Beware! Bitcoin fraudsters hacking iPhones via Tinder, Bumble

1 month ago 31

New Delhi: According to a new analysis by cybersecurity firm Sophos Research, cryptocurrency scammers are targeting iPhone users across three continents via popular dating applications such as Tinder and Bumble. As per the research, fraudsters have not only stolen millions of dollars through this scam, but they can also acquire access to victims' iPhones.

Sophos Research uncovered "a Bitcoin wallet owned by the perpetrators containing roughly $1.4 million in cryptocurrency, allegedly collected from victims" of the CryptoRom fraud. According to the report, the hoax has spread from Asia to Europe and the United States.

Sophos' senior threat researcher Jagadeesh Chandraiah explained the scam's operation by saying, “First, the attackers post convincing fake profiles on legitimate dating sites. Once they’ve made contact with a target, the attackers suggest continuing the conversation on a messaging platform. They then try to persuade the target to install and invest in a fake cryptocurrency trading app."

“At first, the returns look very good but if the victim asks for their money back or tries to access the funds, they are refused and the money is lost. Our research shows that the attackers are making millions of dollars with this scam," he added.

According to Sophos, scammers can use the bogus cryptocurrency software to obtain access to victims' iPhones in addition to taking money. Cybercriminals do this by utilising 'Enterprise Signature,' a method that allows software developers to pre-test new iOS programmes with chosen iPhone users before submitting them to the Apple App Store for review and approval.

Using this system, attackers can target larger groups of iPhone users with their fake crypto-trading apps and gain remote management control over their devices, Sophos warned.

Apart from just steal money from victims, attackers could also collect personal data, add and remove accounts, and install and manage apps for other malicious purposes, the firm pointed out.

“Until recently, the criminal operators mainly distributed the fake crypto apps through fake websites that resemble a trusted bank or the Apple App Store. The addition of the iOS enterprise developer system introduces further risk for victims because they could be handing the attackers the rights to their device and the ability to steal their personal data," Chandraiah said.

“To avoid falling victim to these types of scams, iPhone users should only install apps from Apple’s App Store. The golden rule is that if something seems risky or too good to be true – such as someone you barely know telling you about some ‘great’ online investment scheme that will deliver a big profit – then sadly, it probably is," he suggested.

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