Cryptocurrency users in PH told: Always verify address of Web wallet

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

Cryptocurrency holders and investors in the Philippines, whose number has grown over the past few years, are advised by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab to always verify a Web wallet’s address. The Moscow-based company also warned against following links to an Internet bank or Web wallet.

Kaspersky Lab vice president for public affairs and head of the CEO office Anton Shingarev told Newsbytes.PH that there is a rising incidence of ransomware and he believes this was brought about by the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum.

“Before crypto, it was hard to monetize ransomware,” he explained. “But with the growth of cryptocurrencies, it makes it way easier. It’s not that crypto are a bad thing. They’re amazing. But they are abused by criminals and they use it in their ransomware attacks. And when you pay ransom, you encourage criminals and make the business grow.”

In the Philippines, ransomware posed a serious threat in 2017. According to Kaspersky Lab’s IT Threat Evolution for Q1 2017, the country ranked 8th in the list of countries with the largest number of cryptoware attacks for that period where 0.65% of Filipinos fell victim to ransomware cryptors.

The report was based on Kaspersky Security Network which fuses traditional data protection technologies and the cloud to process cybersecurity information from millions of volunteer participants worldwide.

Shingarev also advised crypto users and investors in the Philippines to create a mnemonic phrase which will come in handy when they lose their cryptowallet or forget their password. Many crypto users keep their wallets on their computers which can be stolen by malware or disappear altogether in case the hard disk crashes. A mnemonic phrase will help them recover their wallet during such instances, said Shingarev who was recently in Manila for a media briefing on the company’s transfer of core processes to Switzerland.

He also suggested using cryptocurrency hardware wallets. Another reminder is to double check a recipient’s address or at least the first and last characters, as well as the amount of cryptocurrency being sent, and the size of the associated fee prior to money transfer.

According to Kaspersky’s blog on November 3, 2017 titled “Problems and Risks of Cryptocurrencies,” loss of money because of a wrong address is closely associated with cryptocurrencies. At that time, Kaspersky researchers discovered a malware which replaced a Web wallet’s address with its own address in the clipboard, thus taking away cryptocurrencies from the wallet.

Lastly, Shingarev spoke against investing more than what one is willing to lose at any given moment. The would be investor should diversify his investments instead, he said, in order to play safe since crypto investing is very risky. Informed decisions are the key, he added.

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