The Police of California Arrested a College Student Who Stole $5 Million Worth of Crypto

us college student stole 5 million dollars in cryptocurrency

According to the information provided by the investigators, a 20-year-old university student Joel Ortiz hacked the mobile phones of victims and got hold of 5 million USD in digital currencies. The young man was supposedly a member of the whole group of criminals practicing the popular hacking technique called SIM-swapping. He was detained by the law enforcement bodies in the airport of Los Angeles.

The situation is not all that bright for the 20-year-old citizen of Boston. He is currently detained with a bail of $1 million, waiting for his 28 charges to be heard in court. The police report states that more than 40 people suffered from this hacker attack.

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Unit 42 Found Malware Which Threatens Israeli Fintech And Crypto Companies

Famous cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks with its subsidiary Unit 42 found a malware which attacks two Israeli-based fintech companies, according to the recent blog post made by the company.

The report says that Unit 42 first bumped into the malware called Cardinal RAT in 2017, since then malicious software has been attacking two Israeli firms that engaged in crypto trading and developing forex. This malware is a Remote Access Trojan (RAT), by using it the culprit can remotely take control of the system.

The first version of Cardinal RAT has been recently updated, the newest version is using various obfuscation techniques to hinder analysis of the underlying code. The code of the most recent malware is:

SHA256 b742162197744a8caeb09f954213a3172ed699f8375f69c40b57b8c219c5e37c

The software itself gathers different information about victims, later remotely changes or updates its settings, gives commands and even uninstalls itself. The malware is so powerful that it can recover passwords and execute or download files without permission, it also cleans cookies from browsers.

The research team stated in the report that malicious malware Cardinal RAT has similar features with a JavaScript-based malware – EVILNUM. It is also used to attack against fintech organizations. Such malware families are very rare, thus developers and workers of fintech companies should be careful.

We remind you

The Hackers of the “51% Attack” on Ethereum Classic Returned Half of the Stolen Funds

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Circle: Even Though There Was A Bearish Market Last Year, The Business Is Growing

The crypto project backed by Goldman Sachs is opening about its current situation of the company. The CEO of Circle, Jeremy Allaire, gave a small interview to Fortune where he talked how bearish market influenced its profit last year.

Let us recall what happened with crypto market in 2018. The beginning of 2018 was quite pleasant, the Bitcoin price accounted for approx. $13,000. Later, the prices of cryptocurrencies began falling down. The fall in prices in the first half of 2018 was quite predictable, as nothing lasts forever. Some crypto experts, like Tom Lee and John McAfee,  even tried to predict the crypto price which would have been by the end of December, however, their predictions were not correct, which caused dissatisfaction investors who invest money in the crypto market.

In the second half of 2018, the price of all cryptocurrencies started to drop significantly. The crypto’s doomsday is considered to be November 15, when Bitcoin Cash had a hard fork, which caused crypto to go down. At the end of the year, the price of Bitcoin reached its lowest minimum of $3400 since 2014.

How did it influence the global crypto finance company? The chief executive of Circle assured everyone that business goes well.

“We had very significant growth year last year, even though there was a crypto bear market,” he said.

In addition, he mentioned that the total company’s revenue and customer base had grown last year.

Allaire also shared Circle’s plans for future. The company has recently acquired a crowdfunding site – SeedInvest, which helps company to issue securities. The CEO emphasized that tokenized securities would become a bigger part of Circle’s business in the near future.

“We’re going to look at ways that we can bring the benefits of digital assets, crypto technologies, and blockchains into this whole area of issuing securities over the internet.”

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American Mining Company Riot Blockchain To Launch Crypto Exchange In The USA

According to a SEC filing, U.S.-based Bitcoin mining company Riot Blockchain plans to launch a crypto exchange by the end of July 2019.

Exchange Details and Current Situation

Riot Blockchain has partnered with SynapseFI, a major software company, and invested approx. $250,000 in the project. It has also form a special subsidiary to operate the exchange. The budget of the exchange is expected to be more than $2 million after its launch.

The software company will take care of banking services of the exchange, the provided API will connect Riot Blockchain’s accounts to other American banking institutions. Moreover, SynapseFI will track locations and identities of customers to “prevent fraud and improper use of its RiotX exchange.”

The SEC’s filing reads:

“SynapseFi’s API will enable to Company to know where the user is when accessing RiotX, thereby enabling the Company to prevent a user from Montana, a state where the exchange of digital currencies is permitted, from traveling to neighboring Wyoming, where the exchange of digital currencies is not permitted, and using RiotX in the prohibited jurisdiction.”

The exchange will be available in 48 states (without Hawaii and Wyoming) by December 2019. RiotX has already been provided a license in five states.

Rumours of Launching Before Official Statement

Back in March 2018, there were rumours based on facts that Riot Blockchain planned to launch crypto exchange since the company acquired Logical Brokerage Corp.. The public filing published at the same time stated that the company wanted to investigate futures brokerage operations and details of launching a digital currency exchange.

In November 2018, RiotX “entered into a Master Services Agreement with Shift Markets, Ltd. to provide RiotX with its crypto exchange platform. These services will enable RiotX to further execute its plans to launch a U.S. focused cryptocurrency exchange.

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The Most Dangerous Crypto Crimes: What About SIM Swappers?

Cyber attack and crypto crimes in every shape and form are quite abundant on the market of digital assets right now. They all have different goals and different levels of harm. The careful and thorough analysis of such attacks will make it possible to predict them and protect sites, platforms and companies from breaches and money losses.

However, there is a weird tendency going on among the analytical reports, which we will try to explain down below.

Two major cyber security companies Chainalysis and CipherTrace released their analytical statements at the end of last year. Both reports contained statistics on hacker attacks and crypto crimes and an outline of current trends.

The main focus of CipherTrace was different money laundering techniques, cryptocurrencies that are the easiest targets for crypto criminals that choose this path, AML regulations and other related info.

Whereas Chainalysis told its readers on the scale and profitability of such Ethereum scams as phishing and various Ponzi schemes.

Surprisingly, there seems to be nothing about the infamous SIM-swapping.

Just to remind you, SIM-swapping is a kind of a cyber attack aimed at money theft. Simply speaking, a hacker convinces the phone provider to “swap” the number of a victim to a new device. In such way, criminals get full access to the personal information of their victims, still their identity, and later money.

SIM-swapping scams have been involved in multiple scandals with the biggest cell-phone providers of America, the crimes involving this technique resulted in huge money thefts and loud arrests of witty hackers, yet very few reports actually mention it.

However, this still does not diminish the dominance of SIM-swapping over many other types of crypto crimes. In order to fight it, we not only need more coverage from the mass media and analytical firms, but also the cooperation from the cell phone companies to protect the users, their info and their money.

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Huobi Launches New Fiat-To-Crypto Exchange: Full Analysis Of Forthcoming Platform

Huobi decided to expand its market in the Western Hemisphere, therefore, US-based subsidiary Huobi.com launches a new fiat-to crypto exchange, which will operate in the USA.

Preconditions for launching the exchange

Creating a new platform sounds quite weird especially against the background of drastic downfall of cryptocurrency prices, which led to decrease in exchange volumes. Yet, Huobi, being in top three crypto exchange by 24-hour trading volume, seems not to care about it at all.

The company has recently announced a large-scale rebranding of his US strategic partner HBUS. Later, the company adopted Huobi brand and renamed itself into Huobi.com. Now Huobi.com is opened for American customers, and it also has started a partnership with Prime Trust not long ago. The latter is a Nevada-based trust company that provides services of withdrawal and deposits for the users.

With this partnership and the fact that other crypto exchanges are rolling out support for international fiat currencies, Huobi.com made a decision to grow up  and go beyond crypto-crypto transactions.

What do you need to know about the platform?

Firstly, the company plans to add three major coins to the platform, these are Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Tether (USDT), they will be tied to US dollar. The listing of other pairs will depend on customer response.

Secondly, the exchange set minimum deposit and withdrawal limit, which is $100. Though the users are bound to register with Prime Trust in order to deposit USD to the exchange. The custodial account requires the completion of Know-Your-Customer (KYC) identity verification checks.

We want to remind you that Huobi plans to launch its own stablecoin in the first half of 2019. Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange has already a substitute for stablecoin, namely HUSD; it supports four US-regulated stablecoins: Paxos Standard (PAX), True USD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC), and Gemini Dollar (GUSD). Unfortunately, the report did not specify which currency the stablecoin will be pegged to.

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The Banks in Canada Employ Hackers to Test Out Their Security Systems

One of the banks in Canada, Toronto-Dominion, chose an interesting technique of testing the proficiency of their security structure. The bank management hired real hackers and asked them to break into their system.

The initiative started out last year by the cyber threat management department. A whole team of cybersecurity experts was hired by the bank and is occasionally trying to hack accounts or networks on behalf of their employers.

We’re doing it exactly how our adversaries would do it … So if we find a weakness or something like that, we can close it or address it before a real attacker,” said a bank representative.

The creative idea was soon adopted by multiple large financial organizations all over the country.

Canadian banks hope that such measures will help in preventing hacker attacks on banks and exchanges that are getting more numerous, intricate and harder to battle by the day.

We remind you:

Two Groups of Professional Hackers Carry Out 60% of All Crypto Attacks

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