Researchers identify fake apps in Google and Apple that invite o invest in cryptocurrencies

Specialists from the security company Sophos have spent two years collecting data from fraudulent applications that encourage victims to invest in cryptocurrencies

A group of researchers has identified different applications available through the App Store and Play Store that carry out a social engineering attack by which they encourage their victims to invest in cryptocurrencies.

Security-focused software and hardware company Sophos has reported that for the past two years it has investigated a series of services that combine financial applications and fake web pages to trap victims and steal their money.

In this time, researchers have found applications, available in both the official Apple and Google stores, that have managed to circumvent their security measures to perpetrate social engineering cyberattacks known as CryptoRom.

CryptoRom, also known as ‘slaughtering pigs’, is an attack method that consists of intercepting victims through dating applications such as Facebook Dating or Tinder, and with which cybercriminals seek to establish a relationship of trust with those affected.

Once interest has been generated in these people, the threat actors request to continue the conversation outside of these platforms and move it to WhatsApp, where they are encouraged to download this application.

First, investigators tracked down a victim living in Switzerland. The cybercriminals managed to trick her by using a fake profile of a woman allegedly from London.

This included images of upscale restaurants, high-end brand stores, and expensive destinations, as well as professional-looking selfies. To give continuity to the profile, publications related to current affairs were shared, such as the death of Queen Elizabeth II of England, and they also began to follow official accounts of different brands.

When they established communication via WhatsApp, the scammers encouraged the victim to invest in cryptocurrency together and sent him a link to the fake app. Once a small amount of money was invested and several profits reported, the victim was informed that the account had been blocked when they wanted to withdraw larger amounts of cryptocurrency.

After access to the account was limited, the user received a message urging him to pay a 20 % commission on the total money invested to access it.


Cyberattacks through fraudulent apps


Sophos has indicated that, in the second instance, another victim went through the same fraudulent method, with the difference that they contacted the hackers through Tinder, and that they lost around $4,000 (about 3,640 euros) as a result of said scam.

Sophos has insisted that both Apple and Google have withdrawn these applications, identified as Ace Pro in the case of the App Store and MBM_BitScan, in this and also in the Play Store, from their official stores after informing them of the results of this investigation.

Source: dpa

(Reference image source: Brett Jordan, Unsplash)

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