Hackers Hiding Ransomware in Crypto Giveaways

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As the bulls roll back into town, it appears as if the scammers have decided to catch the same train. Scammers have taken up the new tactic of offering Bitcoin and Ethereum giveaways via Crypto Collector programs. The programs promise to automatically collect $30-50 worth of Bitcoin or Ethereum every day, but behind the façade is a much more sinister snippet of code. Once a user installs the program, a hidden script will become active and either lock the computer and demand ransom to decrypt the user’s files or it will steal any passwords saved on the device as well as capturing new ones as the user types. Dubbed “Frost”, this new ransomware is hitting thousands of crypto users every day.

Common Sense Needed

Like most scams, Frost requires someone to actually believe that there is such a thing as free crypto. While there are a number of faucet sites out there, they don’t require you to download or install anything. The sheer fact that you have to download and install a program to get free crypto should be triggering alarm bells in your head. Remember the golden rule – if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is – and you should be relatively safe from scammers.

Hitting Up the Google Play Store

For Android users, the Google Play Store has become a bit of a minefield as scammers upload their fake apps. These fake apps are designed to persuade a user to enter their seed phrase or private keys so that the scammers can siphon off funds and escape into the night. Most notably, scammers impersonated the Trezor mobile app, and did such a good job it shot to the 2nd result when the word “Trezor” was searched in the store. This worrying scam caught out hundreds of users and Trezor issued a warning to users, urging them to only download the Trezor app from their official website.

Scammers Making a Pretty Penny

Unfortunately, scammers are rather adept at encouraging people to part with their money. In 2018, Australian scammers managed to bag a whopping $4.3 million. This worrying statistic indicates a global trend of increasing numbers of scammers, and now the crypto market is hitting the mainstream media, more novices are entering the space. These novices make easy targets for scammers and count for more than 70% of all reported cases of scamming.

Next time you see an advert to earn free Bitcoin or Ethereum by downloading an app, think twice about clicking it – it could cost you dearly. Most importantly, use your head and think wisely before you download any applications from the internet.