Cryptocurrency Will Continue to Face Ransomware, Botnet Attacks in 2021: Sophos Cybersecurity Threat Report

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Cybersecurity form Sophos says that attacks such as ransomware will continue to make use of cryptocurrency. Over the past year and a half, ransomware attacks constituted 79 percent of all global cybersecurity breaches, it said. These incidents, investigated and remediated by Sophos’ rapid response team, reveal that some of these attacks target crypto investors through fake app login screens.

The Sophos’ 2022 Threat Report which was published over the weekend, aims to provide perspective on security threats and trends facing organisations in 2022 and the threat landscape in 2021, with additional insights on possible loopholes that could be breached in the future. The study talks about a mobile malware family that ran riot in 2021 known as Flubot as one of the predominant banking trojans affecting the Android platform.

The malware presents users with fake bank and cryptocurrency app login screens to steal the user’s passwords for those services. In addition to robbing bank details, it also steals data like the contact list, which it then uses to spam the victim’s friends and associates with messages that can lead to additional Flubot infections.

The malware spreads primarily through SMS text messages and mimics popular shipment tracking services from major international parcel shipment services like DHL, FedEx and UPS. The victim receives SMS alerts with a URL link, and occasionally an SMS that pretends to be a voicemail message – also with a web link.

Sophos also warns that automated botnet attacks like Mirai have gained in prominence too over the years, becoming the vehicle of choice to deliver crypto-mining malware. These bits of code infect various corporate assets such as servers and IoT devices, cyber-criminals can use the collective processing power of hundreds – or thousands – of machines to mine cryptocurrency and spread it to further devices.

“As a method of evading sanctions, cryptocurrencies are well suited to the task, which may be why criminals based in regions of the world that remain under traditional economic sanctions exclusively deal in cryptocurrency. Beyond that, because cryptocurrency is anonymous, it can be difficult to determine where the money ends up,” states the report.

“Sophos believes that the illicit use of cryptocurrency, both to evade sanctions and to obfuscate involvement in criminal activity, will continue to increase in 2022, with ransomware and crypto-jacking being the two most prominent ways that criminals can directly receive cryptocurrency payments from their victims,” the report adds.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
Metaverse, NFT Sectors Can Boom Exponentially in India, Industry Insiders Predict

Metaverse, NFT Sectors Can Boom Exponentially in India, Industry Insiders Predict

Housing one of the youngest populations in the world, India, in recent years has established itself among some of the more technologically sound nations globally. Now that the sectors of cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and metaverse are making inroads in the investor and big tech circles, industry insiders have predicted India to give an exponential boom to these up-and-coming Web3 technologies. Tech-friendly Indians are already embracing the technologies with excitement and intrigue, especially after artists like Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan regestered their presences in these new arenas.

Speaking to Gadgets 360, Anshul Ailawadi, the head of Viacom18’s Youth, Music and English Entertainment (YME) team said that the fondness of collecting things has always been a trend among Indians which will get a crypto twist in times to come, pinpointing at the NFT culture catching up in the nation. NFTs are digital collectibles built on blockchain.

“India is a combination of an emerging economy, a high population density, and has a strong appetite towards the adoption of technology. We always had people collecting stuff, be it cars, stamps, books, coins. Now, companies are realising that a lot of their core audiences are extremely fascinated and intrigued by the NFT space,” he said.

Currently, a bunch of indigenous NFT marketplaces have cropped up in India that include, Bollycoin, and WazirX among others.

Earlier this month, Viacom 18’s YME itself launched its own dedicated NFT marketplace named “Fully Faltoo”.

Indians also contributed whole heartedly to NFT purchases. Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s NFT collection for instance, fetched $966,000 (approximately Rs. 7.18 crore) last year.

In fact earlier this week, the Deepak Thaplial, the Indian-origin CEO of Boston-based blockchain firm Chain poured a whopping $23 million (roughly Rs. 172.5 crore) to buy a rare CryptoPunk NFT.

“High-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are continuing to invest in cryptocurrencies to diversify their portfolio, while NFTs are slowly gaining asset-class credibility,” Keyur Patel, Co-Founder & Chairman, told Gadgets 360. The platform enables blockchain commerce.

This estimation on the NFT growth that India is likely to witness in the near future comes despite the lack of clarity that surrounds the classifications of these digital collectibles.

It remains unclear for now, if NFTs are even classified as digital assets in the country.

“Over half a million Indian users have already shown interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and metaverse projects. Indians are warming up to this new digital asset that has given creators and collaborators a fresh platform to earn better moolah while generating more value for their work,” Patel noted.

In recent days, the metaverse space also saw interesting engagements in India.

Music label T-Series announced its entry into the metaverse in partnership with Hungama TV last month. As part of the deal, Hungama will be creating NFTs from the vast catalogue of new and existing Bollywood content parented by T-Series.

This month, a couple from India’s Tamil Nadu state hosted a Harry Potter-themed wedding reception in the metaverse where guests marked their attendance as digital avatars.

Punjabi singer Daler Mehndi took it a notch higher for contemporaries by becoming the first Indian artist to do a metaverse concert in January.

Research reports expect the market opportunity for the metaverse to reach $800 billion (roughly Rs. 59,58,719 crore) by 2024, and as per Indian industry insiders, Indians will have a substantial amount to contribute to this industry.

Cryptocurrencies make for an integral part of the metaverse as they allow us to calculate the value of digital assets in fiat currency and their returns over time.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.