People need to rethink before bragging about owning a lot of bitcoin in a public forum, as this might give way for scammers to target them, says a Google executive, who fights email frauds and abuses.
Speaking to CNBC, Mark Risher said that there has been an increase in attacks against people who hold cryptocurrencies in wallets. Boasting about owing bitcoin in public message boards can be quickly followed by criminal activities on their mail accounts, he said.
“It could just be a case of mistaken identity or guilt by association,” Risher stated. According to him, scammers are having a track of people’s personal social media posts and other sources before targeting them as victims to email scams.
“They could be using someone who seems to be low value to pivot toward somebody considered a higher value target, like somebody political in nature. Or maybe they saw that you were discussing Bitcoin on a public message board.”
Such messages or posts can give way to attackers to break into their email account and do a password reset on their cryptocurrency digital wallets linked to that email.
Risher oversees Google’s email fraud and protects its properties against cyberattacks. He said that few cryptocurrency wallets allow users to reset their passwords using their email, which allows attackers to open wallets using the reset link in the mail and loot cryptocurrencies.
Stating about a decade old “Nigerian Prince” scam, he said that it is not fair to associate that with the criminals today. The personal messages that we could receive from friends or family, often give way to new email attackers.
“You might think of this generic ‘Dear Sir or Madam, I am contacting you to ask you for a favor,’ but the truth is many of these attackers have done some serious research on their victims. So you might get what we call ‘social truth’ in your message,” he added.
As the amount of data we share increases, we tend to forget that the information shared does not disappear from the internet and thus “our data is all over the place”, he added.
Risher further said that such scams can be minimized if all the email addresses associated with financial accounts and cryptocurrency wallets are noted, keeping in mind the security associated with such financial addresses. Also, limiting the amount of sharing personal info regarding the cryptocurrency wallet or financial accounts on social media, can curb such crimes, he said.