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Bitcoin theft is likely to surge in meager post-COVID economy: report

Cybercriminals may favor a different cryptocurrency in the coming months, however.

Cryptocurrency-related fraud and theft are likely to grow in the post-COVID-19 world, according to a new report by cybersecurity and anti-virus provider, Kaspersky Lab.

Securelist, Kaspersky’s cyberthreat research arm, published a report on cyberthreats to financial organizations, forecasting some specific types of financial attacks that are likely to surge in 2021.

Securelist has predicted that a wave of poverty fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably lead to “more people resorting to crime including cybercrime.” That could also mean a rise in crimes related to Bitcoin (BTC).

According to Kaspersky’s research arm, Bitcoin is likely to be the most attractive asset for cybercrime because it is the most popular digital asset. The report reads:

“We might see certain economies crashing and local currencies plummeting, which would make Bitcoin theft a lot more attractive. We should expect more fraud, targeting mostly BTC, due to this cryptocurrency being the most popular one.”

Securelist’s researchers also suggested that online perpetrators could switch to more privacy-focused digital assets like Monero (XMR). According to the company, this switch would happen due to increasing “technical capabilities of monitoring, deanonymization and seizing of BTC.” Securelist’s post reads:

“ […] We should expect cybercriminals to switch to transit cryptocurrencies for charging victims. There is a reason to believe they might switch to other privacy-enhanced currencies, such as Monero, to use these first as a transition currency and then convert the funds to any other cryptocurrency of choice including BTC.”

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, crypto-related crimes slowed significantly in 2020, though some crypto sectors (like DeFi) have become new hotbeds for criminal activity. According to a report by VPN firm Atlas VPN, crypto and blockchain-related hacks are likely to continue declining in 2021.

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