Business

Steve Kaaru

Litecoin becoming crypto of choice among sextortionists: report

Cyber criminals keep evolving with each passing day as they seek to avoid detection from security experts. Having started off by demanding BTC in ransom, they have started switching to Litecoin according to a new report. Litecoin addresses are not as easily detectable by most firewalls, allowing the criminals to get through to their victims.

Initially, extortion claims came in the form of plain text, with the criminals claiming to have footage of the victim doing some things that they would prefer to keep private. The ransom is demanded in BTC for most cases. Usually, it’s just a hoax, but it still manages to convince quite a few victims. However, in time, businesses began installing programs that blocked any email that contained keywords related to extortion.

This led the criminals to using image files, with the BTC address being written in plain text for easy copying and pasting. Businesses soon installed programs that could detect the BTC addresses and block the emails. According to the report by Leesburg, Virginia-based cybersecurity firm Cofense, the latest maneuver involves the use of Litecoin to replace BTC.

This switch to Litecoin is just the latest trick by the criminals to avoid using any identifiable pattern which can be detected by Secure Email Gateways (SEGs). The SEGs are modified to detect keywords that the criminals use and thus, block their emails and thwart their plans.

The Cofense team has some advice for any sextortion target, “Avoiding this scam is simple. Your users can safely ignore the emails—if threat actors actually had such access and data, they would include stronger proof. Also educate users about sites such as haveibeenpwned.com, so they can know if their email address is likely to become a target.”

Crypto-related malware and ransomware attacks continue to rise as the use of crypto globally soars. As CoinGeek reported recently, one of the latest malware campaign involves a Telegram bot which replaces crypto addresses copied on the clipboard with addresses that the criminals control. Since the addresses are usually long and impossible to identify, the victim doesn’t discover what happened until it’s too late.

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