The administrator of a Russian-speaking cybercriminals forum organized a contest for the community to share unusual methods of targeting cryptocurrency-related technology.
Forum members had one month to submit their entries and enter a contest that promised more than $ 100,000 in prizes.
Eyes on digital assets
The announcement came on April 20 and called for research papers exploring various ways to steal private keys and cryptocurrency wallets, rare mining software, smart contracts, or non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
In a report today, threat intelligence firm Intel 471 notes that after the administrator’s initial post, another forum member added $ 15,000 to the initial jackpot.
Encouraged by the increasing value of the award, various community members began sharing their work, says Intel 471.
Another user of the forum detailed how to create a phishing site to obtain the keys to the cryptocurrency wallets and the corresponding initial phrases, which are essential to regain access to the digital wallet.
Focusing on cryptocurrencies and associated technology makes sense these days. The rising price of digital currencies and the explosion of the NFT market are too attractive for cybercriminals to pass up.
Like security researchers, cybercriminals also strive to stay on top of their game by updating their methods and techniques or developing new ones.
Several underground forums have sponsored such contests before, and cybercriminal groups even collaborated to gain new insights that could help with their attacks.
Intel 471 says previous calls for documents on two popular cybercriminal forums covered topics ranging from botnets and ATM or point-of-sale fraud to fake GPS signals.
To pique interest, anyone who submitted their paper was promised $ 50, while the “best research” fetched up to $ 10,000.
Ransomware groups like REvil and Lockbit have followed suit, in an effort to find new avenues of attack and increase their profits.
While these contests are nothing new, they show how cybercriminals have taken an entrepreneurial approach to their activity and are also looking for innovative or less common methods to target organizations and get the most out of it.