In Russia-Ukraine Crisis, Cybercriminals See New Opportunities
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its second week, cybercriminals have already found ways to exploit the crisis.
Avast a group which focuses on cybersecurity and digital privacy rights, dozens of phishing scams have popped up attempting to capitalize on the conflict.According to
“As cybercriminals seek to take advantage of the chaos, we have tracked in the last 48 hours a number of scammers who are tricking people out of money by pretending they are Ukrainians in desperate need of financial help,” Avast reported.
Often the scammers ask for bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
One scam, identified by the security research lab ESET, purported to have already created its own new pro-Ukraine currency, “UkraineTokens.”
“Cybercriminals have no shame. With no humanitarian organization and only generic purpose mentioned, scammers try to lure out money from people trying to help Ukraine during the war,” ESET tweeted about the scam.
According to USA Today, another updated scam is a variation on the classic “grandparent scam,” where scammers target vulnerable marks by impersonating family members and claiming to need money because they are in danger. In this version of the scam, the scammer claims that they are trapped in Russia or war-torn Ukraine.
Cybercrime has exploded over the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. As lives have moved increasingly online, cybercrime has become lucrative for both new and established criminal enterprises. The desperation brought on by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is only the latest cash cow for them to exploit.
Though the source of the scams is unknown and may be varied, Russia itself has long been a major hub for cybercriminals, according to a recent analysis by Barrons.
“For Russian cyber criminals, hacking is a profitable business with billions of dollars in revenue. Like any business, they are guided by expected returns and opportunity costs,” it said.