The ongoing war in Ukraine has been a boon for cyber-criminals hoping to financially benefit from an upsurge in cryptocurrency donations to the war-battered country and make their own profits, according to Grid News.
In March, Ukraine’s government unveiled a crypto “air drop,” a reward for crypto donors which offers free tokens as an investment incentive, but which usually draws micro-donations from grifters hoping to cash in on the tokens. Twenty-four hours later, the air drop was mysteriously cancelled, but not before scammers unveiled a fake token meant to mimic the one announced by the Ukrainian government. Known as the “peaceful world” token, the scam illustrated how cyber-criminals swept in during wartime to make an easy buck.
“This token is reported to have been used for misleading people into believing it was sent from a well-known address and may be spam or phishing. Please treat it with caution," read a warning on Etherscan, an analytics platform for the Ethereum blockchain.
The Ukrainian government has raised over $50 million in cryptocurrency through digital appeals, but the popularity of these investment appeals has also led to a proliferation of phishing emails, Grid News reports. Many of the phishing emails specifically asked for cryptocurrency payments.
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“They were just like ‘Here, run this [program],’ but it was an infostealer that basically steals a whole bunch of information related to cryptocurrency stuff, credentials,” Nick Biasini, head of outreach at security firm Cisco Talos, told Grid News. “Whatever it can find on that system, it’s going to take and steal.”
“There is no downward boundary for these bastards,” Allan Liska, an intelligence analyst at the security firm Recorded Future, told Grid News. “They will prey on people’s good intentions. They will take advantage of anything and everything they can in order to rip people off.”