One third of United States cryptocurrency owners have fallen victim to theft according to a new report from global cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky.
Released Wednesday, the Crypto Threats 2023 report is based on a survey of 2,000 American adults taken in October 22, 2023, pointing out trends in security habits from cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
“From fake apps to cryptojacking, there is a long list of threats lurking online to target cryptocurrencies,” said Marc Rivero, senior security researcher at Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team.
Rivero noted that in the absence of regulation and established common knowledge, people need to take better care of their investments. The survey data shows not only cryptoassets being stolen, but an increase in identity theft. Rivero cautioned people to keep a close eye for scams, but also employ extra security measures, such as multi-factor identification.
As trading in crypto has accelerated in popularity recent years, so have scammers and their tactics increased and twenty-four per cent of respondents to the survey said they currently own cryptoassets.
Scammers are continually seek new ways to separate the unwitting crypto-enthusiasts from their money with tactics like impersonating legitimate exchanges or stealing login credentials through phishing attacks. Also, they will use cryptojacking malware to generate cryptocurrency.
Cryptojacking is the unauthorized use of someone else’s computer or mobile device to mine cryptocurrency. This is done using malware to infect the person’s device, and using its processing power to resolve the mathematical problems required for proof of work mining. Common coins include Bitcoin, Monero or Ethereum.
The profits generated from said activities are collected by the scammers, and the cost to the victim is typically felt in their pocketbook when the power bill comes due.
Alarming Report: Kaspersky Reveals One Third of US Crypto Holders Have Fallen Victim to Theft!
Stay vigilant and protect your assets fam🚀🌙 pic.twitter.com/GYkuGCUBrd
— Crypto24 (@Crypto24NewsApp) March 22, 2023
15 per cent of users use a cold storage wallet: study
A third of respondents who said they own or have owned cryptoassets indicated they had fallen victim to a fraudulent crypto-related website, app, or investment scam. Among those victims, 19 per cent also said they experienced identity theft.
Additionally, the survey revealed there is usually more that users can be doing to protect their investments. On average, respondents said the last time they checked their investments was six weeks ago. Another twenty-seven per cent keep their crypto in an exchange with no added protection. Meanwhile, only 34 per cent admitting to using multifactor authentication to protect their account.
Meanwhile, only 15 per cent of users store their crypto in external storage not connected to the internet. Additionally, another thirty-two per cent who own or have owned cryptoassets indicated they have lost access to a crypto-related account.
The survey also highlighted some interesting findings in terms of age differences among cryptoasset traders. Thirty-six per cent of respondents aged 25-44 indicated they presently own cryptoassets, compared to 10 per cent of respondents aged 55 and up. Older respondents, however, who own crypto, were more efficient at protecting their investments. Just 8 per cent of crypto owners in the over 55 cohort said they had had cryptoassets stolen. However, 14 per cent of above 55’s had fallen victim to either a fraudulent crypto-related app, website or investment scam.
Nearly half (47 per cent) of the 18-24 cohort reported being victimized by theft, and among them, 46 per cent reported being scammed.
Multiple recommendations to protect yourself: report
Kaspersky provides several recommendations to help individuals protect themselves from falling victim to cryptocurrency-related scams. Firstly, it is essential to use strong and unique passwords for each of your crypto accounts. Doing so can help prevent password cracking and brute force attacks.
Secondly, it is important to avoid phishing attacks by being cautious of suspicious emails and links. Always double-check the URL before entering your login information to ensure that it is legitimate. This can help protect you from fraudulent websites that may trick you into providing your private information.
Additionally, individuals should never share their private keys, as they unlock their cryptocurrency wallet. Finally, using reliable security solutions can help protect your devices from various types of threats. Kaspersky’s consumer portfolio provides protection against cryptocurrency fraud and unauthorized use of your computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency.