Opportunistic cybercriminals took advantage of the bull run seen between October and April, Barracuda says.
The number of crypto scams is directly related to dramatic rises in Bitcoin’s price, new research suggests.
Bitcoin’s price rose by almost 400% between October 2020 and April 2021 — and according to researchers at the security firm Barracuda, impersonation attacks soared by 192% over the same period.
Hackers have been impersonating crypto-related apps — issuing fraudulent security alerts in an attempt to steal login credentials.
One email, purportedly from Trezor, warned a potential victim that their assets were at risk of being stolen — and asked them to update their private seed phrase using a link provided. Typing this in would have given the cybercriminals access to their funds.
An even scarier tactic involves impersonating employees from a seemingly legitimate organization — personalizing the emails sent to victims by getting them to buy Bitcoin or donate the cryptocurrency to bogus charities.
Linguistically, many of these messages try to rush victims by using phrases such as “urgently today” and “nearest Bitcoin machine.”
Barracuda went on to warn that ransomware attacks are also increasing every year — fueled by dark web marketplaces where groups can be hired to target companies. The amount of ransom demanded has increased dramatically over the past two years. While $2 million was the highest demand in 2019, “a significant number” of hackers wanted $20 million from victims by the middle of 2021.
Organizations have been warned to keep track of the latest trends in email attacks, and train employees when it comes to spotting phishing emails.
Backing up data can also ensure that systems are restored quickly in the event of an attack.
However, the most crucial piece of advice offered to victims of ransomware attacks could be this: Don’t pay the ransom. As Barracuda explains:
“This feeds the appetites of cybercriminals, encouraging them to attack more and ask for even bigger ransoms.”