With the cryptocurrency market bonanza in full swing, unscrupulous cybercriminals are cooking up new scams and hacks by the hour, all with the goal of reaping the ill-gotten rewards from investors, cryptocurrency exchanges, and legitimate coin miners across the internet.
According to most experts, 2018 is reaching a fevered pitch of criminal activity around all things blockchain and cryptocoin. In fact, one estimate by CryptoAware states that the criminal activity only halfway through 2018 makes up more than half of all criminal cryptocurrency incidents in the past seven years. So far this year, losses are stacking up to nearly $1.7B in publicly disclosed losses, according to figures compiled by that company.
Some cybersecurity experts believe the feeding frenzy is so frantic that it’s potentially distracting the bad guys from more traditional forms of cybercriminal data theft. For example, according to Risk Based Security's Q1 2018 Data Breach Trends report, this year's first quarter was the quietest in six years. Its researchers offer several theories on why, and one of them has to do with crypto criminality.
"We think the shift toward cryptomining is possibly easing some of the attention on data theft," says Inga Goddijn, executive vice president for Risk Based Security. "It's still too early to say for sure, but it does go to show: Malicious activity will follow the best opportunities for making a profit."
The following are some of the most common ways that the crooks are hacking and scamming their way into riches off the cryptocurrency bubble.
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Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading. View Full Bio