CYBER security buffs are warning crypto fans of a scam that aims to rob unsuspecting victims of their Bitcoin.
An investigation revealed that hackers have stolen at least $24million in cryptocurrency by taking over a victim’s clipboard.
A mobile or PC’s clipboard is used to copy and paste text and images between apps on the phone.
It’s frequently used to copy passwords or cryptocurrency wallet addresses – a fact that cyber crooks know all too well.
The Bitcoin-pinching attack was detailed in a blog post shared by researchers at Czech cybersecurity giant Avast on Tuesday.
It involves the so-called “MyKings” botnet, which has been infecting PCs and phones since 2016.
Botnets are networks of hijacked computer devices used to carry out various scams and cyberattacks.
And it seems scammers are scouring the clipboards of many of these computers for cryptocurrency wallet addresses.
They’re the long strings of 26 to 35 numbers and characters that crypto fans plug in when sending their virtual cash to someone – or themselves.
When the cyber crooks behind the scam spot an address in a clipboard, they swap it out for a different address – this one owned by the attackers.
Many people won’t notice that the address they’re pasting is different from the one they copied, as it’s a random string of characters.
It means that they end up inadvertently sending cryptocurrency to the attackers instead of the intended recipient.
Avast’s analysis unearthed over 1300 new wallet addresses that have been used to transfer over $24million in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin.
Bitcoin is currently going through a golden period after a tough spring. The cryptocurrency’s value peaked at £47,000 in April before a sharp decline.
However, it has been steadily climbing ever since, currently sitting around the £41,000 mark – close to an all-time high.
“In response to this malicious activity, we want to increase awareness about frauds like this and we highly recommend people always double-check transaction details before sending money,” warn the researchers.
It’s been a rocky few weeks for Bitcoin.
Earlier this week, PMorgan Chase boss and outspoken crypto critic Jamie Dimon branded Bitcoin “worthless” during a virtual event.
The investment banking behemoth told a virtual audience over video call that he saw no future for the fledging crypto market.
And that’s not the worst of it. Last week, the Biden administration unveiled sanctions against a cryptocurrency exchange over its alleged role in enabling illegal payments from ransomware attacks.
The Treasury Department accused Suex of facilitating transactions involving illicit proceeds for at least eight ransomware variants.
It’s the first such move against a virtual currency exchange over ransomware activity.
“Exchanges like Suex are critical to attackers’ ability to extract profits from ransomware attackers,” Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said.
The action “is a signal of our intention to expose and disrupt the illicit infrastructure using these attacks.”
It came after President Biden announced that the U.S. will bring together 30 countries to stop “the illicit use of cryptocurrency.”
He’s not the only US president to criticise the currency.
Earlier this year, former president Donald Trump called Bitcoin a “scam against the dollar.”
Speaking to Fox Business in June, he expressed concerns that the cryptocurrency is threatening the value of the US dollar.
“Bitcoin, it just seems like a scam,” Mr Trump said. “I don’t like it because it’s another currency competing against the dollar.”
In other news, crypto investors were sent into panic last month after a data provider showed a 90 per cent plunge in Bitcoin’s value.
The price of Bitcoin rocketed in July following claims Amazon could start accepting the cryptocurrency as payment by the end of the year.
Nine apps have had to be removed from the Google Play Store after they were caught stealing Facebook passwords.
Facebook is facing backlash in the US over plans to create a version of Instagram for children under 13.
And, influencers who don’t clearly state if they’ve edited photos which are advertisements could be fined or imprisoned in Norway due to a new law.
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