Weekly Crypto Round Up: Latest News on Cryptocurrencies & the Dark Web | Week 50 – 2018

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Bitcoin agains skyscrapers in futuristic smart city
The latest news on the intersection of the dark web and the world of cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin ended the previous week with loses of around 20 percent, while the monthly losses increased to 47.3 percent.

Currently, the coin is trading at around $3,170.

However, considering the volatile nature of the market, it’s difficult to tell whether the price will keep plummeting or Bitcoin and the other coins will recover.

Despite small signs of a possible recovery in the last few days, the cryptocurrency market fell even lower, standing at just over $102 billion at press time.

This December has not been very profitable for cryptocurrency investors.

Around the same time last year, Bitcoin was confidently approaching its all-time high of over $20,000. Unfortunately, this year will most likely not end so glorious.

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The other larger coins, besides Bitcoin, are also not performing great.

Ethereum suffered a massive decline and fell to $89 with a market cap of less than $10 billion, while Ripple’s XRP is doing slightly better and is still holding the second position on the market.

415,000 Routers Worldwide Infected with Crypto Mining Malware

Hackers have installed a crypto mining malware on approximately $415,000 routers worldwide, reported The Next Web last week.

Golden Bitcoin floating above of hacker's hand in dark background
Cryptojacking attacks grew nearly 1,000 percent.

The cryptojacking attacks affect only MikroTik routers, abusing a system vulnerability.

Researchers advise MikroTik users to download and install the latest version of firmware for their routers, as a way to prevent hackers from exploiting their devices.

Unlawful coin mining, also known as cryptojacking, has become a regular activity, and despite cryptocurrency prices going down leaving miners without profit, there is still peaked interest in the trend.

Back in August of this year, researchers discovered that 200,000 MikroTik devices were infected with malware, with the majority of them located in Brazil.

Now, the number not only doubled, but it spread all over the world as well.

Illegal coin mining significantly expanded during 2018, especially in the first six months, when cryptojacking attacks grew nearly 1,000 percent.

Apart from the popularity of cryptocurrencies and their value growth around this time last year, another key factor is the availability of these cryptojacking tools.

Namely, this software can be bought on the dark web for a low price, commonly paid in cryptocurrency, by everyone.

Europol Performs EU-Wide Action Against the Dark Web

In a press release last week Europol announced that law enforcement agencies executed interventions all across Europe in which they seized counterfeit money, drugs, weapons, computers, cryptocurrency and hardware for mining crypto coins.

The actions were organized by Europol and included 13 different countries around Europe, which ultimately led to detaining 235 suspects in the process.

Originally, the interventions were targeting suspects that were purchasing counterfeit euro banknotes on the dark web.

According to the report, over 10,000 of these banknotes were shipped all across Europe.

The search led to discovering everything from Bitcoins to marijuana-growing facilities in France and Germany.

Europol Deputy Executive Director of Operations Wil van Gemert explained in the press release that there is no such thing as absolute anonymity on the dark web, highlighting the actions that were performed as a proof of this.

As ZDNet reports, despite using cryptocurrency to keep the transactions anonymous, the suspects failed to shield the transactions with proper encryption.

Will Cryptojacking Attacks Grow in 2019? 

Cryptojacking scam concept with faceless hooded male person using tablet computer
He also predicts that browser extensions will become a more utilized way of targeting a large number of users.

Pedro Fortuna, CTO and founder of JavaScript application security provider Jscrambler, predicts that 2019 can indeed get worse when it comes to online security.

In a blog post, Fortuna says he expects substantial growth in cryptojacking with new and diverse mining techniques, especially if the prices of cryptocurrencies go up again.

These tools can be easily purchased on the dark web for an inexpensive price, while the gains of it are enormous, which makes illegal crypto mining an appealing activity for cybercriminals.

Furthermore, Fortuna claims that there is a probability that in 2019 a new generation of MiTB (or Man-in-the-Browser) attacks will emerge, as hackers exploit different software vulnerabilities.

He also predicts that browser extensions will become a more utilized way of targeting a large number of users all at once.

In the past few years, one in every 10 Chrome extensions has proven to carry malware, and the number can potentially grow in the year ahead of us.


That’s it for our summary of this week’s major crypto news headlines. This is the 24th post in our crypto news series.

Catch up on the latest installments here:

December 7

November 30

November 23

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