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U.S. Looks Into Cryptocurrency’s Role in Ransomware Hacks



The Biden government is exploring the role of cryptocurrency in recent hacks that disrupted key U.S. industries like healthcare, fuel, and food, and exploring new ways to track victims’ payouts to foreign ransomware gangs.

White House officials said this week they are pushing for better tracking of ransomware payments that hackers are demanding in order to release companies’ data.

The move came after a cyber attack that weekend that caused meat processor JBS TO

to cease production at US and Australian plants This incident followed the hacks by Colonial Pipeline Co. and Scripps Health last month in San Diego and showed how such extortion programs can disrupt the US economy and disrupt daily life.

The White House did not respond to requests for details about its approach to tracking the transactions or whether additional regulations are in the works.

Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger at a press conference in May.


Evan Vucci / Associated Press

In a letter to business leaders on Wednesday, Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger said US officials are working with international partners on uniform guidelines for ransom payment and tracking.

Hackers are demanding cryptocurrency ransom because it is difficult to track across digital wallets and national borders. US officials advise companies against paying ransoms, but many do so when data loss would cripple their business. However, paying hackers associated with sanctioned companies risks penalties from the Treasury Department.

Some cybersecurity experts say the spate of attacks underscores the need for a more aggressive approach to monitoring crypto payments. In April, a task force of large tech companies and U.S. officials called on governments to enforce know-your-customer rules, similar to Treasury Department regulations, to improve the transparency and accountability of Bitcoin and other digital money.

“There are some responsibilities associated with having a responsible, mature currency in the world,” said Michael Daniel, a former Obama administration official who is now the executive director of Cyber ​​Threat Alliance, a nonprofit information sharing group .

But hackers and the exchanges that process their withdrawals often operate overseas and limit Washington’s regulatory powers. Improved oversight of cryptocurrency exchanges overseas, which some cyber experts say are facing lower regulatory standards, could require international collaboration or pressure.

However, ransomware specialists are skeptical that restrictions on Bitcoin payments or stricter regulations will curb the growth of ransomware. Restrictions on individual digital currencies like Bitcoin mean criminals will simply switch to another, less regulated currency, and any regulation strong enough to deter payments to criminals will take a long time to develop, said Lior Div, CEO of cybersecurity company Cybereason Inc., which develops software to combat ransomware.

More from WSJ Pro Cybersecurity

Prominent US cryptocurrency exchanges say they have strict controls in place to prevent money laundering and identify customers. Marco Santori, chief legal officer of Payward Inc.’s Kraken cryptocurrency exchange, said Kraken controls are on par with large banks, and large exchanges are in regular contact with regulators.

“There’s this meme out there that crypto is not regulated and crypto participants don’t deal with the government. It just couldn’t be further from the truth, ”he said.

Companies like Colonial, who paid $ 4.4 million in Bitcoin to a gang called DarkSide believed to be based in Eastern Europe, often make such payments to cover costly outages of their computer networks or the hard work of recovering Avoid systems from backup data.

The Colonial Pipeline provides about 45% of the fuel used on the east coast.


Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A representative from JBS did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Scripps Health declined to comment.

Ransom victims usually hire third-party vendors like DigitalMint, based in Chicago, to convert their money into cryptocurrency. DigitalMint officials said they are collecting standard know-your-customer data on customers and checking hackers’ digital wallets for potential overlap with sanctioned companies in countries where many ransomware groups operate, such as Russia.

DigitalMint payments usually go directly to foreign markets. “Much of what we see ends up in these big forex exchanges,” said Seth Sattler, compliance director for DigitalMint.

Ransomware groups often distribute cryptocurrencies under many digital wallets to camouflage themselves and hide potential connections to sanctioned entities, Sattler said.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, part of the Treasury Department known as FinCEN, proposed additional rules for many cryptocurrency transactions in December, requiring US-based banks and money services companies to screen some customers and report transactions over $ 10,000.

Dmitri Alperovitch, chairman of the Silverado Policy Accelerator, a think tank, said FinCEN regulators should also require companies to report the exchanges they use. That information could help the Treasury Department determine exactly which exchanges or affiliates to target with sanctions, he said.

“Virtually every exchange in the world trades in some form in US currency,” said Alperovitch. “The US could put all of them under absolute pressure through sanctions and the like to pursue the same policy.”

A Treasury Department spokeswoman said she has received over 7,000 comments on the proposed regulation and is working with interested parties to ensure the final regulation balances costs and benefits for the public and private sectors. The department is monitoring daily risks in this area, added the spokeswoman.

Some ransomware victims and their cybersecurity advisors voluntarily report ransom payment details such as dates, wallet addresses, and amounts to law enforcement agencies, said Bill Siegel, CEO of Coveware Inc., a company that helps customers respond to incidents and negotiate with attackers.

“It’s just a matter of what they do [law-enforcement officials] do with it, ”he said. “From a regulatory point of view, in my opinion, there is nothing that would be effective in this regard, other than creating a comprehensive mandatory reporting requirement for victims of ransomware.

Write to David Uberti at and James Rundle at

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8


What is Ethereum And Should You Invest in This Cryptocurrency?



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Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency by volume and the most widely used blockchain in the world, but its many uses can create a much bigger learning curve than Bitcoin for new investors.

“Ethereum serves two purposes. First, it functions as money and can be a store of value,” said Bill Noble, senior technical analyst at Token Metrics, a cryptocurrency analysis platform. “But Ethereum is also like a freeway for decentralized finance.”

Instead of creating value as “digital gold” like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a software platform that runs on a blockchain. Users can interact with the platform through Ether, the Ethereum-linked cryptocurrency – or buy and store it as a store of value. Ethereum is widely used by developers, but there are also people who invest in the crypto so that its potential is worth more over time.

What is ethereum

Ethereum was invented in 2015 by programmer Vitalki Buterin after Bitcoin.

“He realized that bitcoin was like a calculator, designed to do one thing, and it does it really well, but you can’t do anything else with it,” said Ollie Leech, learning editor at Coindesk, a cryptocurrency news agency.

So Buterin created Ethereum, a blockchain network with an associated cryptocurrency called Ether (ETH) with the potential to do far more.

While you can buy and trade Ethereum as an investment like Bitcoin, it is also a software platform that developers can use to create new applications – often cryptocurrency or otherwise designed to make buying, selling, and using cryptocurrencies smoother. Like the ones on your phone, these apps can be anything from rental apps to payment platforms.

Think of Ethereum like a smartphone, says Leech. Developers can build apps on smartphones, much like they can build apps on Ethereum. While cell phone apps have more universal applicability these days, Ethereum apps are more aimed at crypto users. Using the example of a borrowing app, a developer could create the app that other crypto users in turn could use to borrow and borrow.

“Everything is powered by this idea of ​​smart contracts,” he says. A smart contract is a program that runs autonomously on the Ethereum blockchain, says Leech. Smart contracts fulfill all functions that a third party would normally have to perform.

For example, people can complete direct transactions over the network. Peer-to-peer lending is becoming increasingly popular on Ethereum right now, says Leech. A credit app developed on the Ethereum network enables individuals to lend money to one another without involving a bank.

The smart contracts that power these apps are basically just algorithms that perform a certain function when certain conditions are met. In the case of peer-to-peer credit, the contract triggers the outcome (the lending of the money) if the collateral is deposited in the correct wallet or in the correct account. Possible benefits of using a smart contract over a traditional lender include speed of execution, the absence of human error or bias, and lower fees.

Other uses of Ethereum

Like other popular cryptos, Ethereum was built on the principles of decentralized funding as the products and services that live on Ethereum are available to anyone with access to the internet.

The smart contracts allow developers to create decentralized applications that can serve various purposes. These applications include financial instruments like cryptocurrency exchanges, decentralized lending platforms, and data services like Matcha, which scans multiple cryptocurrency exchanges for the best prices. But there are also categories of dapps for things like buying and selling digital artwork, games, and developer technology.

The open source concept of Ethereum enables developers to build completely new cryptocurrencies on it, such as Chainlink and XRP, which are known as tokens. Some of these assets come in the form of various cryptocurrencies that you may have heard of, such as Tether (USDT), Uniswap (UNI), or USD Coin (USDC).

But cryptocurrencies aren’t the only digital assets that can be created on Ethereum – recently, NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are another example of something created using Ethereum. These digital tokens are operated by Ethereum and are used to represent ownership of unique items, according to the Ethereum website.

Ethereum vs. Ether

Developers have to pay a fee to the Ethereum network to create new tokens or decentralized apps on the network. You make these payments in Ether, the home currency of Ethereum. According to Noble, this fee is also known as “gas”.

Gas is the price to use the system, such as taking the subway to take the train. Ether is the cash you would use to buy your Metrocard. Think of it “like tolls that you have to pay to get things done and trade on Ethereum,” says Noble. Different promotions are worth different amounts of Ether, and the fees get higher as more people join the network.

These gas prices, and all the uses developers pay to research them, help explain the rise in the value of ether over the years. As more and more developers try to develop things on Ethereum, they have to buy more ether to pay gas fees, which in turn increases the price of ether. Ethereum investors are betting on the continued use of the most widely used blockchain and the potential of their applications for the future.

Gas fees are also one of the biggest barriers to Ethereum’s growth potential, according to Noble. But an ongoing update to the network, Ethereum 2.0, tries to address the problem. The update won’t have any impact on investors or Dapp users, it will only affect developers, according to the Ethereum site.

If you want to invest in Ethereum, buy Ether. An ether token is currently trading for around $ 2,700. Similar to how you would invest in Bitcoin, investing in Ethereum means buying and holding the token (ether) in the hopes that it will increase in value over time.

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Forex cryptocurrency: How to choose what to trade



Trading cryptocurrencies in Africa is becoming increasingly popular. This is due to a tech-savvy population who were already quick to adopt digital payments via mobile devices. However, forex trading has also seen increased growth in the country with an estimated 1.3 million traders in Africa. With this growth, there are plenty of potential traders who want to start trading but are unsure of which currency to choose in this complex environment.

This is after INFINOX Regional Director, Danny Mawas, who says it is important to do careful analysis before getting into trading. “Identify your personal goals, resources, and risk tolerance before choosing your risk and trade management strategies. It is also important to spend time researching and analyzing both markets before trading. ”

First, it is important to know the differences between the two as they are enormous and can be compared to the proverbial apples and oranges. “Cryptocurrency trading is trading in digital or virtual currencies that are secured by cryptography, the best-known example is Bitcoin. Trading takes place on relatively new decentralized platforms using blockchain technology, a system that makes it almost impossible to change, hack or cheat. “

“Forex is foreign exchange, or FX, and it takes place in the largest, most liquid, and established global markets. Every day, volumes of up to 6.6 trillion US dollars are traded in 150 state-supported national currencies, ”explains Mawas.

When it comes to choosing a trade, Mawas points out that it is important to consider the liquidity of the forex market versus the crypto market. “For example, when forex traders buy and sell these high volumes on a daily basis, it creates a liquid market that offers opportunities for all types of traders. In addition, thanks to their volatility, forex instruments also offer leverage as well as many trading opportunities, which makes trading an easy instrument. “

“The foreign exchange market allows individuals, large institutions, governments, retailers and others to participate,” he says. “Forex trading is essentially less risky, more protected, more regulated, and more stable. It enables investors to react to market movements and is influenced by political or economic factors that cause investors to enter or exit the market accordingly. ”

“However, trading crypto can be riskier as there is less information and fewer case studies to predict performance,” adds Mawas. “There are less established markets and while it may promise higher returns, there is no guarantee of profit, but a long-term option for potential profit.”

Mawas explains that for those looking to start trading Forex, there are proven strategies that beginners can consider. “One viable way to learn and fuel your trading journey is through online community apps like IX Social, where traders can share knowledge, trades and experiences with like-minded traders. It puts users in the spotlight with the latest news, community trending topics, top trades of the day and the latest prices in one place.

“The easy-to-use functionality, coupled with an auto-copy feature that allows traders to automatically copy the top traders to get the same results, makes it the ideal platform for beginners to learn and grow,” says he.

Mawas offers his advice, saying that it is important that you not let your emotions guide you no matter what forex traders choose to trade. “Trading based on an emotional impulse often results in traders buying and selling at inopportune times.”

“While there are great advantages to trading, it is important for traders to follow a strategy and get started easily. This will ensure their longevity and in-game prosperity, ”concludes Mawas.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of INFINOX Capital.

Contact details on behalf of INFINOX:
Mondli Hadebe
Tel: +2721 023 0440
Cell phone: +27 78 640 6457

INFINOX is an award-winning and market-leading online trading platform.

Founded in 2009 with the vision of delivering a customer-centric trading experience, INFINOX offers its customers first-class service in various asset classes. We empower and help investors gain access to the markets so they can trade forex, stocks, indices, commodities and futures; with our fast, efficient and reliable trading technology.

We strive to provide great service to our customers and we have a dedicated multilingual support team available 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced trader, INFINOX provides the relevant tools to get you started and improve your trading strategies. We offer instant funding options and the ability to withdraw your money quickly.

INFINOX Capital Ltd. SA is an authorized financial services provider and is registered by the Financial Services Conduct Authority at. regulated FSP No. 50506 (INFINOX Capital Ltd SA acts as an intermediary for INFINOX Capital authorized and regulated by the Bahamas Securities Commission).

INFINOX Capital is a registered trade name of IX Capital Group Limited, authorized and regulated by the Securities Commission of The Bahamas (‘the SCB‘) under registration number BE F-188.

INFINOX Limited is approved and regulated by the Financial Services Commission as an investment dealer (FSC) from Mauritius under the license number GB20025832.

INFINOX is a brand of INFINOX Capital Ltd, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom under company number 06854853. INFINOX Capital Ltd is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under registration number 501057.

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Danny Mawas, Regional Director at Infinox

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Man out $75,000 after cryptocurrency stolen – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports



(WSVN) – cryptocurrency: a great way to get rich or lose your money. It’s complicated, it’s risky, and crooks love it, which is why South Floridas turn to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to ask if crooks are stealing their crypto, are they out of luck?

Crypto, Coinbase, Bitcoin. Words that make some people say, huh? And others say it will make me rich.

Matthew Pilieci, cryptocurrency stolen: “It’s a bit like the Wild West, not regulated.”

Matthew Pilieci is determined to have financial security when he retires. A point he got from a man who speaks from experience.

Matthew Pilieci: “I think my grandfather poked it into my head as a small child: ‘You don’t want to die without money.'”

Matthew believes cryptocurrency can make that money for him. After saving $ 20,000, he signed up on the Coinbase app and started buying.

Matthew Pilieci: “No problems, it felt very safe. It had a mixture of Bitcoin and some Ethereum. “

The unregulated cryptocurrency is very risky, which doesn’t bother Matthew.

Matthew Pilieci: “I like to gamble and take risks with my investments because I’m younger, so I like riskier investments.”

His risky investments brought higher profits.

Matthew Pilieci: “I invested just under $ 20,000 a few years ago and my portfolio was close to $ 75,000.”

A great return. And then one night everything was gone.

Matthew Pilieci: “Somehow they got through my two-key factor authentication and accessed my account remotely. Everything was gone within 10 minutes. Just under $ 75,000 was stolen from them. There is a lot to swallow. “

Matthew quickly called Coinbase to notify them and try to get his $ 75,000 back.

Matthew Pilieci: “They don’t have live support, in the market, which is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a public company has absolutely no live support.”

Matthew sent Coinbase an email. He says he only got automated email replies.

Matthew Pilieci: “I knew people were being hacked. I wasn’t aware that Coinbase was completely unresponsive and unhelpful. “

Matthew doesn’t know how the hackers got access to his Coinbase account, but he remembered that when he signed up with Coinbase, they applied to have insurance.

Matthew Pilieci: “They advertise that your money is insured, but when a transaction goes through there is no way to withdraw that transaction.”

That means his $ 75,000 is gone.

Matthew Pilieci: “I got too angry from a completely broken heart.”

Well, Howard, where is Matthew legally?

Howard Finkelstein, legal expert at 7News: “To say this is legally complicated is an understatement. Our financial laws were written before cryptocurrency was created. If the money was stolen from a bank account, they’d probably have to give it back to you, but with cryptocurrency no one knows the answer and if they say you’re unlucky, you probably have it. “

Matthew is not alone. Lately we have been contacted by people whose cryptocurrency has disappeared.

One viewer wrote: “Bitcoin wallet was hacked and stolen.”

Another person said, “$ 11,000 worth of cryptocurrency was stolen,” and they also stole $ 3,500 from his bank account.

Regarding Matthew, Coinbase wrote, “They responded quickly and can confirm that there was no violation of the Coinbase platform or improper actions by the employees,” which concluded that the hacker accessed Matthew’s phone and their insurance company did not responsible for his loss of $ 75,000.

Howard Finkelstein: “If you’re thinking about suing, don’t waste your time. If you sign up with companies like Coinbase, you will lose your right to sue them and will only be able to apply for a refund through arbitration. This is Matthew’s best chance, and like buying cryptocurrency, it’s a long attempt. “

Conclusion: Matthew’s risky investment in cryptocurrency didn’t bring any rewards this time around.

Matthew Pilieci: “That just set me back by how many years, you know? Now I’m back to zero. Now I’m back at the start. “

If there is a way to make a dime, the hackers will find a way to steal that dime and that’s why they call cryptocurrency the Wild Wild West.

Somebody cost you a little bit of coin? Don’t be cryptic. Contact us and see if we can put money in the bank for you.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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