provider of security software, and has published other instructional posts dealing with crypto safety and Bitcoin phishing prior to this report. This week’s report is an estimate based on the attacks that their software has blocked in the first half of this year—”more than a hundred thousand triggers related to cryptocurrencies” have been blocked so far in 2018.

The handful of schemes listed in the report involve scammers imitating legitimate crypto startups such as Switcheo and OmiseGo, as well as impersonating prominent individuals like Elon Musk. In some regards, these are not new scams, but are a reflection of the current popularity of cryptocurrency in combination with proven scam methods, such as phishing and giveaway scams.

Based on their measurements, Kapersky Labs estimates stolen funds total at least 21,000 ETH or $10 million. “This sum doesn’t even take into account classic phishing attacks,” according to Kapersky Labs. Forbes reports traditional phishing costs American businesses alone half a billion dollars per year, making crypto phishing surprisingly prominent.

Finally, Kapersky gives some basic advice to users:

  • Look out for fake registration pages, URLs, and apps
  • Use blockchain browsers to search for dangerous wallets
  • Read official reports to see if a platform or service has been compromised
  • Approach offers with some amount of skepticism

Meanwhile, other cryptocurrency crime remains an issue as well. Exit scams continue to be a danger for ICO investors—most recently, an ICO representing itself as Turkey’s national cryptocurrency stole up to $41 million in an exit scam. Thefts from centralized exchanges also occur regularly, amounting to about $1.1 billion in the first half of this year.

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