INTERNET security company Kaspersky expects a larger wave of attacks on cryptocurrency businesses this year, as well as cybercriminals targeting the growing non-fungible token (NFT) industry.

“By observing the ​cutting-edge attackers with large human resources, such as Lazarus group and its sub-group, BlueNoroff, Kaspersky researchers concluded that we shall expect an even more significant wave of attacks on cryptocurrency businesses,” Kaspersky said in an e-mailed statement on Monday.

Cybercriminals will also be targeting the NFT industry, it said.

“This is due to the fact that countries in SEA are leading in terms of NFT ownership, with the Philippines topping the list at 32% saying they own such digital assets,” the company said.

NFTs are non-interchangeable digital tokens that contain data proving ownership of items, mostly related to art, audio, video, and the like. 

The popularity of NFTs in the Philippines is mainly from in-game assets gained in play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity.

“From direct attacks on employees of cryptocurrency startups and exchanges through sophisticated social engineering, software exploits, and even fake suppliers to mass attacks via supply-chain software or its components (i.e., third-party code libraries) — we will see an increase of such cases,” said Vitaly Kamluk, director of Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT) for Asia-Pacific at Kaspersky.

“Additionally, we should see more incidents of NFT property theft in the coming years. Being a totally new area, this will cause a deficit in skilled police investigators that will result in an initial surge of such attacks,” he added.

Kaspersky said that such attacks “will not only have an effect on the global cryptocurrency markets but also the share price of individual companies, which will also be monetized by the attackers via stock market illegal insights trading.”

Australian independent information service Finder has said it expects further NFT adoption in the Philippines, with 9.5% of Filipinos surveyed previously saying they plan to own NFTs in the future. — Arjay L. Balinbin