Cybercriminals target booming cryptocurrencies: report

UNTV News   •   February 2, 2018   •   3815

A projection of cyber code on a hooded man is pictured in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bitcoin’s popularity and the emergence of about 1,500 other digital coins or tokens have drawn more hackers into the red-hot cryptocurrency space, expanding opportunities for crime and fraud, cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows warned in a report on Thursday.

“Cybercriminals follow the money and right now they see in the unregulated and largely unsecure world of digital currencies a huge opportunity to target people, businesses and exchanges and make money quickly and easily,” said Rick Holland, vice president of strategy at Digital Shadows.

Digital currencies have quickly grown into a more mainstream asset class over the last two years as corporations and financial institutions have expanded use of the underlying blockchain technology.

With weekly launches of new alternative coins, or “altcoins,” cybercriminals have developed several schemes to defraud cryptocurrency holders. “Crypto jacking”, account takeovers, mining fraud, and scams against initial coin offerings (ICOs) have all grown more common, the report said.

In crypto jacking, cybercriminals secretly take over another computer user’s browser and use it to fraudulently mine or create cryptocurrencies, according to Digital Shadows’ report. Miners use special software to solve math problems and are issued a certain number of bitcoins or cryptocurrenices in exchange.

Crypto Jacker software allows users to clone popular websites and initiate spam campaigns.

The cybersecurity company said criminals also perpetrate mining fraud using botnets, collections of internet-connected devices, which may include PCs, servers, and mobile devices that are infected and controlled by a common type of malware. Users are often unaware a botnet has infected their system.

Botnets were first used to mine bitcoin in 2014. The process was too complex to be financially viable, but botnets have made a comeback because newer cryptocurrencies like Monero are easier to “mine”, Digital Shadows said.

The company said botnets could be rented for $40. It said one such offering had “flown off the shelves” with almost 2,000 rentals so far.

Cybercriminals have also been drawn to the surging initial coin offering market, the report said. ICOs have raised roughly $5 billion for various startups and projects in 2017, according to data from Crunchbase. That is up exponentially from just $100 million in 2016.

Rather than selling scam tokens, criminals target legitimate currencies, either by stealing funds from ICOs or by manipulating prices through the type of “pump and dump” schemes often used with penny stocks and other less-liquid assets, the report said.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by David Gregorio

DOTr warns against malicious websites using Tugade’s name as clickbait

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 10, 2020

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is warning the public against malicious websites that use the name of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade as clickbait.

In an advisory, the department said these websites use Tugade’s driver’s license to lure internet users to a bitcoin website. The website requests users to supply personal information including phone numbers, email address, and passwords.

“The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is warning the public not to access and engage a malicious web page that uses a photo of a fake driver’s license of Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade as clickbait,” the advisory reads.

ADVISORYThe Department of Transportation (DOTr) is WARNING the public NOT TO ACCESS AND ENGAGE a malicious web page…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

The DOTr reiterates that the department and Secretary Tugade are not connected or affiliated with the said websites.

The department also reminds the public to be careful in accessing websites and providing information since it can be used for criminal purposes. AAC

DOF warns public vs bogus cryptocurrency platform

Robie de Guzman   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) has warned the public against an article alleging that the Philippines is creating a platform for its citizens to invest in cryptocurrency.

In a statement, the DOF said the article claiming that the government has created a platform called “Bitcoin Lifestyle” is fake news.

“There is no such effort by the government,” Finance assistant secretary Antonio Joselito Lambino II said.

“We categorically deny that there is such a move, and warn the public against potentially harmful financial transactions with those behind the article,” he added.

The DOF said the fake news article also stated that President Duterte is “urging all citizens of the Philippines to learn about the platform to get involved.

The article also claimed that the “tax revenues will be huge and will benefit all citizens” and “will go to the financing of Philippines’ retirement and to counteract the crisis of learning support services.”

“This is false. We urge the public to exercise caution in their investments, and to keep their expectations of returns realistic,” Lambino said.

The Finance official also urged the public to report similarly suspicious investment schemes to the Enforcement and Investor Protection Department of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with telephone number 8818-5704.

“We warn unscrupulous individuals and groups attempting to lure the public into unauthorized and deceptive investment schemes that the government is monitoring the public space for such schemes, and will take appropriate legal and regulatory action,” he added.

DICT warns public vs social engineering attacks

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 27, 2020

The Department of Information, Communications and Technology (DICT) has warned the public against social engineering attacks.

In a post, the DICT defined social engineering as “psychologically manipulating people to give their confidential information.” The department reminds the public not to easily trust websites and other messages online.

  • Delete any request for personal information or passwords
  • Reject requests/offers for help if you have not requested one from the sender
  • Use spam filters
  • Secure devices
  • Always be mindful of risks

Meanwhile, the DICT previously reported the prevalence of cybercrimes since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). DICT Asec. Emmanuel Rey Caintic said the department has ordered all management information system (MIS) server operators to utilize the updated version of cryptographic protocols for all government websites.

“During this ECQ, cybercrimes are prevalent and, to contribute to the administration’s efforts of keeping the people safe from the coronavirus, we should likewise keep them safe from threats against their data privacy and cybersecurity,” he said. AAC

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