BrandShield Systems PLC (LON:BRSD) highlighted the number of suspicious internet domain registrations relating to the meme-inspired cryptocurrency Dogecoin has surged 744% since January following a boom in the value of the digital coin earlier this year.
The cybersecurity group added other popular crypto’s including Bitcoin and Ethereum have also been susceptible to suspicious domain registrations, with 20,000 domains registered as of May this year, a 163% increase compared to the same period last year.
BrandShield said its analysis had also shown that crypto trading platforms were a popular target for cybercrime, noting that Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ:COIN) has seen the largest number of suspicious domain registrations with a 324% increase since January, while fellow exchange Binance has seen the second-largest rise with a 123% increase.
The group added that Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) boss Elon Musk, who is widely credited with popularising Dogecoin by promoting it via tweets earlier this year, had over 205 fraudulent Facebook accounts impersonating him and leveraging his name to defraud individual investors, as well as on other social platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and the Russian social network VK.
BrandShield noted that despite a massive surge in crypto-related cybercrime, little was being done by influencers and brands to prevent the use of their image and reputation to scam investors.
“As cryptocurrency receives more mainstream coverage, investors of all experience levels are flocking to the alternative markets, whether to trade assets for the first time or diversify their investments. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that cybercriminals are following the money and targeting retail investors with both increasing frequency and sophistication through a wide array of fraud schemes”, BrandShield co-founder and chief executive Yoav Keren said in a statement.
“Not only is there a responsibility from these social media firms to address fraud on their platforms, but influencers, brands, and cryptocurrencies also have a duty to protect their fans and eliminate fraud by cybercriminals looking to steal millions in their name”, the CEO added.