According to a recent report, Russia has witnessed a remarkable increase in crypto-related phishing attack attempts. Reportedly, over 1.3 million crypto-related phishing attacks were stopped in Russia during the first half of the year.
In a recent report by Kaspersky Lab, the cybersecurity provider, claimed that its solutions have been efficient in tackling such huge influx of phishing attacks. The report links the increasing number of attacks to the rise in the popularity of crypto in Russia.
According to Russian media reports, following the outbreak of war with Ukraine which called on the nation a list of sanctions, there has been a sharp rise in Russian crypto-powered remittances to overseas locations. To this, the report also aligns its findings and adds that sometimes these entities use “illegal exchanges” and shady “brokerages.”
The sanctions also pushed Russia based businesses to turn to crypto as a payment as a result of being frozen out of the US Dollar-powered international trade market. The report claims that this has led to a rise in opportunist attacks from cybercriminals.
We are seeing an increase in the popularity of cryptocurrencies. We urge crypto wallet holders to remain vigilant and apply strong security measures to protect their digital assets.Roman Dedenok, a cybersecurity expert at Kaspersky Lab
Furthermore, Dedenok warned that these criminals are primarily targeting Russians’ hot and cold wallets with bogus offers of free crypto handouts. They have also been “impersonating renowned cryptocurrency exchanges” by sending Russian citizens “fraudulent emails asking for confirmation of transactions.”
In a similar pattern, these fake exchanges send notifications asking crypto holders to upgrade their “wallet security,” and persuading them to click on illegitimate links. Then these links invariably turn out to lead to websites designed to harvest login and password data from users. Hence, Dedenok tried cautioning the users by saying that:
It is very important [for users] to make sure that links [in emails and messages] are not directing you to phishing [sites] before clicking on them or entering confidential information.
Additionally, the firm’s researchers also claimed that they “discovered a targeted phishing campaign” that attempts to dupe hardware wallet users. Explaining the process, the report stated that the campaign organizers attempt to trick wallet holders into believing they have received mail from a legitimate entity like Ripple.
Further, these emails contain “an offer to participate in distributing XRP tokens.” If the users fall into trap and follow the link in the email, the user is directed to a website that uses a “complex scheme” to prompt unsuspecting crypto wallet holders to “connect their hardware wallet to a fraudulent source.”
Notably, initially, Russia was strictly against using cryptocurrencies within its territory but with the sanctions placed on it following the war in Ukraine; it started using the asset for cross-border transactions. The nation had also planned to ban crypto mining activities completely, but in September, it flipped its stance considering the division of thoughts among the lawmakers and central bank.
Hence, mostly caged by the sanctions, Russia had to open its arms to cryptocurrencies thus promoting its use. In turn, this rising interest triggered increasing crimes. Last year, a report claimed that Russian crypto-related criminal cases rose by 40% year-on-year.