Crypto cyber attacks surge by 192%, says Barracuda research

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TL;DR Breakdown

  • Crypto cyber attacks rise as the Bitcoin price rises.
  • The Barracuda Network Company did a recent investigation and found phishing attacks with digital currencies.

Just as the Bitcoin price has risen in recent months, so have cyber attacks related to crypto-assets. This was learned from new research from Barracuda Networks, Inc, a popular provider of cloud-enabled security solutions, able to find that attacks were on the rise.

These cryptocurrency-related attacks carried out by cyber hackers had grown 192 percent between October 2020 and April 2021. These attacks are related to the increase in the Bitcoin price of almost 400 percent in that same period.

Crypto cyber attacks have increased in recent months


The investigation also revealed that people involved with crypto cyber attacks have expanded their range of digital currency attacks. They were ranging from extortion, spoofing, and business email compromises to incorporating cryptocurrencies into spear-phishing attacks.

Fleming Shi, Barracuda CTO, has said that cryptocurrencies are ideal for illicit and criminal activities because they are not regulated. Also, it is difficult to track, and its value is volatile. He has fueled and enabled a multi-million dollar ransomware economy, cyber extortion, and phishing.

He also commented that the company’s digitization since the beginning of the pandemic has led to more data being created and stored in collaborative applications, thus exposing more information. This leads criminals to have access to that information.

The growth in Bitcoin price has been a stronger motivation for crypto cyber attacks. Cybercriminals have come up with new, more sophisticated schemes to profit from Bitcoin’s popularity.

Barracuda researchers have discovered that one of the most common attack methods is spoofing electronic wallets and other cryptocurrency-related platforms. They have fraudulent security alerts to steal credentials and log into those accounts.

Cybercriminals use BEC to steal Bitcoin

Previously, the attackers posed as financial institutions to get to the victims’ credentials. Today they use these tactics to steal valuable and famous Bitcoin. Cybercriminals have included this cryptocurrency as part of their BEC (business email compromise) attacks. They pretend to be employees within an organization.

They search, annotate and personalize such emails, so their victims buy this cryptocurrency, donate them to fake charities or pay a fake supplier invoice using Bitcoin.

Thanks to Barracuda’s language processing based on artificial intelligence (AI) of these BEC emails, it was possible to know the key phrases they use in crypto cyber attacks. Cybercriminals create calls to action or a sense of urgency and use phrases like “Before the day is out” or “urgent today.” They use these calls to action to get their victim to go to their Bitcoin wallet.

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