According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), fake cryptocurrency applications have successfully stolen around $42 million from a group of 244 investors in the United States. Threat actors running campaigns were able to trick people into installing malicious apps alongside their legitimate investments.
In a Private Industry Notification (PDF) on Monday, the FBI says the attack groups fooled investors by using information and logos from legitimate financial institutions. People thought they were connecting with a real cryptocurrency firm when in reality they were being defrauded.
This was a relatively sophisticated scam that also involved creating websites to look authentic. The goal was to prey on the interest around cryptocurrency investments. While crypto is going through a challenging spell, it remains popular amongst investors.
Cybercriminals are constantly looking for creative ways to gain the trust of customers and trick them into their campaigns.
In its briefing, the FBI says it tracked three fraud campaigns targeting crypto investors between October 2021 and May 2022. Those three attacks were able to fleece over $10 million from customers.
The FBI also points to the following attack windows:
“Between 4 October 2021 and 13 May 2022, cyber criminals operating under the company name YiBit1 defrauded at least four victims of approximately $5.5 million. The cyber criminals convinced the victims to download the YiBit app and deposit cryptocurrency into wallets associated with the victims' YiBit accounts. Following these deposits, 17 victims received an email stating they had to pay taxes on their investments before withdrawing funds; all 4 victims could not withdraw funds through the app.
Between 1 November and 26 November 2021, cyber criminals operating under the company name Supayos, AKA Supay, defrauded two victims by instructing them to download the Supay app and make multiple cryptocurrency deposits into wallets associated with their Supay accounts. In November 2021, the cyber criminals told one victim he was enrolled in a program requiring a minimum balance of $900,000 without his consent; upon trying to cancel the subscription, the victim was instructed to deposit the requested funds or have all assets frozen.”
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