Recent research has unveiled that crypto sextortionists are increasingly turning to litecoin (LTC) and other altcoins. This is because such coins help them avoid detection easily. Cofense, a cybersecurity firm published a report unveiling this new on October 8.
According to Cofense’s report, bad actors now prefer altcoins to BTC. This shift reportedly helps them avert detection by specialized email filters.
In the publication, the Cofense said,
As enterprises began writing detection rules to block those emails, threat actors modified the text by replacing it with an image, which prevented key words from being identified by Secure Email Gateways (SEGs). The bitcoin address was left as a plain text string in the email, so it could be easily copied.
The firm added that after enterprises started checking for bitcoin addresses, the bad actors also improvised. They reportedly quit using text and images and switched to attaching PDF documents containing the threats. Cofense further cited that the bad actors also began encrypting PDF attachments and including the password in the email body. In so doing, they foiled any further SEG detection rules.”
Leveraging Browser History and Webcam Footage
Per the report, the sextortionists claim that they installed spying malware on their targets’ devices. They then purport to have gained access to compromising browsing history and webcam footage. While asking for ransom in the past was a viable option, Cofense notes that this is no longer the case.
This latest sextortion version is using a Litecoin wallet address instead of bitcoin to evade detection. Previous iterations showed a gradual shift away from identifiable patterns and to alternative crypto currencies, in an attempt to foil SEG bitcoin-detection rules. The current emails appear to be crafted to contain very few searchable word patterns.
The firm added that this finding shows that the bad actors can easily shift from one crypto coin to the other. While there are thousands of crypto coins to choose from, the criminals only have a few options. This is because only a few coins are easily attainable from major exchanges. Explaining why this is so, Cofense noted that for the scam to work, the victim requires an easy way of accessing the requested payment method.
In conclusion, the cybersecurity firm noted that users can safely ignore ransom and phishing emails. This is because if the bad actors had access to sensitive data, they would include stronger evidence.
Before this, a report unveiled that scammers tried duping British citizens into coughing up nearly $2.5 million in BTC. Per the report, the criminals claimed that they would use the funds to maintain the local economy after Brexit.
Do you think the increasing use of altcoins in crime affects the outlook of watchdogs on the crypto space? Let us know in the comments below.