Cryptocurrency-related threats followed prices, dropping significantly after the market slump in May, according to a recent report by a leading internet security company. Detections are down by about a quarter, but Russia remains the hardest-hit country, with the United States also in the top three.
ESET: 1 in 10 crypto-focused threats detected in Russia
Software threats in cryptography, and malware mining in particular, are highly dependent on developments in the cryptocurrency market, cybersecurity firm ESET concluded in its T2 Threat Report 2021. However, the decrease in cybercriminal activity surrounding cryptocurrency “does not mean that everything was like that.” “Quiet,” noted the authors of the study, which covers the second trimester, and added:
Cryptocurrency investment scams, in which fraudsters lure their unsuspecting victims to fake investment sites or impersonate government authorities and even celebrities, are becoming more popular than ever.
The US Federal Trade Commission announced in May that victims have lost at least $80 million to this type of fraud in just a few months since October 2020. Meanwhile, one Russian cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme, Finiko, has received more than half of $800 million. of crypto funds sent from Eastern Europe to scam addresses, blockchain forensic firm Chainalysis revealed in a preview of its latest report on the geography of cryptocurrency.
However, ESET’s detections of all crypto-related threats in T2, 2021 decreased by 23.6%. At the same time, some countries are still severely affected by this phenomenon. Notably, the Russian Federation still tops the list, accounting for 10% of all cases. It is followed by Peru with 6.8%, while the United States is in third place with 5.3%, according to the report.
“In the past few months, we could see that while crypto software discovery rates fluctuated along with cryptocurrency prices, crypto agent discoveries were not affected by the same factors,” said Jiří Kropáč, Head of Threat Detection Labs at ESET based in Slovakia. He explained that crypto companies, like prices, are affected by government regulations and major investments in certain currencies.
Krupach added that crypto surfers don’t rely much on the volatile market. The ESET executive explained that “there is no reason for cybercriminals to abandon it if the value of the coin drops, because it is a reliable tool, which brings profits as well as opportunities for extortion.”
The European cybersecurity firm also said it continued to monitor crypto domains during the reporting period. ESET noted that “depending on the nature of this activity – running crypto software in the background of hacked websites – the most visited crypto domains are still adult content portals, free streaming sites, torrent sites and forums”.
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