Fake Bitcoin QR Code Generators Stole $45,000 Throughout March
A network of malicious QR code generators has stolen over $40,000 from Bitcoin (BTC) owners in a month.
In past weeks at least nine fake Bitcoin-to-QR code generators have been identified, with security analyst, Harry Denley, first stating that he had disclosed two domains hosting fake QR code applications on March 22.
Denley later found seven other domains sporting the same interface, which may mean that they are all created by the same developer.
Fake Bitcoin QR code generators steal more than 7 BTC
The malicious programs claim that they will convert a user’s Bitcoin address into a QR code in order to diminish the risk of the user losing their funds as a result of typos when entering or sharing their address. Such service provided by all widely used block explorers and most mobile wallet applications.
However, the QR code created by the malicious programs is always the same address, which diverts the victims’ money to the programs’ developers. The purported QR generators are linked to five different wallets, which have collected over 7 BTC, possibly from the apps’ victims.
The malicious websites are bitcoin-barcode-generator.com, bitcoinaddresstoqrcode.com, bitcoins-qr-code.com, btc-to-qr.com, create-bitcoin-qr-code.com, free-bitcoin-qr-codes.com, freebitcoinqrcodes.com, qr-code-bitcoin.com, and qrcodebtc.com.
“Bitcoin transaction accelerators” collect 17.6 BTC
The websites are hosted by three different servers which together host around 450 other websites devoted to coronavirus, Gmail, and different cryptocurrencies.
Some of the websites claim to be “Bitcoin transaction accelerators,” promising to accelerate Bitcoin transfers in exchange for a 0.001 BTC. The Bitcoin addresses associated with the supposed “accelerators” have accumulated over 17.6 BTC, which translates to around $110,000.
Crypto scams make money on coronavirus-driven fears
Ingenious scammers have benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic — with UK county authorities, the Texas State Securities Board, and the US Commodity Futures Trade Commission publishing warnings about the spread of coronavirus crypto scams over the last week.
Some scammers also tried to pose as the World Health Organization in order to collect donations, and taken the shape of apps claiming to track the spread of coronavirus.