Anti-scam technology blocked almost 60,000 consumers from connecting to bogus cryptocurrency web sites masquerading as popular wallets and exchanges.
Criminals running the phishing web sites tried to harvest personal financial information and to persuade cryptocurrency investors to hand over their tokens.
Software security provider Kaspersky reckons fraudsters exploiting cryptocurrency web sites gained $2.3 million in the second quarter of 2018.
The data comes from the firm’s Spam and Phishing Report for Q2 2018.
One of the largest money spinners for fraudsters are cryptocoin giveaways, says Kaspersky.
“Cybercriminals continue using the names of new initial coin offering (ICO) projects to collect money from potential investors that are trying to gain early access to new tokens. Sometimes phishing sites pop up before official project sites,” said the report.
The company also confirmed that Ethereum was the most popular cryptocurrency for scammers to try to exploit as the coin’s ICOs attract more funding through ICOs.
Internet users are also warned to watch out for bogus advertising on major search engines that contains click-through links to phishing web sites.
“This has recently become a popular method of advertising fake ICO project websites,” says the report.
Billions of phishing attempts
The scope of crooked activity by cybercriminals is astonishing.
Kasperky disclosed almost 10% of their millions of worldwide users were targeted in phishing attacks and that software safeguards stopped almost 108 billion connections to malicious web sites.
Web users in Brazil were the top target for phishers, with nearly 16% falling victim. China reported the next highest number – 15%, with Russia recording 13% of attacks.
One in four phishing attempts were through global internet portals, while one in five involved web sites run by major financial organisations, online payment portals and banks.
The company also highlighted spam subscription forms as a risk as harvested email addresses are sold on to cybercriminals for multiple re-use.
Fake ICO project pages
The first is located on fantom.pub and imitates fantom.foundation, the real site of the FANTOM project; the second one, found on sparkster.be, is an imitation of sparkster.me, the original SPARKSTER site