With its increasing popularity as well as widespread utility, trading in cryptocurrency makes each and every user equally vulnerable to several risks of cybersecurity. The decentralized and digital form of Cryptocurrency makes it an easy and optimum target for cybercriminals and threats, such as hackers or scammers. Therefore, individuals as well as organisations should be aware of these risks and carefully ensure imperative and necessary precautionary measures, in order to safeguard their digital investments from being stolen or hacked by such malicious entities.
The latest report by famous Crypto Reporter Cointelegraph released on the 5th of July, 2023, discusses how the dark web, contains in its shadiest corners, an entirely functional and established ecosystem of hackers, targeting innocent crypto traders and users who are unaware of cyber security, or simply do not put the effort in actually maintaining it. CSO of Binance Holdings Ltd, one of the world’s largest Crypto Exchanges– Jimmy Su, discussed extensively in this report how hackers from the dark web have recently been targeting crypto users as victims for their scams. According to Su, hackers set their bars the lowest, in order to stay committed to being able to attain their objectives. This is because a punishable act like cybercrime is truly just a business for them.
Su claimed that this hacker ecosystem on the dark web is actually distributed into four levels, based on the functions and skills of the hackers
Gatherers- Who Su refers to as the “Threat Intelligence” of this system. They are people who gather information about crypto users, such as user frequents, email ids, names, and social media. Then they draft entire spreadsheets filled with such user names as well as details. Su revealed in the report that this information is sold on the dark web, and has an entire market of its own. A Research paper by Online Security Service Provider, Privacy Affairs, recently revealed that cybercriminals have sold crypto accounts for as low as 30 dollars per pop. Even forged documentation, which is often used to access user accounts on trading platforms, is available for purchase in the corners of the dark web.
Refiners- After it is bought, the data collected by gatherers is then passed down to a new group of data engineers– also known as Refiners. These engineers or Refiners are people who specialize in the process of data refining. This is done with the help of scripts and bots, in order to gauge and identify the exchanges that a given trader or user may be registered with. This information is apparently extremely valuable for scammers and hackers, Su told CoinTelegraph, as they often pretend to be these firms before contacting their victims to carry out their malicious plans.
Hackers and Phishers- Armed with all the gathered user information and logistics, Phishing scammers or hackers have the responsibility to create “targeted” phishing attacks and actually carry those plans out. Thus, this third and final layer of the scamming team is actually what more often than not, makes it to the news headlines. The phishing attackers, mostly disguised as exchanges and firms, contact their victims via phone calls, texts, or emails, to carry out their fraudulent intentions. Once the theft is carried out, the only remaining job for them is to somehow get away with the heist, without being caught.
In the report, Su says that getting away could even just mean transferring the fund to a crypto mixer, after having left it unused and dormant for several years. While there is not much that can be done in order to completely erase or stop crypto hackers, Su suggested that all crypto traders must practice “security hygiene” seriously and diligently. This form of digital hygiene involves keeping track of all decentralized finance projects that are currently in use, as well as ensuring the utmost privacy of email or SMS, etc digital and electronic communication channels, that are used by traders and investors for two-factor authentication.
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