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Cryptocurrency malware: an ever-adapting threat

13.09.2023
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Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, have become both a tool and a target for cybercriminals. Unlike traditional banks, these digital currencies allow criminals to swiftly send and collect illicit payments. Transactions can be lightning-fast, sometimes settling within an hour. Moreover, cryptocurrencies provide a level of pseudo-anonymity, making it challenging to trace transactions to specific individuals. However, this anonymity has been diminishing as blockchain tracing methods improve.

The rise of cryptocurrencies also led to the proliferation of ransomware attacks, where cybercriminals demand ransoms in virtual currencies. But while these digital currencies offer some advantages, they come with significant security risks, market volatility, rampant scams, regulatory concerns, and limited acceptance by governments as part of mainstream financial systems. This puts consumers at risk of losing their funds, especially while browsing unguided with a VPN Service, to cybercriminals through malware, phishing, and other social engineering tactics.

The security of cryptocurrency products and services is often subpar, partly because the industry is relatively new. Cybercriminals are quick to exploit these weaknesses, developing malware specifically to steal cryptocurrencies. Known as "cryware", these threats come in various forms, targeting cryptocurrency accounts and wallets and in all hurting cybersecurity.

Cryptocurrency Storage: Wallets

Cryptocurrency can be stored in different ways, primarily in "hot" or "cold" wallets. Hot wallets are internet-accessible and offer convenience but at the cost of security. Cold wallets, on the other hand, are not connected online and prioritise security over convenience. However, users can choose to store their cryptocurrencies on trading platforms, trusting the platform's security measures. Grab more tips on how to secure your crypto account.

Cryptocurrency Stealers and Drainers

Cryptocurrency stealers, often referred to as drainers, are a type of malware designed to find and steal wallet credentials, cryptocurrency exchange accounts, and browser extensions related to cryptocurrency. There are two primary forms: stand-alone drainers and generic information stealers with cryptocurrency-stealing modules.

Stand-alone drainers target specific cryptocurrency services and harvest relevant data for stealing funds. These drainers often advertise compatibility with specific cryptocurrencies and wallet services, making them specialised tools for cybercriminals.

Cryptocurrency Clippers

Cryptocurrency clipper malware, or clippers, redirect victims' cryptocurrency funds by manipulating copied wallet addresses. These malware programs continuously check the victim's clipboard for wallet addresses and replace them with the attacker's address. Unsuspecting users then unknowingly send their cryptocurrency to the attacker's wallet.

Cryptojacking Malware

Cryptojacking involves using someone else's computer to mine cryptocurrency without their knowledge or consent. Cybercriminals use malware to hijack victims' computational power and mine cryptocurrency on their behalf. There are different forms of cryptojacking, including browser-based miners and downloadable or host-based miners.

Despite the recent downturn in the cryptocurrency market, the appetite for cryptocurrency-related malware remains. Cryware continues to adapt to changing security measures and blockchain technologies. While there's currently a steady flow of new cryware variants, many are similar and often based on open-source scripts. However, a resurgence in the cryptocurrency market could lead to more advanced actors developing new features, potentially making cryware less reliant on social engineering.

In conclusion, the world of cryptocurrencies offers numerous opportunities for cybercriminals. Storing and using digital currencies require vigilant security measures to protect against the evolving threat landscape. It's crucial for users to stay informed, browse with Hide Expert VPN, and take precautions to safeguard their cryptocurrency assets.