Scammers Are Targeting Naive Bitcoin Owners With Terribly Simple Trick

PSA: don’t give anyone your Bitcoin private key.

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Sep 6 2017, 1:00pm

Image: Goami/Shutterstock

With Bitcoin nearing a valuation of $4,500 scammers are trying all kinds of tricks to steal people's valuable cryptocurrencies, including just asking people to give them away.

The cybersecurity research group MalwareHunterTeam spotted a new simple scam: an app that promises naive Bitcoin-owners to double their cryptocurrency balance if they provide their Bitcoin wallet's private key. Of course, the private key is all one needs to take control of that wallet and steal the bitcoins.

Read more: How to Build an Ethereum Mining Rig

Despite the rudimentary, almost offensive nature of this scam, "no doubt, some people will still far for it," the researcher behind MalwareHunterTeam's Twitter account told Motherboard in a direct message.

It's impossible to know how many people—if any—have fallen for this, but given how popular Bitcoin has become and how tempting this might sound for people hoping to make a quick cryptobuck, we can't rule out that no one will fall for it. For now, most antivirus programs don't seem to detect this app as malicious, according to Virus Total, an online malware repository that tests malicious files with several antivirus engines. In any case, according to MalwareHunterTeam, the app actually doesn't do anything other than ask for the keys. It doesn't infect the target with a virus nor attempts any other malicious attack.

If you come across this malware scam, do not give up your private key. There's a reason it's called private.

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