Phishing Scams Take Advantage of Crypto Hype

Avast Threat Labs identifies a growth in crypto-based scams in regions where cryptocurrency is growing in popularity

Avast, a global leader in digital security and privacy, has observed in the first six months of 2021 that cryptocurrency-focused phishing scams are more likely to appear in countries where cryptocurrency is rising in popularity.

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Avast’s threat labs researchers have intercepted and protected users against a rise in crypto-related phishing sites since the start of the year, with the majority posing as legitimate custodial wallets. The rise of these sites is higher in countries where cryptocurrency adoption is most prevalent1The United StatesBrazil and Nigeria are the biggest targets for these crypto-scams, with notable levels of scams also in the UK, FranceRussia and India. In this research, Avast Threat Labs monitored a selection of 37 samples. The global heatmap below shows where around the world users visited crypto-related phishing in the first six months of 2021:

Peter Kovac, senior researcher at Avast, said, “The crypto market is surging right now. Bitcoin has been given a boost following recent news from El Salvador that it will be recognized as legal tender in the country – with other countries in the region tipped to follow suit.”

“This surge in Bitcoin is having a knock-on effect across the wider crypto space and some analysts are even predicting that 2021 will be a record-breaking year for cryptocurrencies. However, as it has grown in popularity, it has also grown as a more lucrative target for hackers – and our researchers have found the levels of crypto-related scams are most prevalent in regions where cryptocurrencies are gaining popularity.”

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