Bitcoin Price Rise Makes Way for New Cyberattacks: BEC Attacks and Phishing Impersonations on the Carpet
The Sudden Bitcoin Price Rise and Increase in Demand Led to Users and Organizations Being Targeted by Cyberattacks, a New Research Reveals.
The bitcoin price rise has been fluctuating lately. It was worth roughly $10,600 in October. An analysis from Baracuda Networks reveals that with the boost of the cryptocurrency popularity, threat actors thought it’s the proper time to launch some cyberattacks through BEC (business email compromise) and phishing impersonations in order to steal credentials that eventually lead to bitcoin theft.
Hackers Move from Bank to Bitcoin
As Helpnetsecurity mentions, the method threat actors use to steal users’ login credentials is deployed through phishing campaigns, where hackers target cryptocurrency-related applications and digital wallets they use to impersonate with malicious security alerts.
Instead of impersonating regular banks, hackers are now impersonating digital wallets and crypto-related apps with fake security alerts to steal login credentials.
Organizations are not skipped also, being affected through BEC campaigns (business e-mail compromise). Hackers send employees convincing and personalized e-mails with the aim of persuading them to buy bitcoins, pay with crypto coins a compromised invoice, or make donations to allegedly authorized charities.
The e-mails from the phishing campaigns contain also phrases or words intended to scare users or make them sensitive: threat actors insert in those messages expressions such as “day runs” or “urgently today” or “charity donation”. Thus, employees feel under pressure to follow the e-mail instructions.
Bitcoin Price Rise: the Cause Of Cyberattacks
The Baracuda Network researchers stated the most frequent causes of these evolving cyberattacks that target the bitcoin market, raising to 192% between October 2020 and May 2021:
- The demand for bitcoin has grown;
- The price valuation has increased;
- Bitcoin holders: more than ever;
- Decentralization and lack of regulation of the bitcoin payments;
- Cryptocurrency is difficult to trace.
The same report mentions that, since fewer organizations are now ready to pay a ransom, the ransom demand has grown too up to $20 million in 2021.
Fleming Shi, the Chief Technology Officer from Barracuda who was involved in the research, also mentioned that the popularity of bitcoins and the anonymity it gives to threat actors leaves an open door for subsequent cyberattacks.
That drives the criminals to think, ‘OK, now I can actually do a mass phishing campaign. I can get people to click on things more easily.’ …As it becomes more popular, as it becomes more mainstream, they’re leveraging that.
Organizations, victims, and users are encouraged to take some threat prevention measures such as data backup using third-party cloud-based solutions. This will help minimize downtime and reduce data loss.