Every day, at least one shiny new digital coin is minted from the popular blockchain technology. Cryptomania has gotten a large (and growing) portion of the world’s population in a Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) frenzy.
Hackers are exploiting the situation by daily finding new ways to dupe crypto enthusiasts of their coins or fiat. Recently, some of these hackers developed a crypto wallet, presumed to be a digital safe house for SpriteCoins, but is actually ransomware. This information came from a report by cybersecurity researchers at Fortinet.
SpriteCoin itself is not seen as a cryptocurrency by Fortinet researchers. This does not, however, rule out the risk of someone unknowingly downloading a file that calls itself a SpriteCoin wallet. Doing such could result in the ransomware locking all your files using encryption and demanding money, in crypto (Monero) before they are unlocked.
Some affected persons who had sent some money for their files to be unlocked only got locked out more, as more malicious software gets installed after payment.
An analysis of this current scam shows hackers still using their tried and trusted strategy, which, unfortunately, works every time. That strategy is to get the victim to download something which originally looks useful and then install on your device. The old wine in new skin, is especially tasting sweeter thanks to Cryptomania.
Everyone wants to become the next crypto billionaire. That increases the chance of being careless and falling prey to these scamming hackers. Even the researchers at Fortinet wrote about this in their report: “The allure of quick wealth through cryptocurrency seems to be enough to trick unsuspecting users to rush toward the wallet app du jour without consideration.”
What’s more worrisome is that the hackers are probably just checking to see if a full force attack would be successful. Although, their test attack was spread by sharing the file on popular online forums. Tony Giandomenico, a senior security researcher at Fortinet FortiGuard Labs, thought along these lines when he said: “What we infer is that the intent is not about the amount of money, but possibly about proof of concept or testing new delivery mechanisms, and to see how many people would fall for it.”