Even though bitcoin is still the most popular cryptocurrency for shady businesses on the dark web, other cryptocurrencies are gaining ground. Privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like monero are on the rise. European law enforcement agency Europol speaks of a ‘pronounced’ shift, and expects coins like monero and zcash to become even more popular.
Europol has released a report called ‘Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2019’. Bitcoin is still the most popular currency on the dark web, because people are ‘familiar with it’. The agency expects that the shift towards privacy coins continues as criminals become more aware of security and privacy features.
Criminals, shady dealers and anonymous buyers have spend around 1 billion dollars on the dark web this year. On some occasions they spend money on drugs. However, most of the time these criminals pay for malware. This harmful piece of software is good for phishing attacks or to function as ransomware. This type of cybercrime continues to grow.
In April this year a new type of ransomware hit the market. Sodinokibi is a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS). Some people create and update the code, while others take care of the distribution. Earnings are split between these parties. This particular ransomware exploits a code in an Oracle WebLogic server. One hacker made 287 thousand dollars in just three days.
Litecoin popular for phishing mails
The move away from bitcoin isn’t only seen on the dark web. This week web security platform Cofense released a report about the rise of litecoin in the world of phishing emails. Crypto sextortion and phishing scammers are moving away from bitcoin and start using litecoin. They do this to avoid being detected by email filters.
Criminals also use other cryptocurrencies for their phishing emails. When an email filter recognizes a certain address for a crypto currency, they can just switch their currency. That way they can continue their illegal business and keep stealing money of people who simply don’t know any better.
Also published on Medium.