Social media and email addresses have become vital elements of everyday life in the contemporary world, for both networking and businesses. And now, the two are among the primary avenues targeted by virtual wallet hackers.
According to data compiled by PEW Internet, over 75 percent of adults in the United States use social media, and with data-mining and third-party user behavioral targeting now a reality, the possibilities are immense for cyber-criminals. Just a few days ago, Google’s Director of Product Management, Mark Risher, who is also responsible for the anti-spam and cyber-security side of things on the network, talked about the growing risk of falling victim to cyber-attacks.
He asserted that more people are getting their virtual cryptocurrency wallets hacked than before, noting that such incidences are usually traced back to a social media post that victims made about a topic, or on a public message board. Apparently, cyber-criminals monitor social media activity to determine a user’s interests. The next step would be to find a target’s primary email address.
Hacking into a victim’s primary email account would enable a hacker to gain insight into an individual’s financial accounts and reset passwords to valuable financial and cryptocurrency wallets. Crypto wallets that make it possible to reset one’s password via an email address are especially vulnerable.
One recent high profile case related to this is the hacking of Ian Balina’s cryptocurrency wallet, which led to the loss of $2 million. At the time, Balina, a well-known blockchain and cryptocurrency investor, was live-streaming on YouTube when a fan alerted him to a suspicious crypto transfer from his account.
Although the Youtuber failed to take notice of this right away, he found himself locked out of his Google Sheets account moments later. Balina, later on, revealed via Telegram that his wallet had been hacked.
Google’s Hacking Protection Measures
According to Google’s Mark Risher, its email service sends a security-warning to people it deems at risk of particularly powerful and effective attacks to help them consider implementing additional layers of security. The company has been coming up with innovative security protocols for such users and has an Advanced Protection Program in which clients utilize third-party physical security-keys to mitigate such risks internally.
The tech giant is also working on a phishing-resistant, USB-based solution dubbed Titan that can be integrated with popular browsers, and other online services.