Cybercriminals continue to devise and perfect new strategies to steal Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In 2018 alone, the activities of these online syndicates have led to the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars. Here are some of the popular tactics used by these criminals to steal cryptocurrency online.
Trojans and Malware
Recently, Live Bitcoin News reported on Swiss authorities warning cryptocurrency exchange platforms of the emergence of modified e-banking trojans. This strain of trojans targets cryptocurrency trading platforms.
Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs says hackers have also created a new iteration of the deadly Rakhni trojan. This particular variant is capable of performing both cryptojacking and ransomware exploits on the target victim.
Apart from trojans, other forms of malware also constitute a danger to cryptocurrency owners and users. Recently, Kaspersky Labs also warned that syndicates like the North Korea-based Lazarus Group could begin to develop malware for the Mac OS given the success of their hacking exploits on the Windows OS.
In a statement by Kaspersky, the company’s researchers noted:
It would seem that in the chase after advanced users, software developers from supply chains and some high-profile targets, threat actors are forced to develop Mac OS malware tools. The fact that the Lazarus group has expanded its list of targeted operating systems should be a wake-up call for users of non-Windows platforms.
Ransomware and Sextortion
Sextortion is fast becoming a popular form of cryptocurrency ransomware. Rather than targeting banks and other corporate organizations, these attacks focus on blackmailing victims who have reportedly viewed pornographic pictures and videos unless they pay a Bitcoin ransom.
The hackers usually take things up a notch by threatening to send the pictures and the videos to the victim’s contacts. Meanwhile, other forms of ransomware are still on the rise. In September, a small Canadian town paid off cybercriminals who had hacked the town’s computer system.
With the fight against cryptojacking exploits gathering steam, hackers seem to be perfecting a new means of remotely hijacking computers for cryptocurrency mining. These days, cryptojacking botnets seem to be the preferred choice.
Both Google and Apple recently took steps to prohibit mining apps on their respective app stores. Browsers like Chrome and platforms like YouTube are also trying to limit the spread of Coinhive and other malicious mining scripts/add-ons. In response, the hackers seem to be going high-tech, employing botnets to spread virus loaders known as ‘droppers.’
How can cryptocurrency enthusiasts best protect themselves from these sophisticated schemes to steal their virtual currencies? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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