Weekly Crypto Round Up: Latest News on Cryptocurrencies & the Dark Web | Week 06 – 2019

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Weekly crypto round up week 06-2019
The latest news on the intersection of the dark web and the world of cryptocurrencies.

For five weeks in a row Bitcoin’s price has been continuously going down, and this is most likely to continue in the days ahead as well.

The price slump has had an impact on all other main coins and the total market cap.

Bitcoin’s price slump on Wednesday dragged Ethereum’s value down as well, but the cryptocurrency is now in the green with firm gains over the last day.

Ripple’s XRP, on the other hand, is not doing so well and is barely holding the second place on the cryptocurrency charts.

Bitcoin’s price disaster has no bearing on the number of its daily transactions. According to Josh Rager, cryptocurrency trader and investor, there has been an upward momentum in the transactions made with this coin per day since April 2018.

Additionally, the transactions per second also increased and have reached a number of 3.8.

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Rager believes that Bitcoin won’t undergo a big turnaround this year and the price will go even lower, but in 2020 the cryptocurrency market will experience a massive increase.

College Student Faces 10 Years of Jail for SIM Hijacking 

Joel Ortiz, 20, accepted a plea bargain of 10 years in jail for crimes in which he stole over $5 million in cryptocurrency.

Ortiz was accused of stealing the money from its victims by using a popular technique called SIM hijacking, in which the attacker gets a hold of the victim’s phone number and uses it to obtain sensitive data and steal their funds, in this case, from their cryptocurrency wallets.

The 20-year-old college student managed to steal money from 40 people before his arrest on July 12, 2018.

Ortiz was a member of a small group of hackers that practiced this technique to steal cryptocurrencies.

Two of the other arrested suspects, Joseph Harris and Fletcher Robert Childers, managed to steal up to $14 million and are awaiting trial.

According to Motherboard, Ortiz just recently pleaded guilty and took a plea bargain for 10 years of jail time. His prison sentence is expected to begin on March 14, making this the first sentencing for a crime of this kind.

SIM hijacking, also known as SIM swapping, is a complex social engineering technique which works similarly to phishing.

Sim card on a smart phone screen.
Joel Ortiz, 20, accepted a plea bargain of 10 years in jail for crimes in which he stole over $5 million in cryptocurrency.

However, there is a more accessible way of gathering the needed data about the victims. Data dumps on the dark web are growing more common, considering the sheer number of breaches that have happened in the past year.

The information that criminals can purchase for only a few dollars contains just sufficient information to ease up the process of SIM hijacking.

Late last year, one man in San Francisco made headlines for his unfortunate experience of losing $1 million to a SIM swapping scheme.

Post Fake News or Malware in a Trusted Newspaper for $200

A report by cybersecurity firm Sixgill reveals a new trend on the dark web—hackers are now selling credentials for accessing media organizations, or more precisely their content management systems.

That gives complete freedom to the person who purchases the data, to post whatever they want on the website and even plant malware.

Omer Carmi, Sixgill’s director of intelligence, told Foreign Policy that his team found more than one offer in the past few months, and one of them included credentials of up to 1,400 U.S. news outlets.

Carmi explains that all it takes is $200 and stolen data from the preferred news outlet to publish whatever you want there, which is positively a potential ground for fake news.

Sixgill’s claims have not yet been confirmed, but this isn’t the first case of its kind as other cybersecurity firms have also reported comparable findings on dark web forums.

A more concerning fact is that this could also be used as a way of planting crypto mining malware on high-traffic news websites.

Fake news sign on a smart phone screen.
A report by cybersecurity firm Sixgill reveals a new trend on the dark web—hackers are now selling credentials for accessing media organizations, or more precisely their content management systems.

Andrei Barysevich from cybersecurity company Recorded Future reassures that while in theory this is possible, with the prices of digital assets continuously dropping, it would take infecting millions of people for hackers to actually make a significant amount of money this way.

Vulnerability Found in Zcash Allowed Counterfeiting 

A vulnerability which was discovered in Zcash back in March 2018 allowed hackers to create an unlimited amount of Zcash coins.

According to an article posted on Zcash’s blog, the now-fixed defect was not a threat to the privacy of the users but could have been used for generating counterfeit ZEC coins.

If hackers utilized this vulnerability, they would have been able to produce as many coins as they wanted without being noticed.

In Mach 2018 an engineer from the company behind Zcash discovered the vulnerability but it was kept as a secret until it was finally fixed in late October last year. The case was not reported to the public to avoid possible exploitation.

Zcash is positive that hackers did not get the chance to exploit the vulnerability and that no counterfeiting occurred prior to their discovery of the problem.

Personal Data of OKCoin’s Founder Sold on Dark Web for $1

Personal information on Star Xu, the founder of digital cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin, can be purchased on the dark web for the price of only $1.

The news emerged last week in the media after a Chinese news outlet initially revealed the information to the public.

OK Coin logo on smart phone screen.
Personal information on Star Xu, the founder of digital cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin, can be purchased on the dark web for the price of only $1.

Allegedly, the vendor not only was selling information on Xu but also on his family members and the OKCoin exchange.

It remains unclear whether this is a scam or the data that is being sold on the dark markets is really his.

What seems to make the offer look suspicious is the low price of 0.00029 BTC, which is currently worth not more than a dollar.

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That’s it for our summary of this week’s major crypto news headlines. This is the 32nd post in our crypto news series.

Catch up on the latest installments here:

February 01

January 25

January 18

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