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Bitcoin (BTC) theft and fraud will rise in 2021 as poverty increases due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Cybersecurity specialist Kaspersky released online threats to watch out for next year.

Imagem de Pete Linforth por Pixabay

Mon, 30 Nov 2020, 15:24 pm UTC

A recent report from the cybersecurity specialist Kaspersky said that cryptocurrency-related crime will likely increase next year. Most of these attacks will be targeting Bitcoin (BTC) as it will become more attractive as poverty will increase due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Kaspersky predicts that the weakening of currencies across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic will result in an increase in cybercrime in 2021, Coindesk reported. The cybersecurity specialist recently released a report titled “The Cyberthreats to financial organizations in 2021” which tried to forecast upcoming online threats next year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cause a massive wave of poverty, and that invariably translates into more people resorting to crime including cybercrime,” Kaspersky wrote in the report. “We might see certain economies crashing and local currencies plummeting, which would make Bitcoin theft a lot more attractive. We should expect more fraud, targeting mostly BTC, due to this cryptocurrency being the most popular one.”

While BTC will be targeted more, privacy tokens such as Monero (XMR) will also become increasingly popular among cybercriminals. This is a result of governments’ improved monitoring capabilities well as increased incidents of seizure of crypto assets. For instance, the report cited the U.S. Justice Department’s seizure of funds worth over $1 billion.

“With the special technical capabilities of monitoring, deanonymization, and seizing of BTC accounts now in place, we should expect cybercriminals to switch to transit cryptocurrencies for charging victims,” the report said. “There is a reason to believe they might switch to other privacy-enhanced currencies, such as Monero, to use these first as a transition currency and then convert the funds to any other cryptocurrency of choice including BTC.

Kaspersky also predicts that extortion will increase. “If not ransomware, then DDoS or possibly both,” the report said. “This could be especially critical to companies that lose data, go through an exhausting data recovery process, and then get knocked out of online operations.”

There will likely be a shift to server-side for MageCart attacks. “We can see that the number of threat actors that rely on client-side attacks (JavaScript) is diminishing by the day,” the report added. “It is reasonable to believe that there will be a shift to the server-side.”

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