There are many ups and downs in cryptocurrency and there are risks that accompany trades. These risks include not only market volatility or exchange app crashes, but also scams. These scams are even more common on the internet and since cryptocurrency exchanges also work with online systems, they’re also prone to scam.
In 2021, phishing is still active and has even become a menace. CPR recently reported that close to half a million dollars were siphoned off through one of the Phishing methods.
To be able to actively identify phishing threats, you need to fully understand what phishing is, the types of phishing and the signs of it.
What Is Phishing?
Phishing is a cybercrime that takes different forms and has wreaked different havoc in the cryptocurrency world. In a phishing attack, a criminal or group of criminals present themselves as trustworthy online personnel or organisation and then proceed to lure victims in. Surprisingly, even cryptocurrency experts sometimes fall for their tricks. However, crypto newbies tend to be targeted the most. The victims are fooled to release their personal information like private keys, email and passwords linked to their cryptocurrency wallets to the scammers.
A phishing attack aims to defraud people of their cryptocurrency portfolios or wallets, etc.
How Does Phishing Happen?
Cryptocurrency phishing may or may not be easily detectable.
There are different methods scammers are using to swindle people out of their cryptocurrency from their wallets. Some of these methods have been so refined that they can be very convincing.
Some phishing can occur from opening an attachment, replying to a fraudulent email or revealing certain information like passwords, private keys, etc.
What Are Some of the Phishing Styles Used in Cryptocurrency?
There are different types of Phishing styles used by scammers to capture the victims of their shams. Some of them are discussed below:
- Spear Phishing
A spear attack is focused on a particular person or institution. So, the victim is usually profiled. In the profiling process, the information about the person or institution is collected; some of this information includes names of family or family members. Then, a link or file can be sent out to them in a convincing manner under the pretence of being a family member or friend.
This method is similar to spear phishing. The only difference is that this type of phishing only targets wealthy/influential people and C.E.O of an organization.
- Email Spoofing
These are emails sent out to unsuspecting victims. The fraudsters spoof/intercept communications from legitimate companies or known people and collect login information. These pages may contain malicious scripts that are capable of scrapping information.
- Text and Voice Phishing
Attackers can make use of information extracted from SMS phishing, using text messages and similar means to extract information.
- The Watering Hole
A targeted user is profiled and information from their browsing history is compiled. After a vulnerability test, a malicious script is designed and integrated into sites from their browsing history to collect information from the user.
- Cloning Phishing
The victim’s email will be accessed by the attacker who will then extract an email copy and then integrate a malicious link or file attachment into it under the guise of an update.
- Website Redirecting
A programmed website redirects/sends a user to a different website other than the main destination of the user. Most fraudsters make use of website redirects to make the user install some malicious applications which are capable of extracting the user’s data to scam the user.
- Malicious Applications
These are harmful applications containing malware. This malware steals sensitive information by monitoring the activities of the user. The apps are mostly under the guise of market trackers and other trading tools.
This method redirects traffic to a clone website of a legitimate website. Most of the time, the crypto phisher will make use of a mock domain address, in which the domain is misspelt but might go unnoticed by the user. For example: www.crypto.com and www.cryto.com.
This attack might not be observed by the user of a website because it is an attack on the website itself. These types of attacks are usually uncontrollable by the user. It involves implanting a virus in a DNS record that redirects users to a cloned website.
The fraudsters create a fake advertisement shadowing a trusted website. These sites usually appear as trusted and legitimate sites such as Coinbase. These cloned sites might even rank in the search engine. They are usually used to collect information such as the login details of crypto traders.
- Fake Giveaways and Impersonation
Attackers can pretend to be a key figure of a company, organization or associate, etc. then decide to advertise fake giveaways or other deceptive but attractive methods aimed at gullible users, in order to extract information from them.
How to Avoid Phishing
Use these tips to avoid being a victim of crypto phishing:
- Avoid clicking a link carelessly.
- Don’t click on attachments from unknown sources.
- Avoid revealing your login information to strangers regardless of who they claim to be.
- Use an antivirus solution for protection against Malicious Applications.
- Protect your accounts with 2-factor authentication.
- Verify information before taking action.
- Prevent unauthorized access to your phones and PC.