Cybersecurity specialist Kaspersky foresees a rise in crypto crime ahead as the COVID-19 epidemic hits national economies.
In a on financial threats for 2021, based on data and patterns from this year the company said Monday that attacks aimed at stealing will “become more attractive as many nations plummet into poverty as a result of the pandemic.”
The compounding factor of weakening local currencies amid the crisis will also drive people to cybercrime, leading to more bitcoin fraud as well as theft, the firm predicted. It said the focus would be on bitcoin because it is “the most widespread cryptocurrency.”
In a change of tactic, Kaspersky also sees online criminals moving away from bitcoin when demanding ransoms or payments from victims. The use of “transition currencies” with privacy-enhancing features, such as , will see greater use as a way to hide criminals’ tracks, the firm said, and will be later converted to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
This shift is being driven governments’ improved crypto sleuthing capabilities when it comes to monitoring, deanonymizing and seizing crypto accounts, per the report. The firm cites the recent worth over $1 billion by the U.S. Justice Department from a Silk Road-linked account.