Cybersecurity services provider Kaspersky has released a report on risks associated with cryptocurrency use. The report titled “Crypto Threats 2023” focused on the United States and uncovered some surprisingly poor user security habits.
Kaspersky surveyed 2,000 American adults in October 2022 and found that 24% of respondents overall owned cryptocurrency or digital assets. Ownership ranged from 36% in the 25–44 age category to 10% among those aged 55 or older.
A third of the crypto owners surveyed reported having crypto stolen, and an equal portion reported being victims of scams. Identity theft, theft of payment details and loss of account access led the list of scam consequences.
The average value of assets stolen was $97,583. The median figure would be much lower, however, since only 29% of thefts were valued above $10,000, and 39% were valued at $1,000 or less. Here, too, there was a sharp differentiation by age, with 47% of those ages 18–24 reporting thefts of crypto, compared to 8% of those over 55. The report did not specify the average value of crypto holdings.
Lax security might account for many of the losses experienced by respondents. The survey found that crypto owners last checked on their crypto six weeks ago, and their accounts have minimal protection:
“27% of users keep their crypto stored in an exchange account with no added protection, while only 34% use multi-factor authentication to protect their account.”
10% of respondents reported making no effort to protect their crypto, and 14% claimed not to store seed phrases or private keys. The report concluded:
“Without any regulation or established common knowledge, people need to take care to protect themselves.”
Kaspersky said in an earlier report that users were becoming more sophisticated in spotting scams and that the use of Bitcoin (BTC) in ransomware attacks would fall as regulation and tracking methods improved. It warned in a previous report that exploitation risks are rising in the metaverse.