New Zealand legalize salary payments in Cryptocurrencies





New Zealand is the first country to legalize payment of salaries in the form of  Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Financial Times report.

The tax agency has deemed it legal for companies to pay wages in digital currencies is secured to at least one standard, or fiat, currency.

The country’s Inland Revenue Department (IRD) published a bulletin on August 7, 2019, stating that the ruling was made under the Tax Administration Act 1994.

According to the bulletin released, "the companies can only pay cryptocurrency to employees working under official employment agreements. Payments also have to be for a fixed amount – “the value of the crypto-asset is pegged to one or more fiat currencies.”

The ruling also states that cryptocurrency-based salary payments must also be able to be “converted directly into fiat currency (on an exchange).”

The report states that the salaries must be paid in a crypto-asset that functions as a currency.

The move has started a round of discussion on the controversial digital money coming into the realm of everyday payment modes. The major problem with the cryptocurrencies is that they are relatively free of regulation, and they are untrackable.


Banning Crypto Could Lead To The Indian Market Plummeting By Billions?




Crypto-currency if banned in India could lead to the Indian market going down by an approximate amount of $13 Billion, experts say.

An analysis of the revenues that companies could generate if crypto-currency were legalized was made by the experts, which also had a premise of Indian-founded crypto-companies.

Per the sources, the analysis reflected that “as part of their total estimated revenue” in India companies could’ve generated $4.9 billion as on crypto-white papers, $2.1 billion from expert blockchain coders, $1.27 billion from content creators and $4.5 billion from miscellaneous jobs.

According to the experts it sure is quite a herculean and next to impossible task for India to ban the crypto-currency on such a mass level and they’d end up regulating it.

The government of India is on the task of banning and is deliberating it with quite some thought. It also is considering imposing sanctions on any crypto related dealings.

The government still has quite a detailed and elaborate reviewing to go through before they draft a proper legislation.

Despite all the reports and analysis displayed by the experts the government has quite a strong will to go with the drafting of the bill that bans the crypto-currency and associated dealings.


Bitcoin surges past $ 11,000

Bitcoin soared 9% on Monday, performing like a safe haven asset as it edged past $11,000 for the first time since around mid-July.

The price of the world’s largest cryptocurrency climbed as high as $11,860, according to CoinDesk data, hitting a more than 3-week high. Bitcoin’s value now accounts for nearly 70% of the global crypto market, according to CoinMarketCap.

Global stock markets on the other hand have been sliding lower on the back of renewed trade uncertainty, after President Donald Trump said last week that Washington would impose 10% tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index slipped 1.6% on Monday while the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan plummeted 2.5%. Dow futures meanwhile were off by about 100 points.

Analysts have previously argued the case that bitcoin could be a safe haven asset, with investors having flocked to the digital asset in the past on the back of an escalation in U.S.-Sino tensions.

“Bitcoin has many use cases and one of the most important is as a form of digital gold,” Charles Hayter, CEO of digital currency comparison platform CryptoCompare, told CNBC by email on Monday. “We have seen bitcoin jump before on macro uncertainty as it becomes a conduit and flight-to-safety asset.”

Yuan depreciation

Bitcoin’s jump in value also comes as China allowed the yuan to break the seven-per-dollar level for the first time in 11 years, triggering fears of a potential currency war.

The yuan fell after China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, set the currency’s daily midpoint at 6.9225 per dollar, its weakest level since December last year.

Simon Peters, an analyst at trading platform eToro, said Chinese investors could be seeking to diversify as the yuan depreciates.

“Given that Chinese investors make up a large proportion of crypto investors, there’s a strong possibility some are backing bitcoin’s chances against the yuan,” Peters said in a note on Monday.

Are MNCs and big consultants misleading Governments on Cryptocurrency and Blockchain?


MNCs and big consultants are well known to use heavyweight lobbying techniques to twist national policies in a manner that suit their interests. This is even more valid in the context of new technologies where governments usually lack the required domain skills and perspectives to make meaningful judgements. This appears to be the case with Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains.

The arguments being presented to make cryptocurrencies illegal is that they have no real value and can be used for Ponzi schemes and other such inappropriate or illegal operations. True. But then the Rupee is also used for Ponzi schemes such as chit business and various rackets. Does that mean that the Rupee should be banned? No, one bans ponzi investment schemes, not the Rupee. No rational arguments have yet been presented on why cryptocurrencies should be banned. Why not provide regulatory sandboxes and give entrepreneurs the freedom to test and present their case. With Blockchain based crypto currencies, one can publically store hash of information which can be later verified. This time stamping and hash information in public block chain can be used to verify time stamp of data.

The underlying technology in cryptocurrencies is Blockchain. While these MNCs rally against cryptocurrencies, they are pushing blockchain technology in a big way. But then here is the catch. No one has asked MNC company to show the source code of their Blockchain technology. Originally, Blockchain source code is public MIT license. It's very interesting that no one asks these MCNS to open the blockchain source codes. Can open source code like Blockchain be made into closed source code by MNCs?

MNCs claim that the blockchain(technically it's a DLT) is not charged. They charge only for "consulting,support and services"!

Why do governments need to invest millions and transfer wealth to MNCs and big consultants who already have fat wallets? The concept of private Blockchains is going to drain money from governments around the world. Fancy multiple databases across different stake holders – this is what is being presented as private blockchains. Why not instead governments develop software which run on public blockchain? Such applications can be written for US $ 200,000 to US $ 300,000 instead of the US $ 10 mn or so that fat cat consultants and MNCs will charge for private blockchains?

Some one scared everyone banks can't put data(even hash) on public blockchain. You don't need crypto currency to use public blockchain.

Will Governments including the Indian Government wake up? Especially at a time when there is so much demand on public exchequers from the poor and the needy.

(J Prasanna is founder of Cyber security and privacy foundation. This articles is their personal view)


Facebook to launch a new digital cryptocurrency





Social media giant Facebook is set to roll out a new digital cryptocurrency, Libra, next year, which would let users’ buy things as well as send money to people without any process fees. 

People would be able to make payments with the currency via    third-party wallet apps or Facebook’s own Calibra wallet that will be built into WhatsApp, Messenger and its own app. 

It is said that firms such as Uber and Visa will accept it in future.

From next year, Facebook users’ will be able to buy Libra from its platforms and then it will be stored in a digital wallet called Calibra.

The user can make payments and send money to other  users, and this whole process would instant and as easy as texting. 

"In time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, such as paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code, or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass,” it said. 

However, there is a big concern over how users’ money and data will be protected. 

The firm stressed that Libra would not be managed solely by the Facebook, but it would be independent, and run by a group of companies and charities- called the Libra Association.

Group of companies that are likely to accept Libra, includes
  • Payments firms such as Mastercard and PayPal
  • Digital businesses including eBay, Spotify and Uber
  • Telecoms firms such as Vodafone
  • And charities such as the microfinance group Women's World Banking.



Sim swapping attacks hit US cryptocurrency users

Something strange happened last week, with tens of US-based cryptocurrency users seeing SIM swapping attacks.

Numerous members of the cryptocurrency community have been hit by SIM swapping attacks over the past week, in what appears to be a coordinated wave of attacks.

SIM swapping, also known as SIM jacking, is a type of ATO (account take over) attack during which a malicious threat actor uses various techniques (usually social engineering) to transfers a victim's phone number to their own SIM card.

The purpose of this attack is so that hackers can reset passwords or receive 2FA verification codes and access protected accounts.

These types of attacks have been going on for half a decade now, but they've exploded in 2017 and 2018 when attackers started focusing on attacking members of the cryptocurrency community, so they could gain access to online accounts used for managing large sums of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies.

But while these attacks were very popular last year, this year, the number of SIM swapping attacks appeared to have gone down, especially after law enforcement started cracking down and arresting some of the hackers involved in these schemes.

Something happened last week

But despite a period of calm in the first half of the year, a rash of SIM swapping attacks have been reported in the second half of May, and especially over the past week.

Several users tweeted their horrific experiences.

Some of them have publicly admitted to losing funds, such as Sean Coonce, who penned a blog post about how he lost over $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency due to a SIM swapping attack.

Some victims avoided getting hacked

Some other victims candidly admitted to losing funds, while others said the SIM swapping attacks were unsuccessful because they switched to using hardware security tokens to protect accounts, instead of the classic SMS-based 2FA system.

Crypto Scammers Take To YouTube; Promote Trojan-Hiding Software



A new crypto scam and malware campaign is in underway as the attackers play smart and utilize YouTube, yet this time they set up a rather chancy trap for the users, promoting videos for a "bitcoin generator" tool that guarantees to generate free bitcoins for them.

As indicated by a report in the digital security publication Bleeping Computer, the scam was discovered by a researcher who goes by the name of Frost.

Frost has been tracking the malevolent campaign for the past 15 days and has observed that every time he reports the user and their videos , YouTube does brings them down, yet the 'bad actors'  just make another user and upload more.




In the video's description there will likewise be links to download this tool, which in reality a Trojan, and a link for the https://freebitco.in site as shown below:






At the point when a user clicks on the download link in these videos, they will be brought to a page offering a Setup.exe file.

The payload being pushed by this YouTube scam is the Qulab information stealing and clipboard hijacker Trojan. Whenever executed, the Trojan will duplicate itself to %AppData%\amd64_microsoft-windows-netio-infrastructure\msaudite.module.exe and dispatch itself from that location.

Qulab endeavors to steal the browser history, saved browser credentials, browser cookies, saved credentials in FileZilla, discord credentials  and steam credentials. The Trojan likewise contains code to take .txt, .maFile, and .wallet records from a computer.

Qulab, on the other had goes about as a clipboard hijacker, or clipper, implying that it will monitor the Windows clipboard for specific information, and when distinguished, swap it with the different data  that the attacker needs.

In this specific case however , Qulab scans for crypto currency  addresses that have been replicated into the Clipboard, in many cases because a user is going to send currency to the address.

It is recommended for the users who have been tainted with this Trojan, that they ought to promptly change all passwords for their financial accounts and websites that they visit. Furthermore, as usual, they should turn to a password manager so as to make exceptional and solid passwords for each account they visit.


Amazon granted patent for Bitcoin-style system

Cryptocurrency rumor mongers are likely to be dancing today as Amazon has successfully filed a patent for a Bitcoin-styled Proof-of-Work system. But don’t get ahead of yourself, it doesn’t look like the Seattle-based ecommerce giant will be accepting Bitcoin for payments.

Despite first being filed in December 2016, Amazon’s patent application was granted earlier this week and appears to outline a system that uses Proof-of-Work to prevent distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

“One way to mitigate against such attacks is to configure a service such that requests to the service incur some sort of expense, thereby providing a disincentive to participating in the attack,” the application reads.

Planting a Merkle Tree

Amazon proposes to use Merkle Trees to present a Proof-of-Work challenge and make it too costly for a series of computers to perform a DDoS attack.

But what’s a Merkle Tree? In short, Merkle Trees are cryptographic tools where blocks of data are manipulated to give them a unique identifier also known as a hash.

These hashes are then manipulated again to create a parent hash. Parent hashes are always a combination of two or more child hashes. It’s layers on layers of hashed data.

Since computing power is required to build a Merkle Tree, performing such hashes could get very costly in terms of time, electricity, and resources. In turn, this makes DDoS attacks economically unfeasible.

In the case of Amazon’s patent, imagine having to construct a Merkle Tree before you’re allowed to access a website hosted on one of its servers. To an individual the cost might be insignificant, but to an organization trying to carry out a DDoS attack – which might involve many hundreds of computers – it could become prohibitively expensive.

Merkle Trees are also used in Proof-of-Work blockchains like Bitcoin as part of its consensus mechanism. But for now that’s as close as Amazon will get to Bitcoin.

Unistellar Attackers Delete Over 12,000 Unsecured MongoDB Databases




With around 12,000 unsecured MongoDB databases being deleted in the course of three weeks, attackers have solicited the owners from the databases to contact the said cyber-exotortionists to have the information restored with just a message left behind.

They search for the already exposed database servers utilizing BinaryEdge or Shodan search engines, delete them and demand a ransom for their 'restoration services' and these sorts of attacks focusing on the publicly available MongoDB databases have known to have occurred since atleast the early 2017 [1, 2, 3, 4].

While Mongo Lock attacks likewise target remotely open and unprotected MongoDB databases, the campaign does not appear to demand a particular ransom. Rather, an email contact is given, well on the way to arrange the terms of information recuperation.

Sanyam Jain, an independent security researcher and the person who found the wiped out databases, gave quite a sensible clarification to this, saying that "this person might be charging money in cryptocurrency according to the sensitiveness of the database."

The 12,564 unprotected MongoDB databases wiped out by Unistellar were found by the researchers utilizing BinaryEdge. Seeing that, right now, BinaryEdge indexes somewhat more than 63,000 publicly accessible MongoDB servers as per Jain, it appears as though the Unistellar attackers have dropped by approx 20% of the aggregate.




The cyber-extortionists leave behind notes asking their victims to connect with them if  they need to reestablish their data by sending an email to one of the accompanying two email addresses: unistellar@hotmail.com or unistellar@yandex.com.

Shockingly, there is no real way to follow if their victims have been paying for the databases to be reestablished on the grounds that Unistellar just gives an email to be reached and no cryptocurrency address is given.

These attacks can happen simply because the MongoDB databases are remotely open and access to them isn't appropriately verified. This implies that the database owners can without much of a stretch forestall such attacks by following genuinely basic steps intended to appropriately secure their database instances.

MongoDB gives details on the most proficient method on how to verify a MongoDB database by actualizing legitimate confirmation, access control, and encryption, and furthermore offers a security agenda for executives to pursue.

More to the point, significant measures will undoubtedly be taken which will additionally forestall the attacks by empowering authentication and to not enable the databases to be remotely accessible.


Cryptocurrency exchanges losses $40 million to hackers




A cryptocurrency exchange Binance reported a ‘’large scale’’ data breach in which hackers managed to steal 7,000 bitcoins worth of about $40 million.

The company said that hackers used various techniques including phishing, viruses and other attacks to obtain large numbers of user API keys, 2FA codes and other info. 

“The hackers had the patience to wait, and execute well-prepared actions through multiple seemingly independent accounts at the most opportune time. The transaction is structured in a way that passed our existing security checks,” said Binance’s CEO, Changing Zhao.

According to the initial investigation, the hacker attacked through multiple seemingly independent accounts at the most opportune time. 

The company has halted all the withdrawals immediately after the reports of hack. 

In a public statement released by the company,  they admitted that, ’’the transaction is structured in a way that passed our existing security checks. It was unfortunate that we were not able to block this withdrawal before it was executed. Once executed, the withdrawal triggered various alarms in our system.’’

They further added that they need to conduct a thorough security review, and it would include all parts of our systems and data, which might take one week. 

However, till the whole time, deposits and withdrawals will ‘’REMAIN SUSPENDED’’. 







Electricity Wastage Leading to a Ban on Cryptocurrency Mining in China



In the wake of cryptocurrency mining being listed as one of the hazardous and wasteful activities by China’s central state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, Chinese government has decided to ban cryptocurrency mining in the country. China, after remaining the hub of bitcoin mining has now plans drafted to terminate the activity.

The list generated by China’s central state planner included more than 450 activities  which failed to abide by the regulations  and are categorized unsafe for either they lead to a wastage of resources or pollutes the environment.  

Drawing inferences from an anonymous Chinese bitcoin trader, Reuters noted, “Bitcoin mining wastes a lot of electricity,”

Bitcoin, one of the most popular cryptocurrency hit a record high by the end of 2017 and touched $5,000 for the first time ever since November.  This week, it was down by 1.4 percent along with Ripple’s XRP and Ethereum, which fell down by the same margin.

Lately, cryptocurrency has been under inspection in China and eventually, it led to the banning of initial coin offerings and shutting down of local trading exchanges. With electricity being a crucial factor determining the ban, countries with inexpensive electricity have now emerged as the key hosts of cryptocurrency mining.




Crypto-jacking: A New Vector of the Cyber-Cons after Ransomware!




Apparently, according to the records of 2018, after getting bored with ransomware attacks, crypto-jacking has become the new tool of cyber-cons for harvesting crypto-currency.



Crypto-jacking by nature is more insidious and stealthy and hence in the past year has emerged as a better way of harvesting crypto-currency.

Initially, the best choice for doing the same was ransomware, but having surpassed it, Crypto-jacking is now cyber-cons’ favorite option.

2018, unlike any other year in the cyber-crime history saw a lot of cyber-attacks, wherein the crypto-jacking attacks constituted to be amongst the most.

The report of IBM strictly mentioned that the crypto-currency attacks hiked by quite a large number.

Whereas, ransomware attacks plummeted by 45% including both mobile and desktop platforms.

The major reason behind this shift of inclination towards crypto-jacking happens to be the less-disruptive and furtive disposition.

After a ransomware is introduced to the victim, the attack weapon goes waste after just one attack, leaving no chances for a recurrence.

Meanwhile, in the case of crypto-jacking, a recurrence is almost ensured, making it possible for more profits from a single weapon.

Somehow, crypto-jacking appears to be the more malicious of the two, which if ignored could lead to serious ramifications.

Reportedly, crypto-jacking could soon transform from currency mining to fabrication its own botnets to function spyware attacks.

Leaving the users with the only advice and option; to use the latest versions of anti-viruses and keep the systems updated.


In-Browser Cryptomining Service, 'Coinhive' to Shut Down on March 8, 2019



Coinhive, an in-browser Monero cryptocurrency miner which was designed to provide web developers a JavaScript will be terminating its operations soon.  

Officials at Coinhive put the news forth in a blog post on February 26 where they cited various reasons for their decision of shutting down all their operations. The post suggested that following a 50 percent drop in hash rate, Cryptocurrency service, Coinhive decided to discontinue its operations on March 8, 2019.  

Referencing from the blog post, "The drop in hash rate (over 50%) after the last Monero hard fork hit us hard," the company said. "So did the 'crash' of the crypto currency market with the value of XMR depreciating over 85% within a year."

"This and the announced hard fork and algorithm update of the Monero network on March 9 has lead us to the conclusion that we need to discontinue Coinhive," said the officials.

The project which no longer is economically viable was launched in September 2017 as an alternative to traditional banner ads.

Before Coinhive’s in-browser Monero mining stops working on March 8, the registered users will be made dashboards accessible until April 30 so that they can withdraw funds from their respective accounts.

The digital currency mining service, despite the consistent efforts of the team never become one of the major websites in the league. Moreover, it was subjected to heavy criticism for skyrocketing the CPU usage inside browsers. 

Afterward, it went on becoming immensely popular among cybercriminals for cryptojacking and recently a report from Kaspersky Labs suggested that cryptojacking left behind ransomware and became the biggest cybersecurity threat. 

Referencing from the announcement made by the company,

“Some of you might have anticipated this; some of you will be surprised. The decision has been made. We will discontinue our service on March 8, 2019. It has been a blast working on this project over the past 18 months, but to be completely honest, it isn’t economically viable anymore.”

“The drop in hash rate (over 50%) after the last Monero hard fork hit us hard. So did the “crash” of the cryptocurrency market with the value of XMR depreciating over 85% within a year. This and the announced hard fork and algorithm update of the Monero network on March 9 has lead us to the conclusion that we need to discontinue Coinhive.”




The Ukrainian man stole half a million from crypto-wallets



The man, who stole 500 000 UAH (18 350 USD) from the crypto-wallets of clients of the online cryptocurrency exchange, was detained in the Kiev region.

The Ukrainian cyber police stated that the 35-year-old man provided technical support to the British stock exchange with online cryptocurrency exchange and had access to personal data of customers. He used them to steal from Bitcoin and various Altcoin accounts. Thus, he stole 500 000 UAH for several months.

Theft of cryptocurrency occurred in several stages. At first, the attacker was looking for accounts of clients who for a long time did not open their accounts and did not have a complex authentication system.

After that, the Ukrainian made a substitution of backup e-mail boxes or added them to accounts where they were not specified. Thus, he restored the passwords to the wallets and initiated the debiting of electronic money.

Conversion and withdrawal of money took place through an online exchange.

At the moment the amount of damage is 720 000 UAH (26 400 USD). The received funds the attacker spent on gambling on virtual simulators of slot machines.


The Indian Government Reportedly Worried Of Cryptocurrencies Destabilizing the Rupee



The Indian government panel entrusted with drafting the crypto regulation is supposedly "fixated" with the effect they might have on the rupee in the event if they are permitted to be utilized in payments. The panel was set up in November 2017 headed by the top bureaucrat Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs. The board is as of now said to be in the propelled phases of drafting the regulations for cyrptocurrency utilization in India.

One of the representatives from the crypto currency background who as of late met the ministers, asking for obscurity says that

“If bitcoin and other digital currencies are going to be allowed to be used for payments then whether it will end up destabilising the fiat currency is a major concern for them (the Garg panel), the overall impact on the financial ecosystem that it is likely to have is still unclear and it has been a challenge to convince them on this particular point.”

While Garg's panel  is settling its report containing the proposals for the country's crypto regulation , the Ministry of Finance told the Parliament that  “It is difficult to state a specific timeline to come up with clear recommendations”  furthermore that Garg’s panel is “pursuing the matter with due caution.”

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has effectively distributed a report in October a year ago on the financial stability implications of crypto assets, which expresses that “crypto assets do not pose a material risk to global financial stability at this time.”

In any case, it most likely notes that 'vigilant monitoring' is required keeping in mind the rapid market developments and should the utilization of 'crypto-assets' keep on advancing, it could have some implications for financial stability later on.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also emphasized in its Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2017-18 report that cryptocurrencies are not a risk right now, but rather they do require steady observing on the overall financial strength contemplations, given the fast extension in their utilization.


Infamous North Korean Hacking Group Steals $571 Million in Cryptocurrency


The North Korean Hacking Group, Lazarus has managed once more to embezzle more than a billion dollars in cryptocurrency. The group has purportedly done such sorts of thefts since January 2017, amassing an enormous $571 million from the attacks. This was in accordance with an article published on Friday by The Next Web as well as the coming yearly report from the cybersecurity vendor Group-IB.

The claims made by some South Korean officials in February express that the North Korean hackers likely stole millions of dollars' worth in cryptocurrency in the year 2017.

Since the beginning of last year, the greatest contribution that could be made in hacking outfits has been done by Lazarus, which stole $571 million in cryptocurrency. Their greatest plunder - $534 million originated from a solitary attack led earlier in January 2018.

As indicated by the eminent cybersecurity unit Group IB the hacking outfits are more acclimated with utilizing techniques extending from spear phishing to social engineering and malware introduction to compromising cryptocurrency exchange networks.

"After the local network is successfully compromised, the hackers browse the local network to find work stations and servers used working with private cryptocurrency wallets," says the summary of an annual report prepared by the unit detailing the situation of hi-tech cybercrime trends across the globe. It also indicates that $882 million in cryptocurrency was stolen from exchanges in total from 2017 to 2018.

Massive phishing groups, as the report stated, are exploiting the users' fear of missing out a major opportunity, baiting them to invest their resources into unauthentic projects on knockoff websites.
Group IB additionally states that the quantity of attacks focusing on crypto trades is probably going to rise further, with hackers of more conventional financial institutions, like the banks are being attracted to the space looking for enormous increases.

All the more worryingly, these thefts are prognosticated to increment similarly as with time, more and more aggressive hacking groups are likely to move towards cryptocurrency.


A New Malicious Campaign Whip Around $60,000 of Bitcoin




July 2018, saw the reports of a recently discovered malicious campaign by the Fortiguard Labs. The campaign "Bitcoin Stealer" is as of now held responsible of stealing roughly $60,000 worth in Bitcoin.

The researchers from the FortiGuard Labs initially ran over a threat that at first coordinated a few tenets particular to the Jigsaw ransom ware back in April 2018, yet later on after a considerably more critical look it was revealed that the threat, which contained the assembly name "BitcoinStealer.exe," did not figure like a ransom ware at all.

As unlike to ransom ware, the Bitcoin Stealer rather used an executable to screen the contaminated PC's clipboard content for indications of a bitcoin address. When it finds one of these addresses, the malware at that point replaces that replicated bitcoin address with an alternate one containing similar strings at both the start and the end of that wallet address.

By using this technique, the malware basically mixes itself specifically into bitcoin transactions and after that, halfwit users into transferring cryptocurrency to the wallet of the cybercriminal utilizing Bitcoin Stealer.

As indicated by Techopedia, these stealing programs are cases of clipboard hijacking, an attack strategy through which attackers generally change clipboard content to guide browser users to a malignant website.The Programmers however, are additionally known to utilize a strategy called "pastejacking" to meddle with commands replicated from a web browser and paste into the terminal.

The question though that arises now is thusly aimed at the security specialists with respect to whether there will be sufficient insurance given against such episodes of clipboard modification attacks as digital attackers indeed have a long history of targeting clipboards in order to steal cryptocurrency or redirect users to malware.


Malware Stealing Credentials via Office Documents



Recently the threat actors in charge of the AZORult malware released a refreshed variant with upgrades on both the stealer and the downloader functionalities. This was altogether done within a day after the new version had released a dark web user AZORult in a large Email campaign to circulate the Hermes ransomware.

The new campaign with the updated adaptation of AZORult is in charge of conveying thousands of messages focusing on North America with subjects, such as, "About a role" or "Job Application" and even contains the weaponized office document "firstname.surname_resume.doc” attached to it.




Researchers said, “The recent update to AZORult includes substantial upgrades to malware that was already well-established in both the email and web-based threat landscapes.”

Attackers have made use of the password-protected documents keeping in mind the end goal to avoid the antivirus detections. Once the client enters the password for documents, it requests to enable macros which thusly download the AZORult, and at that point it connects with the C&C server from the already infected machine and the C&C server responds with the XOR-encoded 3-byte key. 

Finally after exfiltrating stolen credentials from the infected machine, it additionally downloads the Hermes 2.1 ransomware.

Security analysts from Proofpoint even recognized the new version (3.2) of AZORult malware publicized in the underground forum with full changelog.

UPD v3.2
[+] Added stealing of history from browsers (except IE and Edge)
[+] Added support for cryptocurrency wallets: Exodus, Jaxx, Mist, Ethereum, Electrum, Electrum-LTC
[+] Improved loader. Now supports unlimited links. In the admin panel, you can specify the rules for how the loader works. For example: if there are cookies or saved passwords from mysite.com, then download and run the file link[.]Com/soft.exe. Also, there is a rule “If there is data from cryptocurrency wallets” or “for all”
[+] Stealer can now use system proxies. If a proxy is installed on the system, but there is no connection through it, the stealer will try to connect directly (just in case)
[+] Reduced the load in the admin panel.
[+] Added to the admin panel a button for removing “dummies”, i.e. reports without useful information
[+] Added to the admin panel guest statistics
[+] Added to the admin panel a geobase

As indicated by the scientists, the malware campaign contains both the password stealer as well as the ransomware, which is astounding on the grounds that it is not so common to see both. Therefore, before causing a ransomware attack, the stealer would check for cryptocurrency wallets and steal the accreditations before the files are encrypted.


Major cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex hit by cyber attack, pauses trading


The fourth biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, Bitfinex, shut down briefly on Tuesday morning after a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack on its trading platform.

It started in the morning when the company paused operations for an “unplanned maintenance”, assuring users that all funds were safe, after which they went back live in a couple of hours.


Two hours later, trading was once again down and the exchange tweeted that its platform was “under extreme load”.


While the first outage was caused due to an issue with one of their infrastructure providers, according to the company, the second outage followed soon after and was claimed to have been caused by a DDoS attack, causing an “extreme load on the servers”.

“We are adjusting the DDoS protection measures to fend off the attack and be able to relaunch. Currently we are running tests to make sure we can safely restart operations,” the company reported on its website after the attack.

According to data from CoinDesk, Bitcoin prices fell almost 2 percent after the attack, hitting a low of $7,373.47 a coin at one point.

According to a report by CNBC, a Bitfinex spokesperson said, "The attack only impacted trading operations, and user accounts and their associated funds/account balances were not at risk at any point during the attack.”


Data Breach leads to leak of personal details of cryptocurrency users

Researchers at Kromtech Security have discovered a MongoDB database that contains the personal details of over 25,000 users who have invested in the John McAffee-backed bezop (BEZ) cryptocurrency.

The leak exposed confidential information of investors such as full names, home addresses, email addresses, encrypted passwords, wallet information, and even scanned passports, driver's licenses, or IDs.

The leak reportedly occurred while the firm’s dev team was dealing with a DDoS attack on January 8, according to an announcement on Bezop’s Medium account.

The information stored on the database is related to a “bounty programme” that was run earlier this year where Bezop handed out tokens (about 4,045,343 Bez) to users promoting their cryptocurrency on social media.

The database reportedly contained personal and confidential details of over 6,500 ICO investors, while the rest were from users who were given tokens as part of the bounty programme.

The server has been secured, according to Bezop.


"That database has since been closed and secured," the Bezop team said this week. "Investor identity cards were also not stored on the database rather a URL link to them. This is also offline now."

Bezop also said that the team had already notified users of the breach in January.

The data was supposedly exposed online until March 30, when Kromtech researchers found the MongoDB database on a google cloud server without any authentication system in place, allowing easy access to anyone who was able to connect to it.