Crypto-related cyber attacks are soaring just as quick as Bitcoin’s rise to prominence, according to a new report from digital security firm Barracuda Networks.
Barracuda CTO Fleming Shi says the firm has witnessed a strong surge in the number of cyberattacks in a six-month period, around the time when Bitcoin’s (BTC) bull market kicked into high gear.
“Barracuda researchers recently analyzed phishing impersonations and business email compromise attacks sent between October 2020 and May 2021 and found that the volume of cryptocurrency-related attacks closely follows the growing price of Bitcoin. The price of Bitcoin increased by almost 400% between October 2020 and April 2021, and impersonation attacks grew 192% in the same period of time.”
Shi says that hackers are getting more clever with their techniques, often finding ways to impersonate crypto wallets or similar apps that snag users’ log-in details.
“Hackers impersonated digital wallets and other cryptocurrency-related apps with fraudulent security alerts to steal log-in credentials. In the past, attackers impersonated financial institutions targeting your banking credentials. Today, they are using the same tactics to steal valuable Bitcoins.”
The Barracuda CTO also says that cybercriminals are putting a special focus on the use of ransomware. According to Shi, the use of ransomware is on the rise along with ransom demands.
“The number of ransomware attacks has been increasing every year, but the ransom amounts hackers are asking for have been going up as well. In 2019, ransom demands ranged from a few thousand dollars to $2 million at the top end. By mid-2021, most demands were in the millions, with a significant number over $20 million.”
The cybersecurity expert advises victims of cyber attacks, whether private individuals or heads of large organizations, to find a way to avoid paying the ransom and not to fuel the appetite of the attackers.
“When faced with ransomware attack, a lot of organizations and consumers don’t know what to do other than to pay the ransom. This feeds the appetites of cybercriminals, encouraging them to attack more and ask for even bigger ransoms. If it can be avoided, don’t pay up, and work with law enforcement agencies to get a resolution.”
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