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Hackers target investors as crypto prices rise

April 2024 by Cyjax

CYJAX, a threat intelligence provider, today announces its latest research on the cryptocurrency industry. It explores how the cryptocurrency landscape has been host to a collection of interesting attacks and changes as threat actors look to profit off those recently entering the industry.

The research finds that actors have moved to targeting individuals as opposed to systems. While user-oriented attacks have been a threat to cryptocurrency since its inception, market changes combined with the simplicity of scamming through platforms such as X have made it one of Q1 2024’s largest threats.

CYJAX found that phishing and social engineering both remain as two of the most effective and simple methods for threat actors to steal cryptocurrency, with the following tactics being exploited the most:

 Romance scams in the cryptocurrency sphere in 2024, where they are known as "pig butchering" scams.

 Prominent use of drainer malware where hackers may impersonate a crypto company to scam individuals to share their wallet details which connects them to malicious code.

 Prominent use of zero-value transfer attacks, a type of phishing attack which aims to trick users into believing they are sending funds to a known address, when they are sending them to one controlled by the threat actor.

 Exit Scams or "rug pulls" where threat actors create interest in a project to encourage investors to provide liquidity into the asset pool. They then disappear with the investors’ money.

 Malicious advertising on social media. Hackers have been seen to be taking advantage of Google and X with fake advertisements containing drainer malware and Telegram channels conducting Exit Scams.

"At the end of 2022, the cryptocurrency market was seemingly eating itself alive, but 2024 has bounced back and threat actors are cashing in on the opportunities it brings," said Joe Wrieden, Intelligence Analyst at CYJAX. "As we head into Q2 we expect to see scammers targeting newcomers more on social media platforms. As X begins to clamp down further on malicious attacks, threat actors may start to abuse other platforms such as TikTok and Instagram through short-form content. Crypto is continuing to rise and the opportunities seem endless but investors should be careful of who they can trust because they’re not the only ones that see profits.."

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