Weekly Crypto Round Up: Latest News on Cryptocurrencies & the Dark Web | Week 09 – 2019

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Weekly Crypto Round up week 09 2019
The latest news on the intersection of the dark web and the world of cryptocurrencies.

Last week, the market movements seemed promising, and crypto investors were expecting the currencies’ values to continue moving in an upward trend.

However, this was not the case, and following a significant price upsurge on Sunday, over the next day, the market slumped into what was then a new week’s low and a loss of $17 billion in market cap.

Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency according to market cap with just over 52 percent market dominance, managed to break through the $4,200 price, but couldn’t hold it for long.

During a period of 24 hours, Bitcoin had both its weekly high of $4,221 and its weekly lowest price of $3,755.

The start of the new week was not the greatest for Bitcoin, but the cryptocurrency is moderately recovering now.

Since the market slump, the coin reported around 2.5 percent losses compared to the previous week and now is trying to break above the $3,900 resistance level.

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Ethereum remains the second largest cryptocurrency on the market, but the coin was also affected by the market fluctuations.

After soaring above $160, a price that has not been seen for over three months, Ethereum lost value and dropped back to less than $140 with losses of over six percent compared to the previous week.

Scammers Raised over $300,000 in Sextortion Scams

Scammers have obtained more than $330,000 through sextortion since July 2018, a new report shows.

It’s a form of cryptocurrency scamming in which the victims receive a message where they are demanded to pay a specific sum of money, in Bitcoin, or else explicit content of them will be sent to all of their contacts.

According to a report published by Digital Shadows, although this crypto scam technique is relatively new, it unquestionably gained popularity last year.

The research shows that in the period from July 2018 to February 2019, Digital Shadows tracked a total of 790,000 sextortion attempts that were sent to approximately 89,000 email addresses.

The total amount the scammers managed to get during these months was $332,000, transferred from more than 3,100 Bitcoin addresses to the scammers’ wallets, listed in the sextortion emails.

Sextortion button written on a keyboard button.
Scammers have obtained more than $330,000 through sextortion since July 2018, a new report shows.

The scamming email campaigns all follow a similar pattern.

The sextortion scammers usually target people with higher earnings, whom they can easily find through LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

The email begins with the attacker revealing the victim’s password as proof that they indeed have compromised their accounts.

They can easily purchase these passwords and emails on dark web markets.

Then, they claim to own explicit and potentially embarrassing content of the victim, and unless paid a certain amount of money in Bitcoin, this content will be released to all of the victim’s contacts.

People deceived by these scams pay to avoid humiliation, even though the scammers are bluffing most of the time in order to earn easy Bitcoins.

Malicious Malware Is After Your Pornhub Credentials

In other news, a report recently published by Kaspersky Lab addresses the dangers users of adult websites face.

The research revealed that cybercriminals are using malware disguised as porn, and in 2018 more than 87,000 unique users downloaded this malicious software on their devices.

The malware hunts for credentials on adult websites and the number of these attacks in 2018 doubled compared to the year before.

Over 110,000 computers around the world were attacked by these types of malicious software in more than 850,000 attempts, which is triple the number of attempts in 2017.

Logically, the number of credential sales also increased, with more than 10,000 sale offers that included premium account information.

In 2018, the focus was set on Pornhub and XNXX as all of the attacks can be traced to these two popular adult websites.

The information is then sold on the dark web and purchased by scammers that used it for sextortion scams with the intention to earn Bitcoins by intimidating the victims, as described above.

Exploiting Social Media Platforms Earns Cybercriminals $3B per Year 

A new academic study done by Professor Mike McGuire at the University of Surrey and sponsored by Bromium reveals that over $3 billion in global revenue per year goes to cybercrime associated with social media.

Man with magnifying glass looking at Facebook domain.
Namely, with the enormous increase of illegal cryptocurrency mining malware that goes up to 600 percent since 2017, this software was essentially detected on various social media platforms, mostly Twitter and Facebook.

The study further exhibits that malware transferred through social media has compromised one in every five organizations and the data of over 1.3 billion individual users only in the last couple of years.

Moreover, in the illicit dark web data sales which happened over the past two years, up to 50 percent of the compromised information was linked to social media data breaches.

Social media is an attractive tool for targeting victims, as these platforms offer more ways of transferring malware, which can go up to 20 percent more than the other approaches.

The study, titled Social Media Platforms and the Cybercrime Economy, also investigates the correlation between social media and cryptocurrency scams, and the new findings unveil that these platforms play a significant role in distributing crypto mining malware.

Namely, with the enormous increase of illegal cryptocurrency mining malware that goes up to 600 percent since 2017, this software was essentially detected on various social media platforms, mostly Twitter and Facebook.

These popular and commonly used social media platforms were contaminated with advertisements, links and applications that contained software designed to infect users’ devices and mine cryptocurrencies.

Monero mining malware was most present in these activities with 80 percent, and Bitcoin came second with 10 percent.

With this only, cybercriminals earn up to $250 million per year.

Dark Web Drug Kingpin Gets 14 Years in Jail

Drug kingpin Eric Hughes, 37, was recently sentenced to 14 years of prison for using the dark web for drug dealing.

Hughes was using darknet markets to purchase “raw materials” from China that he later used to make false prescription drugs.

The drug ring that was led by Hughes, known by his dark web nickname “Genius Bar,” operated since 2012 and sold large amounts of drugs on the dark web, including counterfeit Xanax and Oxycodone, both highly addictive and purchased legally only with a prescription.

Hughes was arrested in August 2017 after crashing his car and spilling thousands of pills on the road. Upon his arrest, investigators seized around 150 Bitcoins, which at the time were valued at around $1 million.

Man arrested for posseing drugs.
Drug kingpin Eric Hughes, 37, was recently sentenced to 14 years of prison for using the dark web for drug dealing.

After an eight-hour hearing, the accused was found guilty and sentenced to a total of 14 years in jail, on money laundering and drug conspiracy charges.

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That’s it for our summary of this week’s major crypto news headlines. This is the 35th post in our crypto news series.

Catch up on the latest installments here:

February 22

February 15

February 08

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The articles and content found on Dark Web News are for general information purposes only and are not intended to solicit illegal activity or constitute legal advice. Using drugs is harmful to your health and can cause serious problems including death and imprisonment, and any treatment should not be undertaken without medical supervision.