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Cryptocurrency scammers are targeting iPhone users across three continents through popular dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, cybersecurity firm Sophos Research stated in a recent report. The cybercriminals have not only stolen millions of dollars through this scam, but can also gain access to victims iPhones, the report mentioned.

Sophos Research has discovered “a Bitcoin wallet controlled by the attackers that contains nearly $1.4 million in cryptocurrency, allegedly collected from victims" of the scam that the agency has named CryptoRom. The scam has expanded from targeting people in Asia to those in Europe and the US, it said.

Also Read: Welcome to Britain, the bank scam capital of the world

Explaining the modus operandi behind the scam, Sophos' senior threat researcher Jagadeesh Chandraiah said, “First, the attackers post convincing fake profiles on legitimate dating sites. Once they’ve made contact with a target, the attackers suggest continuing the conversation on a messaging platform. They then try to persuade the target to install and invest in a fake cryptocurrency trading app."

“At first, the returns look very good but if the victim asks for their money back or tries to access the funds, they are refused and the money is lost. Our research shows that the attackers are making millions of dollars with this scam," he added.

In addition to stealing money, the scammers can use the fake cryptocurrency app to even gain access to victims’ iPhones, Sophos found. For this, cybercriminals use ‘Enterprise Signature’, a system for software developers to pre-test new iOS applications with selected iPhone users before they are submitted to the Apple App Store for review and approval.

Using this system, attackers can target larger groups of iPhone users with their fake crypto-trading apps and gain remote management control over their devices, Sophos warned.

Also Read: Got this Flubot malware warning on your Android phone? Beware, it's a trap

Apart from just steal money from victims, attackers could also collect personal data, add and remove accounts, and install and manage apps for other malicious purposes, the firm pointed out.

“Until recently, the criminal operators mainly distributed the fake crypto apps through fake websites that resemble a trusted bank or the Apple App Store. The addition of the iOS enterprise developer system introduces further risk for victims because they could be handing the attackers the rights to their device and the ability to steal their personal data," Chandraiah said.

“To avoid falling victim to these types of scams, iPhone users should only install apps from Apple’s App Store. The golden rule is that if something seems risky or too good to be true – such as someone you barely know telling you about some ‘great’ online investment scheme that will deliver a big profit – then sadly, it probably is," he suggested.

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