Cryptocurrency Phishing Attacks Rise by 40% in 2022, Traditional Financial Threats Decrease

The number of cryptocurrency-related phishing attacks prevented by Kaspersky anti-phishing systems increased by 40% compared to the previous year, with over 5 million attacks being stopped in 2022. In contrast, traditional financial threats, such as banking and mobile financial malware, have decreased in detection. These findings are part of Kaspersky’s latest report on Financial threats.

The financial threat landscape has undergone significant changes in 2022, with cybercriminals shifting their attention to new areas, including the crypto industry. Cryptocurrency phishing rose significantly and was included as a separate category, demonstrating 40% year-on-year growth with 5,040,520 detections of crypto phishing in 2022 compared to 3,596,437 in 2021. This increase in crypto phishing may be due in part to the instability of the crypto market that occurred last year. However, it is still unclear whether the trend will continue, which will depend on the trust that users place in cryptocurrency.

Kaspersky’s data correlates with users’ experiences with cryptocurrency threats explored by the company earlier this year, where every seventh person surveyed was affected by cryptocurrency phishing. Although most crypto scams are traditional tricks such as giveaway scams or fake wallet phishing pages, scammers are constantly coming up with new techniques to ensure their success.

An example of an active crypto fraudulent scheme occurred in February 2023. In this campaign, the user receives a PDF file in English by mail, stating that they allegedly registered on a cryptocurrency cloud mining platform a long time ago and need to urgently withdraw a lot of crypts since their account is inactive. The file contains a link to a fake mining platform. To withdraw the crypt, the user must fill out a form with personal information, including the card or account number, and pay a commission, in this case, through a crypto wallet or directly to the specified wallet address.

In Southeast Asia (SEA), Kaspersky has monitored a slight dip in 2022 overall, observing 64,080 crypto phishing in the region last year, 15% lower than 2021’s number. The drop in crypto phishing is mainly detected in Singapore (-74%), Thailand (-51), and Vietnam (-15%). This type of threat, however, continues to grow in the Philippines (170%), Indonesia (+26%), and Malaysia (4%).

According to Chris Connell, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky, Southeast Asia continues to lead globally in terms of cryptocurrency adoption, making it essential to develop a protection-first mindset against attacks related to this useful technology.

14 April 2023

Author: Terry KS

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