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Bitcoin-Targeted Cyber Attacks Surge by Nearly 200% in 2021


beincrypto.com 29 June 2021 10:29, UTC
Reading time: ~3 m

A recent analysis by Barracuda Networks shows the rise of bitcoin-centered cyber attacks. In the space of six months attacks targeting victims’ bitcoin surged by 192%. 

The attacks analyzed were mostly phishing impersonations and business emails, which targeted holders of bitcoin. Data reveals a clear parallel between the rise in such attacks and bitcoin’s price hike between October 2020 and May 2021. 


Bitcoin Cyber Attack Prevalence – Barracuda Networks

In the past bitcoin-related cyber attacks fell under the guise of extortion or ransomware attacks. The move towards crypto-targeted spear phishing, impersonation, and fraudulent commercial emails is a newer development, according to the research. 

The Threat Spotlight research conducted by Barracuda Networks correlates the sharp increase in such attacks to bitcoin’s rising demand. On top of the price hike, there are more holders of the digital currency, which makes it easier to find victims to target.

Fleming Chi, CTO for Barracuda Networks commented to BeInCrypto regarding the study:

“Accelerating interest and demand for bitcoin has provided cybercriminals with a payment method which is virtually untraceable, enabling a multi-billion pound economy of ransomware, cyber-extortion, and impersonation attacks, primarily targeting individual investors and private companies.”

Barracuda Networks is a leading provider for cloud-enabled security solutions. 

Anonymity a double-edged sword 

The study also highlighted the anonymity of crypto. As crypto payments are often decentralized and sparsely regulated, cyber criminals can assume entire anonymity. Although privacy and decentralization are major pull factors for engagement with the space, it’s these situations where holders can be at a disadvantage.

As the cryptocurrency space continues to develop and digital currencies turn mainstream, users will need to increase their awareness of such vulnerabilities. Chi added that corporate awareness of cybersecurity is a must in an increasingly digitized future.

“It’s more important than ever for organizations, workers, and investors to keep their data and financial assets completely secure. Continuing to train users and employees to recognize the latest tactics used by hackers is imperative to maintaining blanket security for any given organization, and all businesses and potential victims are heavily encouraged to back up their data with a third-party cloud-based data backup solution to prevent data loss, reduce downtime in the event of a cyberattack, and insure themselves against surging ransomware threat levels.”

Combating crypto cyber attacks

The recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline brought the issue of cybersecurity and crypto to the forefront of the space. Although a more commonly seen method of cyber hacking within the community, the ransomware attack was yet another visualization of the value of bitcoin as an object of theft. 

This incident resulted in the loss of $2.3 million in bitcoin. This attack came as the U.S. government was already stepping up its regulatory efforts in the crypto space. 

In addition, crypto behemoth, Crypto.com, also recently made a move in the direction of cyber security awareness. The company partnered with Chainanylsis, in an effort to increase the data analysis and security for the site. 

As the space continues to expand and investors increase, cyber security concerns around crypto assets will be tested.


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