While exploring the potential online security threats for the upcoming 2021, the Russian-based multinational cybersecurity company Kaspersky predicted a rise in Bitcoin thefts.
Kaspersky researchers also foresee an increase of ransomware threats and more demands to be requested in privacy coins such as Monero instead of BTC.
2021: Bitcoin’s Value Leads To More Bitcoin Theft?
2020 has been a challenging year for many, to say the least. The unexpected COVID-19 outbreak led to shocks among financial markets, people’s health and personal finances, and everyday life as we knew it.
The cryptocurrency industry was not exempt from the effects of the virus, with dramatic price developments and many hacks and thefts. One report from mid-2020 highlighted the rising number of such malicious endeavors that were explicitly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the world expects a working vaccine to protect their health, the Moscow-based cybersecurity giant Kaspersky published a new study predicting that the situation will only worsen next year.
Interestingly, the researchers believe that BTC could be the target of bad actors because of its growing value, as many fiat currencies have been depreciating lately.
“With the pandemic likely to cause a wave of poverty in 2021, and certain economies and local currencies possibly plummeting or crashing, it’s predicted that fraudulent activities targeting Bitcoin will be increasingly attractive to threat actors.”
Despite the aforementioned short-term price drops, Bitcoin is 160% up year-to-date. Apart from attracting institutions and prominent investors, this substantial increase could also make the asset significantly more alluring to fraudsters and hackers.
Replace Bitcoin With Privacy Coins?
The researchers believe that another trend that started in 2020 will continue next year as well.
As CryptoPotato reported previously, the infamous hacker’s group REvil decided to change its primary demand currency from Bitcoin to Monero. The group justified its decision by claiming that BTC transactions are easily spotted on the blockchain. In contrast, the privacy coin Monero, combined with the anonymous browser TOR, makes transactions “completely invisible.”
Although the Kaspersky document outlined that 2021 could see such developments again, it noted that hackers actually convert the Monero tokens into other digital assets:
“Threat actors in this space may switch to other privacy-enhanced currencies, such as Monero, to use these initially as a transition currency, before converting funds to any other cryptocurrency of choice, including BTC.”
Additionally, the paper predicted that ransomware attacks, in which the perpetrators request a demand paid with a cryptocurrency, will increase next year.