Over the past several years, the cryptocurrency market has considerably expanded, gaining the interest of investors and threat actors. Cryptocurrency itself has been used by cybercriminals for their operations, notably for ransom payment in ransomware attacks, but we have also observed threat actors directly targeting organizations within the cryptocurrency industry for financial gain. Attacks targeting this market have taken many forms, including fraud, vulnerability exploitation, fake applications, and usage of info stealers, as attackers attempt to get their hands on cryptocurrency funds. We are also seeing more complex attacks wherein the threat actor shows great knowledge and preparation, taking steps to gain their target’s trust before deploying payloads. For example, Microsoft recently investigated an attack where the threat actor, tracked as DEV-0139, took advantage of Telegram chat groups to target cryptocurrency investment companies. DEV-0139 joined Telegram groups used to facilitate communication between VIP clients and cryptocurrency exchange platforms and identified their target from among the members. The threat actor posed as representatives of another cryptocurrency investment company, and in October 2022 invited the target to a different chat group and pretended to ask for feedback on the fee structure used by cryptocurrency exchange platforms. The threat actor had a broader knowledge of this specific part of the industry, indicating that they were well prepared and aware of the current challenge the targeted companies may have.
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