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Is Phishing a Possible Threat to Crypto?

As fintech and blockchain go mainstream, the number of people joining the crypto market is increasing day by day.  While this is an exciting prospect for many, there are some who might find it dubious also. Without the proper knowledge of how to use cryptocurrencies, still, fewer understand their technicalities. While these factors have increased awareness about cryptos and blockchain technology, they also pose a new threat to the market.

Phishing is a cyber-attack that uses fake pop-up messages or emails to illegally obtain sensitive data from unsuspecting victims. Hackers use phishing as a form of social engineering that tricks users into giving their personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and online banking credentials. Unfortunately, phishing is also one of the most used attack vectors to steal cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

What is Crypto-phishing?

Crypto-phishing is a form of phishing that uses fake links to trap users into giving away their login credentials and private keys. Unlike traditional phishing, crypto-phishing has grown in popularity due to the increase in digital currencies’ prices. In 2017 alone, there were around 4,000 crypto jacking incidents reported globally with losses of almost $1.7 billion from digital currencies, a study showed.

After a successful crypto phishing attack, hackers sell the stolen cryptocurrencies for fiat currency and transfer them to their bank accounts. This makes it difficult to trace them back since transactions on the blockchain are highly anonymous and untraceable.

Crypto-phishing attacks aim at either browser-based cryptocurrency wallets or exchanges.

Browser-based Crypto Thefts

Wallet websites are the first target of crypto-phishing attacks because they manage private keys and deposit details of users. As such, it is imperative to ensure that you are trading on a safe platform like Bitcoin Evolution. Hackers steal login credentials, 2FA codes, and seed keys to gain access to user accounts. 

They take full control of their victims’ wallets by replacing the receiving address with their own. Browser-based attacks like these illustrate how hackers use phishing and social engineering to steal cryptocurrencies.

Exchange Phishing: The Biggest Threat

More than 80% of all thefts involving digital currencies occurred due to hacking attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges. A study by Ernst & Young found that more than 10 percent of customers’ assets were stolen from their cryptocurrency exchanges.

This is the biggest threat to the crypto market since most users store their cryptocurrencies on third-party platforms. Hackers target these platforms, which are often centralized and have poor security measures, by sending fake emails to make users click on links or download malware. This allows hackers access to user accounts and steal their funds.

What Can You Do To Stay Safe?

Phishing attacks are difficult to detect due to their similarities with legitimate messages. Most of its victims fall for it because they find these messages on official-looking websites and social media accounts.  If you receive an email, instant message, or text that asks for your login details or private keys, do not click on it. There is a high chance that it will be a phishing attack designed to steal your cryptocurrencies.

Secure your accounts with 2FA and change passwords regularly. You should also avoid using the same password for multiple platforms, especially on exchanges since hackers can access these through key logging malware or social engineering techniques like phishing.

Unfortunately, cryptocurrency phishing in the web is an everyday occurrence. With the increasing value of digital coins, hackers are using more sophisticated methods to steal cryptocurrencies. 

Remember: Your cryptocurrencies can be stolen in an instant if you are not careful with your online activity. It is highly advisable to invest in cybersecurity software to ensure that your accounts are secure at all times.

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