After recent research by cybersecurity experts (source: OODA loop), they found a fake version of the TOR browser in Russia that robbed people out of $40,000 in bitcoin money so far.
While the Tor Browser is liked and used all around the globe, it is especially loved by the Russian public. The reason being the strict internet regulations and tight internet censorship. They often need to access content or make transactions that aren’t possible through their regular internet or browser. That is where the Tor browser and dark web comes in.
What is the dark web?
The dark web is a hidden web area on the internet that is famous for its useful functionality to activists, journalists, whistle-blowers, and often, “hackers”.
While the illegal market on the dark web isn’t much large, it is still there and many people from all over the world like to buy stuff from there using the tor network as safe access to the market.
It should also be noted that every trade on the dark web is not illegal and there are goods that are perfectly legal and normal to buy (such as books, games, and other items) A large number of people buy this stuff using cryptocurrency.
What’s a Tor browser?
Tor browsers were designed and developed to provide safety, anonymity, and privacy to every user online. But as it is with everything else, people decided to use its higher privacy and effective anonymity for bad intentions and started using the Tor browser to be safe from justice agencies.
But while some use it for illegal purposes, a large majority of people (over 3 million) use it to access the dark web and express their views and exchange information safely which is not possible otherwise. These are the people that are often succumbed to scams and phishing techniques when exploring the dark web. This is why the hackers took advantage of the situation and stole $40,000 in bitcoin from these people.
How did it start?
They created two fake websites showing the Russian translation of the official Tor browser. They then promoted the web page aggressively on different social media platforms.
Every user who saw that link thought that it was just a Russian translation of the popular Tor browser software. Eventually, it became a make-believe situation where users were happy that finally, a Russian translation is available by the company for them.
Who did they target?
The hackers or scammers targetted the online buyers specifically who use cryptocurrency to pay for their online transactions. As the cryptocurrency is growing more than ever, more people now use cryptocurrency to pay for their online shopping.
Also, it is not a very good idea to provide your actual credit card or banking details when you are shopping on the dark web. If you aren’t careful enough, you can even end up with your credit card getting hacked or stolen and costing you too much loss.
How did they do it?
When the people started using their fake web browsers to access the dark web, these hackers scammed them by using a different web address. As soon as someone attached their wallet to the website, or tried to pay for a transaction, the address changed to the hacker’s location and the money was transferred to their accounts. The fake version was so similar that no one thought it might be fake or a scam.
Over $40,000 were stolen from Russian users using these fake Tor browser websites., the loss can be much larger than that. The cybersecurity company ESST (source: cyberscoop) also believes that the actual loss can be much large than that.
This isn’t the first time (and certainly won’t be the last) when hackers and scammers have scammed and robbed people out of their money. Not everyone uses Tor Browser to access the dark web and even those who do aren’t looking for any illegal activity.
The bottom line here is that users should also be careful when accessing something like dark web and using their online wallets or giving away their personal information.
You should always double-check when a new link or tool appears, providing you with some unrealistic benefits or incentives. You should always use digital software or apps from a reliable source.
Note: Jetty Apps condemns any fake Tor browser out there and urges its readers and users to be safe and only use software tools from authentic sources. In light of the recent incident, Jetty Apps will be bringing a new update soon that will make it further impossible for the hackers to do anything like that to our users. Our users will always be safe with Jetty Apps.