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Thursday, 24 May 2018 13:25

Proofpoint uncovers new cryptocurrency scam Featured

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Proofpoint uncovers new cryptocurrency scam Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cyber security firm Proofpoint has uncovered a new cryptocurrency giveaway scam targeting ethereum and bitcoin, which it says uses emails and Twitter to trick victims into providing a small payment in exchange for a much larger payout, or return payment.

Proofpoint says the promised return payment never happens and individual scammers have made tens of thousands of dollars in these cryptocurrency advance payment schemes.

According to Proofpoint, the giveaway scams represent a new tactic for cryptocurrency theft reminiscent of the Nigerian based “419” scams common 10 to 15 years ago.

The security firm says the scam usually begins with a tweet or email enticing the victim to send cryptocurrency to a wallet with the promise that more will be sent back.

Proofpoint also notes that many accounts will impersonate exchanges, currencies, cryptocurrency founders, developers, celebrities, and products to try to draw in users.

“While many actors distribute coin-mining malware, phish for cryptocurrency wallet credentials, or steal cryptocurrencies directly, others are successfully bilking victims out of hundreds of dollars at a time by offering to give away large sums of ethereum or bitcoin to anyone willing to send small payments in advance,” Proofpoint says.

Proofpoint warns that the success of the cryptocurrency scam shows that threat actors continue to look for new ways to exploit the human factor – “and people are inclined to fall for scams that can net them hot commodities like cryptocurrencies”.

As reported by iTWire, Proofpoint’s scam report follows a report by MailWatch just four days ago that with the surges in cryptocurrency value, new malware that has a tactic known as cryptojacking has appeared.

MailWatch said recently there had been a big increase in cryptojacking attacks aimed at phones – and that attacks on Android devices had increased by 4000% in the first three months of this year.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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