Cryptocurrencies have come to improve the way we manage and use or money, tokenizing our assets and protecting them with cryptography’s best attributes. However, wallets and exchanges are not immune to vulnerabilities and security flaws that can be exploited by hackers and cybercriminals around the online universe.
Unfortunately, that is precisely what Electrum and MyEtherWallet users are enduring at the moment. Several users on social media networks, most frequently on Twitter and Reddit, complained about a current phishing attack that is threatening the security people’s tokens. In fact, the wallets used the mentioned social media outlets to provide more details about the incident.
Phishing Attacks Explained
For reference, a phishing attack involves an attempt made by a malicious agent to “fish” a naive user and trick him or her into providing details about his or her account for the hacker to gain full access to it. In a more general view, a phishing attack asks the victim for sensitive data whilst the person thinks he (or she) is providing the information to a trusted entity. The method is illegal in most countries and can result in cybercriminals breaching banking, crypto wallets, social media, and e-commerce accounts, among others.
The usual modus operandi involves the attacker sending the user an email or a message containing a malicious link. Once the victim clicks on it, the link will ask for personal data or will provide the green light to install malware on its device.
On Monday, February 4th, MyEtherWallet warned its user base by tweeting about the ongoing phishing attack that the hacker sent a sizable community of users, asking them to provide personal and account information.
The message said:
There’s another phishy email going around asking users to give up personal information. Don’t believe the hype!
#1. We will never email you first (only reply to support).
#2. We will never ask for your private key (or other sensitive info).
#3. Be skeptical!”
A Reddit user discovered that a phishing scam that was actually trying to pass as a security update (a common modus operandi of these attacks) was trying to take data from users of the Electrum wallet. Redditor exa61 showed a picture to the world in which the “scammer” was requiring the system to update to Electrum 4.0.0. when the most recent version is Electrum 3.3.3, and it is configured to let users know when a new release was available.
“The latest version of Electrum (version 3.3.3) will notify users when a new release of Electrum is available. Release announcements are signed by us, and verified by Electrum using a hardcoded Bitcoin address. This feature is optional and can be disabled,” the company tweeted through its official account, @ElectrumWallet.
A warning posted on Electrum’s official website followed, letting people know that “versions of Electrum older than 3.3.3 are vulnerable to a phishing attack, where malicious servers are able to display a message asking users to download a fake version of Electrum.” The digital wallet warned people not to acquire any software updates from different sources, as it represents a high security risk.
Acquiring software updates from third parties brought problems recently, when a hacker or group spotted vulnerability in the LocalBitcoins forum and linked it to a phishing site. The mentioned company informed that the vulnerability was present on software from an external source, and that six users were affected by it.
By Andres Chavez