Russia-based computer security firm Kaspersky Lab today said the boom of cryptocurrency and the speculative frenzy over initial coin offerings (ICOs) are rife with cyber threats that would eventually leave unsuspecting investors at risk of large losses.
According to its latest report, the number of victims of ICOs robberies exceeded 60,000, with nearly $300 million worth of bitcoins were stolen. Last month, Kaspersky detected a new malware able to steal cryptocurrencies from users’ web wallets by replacing their address with that of its creator.
Kaspersky states that the attacks were unique in how they were so deliberately planned, and the sums stolen from digital wallets are ranging from a few hundreds of dollars to several thousands.
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The ICOs, in which startups issue tokens in exchange for cryptocurrencies to fund their ideas, have exploded in popularity this year thanks to Bitcoin’s wild rally which is unstoppable these days. Last week the cryptocurrency price had risen by more than $3,000, and just today it has appreciated by the same amount in less than 24 hours.
According to industry reports, nearly $3.5 billion has been raised through the initial coin offerings in 2017, and of course that attracted the attention of cybercriminals.
The report goes on to say that that cryptocurrency holders should be especially careful because it is almost impossible to recover any stolen money. Not helping matters were previously known holes in several bitcoin exchanges, for which Kaspersky had issued patches, which made the hackers’ jobs easier.