False advertisements claiming to sell mining equipment and fake websites posing as crypto exchanges are two of the most common methods of duping crypto investors.
In the first half of 2021, Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky discovered over 1,500 fraudulent entities targeting potential crypto investors and miners.
According to Kaspersky, 0.60 percent of South African users have already been targeted by malicious crypto miners. According to the report, the most common methods of duping unsuspecting users involved false advertisements claiming to sell mining equipment and fake websites posing as cryptocurrency exchanges.
According to Kaspersky data based on anonymized statistics, 0.85 percent of Kenyan crypto investors and 0.71 percent of Nigerians were targets of crypto-miner malware, with investors from Ethiopia (3.68 percent ) and Rwanda (3.22 percent ) facing the highest number of threats in this regard. According to Bethwel Opil, Africa’s enterprise sales manager at Kaspersky, the low percentages do not imply that the threat is insignificant:
“Crypto-miner malware has been identified as one of the top three malware families currently prevalent in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria, which we believe emphasizes that as cryptocurrency gains traction, more users will likely be targeted.”
According to the report, the most common methods of duping unwary crypto investors are false advertisements purporting to sell mining equipment and fake websites masquerading as crypto exchanges.
These fraudulent platforms demand an upfront payment under the guise of advanced payment or verification, after which the scammers cease responding. Cybercriminals also use phishing platforms to gain access to users’ crypto wallet private keys. Alexey Marchenko, Kaspersky’s head of content filtering methods development, stated:
“Those who want to invest in or mine cryptocurrency, as well as those who simply hold such funds, may find themselves on the radar of fraudsters.”
South Africa’s Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) established a roadmap for defining the continent’s regulatory framework for dealing with crypto assets in June 2021.
The IFWG also emphasized the inherent risk and volatility of cryptocurrency investing and shared 25 regulatory recommendations to combat money laundering, terror financing, and market manipulation.