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New Wave of Cryptocurrency Misappropriation, Hacking, Theft and Fraud Targeting Users Massively in 2020


Crypto criminals have ramped up cryptocurrency theft, hacking, and fraud by a significant margin in the year 2020. They have amassed a sum of $1.36 billion in ill-gotten crypto from January 2020 to May 2020, according to the blockchain analytics firm. The year 2020 is recorded being on the track to become the second-costliest year of all in the history of crypto; only behind 2019’s record of $4.5 billion. The largest contribution in the year’s ongoing standings came from Chinese scam ‘WOTOKEN’ that allegedly scammed more than 700,000 users and stole over $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies – 46,000 bitcoin, 2.04 million ethereum, 56,000 bitcoin cash, 292,000 litecoin, and 684,000 EOS.

Cryptocurrency is a virtual or digital currency that uses cryptographical functions to make financial transactions. In order to gain transparency and immutability, it makes use of blockchain technology. It is decentralized in nature as there is no central authority controlling or interfering in the processes that include making cryptocurrency exchanges directly between two parties using private and public keys. Equating to money in the real-world it attracts a large possibility of cyber fraud.

On June 2, 2020, CipherTrace released its Cryptocurrency Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Report covering the global trends and latest developments to fight money laundering, terrorism financing, and sanctions evasion. It highlighted the need for regulation and compliance while reporting that 74% of bitcoin in exchange-to-exchange transactions was the cross border and 88% of funds sent to exchanges in 2019 by US Bitcoin ATMs were offshore. Researchers also noted that phishing sites are the most popular COVID-19 related products marketed on the dark web.

“While only 9.8% of the dark market’s one-hop (direct) interactions went directly to exchanges, 30.7% of its two-hop (once removed) interactions went to exchanges—more than tripling the risk exposure to exchanges,” the report read.

In addition, cryptocriminals are also employing several new malware to target cryptocurrencies, an undocumented Trojan called ‘KryptoCibule’ has been found targeting various cryptocurrencies by replacing wallet addresses and stealing cryptocurrency-related files. Previously reported P2P botnet, FritzFrog attempted to brute-force SSH servers of government, education and medical institutions, and telecom players, with an objective of mining cryptocurrency via XMRig miner. Over two weeks ago, a new botnet, dubbed as TeamTNT was observed stealing AWS credentials from affected servers.

With the old techniques being upgraded and the new ones being continually introduced to mine illicit financial gains, cryptocurrencies have become one of the most increasingly targeted areas at present. Users are advised to stay perceptive to indicatives of criminal behavior.

The Blue Mockingbird Malware Group Exploits Vulnerabilities in Organizations' Networks


Another notorious crypto-currency mining malware has surfaced which allegedly has been infecting the systems of countless organizations. The group with the control of operations goes by the code name of “Blue Mockingbird”.

The researchers who discovered it have reasons to believe that the Blue Mockingbird has been active since 2019’s last month. Per them, it also targets “public-facing servers” that run “ASP.NET” apps that use the “Telerik framework” for their User Interface (UI) aspect.

Reportedly, the vulnerability that the hackers exploit in the process is the “CVE-2019-18395” vulnerability which is then employed to embed a web shell on the target’s server. Per the same report, later on they employ a version of “the Juicy Potato technique” to obtain the admin-access and alter the server settings to get access to the “(re)boot persistence”.

After having obtained complete access to a system, sources mention, the malware group installs a version of XMRRig which is a famous crypto-currency mining application particularly for the “Monero (XMR)” crypto-currency.

As per reports, if the public-facing IIS servers are linked with a company’s internal network, the malware group has a probability of trying to expand internally through an improperly-secured Server Message Block (SMB) connections or Remote Desktop Protocol ((RDP).

The exact number of infections that the botnet has caused isn’t all too clear but if an estimate was to be made the operations include 1,000 infections at the least. There also doesn’t seem to be a way to find the intensity of the threat.

Not many organizations out of the ones that were being observed by the researchers have been hit with this particular threat. And over a really little amount of time that they were tracked the above-mentioned number of infections surfaced.

Nevertheless, all companies alike are susceptible to this attack, even the ones that think they are safe and the number of infections could be more than estimated.

As per sources, the Telerik UI component which is allegedly vulnerable is a part of ASP.NET applications that run on their latest versions, even then the Telerik component may have versions that are out-dated but harmful to organizations, nonetheless. This component could exist in the applications used by a company and they might not even know about it leaving them endangered.

The Telerik UI CVE-2019-18935 vulnerability, per reports, has been widely let known as the one that is employed to embed web shells on servers. Another mentioned that this vulnerability is the most exploited and organizations need to better their firewalls to fight it. If for some reason the organizations don’t happen to have a web firewall they could always look for warning precursors in the server and workstation, reports cite.

Russia puts cryptocurrency under a ban


Russian parliamentarians have developed a package of bills that assume administrative and criminal responsibility for the use of cryptocurrencies. Experts believe that such measures can lead to the destruction of the blockchain industry in Russia.

"People who currently own cryptocurrency will be forced to get rid of it before the law comes into force, or risk "going underground", and this is a loss or risk," said Dmitry Kirillov, a senior tax lawyer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Based on the amendments, mining or exchanging 3.5 bitcoins will lead to criminal liability.

Penalties are provided for any use of digital assets, from the organization of a crypto exchange and mining farm, attempts to pay with cryptocurrency on the Internet.  Fines range from 500 thousand rubles ($7,000) for individuals and up to 2 million rubles ($28,000) for legal entities.

Founder of the stable cryptocurrency platform Stasis.net Gregory Klumov called the new amendments "putting nails in the coffin of financial innovation and technological progress."
"In fact, it is proposed to build a new iron curtain in the digital economy with their own hands," said Yuri Pripachkin, president of the Russian Association of Cryptoeconomics and Blockchain.

Currently, in the Russian Federation, in addition to software, the hardware is being actively developed - means for storing tokens, cryptocurrencies. Many young specialists from the Russian Federation are already involved in this industry, and experts are worried that the adoption of this bill will put an end to the innovative economy.

Earlier, E Hacking News reported that, according to First Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia, Blockchain is not a panacea, and cryptocurrency is not money. So, the Central Bank of Russia is not going to change its negative attitude to these assets.

Phishing Attacks Can Now Dodge Microsoft 365's Multi-Factor Authentication


Of late a phishing attack was found to be stealing confidential user data that was stored on the cloud.
As per sources, this is the work of a new phishing campaign that dodges the Office 365 Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to acquire the target’s cloud-stored data and uses it as bait to extract a ransom in Bitcoin.

Per reports, researchers discovered that the campaign influences the “OAuth2 framework and OpenID Connect (OIDC) protocol”. It employs a malicious “SharePoint” link to fool the targets into giving permission to “rogue” applications.

MFAs are used as a plan B in cases where the users’ passwords have been discovered. This phishing attack is different because it tries to fool its targets into helping the mal-actors dodge the MFA by giving permissions.

This campaign is not just about gaining ransoms via exploiting the stolen data it is that and the additional threat of having sensitive and personal information at large for others to exploit as well. Extortion and blackmail are among the first things that the data could be misused for.

Sources mentioned that via obtaining basic emails and information from the target’s device, the attacker could easily design “hyper-realistic Reply-Chain phishing emails.”

The phishing campaign employs a commonplace invite for a SharePoint file, which happens to be providing information regarding a “salary bonus”, which is good enough for perfunctory readers to get trapped, mention reports.

The link when clicked on redirects the target to an authentic login page of Microsoft Office 365. But if looked on closely, the URL looks fishy and created without much attention to detail, thus say the security experts.

Reportedly, access to Office 365 is acquired by getting a token from the Microsoft Identity Platform and then through Microsoft Graph authorizations. OIDC is used to check on the user granting the access if authentication comes through then the OAuth2 grants access for the application. During the process, the credentials aren’t revealed to the application.

The URL contains “key parameters” that explain how targets could be tricked into granting permissions to rogue applications on their account. Key parameters signify the kind of access that is being demanded by the Microsoft Identity Platform. In the above-mentioned attack, the request included the ID token and authentication code, mentioned sources.

If the target signs in on the SharePoint link that was delivered via the email they’ll be providing the above-mentioned permissions. If the target doesn’t do so, it will be the job of the domain administrators to handle any dubious activities.

This phishing campaign is just an example of how these attack mechanisms have evolved over the years, to such an extent that they could now try to extort sensitive data out of people seemingly by tricking them into providing permissions without an inkling of an idea of what is actually up.

The database of Russian car owners is sold for bitcoins


According to the description of the database, it contains 129 million leads obtained from the traffic police register. This is information about vehicles registered in Russia: the place of registration, make and model of the car, date of initial and last registration.

An employee of the car-sharing company whose vehicle data is contained in the registry confirmed the authenticity of the data.
Moreover, cybersecurity experts have already verified the authenticity of the documents. They also noted that this database was most likely stolen from the traffic police or insurance companies.

"Most often leaks occur in the traffic police and insurance companies", said Ashot Hovhannisyan, founder and technical director of DeviceLock, said that the database of motorists is regularly sold on the Darknet.

According to him, now this database is unique, as it contains information about the initial registration of cars since the 1990s.
For an additional fee, sellers offer to provide personal data of car owners, including last name, first name and patronymic, address, date of birth, passport number, and contact information. They also sell the TIN of legal entities where the car is registered.

The full version of the database with all data costs 0.3 bitcoin (approximately $2.8 thousand). 1.5 bitcoins (about $14 thousand) will cost the transfer to exclusive use.

Mikhail Firsov, Technical Director of Information Security Systems, believes that companies that buy such databases can use them to conduct illegal financial transactions, execute transactions, and fake legal documents.

Earlier, E Hacking News reported about the sale of data of 9 million customers of the Express transportation service CDEK in the Darknet. This is the largest leak of personal data in Russian delivery services.

Attention! Fake Extensions on the Chrome Web Store Again!


Reportedly, Google was in the news about having removed 49 Chrome extensions from its browser’s store for robbing crypto-wallet credentials. What’s more, after that, there surfaced an additional set of password-swiping “extensions” aka “add-ons”, which are up for download even now.

Per sources, the allegedly corrupt add-ons exist on the browser store disguised as authentic crypto-wallet extensions. These absolutely uncertified add-ons invite people to fill in their credentials so as to make siphoning off them easy and the digital money accessible.

Reports mention that the security researchers have affirmative information as to 8 of the 11 fake add-ons impersonating legitimate crypto-wallet software being removed including "Jaxx Ledger, KeyKeep, and MetaMask." A list of “extension identifiers” which was reported to Google was also provided.

Per researchers, there was a lack of vigilance by the Google Web Store because it apparently sanctions phisher-made extensions without giving the issue the attention it demands. Another thing that is disturbing for the researchers is that these extensions had premium ad space and are the first thing a user sees while searching.

According to sources, much like the Google Play Store with malicious apps, the Google Web Store had been facing difficulty in guarding itself against mal-actors. There also hadn’t been much of a response from their team about the issue.

One solution that was most talked about was that Google should at the least put into effect mechanisms in the Chrome Web Store that automatically impose trademark restrictions for the store and the ad platforms in it.

Per sources, Google’s Chrome Web Store “developer agreement” bars developers from violating intellectual property rights and also clearly mentions “Google is not obligated to monitor the products or their content”. Reports mention that as per the ad policy of Google, it could review trademarks complaints from trademarks holders only when it has received a complaint.

Google heeding all the hue and cry about the extensions did herald more restrictions with the motive of wiping away traces of any fake extensions and spammers creating bad quality extensions that were causing people trouble.

The alterations in the policy will block the spammers and developers from swarming the store with similar extensions and elements with questionable behavior. Word has it that because of hateful comments the Chrome Web Store was “locked down” in January.

But, as promising as it may be, allegedly Google has been making such promises about the Chrome Web Store security strengthening for more than half a decade. So no one can blame researchers for their skepticism.

Double Extortion- A Ransomware Tactic That Leaves The Victims With No Choice!


In addition to all the reasons ransomware were already dangerous and compulsive, there’s another one that the recent operators are employing to scare the wits out of their targets.

Cyber-criminals now tend to be threatening their victims with publishing and compromising their stolen data if the ransom doesn’t get paid or any other conditions aren’t followed through with.

The tactic in question is referred to as “Double Extortion” and quite aptly so. Per sources, its usage emerged in the latter half of 2019 apparently in use, by the Sodinokibi, DopplePaymer and Clop ransomware families.

Double extortion is all about doubling the malicious impact a normal ransomware attack could create. So the cyber-criminals try and stack up all sorts of pressure on the victims in the form of leaked information on the dark web, etc.

They just want to make sure that the victims are left with no other option but to pay the ransom and meet all the conditions of the attack, no matter how outrageous they are.

The pattern of Double Extortion was tracked after a well-known security staffing company from America experienced the “Maze ransomware” attack and didn’t pay up the 300 Bitcoin which totaled up to $2.3 Million. Even after they were threatened that their stolen email data and domain name certificates would be used for impersonating the company!

Per sources, all of the threatening wasn’t without proof. The attackers released 700 MB of data which allegedly was only 10% of what they had wrested from the company! And what’s more, they HIKED the ransom demand by 50%!

According to sources, the Maze ransomware group has a website especially fabricated to release data of the disobliging organizations and parties that don’t accept their highly interesting “deals” in exchange for the data.

Reportedly, ranging from extra sensitive to averagely confidential data of dozens of companies and firms from all the industries has found its way to the Maze ransomware website.

Clearly impressed by it many other operators of similar intentions opened up their own versions of the above-mentioned website to carry forward their “business” of threatening companies for digital currency and whatnot! They sure seem to have a good sense of humor because per sources the blog names are the likes of “Happy Blog”.

Per reports, the Sodinokibi ransomware bullied to leak a complete database from the global currency exchange, Travelex. The company had to pay $2.3 Million worth Bitcoin to get the attackers to bring their company back online.


Per reports of the researchers, the attackers would always release some kind of proof that they have the extremely valuable data of the company, before publishing it, to give the company a fair chance at paying up the ransom demanded.

Usually, these attacks are a win-win for the attackers and a “lose-lose” for the victims because if they decide not to pay up they would be putting their company in a very dangerous situation with all the valuable data compromised online for anyone to exploit, they would have to report the breach and they would have to pay a considerably high fine to the data privacy regulator. And if they pay up, they would be losing a giant plop of money! And sadly the latter feels like a better option.

Hospitals happen to be the organizations that are the most vulnerable to these attacks because of all the sensitive health-related data their databases are jam-packed with on any other day and additionally due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The organizations could always follow the most widely adapted multi-layered security measures for keeping their data safe obviously including updating systems, keeping backups and keeping data protected in any way they possibly can.

The most conscientious gangs of the many ransomware families, per sources, have promised to not attack hospitals amidst this pandemic. But that doesn’t stop the other mal-actors from employing cyber-attacks.

The cyber-crime forecasters have mentioned that the year 2020 would be quite a difficult year for these organizations what with the lock-down and no easier (malicious) way to earn money, apparently? Food for thought!


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Names Used for Fake Celebrity Endorsement of Bitcoins?


While the Coronavirus pandemic has practically driven people to stay locked up in their homes and spend a lot more (in some cases almost all) of their time online, the possibilities for cyber-criminals have only flourished.

Cyber-security experts have realized this and made a note out of it that everyone knows the kind of danger is lurking in their cyber-world.

From elaborate scams to phishing attacks that target the victim’s personal information, there is a lot of people who need to be cautious about it.

The Cryptocurrency industry is going through a lot due to the current crisis the world is in. The 'crypto-partakers" are being particularly on the hit list with something as attention-grabbing as purportedly “celebrity endorsement”. The latest bait names for this attempt happen to be that of charming Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

Well-known personalities’ names like Bill Gates, Lord Sugar and even Richard Branson have been misused to lure people in as a part of similar scams. It is not necessary for the people mentioned to belong to a particular industry. They could be anyone famous for that matter.

The scams are so elaborate that once fooled the victims can’t even trace the mal-agent and. The latest scam, per sources, employs a fake report from the “BBC” mentioning how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle found themselves a “wealth loophole”.
Per sources, they also assure their targets that in a matter of three to four months they could convert them into millionaires. Further on, allegedly, it is also mentioned that the royals think of the Cryptocurrency auto-trading as the “Bitcoin Evolution”. It reportedly also includes a fake statement to have been made by Prince Harry.

The overconfident scammers also declare that there is no other application that performs the trading with the accuracy like theirs. Reportedly, on their website, there are banners with “countdowns” forcing people to think that there are limited period offers.

According to researchers this is one of the many schemes desperate cyber-criminals resort to. People not as used to the Cryptocurrency industry and the trading area, in particular, are more vulnerable to such highly bogus scams and tricks that the cyber-criminals usually have up their sleeves.

Bitcoin Prices Are Off The Charts!


Bitcoin, our favorite digital currency has experienced a certain kind of unbelievable hike, all of a sudden. It has profited across several markets with a spike of 12% in its price solely in the last week, mention sources.

Word has it that the Bitcoin price has risen around 6% in the last 24-hour trading duration, overtaking next to all main indices, even the stocks throughout Asia and Europe.

Bitcoin and other forms of digital currency including cryptocurrency have escalated around the globe owing it to the Coronavirus lockdowns.

Per sources, The Bitcoin price has outgrown the $7,000/Bitcoin level and is ascending to “$7,170 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange”.

As if they knew things were going to go south, the Bitcoin investors were up and about right from the start of this year. In fact, surveys indicate that the Bitcoin price has a high probability of rocketing up to $20,000/Bitcoin in 2020.

The basic foundational facets for a better Bitcoin system exist today owing to various developmental projects in the crypto industry. An in case of such massively unprecedented crisis investors would want to fall back upon digital currency

Asian and European markets furthered their reserves by 3% and 2-4%. Researchers mention that Bitcoin purchases could have a positive effect on the stock markets.

History has it that the Bitcoin price has seen a major upswing before from a low $1,000 to a high $20,000 in a matter of a year.

Investors are in genuine awe with this ascent in the prices of Bitcoin and see this as a new opportunity for cryptocurrency in general because of the fresh interest the market has shown for it.

Per analysts, this year investors may need to rethink their current cryptocurrency store and even pile up more of it in case of increased demand because of risk assets.

Everyone understands that if the things were to stay the way they are there is a strong chance for a longer period of intense recession.

This has given birth to questions regarding the effect of COVID-19 on the economy and the part Bitcoin could play in it.



First Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia: Blockchain is not a panacea, and cryptocurrency is not money


First Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova said that blockchain is perfect for letters of credit and guarantees because it solves the problem of trust. However, this is not a universal technology for all occasions.

According to her, many people overestimate the advantages and prospects of blockchain technologies. As negative aspects of cryptocurrencies, the banker noted their high level of volatility, lack of guarantees for saving investments, and the possibility of their use for money laundering and terrorist financing.

This position of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation was one of the reasons for the delay in the adoption of the bill on digital financial assets, which should become the main legislative act regulating the cryptocurrency industry. Recently it became known that the adoption of the law is being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the rejection of cryptocurrencies, Olga Skorobogatova spoke positively about stablecoins.
“We believe that this is a more reliable type of crypto-assets since they are provided with real assets and give users certain guarantees,” she said, adding that in order to protect consumers, it is necessary to effectively regulate this sector at the global level.

The Central Bank is actively collaborating with other regulators regarding stablecoins and coins such as Libra. According to Skorobogatova, many Central Banks are actively studying the possibility of creating a national digital currency, and the Central Bank of the Russian Federation is no exception in this regard, but at this stage, the authorities have more questions than answers.
In particular, she does not yet see what real benefits the digital currencies of the Central Banks (CBDC) will bring to the economy, people and business.

It is worth noting that the beginning of the pandemic of coronavirus infection served as a kind of trigger for the introduction of remote voting. This was recently stated by the political party United Russia" For this purpose, an electronic voting system based on blockchain technology has been developed. Experts believe that this will reduce the negative effect of the quarantine regime, which has somehow slowed or stopped the political activities of most other parties, not only in Russia but also in the world.

Cryptocurrency Profit Reaches $182.62 Billion, Bitcoin Rises upto 10% in 24 Hours


According to data by Coindesk, the cryptocurrency value suddenly increased on Tuesday. And this comes as a matter of surprise as the whole trade market is suffering heavy losses due to coronavirus pandemic. Witnessing this sudden increase in the Cryptocurrency's value, Bitcoin eventually rose up to 10% in a single day, as trading prices reached $6,569.17 around noon, Singapore time.


Meanwhile, Ethereum's value has increased by 7%, whereas XRP witnessed a jump rate of over 5% in its prices.

The total value of the cryptocurrency trading market- Market Capitalization, recorded a surprising leap of $14 Billion to $182.62 Billion within a mere 24 hours at 11:47 am Singapore time, says the data of the website Coinmarketcap.com.

The entire Cryptocurrency market suffered severe losses at the start of March. On 8th March, the whole business failed when oil prices took a hard fall. Furthermore, on 12th March, the Cryptocurrency lost $93.5 of its value within a day, and even worse, Bitcoin suffered a 48% fall in its prices.

As observed, the growth of Cryptocurrency is marching foot by foot with the Equity market. Since recent years, people have started viewing Bitcoin as 'digital gold,' having complete faith that investing in it even under times of economic slowdown can be profitable. Unfortunately, Bitcoin, like the Equity market too, started suffering losses and became a risk asset, especially since the start of this year.

"We're seeing some bullish bitcoin price action today along with other asset classes after the Fed announced unprecedented measures yesterday to shore up the economy. It will be interesting to see how bitcoin fares in such an environment. Given this is its first test as a haven asset in a market downturn and is yet to be proven," says Vijay Ayyar in a conversation with CNBC.

 Key takeaways:
  • Bitcoin rose over 10% in 24 hours, earlier exchanging at $6,569.17. 
  • Ethereum and XPR also witnessed an increase in their prices. 
  • The market value rose from $14 Billion to $182.62 within a day.
  • The cryptocurrency market took a hard beating at the start of March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The issue and circulation of cryptocurrencies will be banned in Russia


On March 16, a Representative of the Bank of Russia, Alexey Guznov, announced a possible ban on the issue and organization of cryptocurrency circulation in the territory of the Russian Federation. As noted in the bill on digital financial assets, the issue and circulation of cryptocurrencies in Russia carry an unjustified risk. The bill prohibits the issue and circulation of cryptocurrency in Russia and introduces responsibility for violating the ban.

Mister Guznov noted: "The position of the Bank of Russia remains unchanged. We believe that there are great risks when legalizing the circulation of cryptocurrencies." Risks arise for financial stability and the anti-money laundering system, and consumer protection will also suffer.
The Central Bank objected to legalizing cryptocurrency as a "tool" and an object of circulation, said mister Guznov.

Some experts suggested that cryptocurrency should be treated as a foreign currency and its issuance and circulation should be regulated in the same way.

The authorities replied that they did not intend to ban the ownership of the digital currency. The bill only prohibits the issuance and circulation of cryptocurrencies and introduces liability for violation of this ban.

It is absolutely impossible to ban cryptocurrencies and mining, said Yuri Brisov, a member of the Commission for the Legal Support of the Digital Economy. He is sure that such measures will become an obstacle to the development of the blockchain industry in the Russian Federation.

"The ban on mining and cryptocurrencies will lead to the complete decline of the blockchain industry. For this reason, all developed countries, although they understand the risks associated with money laundering, tax evasion, do not ban cryptocurrencies and mining; to ban today means to limit the potential for economic growth and technological development of their country," said Brisov.

It is important that legal regulation in Russia does not hinder the development of new technologies.
Earlier EhackingNews reported that Russian law enforcement agencies, together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, to prepare proposals for the arrest of cryptocurrencies by 2021.

Recall that in 2018, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia should "carefully and cautiously" monitor the sphere of cryptocurrencies. At the same time, the position of the Central Bank of Russia was that electronic money can not be a means of payment.

Scammers Target Coindesk ;Impersonating Reporters and Editors in the Last Months


Scammers have a new target and this time its CoinDesk as they try to impersonate CoinDesk reporters and editors in the last few months, promising inclusion of projects in return for a fee.

At least two unique victims have paid hundreds of dollars in bitcoin and ether to these convicts and reached CoinDesk just subsequent to acknowledging that something wasn't right.

Thus CoinDesk makes it explicitly clear through an announcement that the news site doesn't, and will never, accept payment for coverage. They cautioned their users by informing them that in the event that they are being reached out by somebody professing to be one of CoinDesk's reporters on Telegram or LinkedIn, and that individual requests payment, then they should know that the account connecting to them is a fraud and should report it to the concerned social media platform right away, and to CoinDesk immediately, by emailing fraud@coindesk.com.

If possible, it would be ideal if the users could incorporate screenshots of what was written. On the off chance that the user has to affirm that they are, indeed, in contact with a CoinDesk staff member they are welcomed to at email news@coindesk.com.

Now that CoinDesk has been ensnared in various scams, they wish to clarify what is being done and how. Most of the victims are said to have received a Telegram message like this one:


This to and fro between the scammer and the news editor is generally well disposed and, in certain nations where associations regularly pay for news coverage, 'expected'.

The opportunity is straightforward and simple: Send the scammer $500 or so in bitcoin and get onto CoinDesk's front page.

There is typically some 'to and fro' and a portion of these scammers have come 'sophisticated' to the point that they are mocking CoinDesk email addresses to "confirm" their identities. One 'con-artist' even forged a CoinDesk editor's passport to "confirm" their identity.

Hence, CoinDesk advises its users that it's working with the new site's legal counsel and tech group to discover ways for impeding these impostors and in the meanwhile, requests the users to kindly verify the handles of the accounts contacting them.

The clients can likewise email the writer or the editor directly in the event that they have any inquiries.

UK to develop a system to track cryptocurrencies


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of the UK Government has submitted a tender for the development of a system for monitoring financial transfers in digital money. The appearance of such a system in Russia could already have occurred.

Cryptocurrencies can be used not only for transferring funds or paying for services, but also for conducting criminal activities. This position was expressed by the UK tax service HMRC. The purpose of the introduction of this tool is the fight against criminal activity. It includes tax evasion and laundering of criminal proceeds.

Mikhail Mishustin, head of the Federal Tax Service of Russia and now Prime Minister, proposed the initiative to control income received through cryptocurrency for tax purposes in February last year.

"Money that a young person can freely move across the border using cryptocurrencies and other forms of payment, which the state does not notice and for which there is no regulatory framework, is dangerous," said Mishustin.

A similar system can already operate in Russia, suggested Dmitry Kirillov, a senior tax lawyer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) LLP. He explained this by the fact that in 2018, the contract for the development of the Unified Information System was posted on the public procurement website. The 23rd page of the document states that "a tool should be created to analyze and identify illegal activities, including using cryptocurrencies."

"Apparently, the execution of the contract was completed. Therefore, I will not be surprised if the system already tracks cryptocurrency transactions of Russian users," said Kirillov.

Antonina Levashenko, the head of the Russian Center for Competencies and Analysis of Standards under the President of the Russian Federation, expressed a similar opinion. According to her, financial intelligence units of countries around the world are seeking to acquire effective tools for controlling cryptocurrency transactions, and Russia is no exception.

All experts agreed that a system for controlling transactions in cryptocurrency may appear in Russia. It is likely to focus on the fight against illegal income and the financing of terrorism.

The authorities of Uzbekistan to launch a national mining pool


Uzbekistan plans to legalize mining by providing the status of a participant in the mining pool, which is planned to be created in the Republic. This is stated in the draft resolution of the President "On measures for further development of the sphere of turnover of crypto assets".
Participants of the mining pool will be provided with privileges for paying for electricity. In addition, all transactions with crypto assets, as well as the receipt of income from this activity, will not be taxed.

According to the draft resolution, it is also planned to create a regulatory body for the development of digital technologies Uzbekistan Blockchain Valley. The organization will launch pilot projects to implement blockchain, crypto assets turnover, and other technologies.

In addition, the national mining pool Uzbekistan Cryptocurrency Mining Pool will be created. It will combine hardware mining facilities located in Uzbekistan. Experts believe that the establishment of a pool will legalize mining.

The nationwide mining pool will consolidate mining capacity, create favorable conditions for industrial and private miners on the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan, increase the transparency, security and control of mining processes, as well as increase the efficiency of energy consumption and generally increase the investment attractiveness of Uzbekistan in the eyes of foreign cryptocurrency investors.

Also, from February 1, 2020, it is proposed to oblige industrial miners to undergo licensing, and private and small miners to register, as a result of which they will receive the status of a member of the mining pool.

Discussion of the draft resolution and the introduction of proposals and comments will last until January 31, 2020.

It is interesting to note that in December 2019, the government of Uzbekistan approved a resolution that sets an increased tariff for electric energy for miners. According to the innovations, from March 2020, miners will pay three times more for electricity.

Bitcoin fraud worth $ 359M caught by the Brazil Police


The Brazilian police have found what is said to be an alleged Bitcoins fraud that stole $ 359M from the sufferers. "The Brazillian state police have been able to counter the anonymous operation and have caught 9 criminals," says the Parana state government in a statement. "Growing concern in crypto-currency businesses has been followed by an increase of scams,” the report states. “The absence of supervision and attention along with large levels of distraction, unfamiliarity, cross-perimeter activities, and other characteristics crucial to the cryptocurrency business reveals possible dangers to the users," says Brazilian Congressman Aureo Ribeiro.


The 4 months inquiry exposed five hundred personalities from over 6 states that have fallen prey to the Bitcoin grant fraud. However, the figures could go up to 5000 persons. “It was obvious that the plan was a fraud when the victims got a notification from the organization, informing the users that the investors would not be able to debit their money for 6 months,” says the Parana state government's statement.

The company responded to the situation by saying it too had suffered a scam estimating $5 million. But the investors' withdrawal money was delayed even after 6 months passed, and that's how the company was caught red-handed.' According to one of the victims, a fraud had promised everyday returns up to 4% on investments. The people arrested for the theft are accused of money laundering, scam, counterfeit and unlawful connection. 

Cryptocurrency Frauds happened recently-

Sadly, it is not the first instance when people have fallen prey to the cryptocurrency scam. "In May, a cryptocurrency fraud gang had was locked down for theft of $200M from over 50,000 victims," reports Hard Fork. Criminals pretended to give crypto-currency grants assuring people 15% of profits for their money. "During the time, the firm had collected about $215M through February 2019, however, police concluded the figure could be around $250M," says Federal Revenue Service.

The police in April caught an individual on doubt that he was running drugs racket gang and stealing money through Bitcoins. In the region Porto Alegre, Southern Brazil, the police officials have discovered a secret drug lab having Bitcoin digging facilities.

British American Tobacco’s Romanian Platform Faces Data Breach; Ransomware Demands Bitcoins

British American Tobacco (BAT)’ s Romanian web platform compromised due to a ransomware attack and data breach.
BAT which is a United Kingdom-based company is one of the most gigantic manufacturers of nicotine and tobacco products.
Reportedly, the data breach was first ascertained on an Irish “unsecured Elastisearch server” with around 352 GB of data. Allegedly, the hackers had breached the data’s location.
The ransom request was waiting for the onlookers on the server in the form of a "readme" file wherein they had demanded a “Bitcoin payment” in exchange for “not deleting their data”.
Per sources, the cyber-researchers had discovered the data breach on a “server connected to the web platform YOUniverse.ro” which is part of the Romania promotional campaign for BAT, pursuing adult smokers.
The compromised data encompasses users’ “Personally Identifiable Information” (PII), like name, gender, email address, phone number, date of birth, source IP and cigarette and tobacco product preference.

Allegedly, tobacco advertising is mostly prohibited by the Romanian law, while exempting certain sorts of promotional campaigns and event sponsorship aiming at existing smokers over 18 years of age.
The platform in question aided Romanians to win tickets to events and parties studded with local and international performing stars.
Regardless of the numerous attempts made by the team to contain the breach, the database had been unprotected for the past two months and was finally contained on November 27, 2019.
According to sources, the research team has been after the company’s local branch, the global company, the server’s host, Romania’s National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC) and the Certification Authority (CA) for some clarification.
The CA was the only organization to revert to the team. The Romanian journalists who were contacted along with the authorities are yet to answer.   

Upbit suffers $52M loss in a Cryptocurrency Heist


One of the globe's largest cryptocurrency transactions is being forced to cease account debits and credits when it was hit by a huge online theft worth $52M. UpBit, a South Korean cryptocurrency market, announced the provisional stay declaration on Wednesday accompanied by a letter from CEO Lee Seok-woo, Dunamu. "The heist took place on Wednesday in the afternoon. Around $50 million in Ethereum currency were sent from an UpBit account via an anonymous beneficiary," says Lee Seok-woo.


The victims of the robbery will have their damages satisfied by the firm, which has sent additional crypto-currencies into the firm's cool account for advanced safety. “It is expected that our company will take around 2 weeks more until the transaction gets active again. As soon as it is done, we'll inform the public,” stated Lee. UpBit’s toils are the newest in a lengthy series of victorious cyberattacks attacking cryptocurrencies markets in recent times. Other victims involve United States company Coinbase, which faced charges whopping $1million, Bitpoint, of Japan, that suffered $32million, Singapore firm Bitrue, that was stripped of $4.5million and Binance, whose headquarters are in Malta.

"The newest heist is a serious lesson to account holders concerning the value of working only on safe and secure exchanging forums," argues Peter Wood, CEO CoinBurp, a cryptocurrency exchange. He further continues, "it is especially critical in the case of cryptocurrency because it can't be traced virtually and, no regulatory authority is present to look over this problem." “But, possible account holders are ensured that they shouldn't be concerned as attacks like these have happened before. However, the individuals must examine the safety contracts and measures carefully while working on any cryptocurrency exchanging program,” says Lee Seok-woo.

At the beginning of this year, the United Nations accused North Korea of utilizing its increasing hacking abilities to attack crypto markets in an attempt to fulfill the country's treasures. North Korea is accused of storing $2 Billion from the cryptocurrency hacks. Upbit was originally started as a business among Bittrex and Dunamu, a South Korean app maker, that supports messenger colossal Kakao. Other cryptocurrency exchanges have warned their users about the heist.

Binance to assist Ukraine in regulating the crypto currency industry


The largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance intends to help Ukraine in developing methods for regulation the cryptocurrency industry. This means that the company's specialists see great potential for the development of the crypto industry in Ukraine.

The company said that they signed a Memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine. The Ukrainian government said that such cooperation will significantly improve the legal status of cryptocurrencies in the country. It is expected that the platform will begin work in the country before the end of the year.

As part of the partnership, Binance, together with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, intend to create a working group that will discuss further plans for the regulation of the crypto industry and the formation of the digital market in Ukraine.

Moreover, Binance will develop effective mechanisms designed to transfer rights to various virtual assets through a distributed network, as well as create favourable conditions for investment and business activities.

Changpeng Zhao is confident that the legal status of cryptocurrencies will improve the Ukrainian economy, as well as create the basis for additional investments.

The Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mikhail Fedorov, is confident that cooperation with the largest cryptocurrency exchange will open the opportunity for transparent work with companies in this industry and create a comfortable environment for them.

He also believes that the entry of Binance into Ukraine will be a strong driver for the crypto-system and the legalisation of cryptocurrencies.

"This is an additional hundred of millions of taxes that our state will receive. For fans of cryptocurrency and those who work in this direction, this is a very big signal that Ukraine has appeared on the world map of cryptocurrencies," said the head of the Ministry of Digital.

“We are pleased that Binance has become interested in neighbouring countries. We hope that they will reach Russia as well,” commented Denis Onatsik, director of Deecrypto Store & Club.

However, in Russia, the regulation of the cryptocurrency market is regularly postponed due to disagreements among the members of the working group and the tough position of the Central Bank, which is categorically against the legalization of cryptocurrencies on open platforms.

An interesting fact is that in the spring of 2019, Binance suffered from a hacker attack, they stole $41 million in bitcoins.

Bitcoin and the Cryptocurrency Market Surged At Large


The bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market yet again become the center of attention as they experience a colossal upsurge at large.

While this surge is by all accounts partially predicated by many economists, investors as well as commentators on equities and other hazard or risk assets arriving at new highs or flooding to the upside, they likewise bring into center a couple of other factors at play as well that may further explain the cryptocurrency market's outstanding performance on the 25th and the 26th of October.

BitcoinEconomics, a Twitter account investigating this space, noticed that they accept that this 42% move (42% at the pinnacle of $10,600) was something driven by the news that Chinese President Xi Jinping had embraced blockchain innovations, as on the 25th the 'world leader 'openly support blockchain advancement and appropriation to improve quite a few numbers of industries.

The previously mentioned analyst even claims that this announcement from Xi likely has driven traders to theorize on a mass deluge of interest for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and subsequently started to purchase digital assets "en-mass".


However other contributing components particularly the technical ones, including the mass collection/purchases observed by some traders at the $7,400 price point, combined with the possibility that the sellers had become exhausted after a 47% drop from the year-to-date high of $14,000, additionally may be an extremely strong reason for the said upsurge.