What is a dust attack?
It is important to use the internet safely. After all, it is common for people to be scammed or robbed online. Criminals are becoming more and more innovative, so it is sometimes difficult to tell if something is real, or if it is a scam.
With the increasing popularity of crypto, more and more money is going into this market. Unfortunately, this has also attracted criminals. One of the methods they use to make victims is the dust attack. In this article we explain to you what a dust attack is, and what you can do to prevent becoming a victim of this type of theft.
What is dust?
Dust is a small amount of cryptocurrency. This amount is so small that it is actually not even usable. This is because the transaction costs are often higher than the value of these cryptocurrencies.
Many people have dust in their crypto wallet
, especially when this wallet has already been used several times to execute a trade. When executing a transaction, there will always be a small amount of cryptocurrency left behind in the wallet.
In most cases you won't even notice that there is dust in your wallet. Over time the amount of dust will gradually increase.
How does a dust attack work?
Hackers can perform a dust attack to steal cryptocurrency from victims. Hackers do this by sending small amounts of cryptocurrencies to the victim's wallet. As mentioned earlier, most people often do not know that they keep dust in their wallet. Because there is often a lot of dust in a wallet, it is not noticeable that someone has sent small amounts of cryptocurrency.
These hackers don't send the dust to one address. Instead, they send it to dozens, if not hundreds, of different addresses. After they send the dust, they monitor the wallet addresses of the potential victims. They want to know if these cryptocurrencies are being sent to another wallet, which may also be owned by the victim.
Because the blockchain
is public and transparent, anyone can see what transactions are being made through the blockchain explorer. This has the disadvantage that it allows the hackers to map out which wallets are all owned by the victim. They use this information for the next step of this hack.
Hackers will then send multiple phishing messages with a link that has malware behind it. This malware is created for the wallets that the victims own. In fact, by monitoring the wallets, the hackers have found out what type of wallets are owned by the victim.
If the victim clicks on one of these links, the hackers can steal all the cryptocurrencies contained in these wallets.
What kind of links with malware?
Of course, the hackers cannot tell which email address belongs to the victim via the block explorer. Therefore, they often send the links along with the transactions. This is accompanied by a convincing text. For example, they indicate that you can claim free crypto currency by going to the link provided in the description.
When you do this, malware is automatically downloaded that can access your wallet. This way, the hackers can steal the crypto coins and tokens from your wallet without you noticing.
How can you prevent a dust attack?
Despite the fact that hackers are always coming up with new innovative ways to successfully execute a dust attack, there are several things you can do to prevent a dust attack.
Never send dust to another wallet address
When you notice that you have received crypto from someone while you didn't expect it, you better not send it to one of your other wallets. If you do, hackers will know what kind of wallets you use, and it will be easier for them to carry out the attack.
Never click on an unknown link
Generally speaking, it's never wise to click on a link you don't know or don't trust. It often happens that people download malware by clicking on an unknown link. You don't realize at the time that the malware has been downloaded, so an attack can come from an unexpected source.
Not only do hackers use this method for the dust attack. This way hackers can also steal normal banking, credit card and personal data.
Never download an unknown file
Maybe you have ever received an email from a sender you don't know that contained a file. It is important to never download such files, because there is a chance that it is a virus. This virus could then steal crypto from your wallet. It is also possible that it could steal normal bank, credit card and personal data.
Dust is a small amount of cryptocurrencies that almost everyone has in their crypto wallet. However, this amount is so small that you often don't even realize you have it. Hackers take advantage of this by sending small amounts of cryptocurrencies to potential victims. When they then transfer this cryptocurrency to another wallet, they have mapped out what type of wallet this person is using.
It then becomes easier for the hackers to carry out a targeted attack on the wallet. Should this person click on the link they send along in the transaction, malware is downloaded which then sends the private and public keys to the hackers, after which they can steal the cryptocurrencies from the victim's wallet.
You can protect yourself from a dust attack by not transferring dust you have received to another wallet. The most important thing you can do to avoid becoming a victim is to never click on an unknown link, and never download an unknown file.