It has been less than three months since Twitter accounts of high profile personalities were hacked in what was arguably the biggest breach on the social app. Some of the individuals that fell victim to the social engineering crypto-related attack include Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, and Warren Buffet.
What was, however, more shocking was that it wasn’t the first time it had happened. Several accounts on the platform were hacked in January and transformed into copies of controversial technopreneur Elon Musk’s account.
These are but a few examples of crypto-related crimes that have been witnessed this year.
Tarnished crypto reputation
While these incidents can be dispiriting to young investors looking to get in on Bitcoin or other crypto coins, they shouldn’t dishearten you. Getting in on crypto is safe if you’re well-versed with the ropes of virtual assets.
Today, there are several ways of getting in on cryptocurrency i.e through brokers, crypto kiosks, or other peer-to-peer platforms. That said, the most convenient way of buying Bitcoin safely (or other currencies for that matter) is through regulated exchanges. Trusted and highly reputable platforms guarantee the safety of your funds.
Some of the common ways unsuspecting investors get duped are straightforward deception, internet schemes, fraudulent ICO, and swindling through promises of significant returns. But with the efforts being made by the US government, regulatory bodies, and other relevant law enforcement agencies, the crypto industry is becoming safer for new investors.
It is a worrying trend
Following the influx of these crimes, the US DoJ has taken the fight against fraudsters in the cryptocurrency space a notch higher. Last month, the department revealed it had arrested two Malaysian and sanctioned two Russians over two separate cases of crypto crime.
The Malaysian pair were involved in a number of 7-figure scams before their apprehension. The two Russians, on the other hand, had phished customers from three different crypto exchanges purloining over $16.8 million between 2017 and 2018. Two of the three crypto exchanges were from the US.
The DoJ alongside the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control released a statement proclaiming the sanction they had imposed on the Russian nationals. In that period, Dmitrii Karasavidi and Danil Potekhin set up multiple scamming sites disguised as legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges. They would then obtain account credentials from unwitting customers.
The pair would send cryptos through a series of intermediaries using the obtained account information. They would also pull off an artificial inflation play (through pump & dump) on altcoins with a low market cap to make profits.
Elsewhere, a group of five Chinese nationals was said to be on the run. It is reported that the group had illegally gained access to a computing infrastructure to obtain confidential information. One person in the group claimed to have ties with the Chinese Ministry of State Security.
The deputy director of the FBI David Bowdich commented on these legal actions saying “Today’s announcement demonstrates the ramifications faced by the hackers in China, but it is also a reminder to those who continue to deploy malicious cyber tactics that we will utilize every tool we have to administer justice.”
As more people keep adopting cryptocurrency around the world, the rate of cybercrime involving these virtual instruments has gone up. This means investors need to be careful when making trades or transactions involving crypto. Keep in mind, the safety of your crypto assets is your responsibility as much as it is for the crypto wallet and exchange you use.