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Security & privacy

These fake apps are stealing money from first-time cryptocurrency buyers

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have been around for some time, and many have been able to cash in on the craze. As the price of each unit increases, it naturally creates an interest in the currency which was unheard of about 15 years ago.

Bitcoin has become one of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world. If you don’t know where to begin, tap or click here for five tips for buying cryptocurrency the safe way. As with most popular online activities, scammers are now looking to fleece would-be investors.

Looking at stock charts and predicting the market is a good way to speculate future values. But if you are new to investing, you could be better off looking for help. This is where cybercriminals are lurking, ready to give you ill advice for them to profit on.

Here’s the backstory

A network of malicious iOS and Android apps that utilize the same server has been discovered. They steal funds from anyone who downloads and uses the apps. As many as 150 have been identified.

Security firm Sophos revealed that the malicious apps have the same design elements and redirect to the same fake customer support center. This is pointing the finger at a sophisticated criminal syndicate with incredible knowledge of the markets.

“These fraudulent applications are aimed at exploiting the increased interest in trading apps, driven by the recent significant rise in the value of cryptocurrencies and interest in low-cost or free stock trading driven by stories like that of the recent social-media-driven speculation in GameStop stock,” Sophos explained in a blog post.

The scam lures potential victims into downloading fake versions of banking or trading apps from an equally fake Apple App Store. Thinking it is the real App Store, downloading any app from there triggers a redirect to a fake banking website.

None the wiser, victims are instructed to enter their financial details if they want to transact or buy more cryptocurrency. With all the pages and apps being fraudulent, the victim isn’t legally transacting. They’re just handing over sensitive financial information, and the criminals block access when victims return to withdraw funds.

How to stay safe

Cryptocurrency trading and investing can be a difficult endeavor for even seasoned traders. But there are some ways that you can protect your money and your personal details.

  • Avoid third-party app stores: Make sure that you only download apps from the official app stores.
  • Stick with the pros: Don’t blindly trust someone when they tip you off to a “new” or “better” investing or trading app.
  • Research first: Do your research before spending any money, especially if you choose to go through an unfamiliar company.
  • Only download trusted apps: Verify that an app is produced by trusted developers and read reviews about the company and applications.
  • Keep your device updated: Always make sure that your operating system and antivirus software is updated.

Keep reading

Want to buy cryptocurrency? What you need to know first

What happens when you invest your life savings in Bitcoin?

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