Phishing is a well-known online attack that steals people’s personal information or financial funds. After the emergence of cryptocurrencies and their turbulent path, it was only a matter of time for scammers to exploit this venue.
Many day-to-day phishing campaigns fail to get researchers’ attention. However, large-scale attacks can result in enormous losses for crypto enthusiasts. Furthermore, the buzzing NFT trends are also venues that criminals embrace for their devious plans.
In most cases, attackers present themselves as legitimate individuals or entities to earn trust, but once they have all the information, they steal crypto funds or access crypto wallets. These scams have become very common, and hackers use more sophisticated methods.
They know the value of initial coin offerings, crypto exchanges, and crypto-wallets. Furthermore, scammers can have confidential insights into your crypto holdings. It might be random, but previous data breaches could have exposed such details. So, as a cryptocurrency holder, you must consider protecting your assets and personal data.
How crypto-targeting phishing attacks work
Like typical phishing attacks, it all starts with the victim receiving a message or email from a “legitimate” sender. Emails or text messages can contain information on exclusive offers. For instance, an entity might claim to offer free tokens for a new and upcoming cryptocurrency. In other cases, they might tempt crypto enthusiasts with rare and valuable NFTs.
If the user performs an action demanded by attackers, the consequences depend. For instance, a honeypot account refers to smart contracts that users might be able to drain crypto from. However, users need to transfer crypto first. Sadly, only the perpetrators profit from such deals.
Another crypto-related phishing scam exploited Unicode letters to trick victims into visiting dangerous websites. However, since the URLs get spoofed, users believe that they are accessing legitimate crypto-related sites.
Learning how to recognize these attacks
A big part of protecting yourself from these attacks is to recognize them. After all, you’re the one who will click on the link or provide sensitive information. However, as we mentioned, phishing attacks can come in many different forms, and hackers put in a lot of effort to look legit.
However, there are some things you should pay attention to.
Look for writing errors
Phishing attacks often have grammar or spelling mistakes. Attackers can be thousands of miles away but use English to lure in their victims. However, sometimes they can try and translate email to their victim’s native language. Look for obvious grammar errors before clicking anything.
Learn to recognize copycats
Phishing messages will often appear as if they were sent by one of your services. They will include the colors, logos, typefaces, font, and other elements of the genuine website. However, they aren’t identical, and attacks often make visible mistakes.
On the other hand, always check the address of the email the message is coming from. If there’s a link to a page, check the URL to see if it matches the official website. On one occasion, sites like CoinGecko displayed suspicious pop-up messages that were not featured usually. They required visitors to connect their wallets or confirm transactions. However, malicious scripts caused these messages to appear.
Poor attention to details
As we mentioned, phishing attacks often try to look like emails from some reputable organizations you’re using. Sometimes, they will try to copy the email’s structure, tone, and style entirely. However, that’s not an easy task, and you always spot the differences.
For example, the images could be placed in the world place, messages could have a wrong tone, or you will simply “feel” there’s something wrong. The images can often be misaligned with the messaging so pay attention to every detail.
As mentioned, phishing emails often include links to build their credibility or send you to a misleading website. Some links will instantly activate processes harmful to you and your personal information.
On the other hand, some links will send you to fake websites designed to earn your trust and get you to perform some action. These links often come in shortened URLs to hide the actual address.
Use a VPN
Apart from recognizing phishing attacks, it’s essential to reinforce your online security and prevent them from getting to you. For instance, an unsecured network should not open doors for hackers to eavesdrop on your traffic or capture information. A Virtual Private Network can help you prevent such scenarios.
This tool encrypts your traffic and online connections, making it difficult for anyone to track you, see your IP, or know what you’re doing online. A VPN download can even bring you an features that block access to potentially dangerous sites. Usually, such blocking gets done according to databases of dangerous websites or certain features (like lacking HTTPS).
Be wary of new crypto exchanges, coin offerings, and wallets
In many cases, crypto phishing is directed toward those digital currencies people use to trade, buy, sell, and store their assets. You must be careful when getting messages about new excellent exchanges, offers, wallets, etc.
As a crypto holder, you must be careful and learn as much as possible about new platforms before committing to them. Not only that this can help you protect your assets, but it will also help you increase them.
These are some of the most critical threats you should consider regarding phishing attacks. Take the time to analyze all unknown messages you receive and use your assets responsibly.