Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has detected more than 1,500 fraudulent entities targeting potential crypto investors and miners just in the first half of 2021.
Kaspersky’s research shows that 0.60% of users from South African countries have already been targeted by malicious crypto miners. The report also suggests that the most common methods of duping unwary users involved false advertisements claiming to sell mining equipment and fake websites posing as crypto exchanges.
Kaspersky’s data based on anonymized statistics revealed that 0.85% of crypto investors from Kenya and 0.71% Nigerians were targets of crypto-miner malware, while investors from Ethiopia (3.68%) and Rwanda (3.22%) faced the most number of threats in this regard. Bethwel Opil, Africa’s enterprise sales manager at Kaspersky, warned that the low percentages do not mean that the threat is insignificant:
“Crypto-miner malware has been identified as one of the top 3 malware families rife in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria at present, which we believe emphasises that as cryptocurrency continues to gain momentum, more users will likely be targeted.”
The report also suggests that the most common methods of duping unwary crypto investors involve false advertisements claiming to sell mining equipment and fake websites posing as crypto exchanges.
These fraudulent platforms require users to make an upfront payment under the pretext of advanced payment or verification, after which the scammers stop responding. Cybercriminals also make use of phishing platforms to gain access to users’ private keys of their crypto wallets. Alexey Marchenko, head of content filtering methods development at Kaspersky, said:
“Both those who want to invest or mine cryptocurrency and simply the holders of such funds can find themselves on the fraudsters’ radar.”
Related: South Africa to revise national policy position on cryptocurrency
Back in June 2021, South Africas Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) established a roadmap for defining the continent’s regulatory framework for handling crypto assets.
The IFWG also highlighted the inherent risk and volatility of investing in cryptocurrency and shared 25 regulatory recommendations against Anti-Money Laundering, terror financing and market manipulation.