An NFT collector has just been robbed by hackers. Within hours, he lost all of his digital assets, including his cryptocurrencies. He points to an advertisement on Google that hides malware.
NFT God, an influential collector in the market of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), has been hacked. On Twitter, the influencer claims that the whole of him ” Digital Livelihoods » was raped by an unknown assailant:
“Every account connected to me both personally and professionally has been hacked […] All the channels I have with my community, friends and family have been compromised in the last 24 hours. My Twitter, Substack, Gmail, Discord and my wallets have all been invaded”.
Last night my entire digital livelihood was hacked.
Every account connected to me both personally and professionally has been hacked and used to hurt others.
Least important, I lost a life-changing amount of my net worth
— NFT God (@NFT_GOD) January 15, 2023
At the end of the operation, all the assets in his possession have disappeared. The collector managed to get back to the origin of the attack. Apparently, he fell into a crude trap set by cybercriminals using an ad on Google. This advertisement, displayed at the top of the search engine results, convinced him to install software called OBS on his computer. It is a video streaming program open-source.
A very classic trap
Unfortunately, the program contained a malware. Once installed on the machine, the computer virus has sucked up all sensitive data, including identifiers (name and password) and private keys. Thanks to the private keys, the hackers managed to take control of all his digital wallets containing NFTs and cryptocurrencies.
“At that moment I realized that everything was gone. All. All my cryptocurrencies and NFTs have been taken from me”.
Consulting the blockchain we discover in particular that the attackers seized 19 ether, or about 27,000 euros, and an NFT from the Mutant Ape Yacht Club collection. This digital artwork has a value of about $ 25,000, reports CoinTelegraph. Part of the loot was transferred to a little-known decentralized exchange, FixedFloat, and converted into other digital currencies.
At the same time, thieves wanted to use NFT God’s notoriety to fool other Internet users. Tweets forwarded to websites of phishing they were posted using his Twitter account. The collector reacted quickly by deleting the messages. With siphoned access from malware, criminals also attempted to frame NFT God’s 16,000 Substack subscribers. A handful of emails from phishing were directed to them, ruining the reputation of the influencer. Again, the influencer reacted quickly by warning the community about her. In an emergency, he reset all of his passwords, reset his computer, and implemented new security measures.
The victim has committed a classic mistake : Do not go directly to the official site of the software you want to download. Don’t rely on an ad appearing at the top of Google results. Nothing guarantees its authenticity. This precaution allows you to avoid unpleasant surprises and fake software put online by scammers. These traps allow cybercriminals to exploit a program’s popularity to quickly generate profit.
“The first sponsored link I clicked on will definitely be the last”sums up NFT God, aware of his mistake.
Indeed, it is not uncommon for booby-trapped software to make its way across the web. Likewise, it is very common for hackers to display advertisements on the Google search engine to trick their victims. A few months ago, a fake Google Translate application containing a malware spread on the net. This third-party application, targeting Windows computers, harbored a virus designed to mine anonymous cryptocurrencies, such as XMR, without the knowledge of Internet users. Last year, Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, had also warned cryptocurrency investors about the ads on Google. You had also asked the Mountain View giant to take measures to protect Internet users.
Google displays phishing sites when users search for CMC. This affects users who add smart contract addresses to MetaMask using these phishing sites. We are trying to contact Google about this, and in the meantime notifying users of this through social channels. pic.twitter.com/3q4860Jl4H
— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) October 27, 2022
Crypto-crime has increased in 2022
Despite the cryptocurrency crash, cybercriminals continue to prey on digital asset holders. Last year, analytics firm Chainalysis logged an increase in illicit transactions on the blockchain. In the its annual reportthe company specifies that this is the first increase in three years:
“For the first time since 2019, the share of illicit cryptocurrency activity increased from 0.12% in 2021 to 0.24% in 2022.”
Despite the increase, the amount of transactions related to criminal activity remains anecdotal. The vast majority of transfers recorded on the blockchain are made by investors and users. Cryptocurrencies are not just for hackers and scammers.