Hackers have started targeting App stores, such as Apple and Google Play as a way to steal cryptocurrency. Bitcoin has a security model that makes it difficult for hackers to target users directly. Consequently, cyber criminals have sought out new ways to acquire the cryptocurrency illegally.
In the past, hackers have targeted cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Youbit, as a means of accessing other people’s digital assets. They have also hacked cloud mining services. Now cyber criminals have shifted their focus to app stores.
Research Results Show Alarming Trend
RiskIQ, a cyber security company based in San Francisco, has conducted research into harmful applications with cryptocurrency themes. They found over 600 of these malicious apps available on Apple, SameAPK, APKPlz, and several other popular mobile app stores. The company suspects that around 3% of apps found in app stores that have ‘Bitcoin Exchange’ in their name are corrupt in nature. Likewise, 2.6 % of apps with ‘Bitcoin Wallet’ and 2.2 % of apps with ‘cryptocurrency’ in the title were also suspected of being malicious. Google Play had the highest number of misleading apps with 272, followed by APKFiles with 54.
The goal of these applications is to dupe gullible users into sending large sums of money through the app for the criminal to pocket. The hackers also try to obtain personal information, like credit card numbers.
What Steps Can You Take
Fabian Libeau of RiskIQ gave this advice to investors: “Before handing over any cash or personal data, investors should carry out thorough research into the exchange and wallet apps they intend to use. By checking the developer’s name, user reviews and the number of app downloads, investors can measure the validity of an app and be more confident in their choice.”