Russian cybercrime forums launch contests for cryptocurrency hacks

Cybercriminals in Russian underground forums have been invited to take part in competitions for hacking cryptocurrency and NFT.

Several Russian underground forums have launched competitions for hacking cryptocurrency schema and Non-fungible token (NFT).

“Over the past month, operators of one of the top Russian-language cybercrime forums have been running a “contest,” calling for the community to submit papers that examine how to target cryptocurrency-related technology.” reads a post published by Intel 471.

Experts discovered an announcement made on April 20, 2021 by the administrators of a hacking forum that inviting participants into proposing new techniques to steal private keys and wallets, devise unusual cryptocurrency mining software, compromise smart contracts and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The forum administrators were offering $100,000 awards to the ‘best’ proposal, and shortly thereafter, another reputable forum member added $15,000 to the prize pool. The submissions were accepted over a 30-days period.

Some of the papers submitted by the members of the forum exploited the manipulation of APIs from popular cryptocurrency-related services or decentralized-file technology to obtain private keys to cryptocurrency wallets. Another paper submitted by another forum member provided details on how to create a phishing website that allowed threat actors to harvest keys to cryptocurrency wallets and their seed phrases.

This type of competition is not uncommon in the cybercrime ecosystem, two popular forums have called for papers on a wide variety of topics, including mobile OS botnets, ATM and POS hacking. Prizes offered by the platforms were up to $10,000 for the “best” research, while administrators awarded any participants with $50.

According to the experts at Intel471, organizations should proactively monitor the cybercrime underground looking for contests like this that demonstrate the increasing interest of crooks in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

“The contest is also an example of how cybercriminals can be more nimble than defenders. Forums not only serve as a marketplace, but also usher in and foster new innovations and cutting edge approaches that do not need to get bureaucratic approval before being used to carry out crimes.” concludes the post.

“Attack surfaces will grow as the technology stack around cryptocurrency and decentralized finance continues to grow.”

Follow me on Twitter: @securityaffairs and Facebook

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, cryptocurrency hack)

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