A new report has found that the overall volume of phishing attacks across all industries in the first half of 2021 soared by 22% compared to the same period last year.
In H1, 2021, cryptocurrency exchanges experienced a 10x increase in phishing attacks, says the Phishlabs report.
Phishing is a cyber attack that uses disguised email as a weapon. The goal is to trick the email recipient into believing the message is something they want or need – a request from their bank, for instance, or a note from someone in their company – and to click a link or download an attachment.
The report identifies social media as the platform where a large quantity of attacks are happening, adding that a combination of brand, executive, and employee impersonation attacks accounts for more than a half (54.7%) of all social media attacks on the cryptocurrency sector.
Part of the report reads:
“In Q2, a combination of brand, executive, and employee impersonation attacks accounted for over half (54.7%) of all social media attacks in the Cryptocurrency sector. This activity identifies threat actor attempts at impersonating cryptocurrency businesses to confuse customers and cash in on the sector’s skyrocketing growth.”
Moreover, the crypto sector witnessed a 13% growth in phishing attacks in Q2, 2021 compared to Q1, 2021.
According to the report, as the sector matures, hackers have also polished approaches for compromising exchanges, asset owners, and other parts of the crypto-financial ecosystem.
Phishlabs describes events such as the Coinbase listing on NASDAQ and bitcoin hitting an all time high in Q2, 2021 as having led to the the increase in investors into the sector. This has, in turn, attracted hackers to the scene.
With market activity rising again, Phishlab predicts more hacking activity in Q3, 2021.
On a positive note, the report notes increased government ability to protect investments. It lists the example of the hack of a major pipeline service in the US, where the government was able to track then retrieve ransom payments.
Phishlab also indicates that increased regulation is a welcome addition to help prevent cybercrimes.
Other than that, the sector’s willingness to work together on security solutions, coupled with the “computational trust” provided by blockchain and crypto will help secure it in the long term.
The report gives the Polynetwork hack as an example where exchanges and stablecoin providers agreed to refuse transactions coming from the addresses associated with the hackers.
Nonetheless, the report is another wake up call for investors to enhance security in their engagements in the sector.
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