As crypto choice for cybercriminals

Ransomware attacks

In crypto-related ransomware attacks, cybercriminals steal credentials and lock the organization’s data with encryption until a ransom paid in Bitcoin is met. These attacks have been on the rise since early 2020, with ransom payments increasing by 60% and Bitcoin accounting for almost98% of ransom payments.

Bitcoin blackmail

Bitcoin blackmail is a type of extortion where the perpetrator threatens to release stolen or sensitive data unless a ransom is paid in crypto. In most Bitcoin blackmail cases, targets receive an email claiming their computers have been hacked and their webcams were taken control of to record videos of them in private.

Monero emerges as crypto of choice for cybercriminals

I also saw it was easy to buy stolen credentials from online forums to gain access to hundreds of PayPal accounts which can then be used to launder payments.”

McGuire said cybercriminals are working with the fraud controls to then manipulate them by applying to go beyond current annual payment limits and then providing false or hacked documentation to support the checks which permit larger payments.

El Reg ran these aspects of the research past eBay and PayPal with a request for comment. We’ll update this story as and when we hear more.

There’s gold in them thar games

Cybercriminals elsewhere are active in converting stolen income into video game currency or in-game items like gold, which are then converted into Bitcoin or other electronic formats.

A further 35 percent use other digital payment systems, including Skrill, Dwoll, Zoom, and mobile payment systems like M-Pesa.

Methods like “micro laundering”, where thousands of small electronic payments are made through platforms like PayPal, are increasingly common and more difficult to detect. Another common technique is to use online transactions – via sites like eBay – to facilitate laundering.

Playing PayPal

Crooks are circumventing PayPal and eBay’s anti-fraud controls, even though both are “getting better at picking up laundering techniques”, according to Dr McGuire.

“Many of the caught cybercriminals I interviewed indicated an awareness that they should start moving away from this method,” he said. “But there are still ways you can get around them. Social engineering and ‘gaming’ laundering offers one kind of approach.

It’s suspected that North Korean hackers copied resumes and LinkedIn accounts to get remote jobs at US crypto businesses.

Might Be Seeking Insider Information

According to a report by security researchers at Mandiant, North Koreans are targeting job listings on LinkedIn and Indeed.

The information uncovered by Mandiant supports claims made by the US government in May. The US has issued a warning about North Korean IT professionals attempting to find freelance work abroad while pretending to be someone they are not to collect money for government weapons development programs.

According to the US advisory, the IT workers claim to have the kinds of abilities required for complex work, including developing mobile apps, constructing virtual currency exchanges, and mobile gaming.

This week, we welcomed a new co-host (senior TC+ reporter Jacquie Melinek), and we dove into Robinhood layoffs, the Solana wallet hack drama and the grand Nomad bridge heist.

Ethical hackers aren’t often forced to make snap decisions to steal millions of dollars from a crypto project, but in the wild west of web3 sometimes the best thing you can do when something goes wrong is to fill up your bags. As onlookers watched in horror as the $190 million Nomad token bridge collapsed, some jumped to the rescue and replicated the exploit that black hat hackers were using to steal more funds from the project.

Many were chronicling their thievery in real time on Twitter pledging to return the money to reimburse user funds.

So people, when they do have these scams hit them because they’re interested in cryptocurrency, what is happening – they’re going and clamoring for government help, government support. But that’s the exact opposite of why people are doing crypto. They don’t want the government to be involved, and it isn’t, and so, you are flat out of luck.”

“I know that some really talented law enforcement agencies and intelligence groups have been able to claw back especially large ransomware payments and some fraud cases,” said Sherrod DeGrippo, senior director of threat research and detection at Proofpoint, Inc.
“That’s not trivial, and you’re not going to put that much effort into crimeware. They just can’t go get back every piece of bitcoin.”

According to the FTC, nearly half of people who lost crypto in a scam said it started with a post on social media.

Cryptojacking has taken over from ransomware as the more popular form of digital extorition, according to a new report from Skybox Security.

The results were revealed as part of the firm’s mid-year update, and showed that crypto miners now account for 32 per cent of cyberattacks, dwarfing ransomware at 8 per cent.

This is almost a complete reversal from the second half of 2017, when ransomware accounted for 32 per cent and cryptojacking 7 per cent.

The report said: “If 2017 was the year of ransomware, 2018 looks likely to go down as the year of cryptominers… Cryptomining malware is often able to run undetected, making money for attackers all the while, and goes directly to the source (i.e. where and how the money is produced) to make a profit rather than extorting individual victims.

For example, a customer can pay the seller $800 in bitcoin and $10,000 will be transferred to their account of choice.

Aside from being cheap, the service makes things much simpler for customers, since they no longer have to buy stolen online bank account credentials, set up a “money mule” account to receive the funds, and log into the stolen account to transfer the money.

Armor calls it a “seamless turn-key money laundering service.”

There is a reason dark web sellers are offering such low prices, of course.

The service appeals to sellers because they are not taking possession of the funds themselves. Just transferring the cash puts the bulk of the risk on the buyer.

More generally, the report says that bitcoin is still the most popular cryptocurrency, being used “almost exclusively” in dark web transactions.

Researchers from Mandiant claim that North Koreans can learn about future cryptocurrency trends by obtaining information from cryptocurrency firms.

According to Joe Dobson, a principal analyst at Mandiant, such information could give the North Korean government an advantage in how to launder cryptocurrency in a way that helps Pyongyang avoid sanctions.

Mandiant analysts said they had located numerous allegedly North Korean personalities on job sites that had been employed successfully as independent contractors. However, they withheld employers’ identities. The government of North Korea has constantly denied taking part in any cybercrime-related schemes.

State-Backed Cybercrime

According to the newest report from Coincub, North Korea is the top country in crypto-related crime. An astounding 10% of North Korea’s GDP comes from fraud, theft, and ransomware.

Those that don’t want to mine can purchase cryptocurrency through a broker and store it in a cryptocurrency wallet.

When was cryptocurrency developed?

In the wake of Occupy Wall Street and the economic crash of 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin, a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system.” Bitcoin was a slap in the face to the “too big to fail” banks because it operated outside of a central authority, with no server and no one entity running the show. Bitcoin pioneers had high hopes of eliminating the middle man in order to cancel interest fees, make transactions transparent, and fight corruption.

While Bitcoin was the first and remains the most popular cryptocurrency, others saw its potential and soon jumped on the bandwagon. Litecoin was developed in 2011, followed by Ripple in 2012.
In 2015, Ethereum joined the fray and has become the second most-popular cryptocurrency.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.