In the last year, at least $1 billion worth of digital currency was stolen worldwide. The number of extortion cases since the beginning of 2021 has already exceeded 1000. The reason is the rise in the value of digital money and its popularity. The average amount of extortion now is about $250,000, but it can reach $5-10 million. According to analysts, in the future, the number of such crimes will grow.
In 2021, the Binance cryptocurrency exchange recorded more than 5,000 appeals to law enforcement agencies of different countries with complaints of fraud and extortion. This is twice as much as during the same period last year.
According to Alexander Gostev, Chief Technology Expert at Kaspersky Lab, there have been more incidents involving encryption ransomware. The growth is also due to the introduction of legal regulation of digital assets in many countries. For example, since January 1, 2021, cryptocurrency has been assigned the status of the property in Russia. Russians need to declare income from it, and the state will receive taxes on profits from digital assets.
Denis Voskvitsov, director of Exantech blockchain technology company, believes that the increase in the number of frauds related to cryptocurrency is caused by its growing popularity and increasing use in everyday life. Despite the hidden circulation of digital money, in the end, it still needs to be withdrawn into regular currency. And now the state is trying to identify the digital assets of citizens. This provokes people to hide their actions, which is what attackers use.
Vladimir Ulyanov, head of Zecurion Analytics, expects an increase in both the volume of transactions with tokens and crimes with them in Russia and the world. Even services and platforms related to cryptocurrency circulation may face restrictions and blockages, as many tokens are illegal in Russia.