China Crypto Crackdown

Financial regulators in China appear set to crack down on cryptocurrency trading again after President Xi Jinping’s praise for blockchain technology revived speculation in the sector.

Regulators in each district of Shanghai must search and inspect local crypto exchange-related services before Nov. 22 and report to the central bank for further actions, according to an official notice signed by the Shanghai Internet Finance Rectification Agency and the Shanghai Bureau of the People’s Bank of China.

The notice emerged online on Friday. Chinese business publication Caixin confirmed its authenticity in a report published later that evening. The effort is led by the Shanghai government’s finance bureau, Caixin said.

The move underscores China’s complicated relationship with emerging decentralized technologies. In his speech earlier this month, President Xi called on his countrymen to “accelerate the development of blockchain technology,” and China has long been a favored location for bitcoin miners. On the other hand, the government banned crypto-to-fiat trading and initial coin offerings (ICOs) two years ago, near the height of the bubble. Crypto-to-crypto trading remained accessible.

According to the notice, regulators in each district of Shanghai are required to look for any entity that is organizing virtual currency trading activities inside China, or ICOs using a blockchain.

Promotional and brokerage services inside China for ICO projects that are registered outside of the country also fall under the inspection scope of the local financial regulators.

Caixin said speculation on crypto has reemerged in China following President Xi’s speech earlier this month.

Social media ban

Meanwhile, China’s social media platform Weibo has banned users from publishing any posts that contain “blockchain” and “crypto trading” at the same time.

Such content “contains information that violates related laws and regulation or Weibo’s community terms,” according to the message that pops up when a user tries to mention both terms. It is not clear when the restriction was put into place, and as of Friday, it was still possible to publish the phrase “crypto trading” or “blockchain,” just not together.

The Shanghai government’s notice also comes at a time when some exchanges are expanding their local presence to tap into the Chinese market.

Binance, which has a dedicated team in Shanghai, recently rolled out peer-to-peer trading on its platform that enables users to buy or sell cryptocurrencies using Chinese yuan through bank wires, AliPay or WeChat.

On Nov. 14, Binance’s official Weibo account was abruptly suspended by the social media platform for “being complained [about] for violating laws and regulations.”

The exchange said that the suspension was due to a “malicious report” filed by some users to the social media platform and it’s appealing to Weibo to reopen the account. Similarly, the official Weibo account of blockchain project Tron was suspended on Nov. 15.

A few weeks ago, a little-known Beijing-based cryptocurrency exchange called Biss, which claims to offer a channel for Chinese investors to buy U.S. stocks using cryptocurrency, was reportedly under investigation by local police. The exchange said in an announcement on Nov. 4 that some of BISS’ operational staff are “actively assisting the investigation by authorities.”

Chinese flag image via Shutterstock

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/china-is-poised-for-another-crypto-trading-crackdown-as-speculation-returns

Wells Fargo First Blockchain Platform

Wells Fargo stated that the platform, Wells Fargo Digital Cash, can move money in “near real-time” and “without impact to the underlying account, transaction postings or reconcilement infrastructure.”

This is the first blockchain platform for the company.

 

U.S.-based financial giant Wells Fargo is developing a U.S. dollar-linked stablecoin that will run on the firm’s first blockchain platform.

Dubbed Wells Fargo Digital Cash, the tokenized dollar will be used in a pilot initially for internal settlement across the company’s business.

The firm said in a press release on Tuesday that the digital token will enable to settle internal cross-border payments across its global network. Its international locations will also be able to move funds between each other using the token.

As banking services become increasingly digital, Wells Fargo sees “a growing demand to further reduce friction regarding traditional borders, and today’s technology puts us in a strong position to do that,” said Lisa Frazier, head of the Innovation Group at the company.

Wells Fargo says its proprietary digital ledger tech (DLT) platform will enable it to move money in “near real-time” and “without impact to the underlying account, transaction postings or reconcilement infrastructure.”

It will also allow the firm’s international locations to move funds outside normal operating hours, remove the need for third-party payment intermediaries and cut the time and costs associated with such transactions.

R3’s tech

When contacted by CoinDesk, Wells said its DLT is built on Corda Enterprise, the paid-for enterprise version of R3’s blockchain technology.

“R3 Corda Enterprise was designed by and for financial institutions. It is a distributed ledger solution that allows for appropriate data confidentiality controls, scales to bank transaction volumes and throughput, and supports an information security design that is compatible with Wells Fargo’s industry regulated standards,” said bank spokesman Roger Cabrera.

Obvious parallels can be drawn between what Wells Fargo is testing out and JPMorgan’s JPM Coin and its Interbank Information Network (IIN) which this week added Deutsche Bank to the 300-plus other banks on that network.

This raises the (at times uncomfortable) question of interoperability since the JPM’s interbank payment system and coin are all built on Quorum, the private version of ethereum the bank has open-sourced. Corda and Quorum do not talk to each other.

When asked about this, Cabrera said:

Timeline

The pilot, slated for next year, will start with transfers of U.S. dollars, but is expected to expand to other currencies. Eventually, it also aims to reach all Wells Fargo branches worldwide.

Frazier said:

Wells Fargo has previously launched other blockchain projects, including a banking prototype and a trade finance platform aimed at the cotton market. It’s also invested in blockchain finance startup Axoni.

Over and above internal settlement, the firm says it plans to use its DLT platform for “multiple” other applications.

 

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/wells-fargo-to-pilot-dollar-linked-crypto-for-internal-settlement

Will Bitcoin Move?

With Bitcoin hitting a 5-month low, there is speculation that there will soon be a huge move with the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin’s price volatility, as represented by Bollinger bandwidth, has hit the lowest level since May 3, and is closing on a level seen ahead of violent price swings in the past.

 

Bitcoin’s volatility has hit its lowest level in over four months – a price squeeze that may force a significant move either way.

BTC’s bull run stalled at highs above $13,800 on June 26 and prices have created lower highs and higher lows ever since.

Notably, the trading range has narrowed sharply over the last two weeks, with bitcoin consolidating between $9,850 and 10,950, as per Bitstamp data.

As a result, the Bollinger bands – volatility indicators placed 2 standard deviations above and below the price’s 20-day moving average – have narrowed sharply.

More importantly, Bollinger bandwidth, an indicator used to gauge market volatility, has dropped to 0.11 – the lowest reading since May. 3, as seen in the chart below.

Bollinger Bandwidth

The volatility level has dropped steadily from 0.62 to lows near 0.10 in the 2.5-months.

In the past, BTC has witnessed big moves following drops to or below 0.10 (marked by arrows).

For instance, the bandwidth dropped to 0.06 a week before BTC broke into a bull market with a high-volume move to $5,000 on April 2. It also fell to 0.10 on May 2 – a day before BTC jumped above $5,600, marking an upside break of a three-week-long consolidation. And, in the days leading up to last November’s sell-off below $6,000, volatility dropped to 0.05.

If history is a guide, then BTC could soon witness a big move on either side. Technical analysis theory also states than an extended period of low volatility is often followed by a big move.

While the record high hash rate (miner confidence) is calling a bullish move, the technical charts are beginning to favor the bears.

As of writing, BTC is changing hands at $10,170 on Bitstamp, representing little change on a 24-hour basis.

Daily chart

Bitcoin jumped 2.6 percent on Sept. 12, confirming an upside break of a falling wedge pattern. The bullish breakout, however, failed to draw bids and the cryptocurrency has ended up creating another lower high at $10,458 (Sept. 13 high).

With the failed breakout, the bearish view put forward by Sept. 6’s big red engulfing candle has gained credence.

BTC risks falling back to the Sept. 11 low of $9,855 in the short-term. A violation there would open the doors for $9,320 (Aug. 29 low).

A few observers are calling for a deeper drop to levels below $8,000. That possibility cannot be ruled out as the cryptocurrency is looking heavy on the longer duration charts.

Monthly and weekly charts

The back-to-back inside bar candlestick patterns on the monthly chart (above left) indicate buyer exhaustion following a stellar rally from $4,000 to $13,880.

A bearish “inside bar” reversal would be confirmed if prices close (UTC) below $9,049 – the low of the first inside bar created in July – on Sept. 30.

Further, a negative reading on the weekly moving average convergence divergence (MACD) indicates scope for a deeper pullback.

The bearish case would weaken if prices rise above $10,956 (Aug. 20 high), invalidating the lower highs setup on the daily chart.

That said, a weekly close (Sunday, UTC) above $12,000 is needed for bull revival, as discussed last month.

Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing.

Bitcoin image via Shutterstock; charts by Trading View

 

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-may-be-building-for-big-move-as-price-volatility-hits-4-5-month-low

$3.1 Billion Stole from Crypto Investors So Far in 2019

$3.1 billion in cryptocurrency has been stolen thus far in 2019. The crime has made a large amount of money last quarter although it is still less than the previous quarter. The cybercrime against exchanges has reached an exponential amount.

 

Cryptocurrency crime made good money last quarter, although less than in the first quarter of 2019.

Cybercrime against exchanges amounted to $125 million in Q2 compared to $356 million in Q1, according to an initial release of CipherTrace’s Q2 2019 Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering Report. Aggregate crypto losses reached $4.3 billion this year on the back of one particular exit scam, “Plus Token.”

Given that CipherTrace’s price estimations are set at the time of initial reporting, current valuations would be much higher.

Included within Q1 is the QuadrigaCX exchange collapse which CipherTrace labelled an exit scam. Investors lost $195 million.

CipherTrace further claims 2019 may be the “Year of the Exit Scam,” with $3.1 billion stolen through exits and another $874 million in misappropriated funds. These numbers, CipherTrace notes, are only preliminary with numerous other allegations under investigation.

An unconfirmed exit scam by South Korean exchange and pyramid scheme Plus Token is included in the estimates. Investors are suspected to have lost as much as $2.9 billion. The details around the exit scam have yet to be established, however.

In total, investors, users, and exchanges have lost almost $4.3 billion from illicit activity year to date.

CipherTrace notes that illicit funds will soon come under more intense scrutiny following the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) recent Travel Rule. The rules mandate personal information for both the sender and receiver of funds for transfers over $1,000.

 

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/exit-scams-swindled-3-1-billion-from-crypto-investors-in-2019-report

Crypto Spending on Real Estate 2019

BitPay has connected with yet another firm, a luxury condominium complex in Orlando, Florida. There has been a huge jump in different real estate companies accepting cryptocurrency transactions. If this trend continues, 2019 will see astonishing growth with cryptocurrency in the real estate market.

A luxury condominium complex in Orlando, Florida, is the latest firm to partner with BitPay to provide bitcoin payment processing for real estate transactions.

Announced August 6, the Grove Resort & Water Park will accept bitcoin for purchases of their 878 resort-style condo residences. Yet, the relatively small update hides a larger story – BitPay is becoming somewhat of an established name in the real estate market.

In 2017, the company processed nearly $20 million in real estate development and real estate sales. Following the bottoming out of the cryptocurrency market in 2018, this figured dropped to around $6 million, according to BitPay’s chief commercial officer, Sonny Singh.

In the first two quarters of this year, however, the company says it has already processed over $5 million in real estate transactions. Singh said BitPay is in line to double its real estate business year over year, as in 2018 the company processed $2.7 million in direct real estate transactions with “around twice as much via escrow companies and law firms acting as escrows.”

BitPay, the world’s largest processor of bitcoin with about $1 billion in yearly business, acts as a payment processor for home buyers. The firm exchanges bitcoin into U.S. dollars and transfers the funds to an escrow agent on behalf of the buyer.

Singh said the company performed its first real-estate transaction through California-based real estate agent Piper Moretti about four years ago. Since then, the company has processed “millions” in real estate transactions for corporations and individuals, with 2019 looking like its top year to date.

According to Singh, the average price of a home purchased through the exchange is around $1 million. “These are not $30,000 houses,” he said.

The company has standing relationships with a number of developers and real-estate agents including Magnum Real Estate and JetRE, which deal in Manhattan properties. It also processes real estate transactions in some of the world’s most expensive housing markets, including Dubai.

About 79 percent of BitPay’s real estate transactions happened abroad, though 34 percent of the dollar value came from domestic U.S. buyers.

Latest partner

For their part, Grove Resort condos sell from $330,000 to $595,000, for a property five minutes outside Disney World.

In recent months, David D’Ambrosio, a director at the resort, said there’s been an uptick in potential clients from China, Turkey and Brazil inquiring about cryptocurrency purchases.

“It was easy to determine the potential market available,” said D’Ambrosio, suggesting that “bitcoin hodlers” were looking for a way to diversify their portfolios.

D’Ambrosio said his company contacted BitPay because the firm “has done a couple of billion in transactions, and at least a few million in real estate just in Florida and Southeast U.S.”

BitPay charges a 1 percent processing fee and settles within seconds, whereas a bank wire charges around 5 percent and could take several days to come in, according to Singh. D’Ambrosio said, depending on the circumstances, Grove Resort “as developers could help contribute towards that [processing fee], we could help pay for the title fee.”

 

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/bitpays-crypto-based-real-estate-business-is-expanding-this-year

Ryuk Ransomeware Virus

A new ransomeware virus has hit the cryptocurrency market and is responsible for a huge bitcoin ransom.

For more information on this virus and the areas it has reached, continue reading:

A ransomware virus named Ryuk has spread to China, asking the users of infected devices for a hefty bitcoin ransom.

Tencent Security reported on July 17, 2019, that it has monitored Ryuk and found that it encrypts data on an infected device and demands a ransom in bitcoin. The ransom is generally very high and has recently reached 11 BTC.

The virus disables victims’ systems with sophisticated ransomware, mainly through botnets. First found in North America, it uses RSA and AES encryption algorithms to encrypt victims’ files. The campaign appears highly targeted, with government and enterprise institutions as preferred victims.

Ryuk originated in the Hermes date code family, and the earliest signs of its activity can be traced back to August 2018. It makes use of most of the Hermes code, has the same white list filtering mechanism as a Hermes virus and it also uses Hermes strings, even for the unique infection marker of files.

The sample found in China releases and runs different blackmail modules, which will help the virus implement subsequent injection and further improve the efficiency of its operation. As part of the most recent attacks, a dropper containing both the 32-bit and 64-bit modules of the ransomware was used. When run, Ryuk checks if it was executed with a specific argument and then kills more than 40 processes and over 180 services belonging to antivirus, database, backup and document editing software.

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The blackmail letter left by Ryuk is very simple, with only two blackmail contact mailboxes and blackmail virus names. It does not take long after being answered that the attacker requests a BTC ransom.

Almost all of the observed Ryuk ransomware samples, the security researchers say, were provided with a unique wallet. Shortly after a recent victim paid the ransom, the attackers divided the funds and transmitted them through multiple accounts.

The ransomware also remains on the infected machines and attempts to encrypt network resources in addition to local drives. It also destroys its encryption key and deletes shadow copies and various backup files from the disk to prevent users from recovering files.Earlier this month, Tencent Security reported another Trojan virus called Burimi that has hacked over 33 million email accounts demanding a bitcoin ransom.

 

Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/ryuk-virus-spreading-china-asking-11-btc-ransoms

Bitcoin Price Jump

The price of Bitcoin jumped $1,000 in a whopping 30-minute time span this morning.
This sudden jump could be connected with the huge unreel of BTC/USD profit taking over the 30-minute time.

To read more about this price increase, continue reading:

 

Bitcoin surged $1,000 in just 30 minutes during U.S. trading hours Thursday, a move that found the leading cryptocurrency rising from $9,335 to a high of $10,400, based on Bitstamp data.

The sudden rally could be associated with the massive unwinding of short BTC/USD positions (profit taking) seen in 30 minutes to 15:00 UTC, as reported by bot powered twitter handle @WhaleCalls.

Prices had dropped to a low of $9,280 at 14:00 UTC, having repeatedly failed to beat the psychological resistance of $10,000 in the Asian session and during early European trading hours. But, bitcoin’s price rise is now boding well for the broader market.

Names like litecoin and bitcoin SV are reporting double-digit gains at press time. Meanwhile, ethereum’s ETH token and XRP are up 6 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Bitcoin’s dominance rate, the top cryptocurrency’s share of total market cap, has also risen to 65.8 percent from 65.4 percent seen earlier today, according to CoinMarketCap.

Looking forward

With the sudden move above $10,000, the prospects of bitcoin breaching the former resistance-turned-support of $9,097 (May 30 high) have weakened. That said, the bulls are not out of the woods yet and a break above $11,080 is needed to invalidate the bearish case.

A high-volume break above $11,080 would violate the bearish lower highs pattern and shift risk in favor of a rise to $12,000. Notably, the move above $10,000 is backed by a rise in buying volumes (green bar). Hence, prices could rise to $11,080 in the next 24 hours.

As of writing, BTC is changing hands at $10,400 on Bitstamp, representing 5 percent gains on a 24-hour basis.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-price-jumps-1000-in-30-minutes-to-top-10k-again

College Student Attacks Cryptocurrency

You would not think that a college freshman could be a threat to your cryptocurrency, but he proved us all wrong. This college student took to showing how easily accessible stealing cryptocurrency can be. You might be wondering why he is out to 51% attack your cryptocurrency? He stated that his main driving force was to show people how vulnerable your loot is.

A college freshman is coming after your cryptocurrency – but not to steal your coins, just to prove that someone could do so pretty easily.

According to a crypto enthusiast and security researcher going by the handle “geocold51,” most small-scale cryptocurrencies are at risk from the industry’s most feared vulnerability – the 51% attack. During this attack, a miner takes over more than half of a cryptocurrency’s mining power, which then allows them to erase a past transaction and replace it with another transaction – called a double spend.

While the ecosystem that’s been built up around bitcoin and other top-tier cryptos make them resistant to these kinds of attacks, other cryptocurrencies with less of a community of miners aren’t as secure.

Sure enough, on smaller coins, these kinds of attacks are getting more common. In a new report, Group-1B found $20 million worth of crypto theft accomplished with such attacks in 2018, as TNW reported.

On Saturday, October 13, geocold51 decided to display just how easy it was – livestreaming his attempt to 51% attack Bitcoin Private, a crypto with close to a $47 million market cap (at the time of writing).

Speaking to CoinDesk, geocold51 said, if a cryptocurrency can be so easily attacked, “it’s sort of a misvalue of a given currency by different investors.”

Geocold51 estimates he spent $100 to get to the point where he could have done a demonstration double spend on bitcoin private, but he stopped because his livestream got pulled.

Just to be clear, geocold51 wasn’t interested in stealing, and so he set up the demonstration where he’d send the bitcoin private he owned to two different wallets he owned. In that way, no user or exchange provider gets ripped off.

For him, it’s about displaying that many coins are vulnerable and, therefore, perhaps vastly over-valued.

That said, he estimates that to make a profit off a 51% attack, it would cost a malicious attacker roughly double – so around $200 – to buy some bitcoin on an exchange with his bitcoin private and then make another transaction on the longer chain that invalidates the first transaction, giving him his bitcoin private coins back and leaving the exchange coming up short.

While going through the exchange process costs more, the 51% attack has still become quite economical due to the rise of cloud computing. According to geocold51, without access to cloud mining, an attack like he did on bitcoin private would have cost him about $100,000 in hardware.

“Nicehash and the ability to rent hashing power fundamentally changes the landscape of 51% attacks,” geocold51 told CoinDesk, adding:

Because geocold51 announced the livestream on Reddit (the post got 1500 upvotes and 60,000 views, he said), the attempted attack got quite a bit of attention – even dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer tweeted about watching.

Still, the livestream didn’t work exactly as planned, and because of that, geocold51 said he would run a complete attack later. He told CoinDesk he will do it without a stream this week and release a recording of his demonstration on YouTube shortly after.

The inspiration

The young security researcher’s handle might remind some of another security guru.

According to geocold51, he was inspired by one of the most legendary hackers of recent years: geohot, who famously jailbroke the original iPhone, which means the restrictions on carriers and apps were removed.

These days, geohot likes to livestream himself searching for vulnerabilities.

And geocold51 figured he could start doing the same within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Geocold51 has a good knowledge of crypto. Back when GPU hardware was still lucrative for hobbyist miners, geocold51 mined quite a bit of bitcoin. He then began trading money on Cryptsy, before the exchange’s CEO allegedly walked away with millions of dollars in its user’s money.

In that, he lost nearly all his bitcoin.

But he still remained interested in the space, and continued to study up on how it all worked. And as the industry divided into hundreds and thousands of different cryptocurrencies, geocold51 thought he might be able to shine some light on the security pitfalls.

And others were interested in that too. His Reddit post about the challenge garnered 1500 upvotes and over Twitch, he received $888 in donations.

The day of the attack

What’s also interesting is that bitcoin private wasn’t his first target.

Instead, geocold51 had intended to go after einsteinium, a volunteer-run litecoin fork with a $19 million market cap and $598,000 in trading volume per day, at the time of this writing.

He announced his intent publicly, and as he got ready for the attack, commenters within his Twitch feed noted that the cryptocurrency’s hash rate was spiking.

Because he had announced the attack in advance, the einsteinium community boosted the hash rate because it was worried that such an attack could cause a chain split and create a second blockchain that people could get stuck on, according to Ben Kurland, one of the project’s board members. At that time, einsteinium was in the middle of a wallet upgrade. If users or exchanges did not upgrade their wallets in time, the blockchain split could have caused property loss.

Seeing the increased hash power, geocold51 decided to attack bitcoin private instead.

According to geocold51, he got over 600 views during the Twitch livestream, before Twitch shut the stream down. The team at Twitch, he said, temporarily suspended him under the “attempts of threats of harm” section of its community guidelines.

He got another livestream up on Stream.Me a half-hour later.

Once broadcasting there, he was able to hire miners through Nicehash to mine bitcoin private. In fact, he almost immediately mined a block. And in very little time, he was controlling more than 50 percent of the hash power on the blockchain.

Pretty soon an account called “CommunityWatch” popped up in the stream and wrote: “Just a quick question: I’m assuming everything we are doing here is legal?”

Minutes later, geocold51’s video feed on Stream.Me cut out.

Geocold51 told CoinDesk that he had already gotten about two-thirds of the hash rate on bitcoin private. He’d transmitted his first transaction to a second wallet he controlled. And he had written another transaction onto an offline chain that went to a third wallet he controlled.

He was about to send this longer chain to the network, but since the whole point was to show people the attack could be done easily, he stopped once the livestreams shut off.

Protected in another way

Still, geocold51 is determined to follow through with his mission, and so will record his next attack to share on YouTube soon.

And while this vulnerability is likely to be worrying to many in the community, geocold51 noted that there is another way these coins are protected based on cryptocurrency game theory.

If someone tried to sell any significant volume of the coins, their price would likely plummet, since the community isn’t robust enough and doesn’t have huge amounts of liquidity. As such, geocold51 argued, even if it is easy to buy hash power and take over a network, it might not be feasible to make a lot of money from an attack.

Nevertheless, geocold51 is committed to continuing, using the donations he received to maybe even try to 51% attack more cryptocurrencies as well.

In fact, he told CoinDesk, he may intentionally attack some cryptocurrencies that have set up preventative measures for 51% attacks, to test them in production. For instance, the team developing Horizen (formerly zencash) believes it’s found a way to disincentivize 51% attacks by introducing certain miner penalties.

Geocold51 said he would be happy to fail against some of these measures.

Running the demonstrations privately and adding some production value on the final recording will likely make for more edifying content, according to geocold51, but he’s still a bit disappointed that his original plan didn’t pan out.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/this-college-freshman-is-out-to-51-attack-your-cryptocurrency/

 

Increased Cryptojacking Malware Threats

There has been an increased level of cryptojacking malware since 2017. With such a high increase (of over 400%), it leaves experts wondering what the proper next steps should be. This article gives insight into why you should properly protect your cryptocurrencies as well as the repercussions improper protection can bring.

Instances of cryptojacking malware have jumped more than 400 percent since last year, a new report finds.

A collaborative group of cybersecurity researchers called the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA) published the report Wednesday, detailing the various and repercussions from cryptojacking – the illicit practice of hijacking a user’s computer to mine cryptocurrencies.

Most notably, CTA points out in the research that the number of instances of illicit mining malware found has sharply spiked in the months from the close of 2017 to end of July 2018.

The report states:

In the key findings document, the alliance points to a particular exploit that has been plaguing the security world for over a year, Eternalblue, as one of the leading causes.

Eternalblue is the infamous NSA exploit that was used in the Wannacry ransomware and NotPetya attacks.

The CTA’s analysis explains that a number of Windows operating systems remain vulnerable to the bug, despite a patch released by Microsoft. As such, these systems run a vulnerable network file sharing protocol dubbed SMB1.

Malicious actors target these susceptible machines for their processing power, which even simple cryptojacking software can hijack.

In fact, these actors have even begun repurposing existing software to specifically mine cryptocurrencies, the report said, explaining:

Further, by decreasing the mining rate, the malware can easily and cheaply be scaled across a network in large organizations and persist on the host computer for a longer time, resulting in a larger pay-out.

Palo Alto Networks, one the partners in the alliance, found that Coinhive dominates in terms of software used by malicious actors, with some 23,000 websites containing Coinhive source code.

Moreover, the group of security firms has noticed that malicious actors are shifting their focus from traditional systems and personal computers to Internet-of-Things devices like smart TVs.

The CTA also stressed that the presence of cryptojacking malware may just be an indicator of how insecure a system is, saying, “if miners can gain access to use the processing power of your networks, then you can be assured that more sophisticated actors may already have access.”

Mining image via Shutterstock

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/report-finds-cryptojacking-instances-jumped-400-in-a-year/

 

Bitcoin Price Surges Above $7,000

Within a one-hour period, Bitcoin soared over $600 today to reach a price point of $7,386. This has been the biggest jump the cryptocurrency has seen in over a month. An unexpected surge to say the least, but Bitcoin owners are hopeful for continuous growth over the next few months.

Bitcoin’s price shot well above $7,000 Tuesday in a dramatic move that took the cryptocurrency to a level it hasn’t seen in more than a month.

As of press time, the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency by market capitalization was trading at $7,368.22, up more than $600 from the day’s open at $6,726.40. Indeed, the market moved quickly, posting the gains over the course of 45 minutes.

CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) registered a market high of $7,408.28 amidst the sudden spike upward. The last time the price was this high was on June 10, BPI figures reveal.

At press time, Bitcoin is the biggest gainer among the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization and is reporting a 16.19 percent week-to-week price increase, according to price tracking site CoinMarketCap.

Other major cryptocurrencies are following suit – a usual occurrence when bitcoin prices surge. Names like XRP, EOS, and litecoin (LTC) are all printing gains above 6 percent.

Per CoinMarketCap, the total market capitalization for the cryptocurrency market hit roughly $287 billion in light of the market uptick.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/mastercard-wins-patent-for-speeding-up-crypto-payments/