It is well known at this point that while the cryptocurrency industry is growing at a significant rate across the globe, various malicious parties within the industry seek to take advantage of people and steal their cryptocurrency and these are usually done through scams and the hacking of various platforms and devices.
Some of the most well-known forms of this involve the hacking of wallets and exchanges and also the running of various cryptocurrency scams but it seems the methods used by these criminals has evolved according to a report by Symantec from July 30, 2019.
According to the report, the last year has seen cybercriminals earn $1.2 million in bitcoin through several methods such as sextortion and bomb threats.
The sextortion scam works with a victim receiving an email that includes an old password of theirs in the subject line claiming that their device has been compromised by the criminals. The use of the old password is to add legitimacy to the scam and then the victim is told that the scammer has photos and videos of them looking at various websites such as pornography websites that were allegedly obtained through hacking of their webcam.
They are also instances of an email alleging that the criminals are a member of law enforcement and has found child pornography on the device of the victim. After this is done, the victim is then told to send a certain amount of bitcoin to a certain address or else the photos and videos in question will be shared to their contacts, both professional and personal. It has been reported that the criminals usually ask for hundreds of dollars with one message published by Symantec showing the scammer asking for $708.
Another form of extortion is bomb threats in which emails are sent to a victim claiming that a bomb has been planted in where they conduct business and will explode unless bitcoin is sent to a certain address by the end of the working day and in an example published on the website, they are asked for $20,000.
The passwords in question were obtained through a recent data dump of sensitive information and the scams are not necessarily targeted. They are, however, quite lucrative as of May 2019, 63 wallets that have been associated with this scam have received a total of 12.8 bitcoin and an estimated yearly income of $1.2 million has been earned by the scammers.