Hacker makes hay as rush for cryptocurrency pre-sale soars

Fake cryptocurrency offers on prowl

FILE PHOTO: A coin representing the bitcoin cryptocurrency is seen on computer circuit boards in this illustration picture, October 26, 2017. Reuters

It's similar to any IPO and the rush for cryptocurrency is what yielded a hacker to make $150,000 overnight offering a fake pre-sale. People are tricked to head to a cryptocurrency Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and pay for coins at a fraudulent wallet address.

The cyberattacker timed it to coincide with an ICO or a token sale, designed to raise funds for a "Skype-like voice and video application" which could also take secure payments through the blockchain, news portal Beeping Computer reported.

Users who had signed up for information regarding the ICO sale of Experty started receiving emails with a pre-ICO sale announcement of Experty (EXY) tokens. EXY is an upcoming blockchain-based application that encourages the adoption of cryptocurrency on a global scale.

The users were asked to send money to an Ethereum (a type of cryptocurrency) wallet if they wanted to buy "EXY" tokens and be part of the ICO. The email was fake because the actual Experty ICO was scheduled for January 31. The report claimed that the email was sent by a hacker.

The phishing mails contained spelling and grammatical errors and contained an offer of extra tokens if buyers made their purchase within 12 hours. The trick worked and users transferred 74 Ethereum funds (presently valued at over $150,000 in total) to the fraudulent wallet address mentioned in the mail.

Earlier this month, hackers broke into the digital wallet provider BlackWallet and stole its "Stellar" cryptocurrency worth $400,000. In yet another hacking in December, Slovenian Cryptocurrency mining market NiceHash lost over $60 million in a Bitcoin hack.

Will it open the eyes of greedy cryptocurrency lovers to shun the virtual currency for real?