Weekly Crypto Round Up: Latest News on Cryptocurrencies & the Dark Web | Week 42 – 2018

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Cryptocurrency Coins.
The latest news on the intersection of the dark web and the world of cryptocurrencies.

After last week’s fluctuations, the crypto market managed to recover and get back on more stable ground, with the total market cap going over the $200 billion price mark once again.

Throughout the week, Bitcoin (BTC) succeeded to rise slightly above $6,500, prompting value increase in other major coins as well.

The second largest digital asset by market cap, Ethereum (ETH), has seen better days.

Nevertheless, the coin remains with a value of over $200, which is an improvement compared to last week’s price plunge.

The sharp decline from the previous week was foreseen after a study done by Juniper Research earlier this month warned that the crypto market is about to implode.

OxyMonster’s $700,000 Worth of Coins Might Be Auctioned

French national Gal Vallerius, 36, was sentenced to 20 years of prison last week, after confessing to charges involving trafficking drugs via the dark web.

Your TOR usage is being watched

Vallerius, better known as OxyMonster on Dream Market, one of the most popular illicit markets on the dark web, sold drugs in exchange for cryptocurrencies.

The amount he accumulated is roughly 100 Bitcoins and 121.95 Bitcoin Cash, or a total of over $700,000—all which he now has to forfeit to the U.S. government.

How the government will deal with the coins remains unknown, although it’s possible for the digital assets to be put on auction.

The same thing happened in 2015 when Ross Ulbricht, the creator of Silk Road, was sentenced to life in prison.

Roughly 144,000 Bitcoins found on Ulbricht’s laptop were sold on multiple auctions.

Darknet sign on green background.
French national Guy Vallerius, 36, was sentenced to 20 years of prison last week, after confessing to charges involving trafficking drugs via the dark web.

Vallerius became the principal suspect of darknet drug activity after advertising his “tip jar” on Dream Market, from which the transactions led to his crypto wallet on Localbitcoins.com.

During his arrest, the police found the cryptocurrency funds on his laptop, along with a Tor browser used to access the dark web and his authentication credentials for logging in on Dream Market.

He used darknet markets to sell various types of drugs including cocaine, crack, fentanyl, methamphetamine, LSD, Ritalin and oxycodone to buyers worldwide.

The accused was arrested last year immediately upon his arrival in the U.S. for the 2017 World Beard and Moustache Championship, which he was supposed to compete in.

Monero Mining Malware Is Posing as Flash Update

Researchers recently discovered a new Monero mining malware disguised as a remarkably convincing Adobe Flash Update.

While this will indeed install the latest version of Flash to make it appear more convincing, the update, however, downloads malware on your device as well.

That makes it very difficult for victims to notice something out of the ordinary, especially because the pop-up is obtained from the official Adobe installer.

In the first quarter of 2018, illicit cryptocurrency mining noticed an increase of approximately 450 percent.

In many cases, the favored digital coin is Monero, mostly due to its privacy features and the fact that it’s associated with the dark web.

The malware that disguises itself as an Adobe Flash Update began emerging back in August 2018.

It was discovered earlier this month by the Unit 42 threat intelligence team at Palo Alto Networks.

Monero Cryptocurrency coin on a PC computer graphic card.
Researchers recently discovered a new Monero mining malware disguised as a remarkably convincing Adobe Flash Update.

This illegal mining trend has grown to the point that recently even a Russian church was involved in unlawfully mining cryptocurrencies.

In other news, cryptocurrency mining remains this year’s dominant cyber threat concerning organizations around the world.

As was revealed in a report published this week by Check Point, iPhones are now becoming the target of miners.

Researchers have detected an increase of almost 400 percent in crypto mining malware attacking iPhones, despite the devices’ secure properties.

The malware attacked the Safari browser on these devices.

FBI Warns of Possible Hacking Threats

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently warned business owners and individuals of possible hacking threats.

A report that was issued September 27 shows that hackers have begun exploiting the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) as a way of carrying out their activities.

Hackers utilize the vulnerabilities of the RDP, and the principal one is a weak password. One of the possible threats that the FBI listed in the report was the CryptON ransomware that compromises a targeted device and then the hackers usually request for Bitcoins as ransom.

Another common problem is the so-called “dark web exchange” where the attacker buys and sells RDP credentials on the dark web that were previously stolen from the victim’s device.

According to the FBI report, this issue has been on the rise ever since 2016 and has increased proportionally with the rise of darknet markets that are selling RDP access.


That’s it for our summary of this week’s major crypto news headlines. This is the 16th post in our crypto news series. See previous installments here:

Week 27

Week 28

Week 29

Week 30

Week 31

Week 32

Week 33

Week 34

Week 35

Week 36

Week 37

Week 38

Week 39

Week 40

Week 41

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