NFT Influencer Is New Victim of Google Ads Malware

UTC by Sanaa Sharma · 3 min read
NFT Influencer Is New Victim of Google Ads Malware
Photo: Unsplash

Alex, in their series of tweets, claims to have made a crucial mistake that enabled attackers to use their wallet.

A non-fungible token influencer, called NFT God, has apparently lost a significant amount of its net worth in NFTs and crypto following a wrongful download of hostile software found through Google Ads search results. According to the Twitter user called “NFT God”, their entire virtual livelihood was caught in an ambush that also attacked their crypto wallet and other related accounts.

NFT God, who also goes by the name Alex, said that they used Google’s search engine to download OBS, an open-source video streaming software. However, instead of selecting the link via the official website, they clicked the sponsored advertisement for what seemingly looked like the same thing.

However, a few hours later, following a series of phishing tweets sent out by the hackers on two Twitter accounts owned by Alex, they acknowledged the malicious software in their hardware from the sponsored advertisement that had caused unwanted activities.

After a message from some known entity, Alex also realized that their crypto wallet was robbed. The following day, hackers attacked their Substack account and forwarded phishing emails to the sixteen thousand subscribers following Alex.

Blockchain data reflects a loss worth nearly $27000 at the time, a Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) NFT with a present floor price of 16 ETH (around twenty-five thousand USD), and several other NFTs that were stolen from Alex’s wallet. The attacker transferred most of the ETH through several wallets before sending it to the decentralized exchange (DEX) FixedFloat, where it was exchanged for some other unidentified cryptocurrencies.

Alex, in their series of tweets, claims to have made a crucial mistake that enabled attackers to use their wallet, which allowed them to install his hardware wallet as a hot wallet by jotting its seed phrase in a manner that would not keep it cold (or offline). This allowed the cyberpunks to take control of their crypto assets and NFTs.

The news is a sad reminder of how vulnerable one’s asset in the crypto world is, as this is not the first time the community has had to struggle with crypto-stealing malware in Google Ads. A recent January 12 report from Cybersecurity firm Cyble cautioned users of an information-stealing malicious virus called “Rhadamanthys Stealer” that has been circulating via Google Ads on a phishing webpage, which doesn’t look any different.

In October last year, Binance Chief Executive Officer Changpeng “CZ” Zhao forewarned that Google search results were influencing crypto phishing and scamming websites. While Google did not immediately reply to this allegation, it did announce in a help center that the company was persistently working with veteran advertisers and associates to aid in the prevention of malware.

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