Bitcoin holders under siege as cryptocurrency value increases

This holiday season has been especially successful for the Bitcoin holders as the price of this cryptocurrency has drastically sprung up.[1] This has surge been happening in the period of the last couple of weeks. At the moment of speaking, the value of a single Bitcoin has surpassed 930 USD and continues to grow minute-by-minute.[2] By far, the Bitcoin price is at its all-time high, but the experts predict this number to reach up to 1,200 USD by the end of December. Of course, an increase in the value of cryptocurrency also has prompt people to invest in it. The most active of such investors are the Chinese users who are currently on a real Bitcoin buying frenzy.[3] Unfortunately, regular computer users are not the only ones interested in this virtual currency. The upsurge has also been spotted by the cyber criminals who will not simply miss the chance to stuff their pockets with valuable goods. In fact, phishing attacks led by intentions to gain access to the users’ Bitcoin wallets have intensified and are already being reported daily. As the research on Cisco’s Open DNS Labs blog shows, the increase in cryptocurrency value consistently goes hand in hand with the extent of Bitcoin phishing attacks.[4]

Image of the increase in Bitcoin value

The criminals have become more creative in techniques they use to swindle crypto-money from the victims. In particular, they target Gmail accounts in order to gain access to the Google Adwords. After gaining control over this advertising system, the scammers can then assign certain content to be displayed after the victim enters particular keywords into the Google search. Typically, these are phrases such as “buy bitcoins”, “bitcoin wallet”, etc. With the fake ads and links, the scammers then attempt to redirect the potential victims a bogus site version equipped with phishing functionality.[5] We should point out that generally, is a legitimate and one of the biggest Bitcoin wallets on the Web. The scammers only use its renowned name to trick people into disclosing their crypto wallet account login credentials which later allows the criminals to connect to actual accounts and steal from them. Besides, hackers may also use various social engineering tricks to steal the required data. They may even hijack social networking accounts and send inquiries under the names of people on the victim’s contact list. You can never be too careful when operating in your inbox as well. Be especially careful with spam emails. Some of them may contain malware, keyloggers or worms which may also be used to track online behaviour and phish sensitive details.

The influence of Bitcoin value increase is also evident in ransomware development. This particular cyber threat type is closely related Bitcoins because all the ransom transactions that the hackers demand for the encrypted documents have to be made specifically through crypto wallets. Cryptocurrency is mainly employed to ensure confidentiality. Nevertheless, as the Bitcoin value increases, the ransomware developers are forced to reduce the amount of ransom they demand for the decryption of the locked data. For instance, the initial Locky or Cerber virus versions used to demand 2 to 5 Bitcoins for the data decryption key. The newest variants will probably have to come down to 1 or 1.5 Bitcoin to simply remain affordable.

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Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

Jake Doevan is one of News Editors for He graduated from the Washington and Jefferson College , Communication and Journalism studies.

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