Ethereum giveaway scams multiplied with cybercriminals pocketing $2.3 million in the second quarter of 2018.
Ethereum is the most common crypto asset for scammers, shows the latest research by Kaspersky Labs. Phishing also continued, masquerading as popular wallets or websites. The already infamous Ethereum giveaways keep spreading on social media, affecting famous Twitter handles, most lately copying the account of Elon Musk.
“Ethereum (ETH) is currently the most popular cryptocurrency with phishers. The popularity of Ethereum with cybercriminals increases as more funds are attracted by ICOs on the Ethereum platform,” remarked Kaspersky Labs.
“According to our very rough estimate (based on data received from over a thousand ETH wallets used by malefactors), over the Q2 2018, cybercriminals exploiting ICOs managed to make $2,329,317 (end-of-July-2018 exchange rate), traditional phishing not included.”
One of the reasons for the scams related to Ethereum is the growth of the ecosystem, with multiple projects and ICOs. Although users tend to do research, sometimes they still jump at the opportunity for quick gains. The ease of using Ethereum and the relative availability of MetaMask and MyEtherWallet make the impulsive decision even easier. Faked ICO addresses are also a threat in the second quarter of 2018, diverting funds and disappearing.
The continued spam, giveaways and other types of ETH theft happen during a time when ETH market prices are sliding. ETH has retraced to rates not seen since last year, below $270. Despite this, the ease of use and the relatively wide popularity of Ethereum keeps feeding the scams.
Some see Ethereum sliding further – but the asset is still a key utility. Usage of the Ethereum network requires reserves of ETH. Additionally, the Ethereum network has suffered spam from a now-defunct lottery, which consumed a large part of the gas for the better part of a week in mid-August.
Some believe the weakness in ETH is that weak or scam ICO projects are liquidating in a hurry, as the latest bout of the bear market may be an extinction event for many Ethereum-based projects.