Crime is a machine that has many resources, and the area of cryptocurrencies is no exception. According to a study published by analytics firm CrystalBlockchain, in less than a decade, criminals, especially hackers and scammers, have stolen billions.
The specific amount offered by the firm is $ 7.6 billion, which represents almost double the market capitalization of Litecoin. The fact that virtual criminals have stolen almost twice the capitalization equivalent of the seventh most important digital currency in that line, is alarming.
It is important to note that analysts are based on numbers reported by victims. This means that the figure could be much higher if you take into account the scammed people who accept their naivety before criminals without protesting or going public.
Cryptocurrency crime on the rise
There are many ways to perpetrate crypto crime, but there are two preferred ways. The first is about scams and they are carried out by scammers. The other is through hackers, who obtain the data of people’s accounts and extract their cryptocurrencies from their online wallets.
In both cases, the techniques are effective and are honed to make themselves more profitable for criminals. Regarding hackers, they continue to develop more advanced botnets, which take advantage of vulnerabilities in operating systems such as Windows or Android.
In CryptoTrend, there have been some cases of botnets that are activated to steal funds from their victims. It is important to mention that there is a great variety of botnets. There are those who access the wallets of people, and also those who put the victims’ computers to mine cryptocurrencies for the hackers.
The other way to carry out cryptocurrency crime is through scams. Scammers may be clumsy to many savvy people, but thousands more fall into the trap every day and are carried away by promises of staggering returns.
Very varied techniques
There are many ways to proceed with the crime of scams in the area of cryptocurrencies. Among them, 4 stand out:
- Giveaways on social networks: These actions, known as giveaway scams, consist in that you must send money (for example $ 10) and in return, you will receive $ 100.
- Ponzi schemes: Very similar to pyramid scams and they consist in that each person who joins, must bring two more and so on. The new pay the old. Thus, this scheme becomes unsustainable and results in dozens of people scammed.
- Fake mobile apps: Many times they pose as recognized platforms, but the wallet addresses to deposit the funds belong to the scammer.
- Phishing: Also known as impersonation scam. It consists of criminals posing as others, for example, a wallet provider and requesting the person’s data to “repair” some detail.
There are many other ways, such as the typical Telegram accounts, that salute and immediately offer the “opportunity” to invest in platforms.
Botnets, they never go out of style
Cryptocurrency crime can be made more automated. This is the case of the already mentioned mining botnets. For example, recently there was a case of one of these malware that arrived by email under alleged information about COVID-19.
Once opened, the virus installs a program on the victim’s computer and sets it to mine cryptocurrencies such as Monero or Zcash. The funds, of course, go to the criminal’s wallet.
In addition, the botnet has access to the contact list of the affected email and is sent as a message to everyone. With this, it continues its mission of generating cryptocurrencies to digital crime.
A business of billions
These types of reported actions become the main engine that drives billions of dollars in crime with cryptocurrencies.
There is also, explains the report cited in CoinDesk, the hacking no longer private individuals, but entire companies. Of these, 113 cases have been documented since 2011.
To date, one of the largest robberies was against NEM Coins in 2018. At that time, the equivalent of $ 435 million dollars were extracted.
It can be said that the number of crimes will continue to grow. There is a proliferation of entities that are very interested in stealing money from people’s digital wallets. The most alarming thing, they explain, is that they rely on very sophisticated technology.
Data to take into consideration
- In a decade, hackers and scammers have stolen about $ 7.6 billion.
- The attacks are spread over 40 countries on all continents.
- Among the countries with the highest number of cryptocurrency crimes, China stands out. In that country, the theft reaches $ 3 billion USD.
- The victims of hackers or scammers, range from individuals to large companies.
- Both scammers and hackers have sophisticated their techniques to the same extent that the security of signatures is developed.