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What is the dusting attack and how does it affect cryptocurrency users?

Cybercriminals identify users to later use that information in other attacks such as phishing

The market of cryptocurrencies in Latin America has experienced significant growth, especially in Argentinaa country in which, according to the co-founder of Platzi, Christian Van Der Henst, it is not necessary to explain the importance of digital tokens and where there is talent to exploit.

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However, virtual currencies are no stranger to problems cybersecurity either cyber attacks orchestrated by cybercriminals. They are actually vulnerable to these hazards and therefore need to be aware of existing risks.

In the case of ESET, the company cybersecuritya report has been issued warning of a new type of risk that could affect people who keep savings or have money invested in cryptocurrencies.

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The dusting attack o “dust attack” refers to a type of attack directed at virtual wallets and that it has the objective of revealing its identitysince an important aspect of cryptocurrencies is the anonymity that it offers to users.

Once the identity of the owner of that wallet is exposed, the cybercriminals they will have the possibility to carry out attacks in other ways, so that the risk does not end in the short term, but the victim becomes an important point of attacks recurring.

The dusting attack targets virtual wallets with the aim of revealing their identity and attacking users with other methods. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File
The dusting attack targets virtual wallets with the aim of revealing their identity and attacking users with other methods. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File
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This modality receives the name of “dust” (powder) because the cybercriminal responsible for them performs transactions small and imperceptible to the owner of the cryptocurrency wallet. It is due to these movements that criminals can identify users and generate other violations to their privacy.

The “dust” is known as a virtual residue that is produced after carrying out transactions between two wallets, most of which have a minimum value of 0.00000547 BTC in the case of Bitcoin and what it represents 10 centsa minimum amount of the real value of a virtual currency.

These attacks have identified three stages, according to the research team of the security company. cybersecurity.

Recognition: In which criminals generate a list of people or users who you intend to attack. It usually also includes targets with large amounts of cryptocurrencies which you can attack progressively until you get a small but considerable amount of coins.

Execution: At this stage the dusting attack since the attackers can make a detailed analysis of the information and data that they can obtain from the wallet.

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The attack using the dusting attack method has three phases: reconnaissance, execution and revenue. In all of them the privacy of the user is at risk. EFE/Oskar Burgos/File
The attack using the dusting attack method has three phases: reconnaissance, execution and revenue. In all of them the privacy of the user is at risk. EFE/Oskar Burgos/File

Revenue: Once the person who owns a property has been identified, virtual walletattackers have a chance to use that informationin addition to another of a private nature product of the previous stage, to carry out other types of attacks such as phishing and others that are intended to violate the security of the accounts access and other services.

According to Martina López, Computer Security Researcher at ESET Latin America, in addition to the aforementioned consequences, “there is the possibility that the wallet of the victim is marked as spam or potentially malicious by those who administer it, which could result in another unintended consequence for the victim: the loss of their crypto assets”.

As part of some preventive measures that users must take is the care of personal data, since the cybercriminals can access them. Information such as personal emails, phone numbers telephonefull names and documents are some of the data most sought after by cybercriminals.

In addition, it is good to always be aware of the transactions that occur in the virtual walletsso if any that are suspicious are detected, they can be reported quickly.

It is also useful to use wallet services that have protections against these attacks, such as Samurai Y wasabitwo wallets created with the aim of strongly anonymizing the entire cryptocurrency exchange process.

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