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Ransomware: US recovers millions in cryptocurrency paid to Colonial Pipeline hackers

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The announcement confirms CNN’s earlier coverage of the FBI-led operation in partnership with Colonial Pipeline, the company that fell victim to the ransomware attack in question.

In particular, the Justice Department said it seized approximately $ 2.3 million worth of bitcoins that were paid to individuals belonging to a criminal hacking group called DarkSide. The FBI has been investigating DarkSide for over a year, which is supposed to share its malware tools with other criminal hackers.

But behind the scenes, the company had taken early steps to notify the FBI and followed instructions that helped investigators track the payment to a cryptocurrency wallet used by the hackers believed to be are based in Russia.

“Following the money remains one of the most basic but powerful tools we have,” Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Monday during the DOJ’s announcement that followed CNN’s coverage of the recovery operation. “Ransom payments are the fuel that powers the digital extortion machine, and today’s announcement shows that the United States will use all available tools to make these attacks more costly and less profitable for criminal companies.”

The confiscation order was approved by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.

“The extortionists will never see this money,” said acting US Attorney Stephanie Hinds for the Northern District of California on Monday at the press conference at the Justice Department. “New financial technologies that seek to anonymize payments will not provide a curtain for criminals to steal the pockets of hard-working Americans.”

Blount made a statement following the DOJ’s announcement.

“When Colonial was attacked on May 7th, we quietly and quickly contacted the local FBI offices in Atlanta and San Francisco and prosecutors in Northern California and Washington DC to tell them what we knew at the time. The Department of Justice and the FBI helped us understand the threat actor and his tactics. Your efforts to hold these criminals accountable and bring them to justice are commendable, “said Blount.

CNN previously reported that US officials were looking for possible loopholes in the hackers’ operational or personal security to identify the actors responsible, sources familiar with the hassle, said.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that coordination between ransomware victims and law enforcement agencies can in some cases produce positive outcomes for both parties.

“I’m not saying that this is the norm, but there have been instances where we have even been able to work with our partners to identify the encryption keys that would then allow a company to actually unlock its data – even” without it to pay the ransom, “he said.

“The abuse of cryptocurrency is a massive enabler”

The Biden administration has focused on the less regulated architecture of cryptocurrency payments that allows for greater anonymity while stepping up efforts to halt the growing and increasingly destructive ransomware attacks following two major incidents in critical infrastructure.

“The abuse of cryptocurrency is a massive trailblazer here,” said Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger to CNN. “This is how people get the money out. On the rise of anonymity and the improvement of cryptocurrencies, the emergence of mixed services that essentially launder funds.”

“Individual companies feel pressured – especially if they haven’t done the cybersecurity work – to pay the ransom and move on,” added Neuberger. “But in the long run, that’s why the ransom is continuing [attacks]. The more people are paid, the more and more ransom money and more and more potential disruptions are generated. “

While the von Biden government has made it clear that it needs help from private companies to contain the latest wave of ransomware attacks, federal agencies have, and are adept at, some skills that go well beyond what industrial partners can do on their own Tracking currency used to pay ransomware groups, CNN previously reported.

Energy Secretary says opponents have the ability to shut down the US electricity grid

But the government’s ability to do this effectively in response to a ransomware attack is very “situational,” two sources said last week.

One of the sources noted that helping to reclaim funds paid to ransomware actors is certainly an area where the US government can provide help, but success varies dramatically and depends largely on whether or not the System of attackers there are loopholes that can be identified and exploited.

In some cases, US officials can find the ransomware operators and “own” their network within hours of an attack, said one of the sources, which allows the competent authorities to monitor the actor’s communications and possibly other key actors in the responsible party Identify group.

When ransomware actors are more cautious about their operational security, including the way they move money, disrupt their networks, or track currency, things get more complicated, the sources added.

“It’s really a mixed bag,” they told CNN, referring to the varying degrees of sophistication demonstrated by the groups involved in these attacks.

CNN previously reported that there is evidence that the individual actors who attacked Colonial in connection with DarkSide were more likely inexperienced or inexperienced hackers than seasoned professionals, according to three sources familiar with the Colonial investigation.

Hit by a ransomware attack?  Here's what to do

One of the sources also cautioned against placing too much emphasis on US government action, telling CNN that the unique circumstances of each attack and the level of detail required to effectively tackle these groups was one of the reasons for this are that there is “no silver bullet” when it comes to defending against ransomware attacks.

“Stopping this will require improved defenses, ransomware destruction and targeted action against the attackers,” added the source, making it clear that disrupting and tracking cryptocurrency payments is only part of the equation.

This opinion has been confirmed by cybersecurity experts who agree that ransomware actors use cryptocurrency to launder their transactions.

“In the Bitcoin era, money laundering is something any nerd can do. You no longer need a large organized crime apparatus, ”says Alex Stamos, former Facebook chief security officer and co-founder of the Krebs Stamos Group.

“The only way we as a whole society can act against it is to make it illegal … I think we have to ban payments,” he added. “This is going to be really tough. The first companies to be hit when it is illegal to pay will be in a very difficult position. And we will experience a lot of pain and suffering.”

“It happens all the time”

In the past few weeks, cyber criminals have increasingly targeted organizations that play a critical role in much of the US economy. The aftermath of these attacks shows how hackers are now wreaking havoc for ordinary Americans at an unprecedented rate and scale.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm warned Sunday that “very malicious actors” targeted the US following attacks on a pipeline, government agencies, Florida water system, schools, health facilities and even last week the meat industry and a ferry service to millionaires’ Martha’s Vineyard.

“Even as we speak, there are thousands of attacks on all aspects of the energy sector and the private sector in general … it happens all the time,” Granholm told CNN’s Jake Tapper on the State of the Union.

Ransomware attackers used a compromised password to access the Colonial Pipeline networkThe Justice Department last week signaled that it plans to coordinate its anti-ransomware efforts using the same protocols used for terrorism after a series of cyberattacks disrupted key infrastructure sectors from gasoline distribution to meat packaging.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco issued an internal memo instructing US attorneys to report any ransomware investigations they may be working on in order to better coordinate the US government’s prosecution of online criminals.

The memo names ransomware – malicious software that takes control of a computer until the victim pays a fee – as an urgent threat to the nation’s interests.

“We need to improve and centralize our internal tracking of investigations and prosecutions of ransomware groups, as well as the infrastructure and networks that keep these threats alive,” Monaco wrote.

The tracking effort is extensive and covers not only the DOJ’s tracking down of ransomware criminals, but also the cryptocurrency tools they use to receive payments, automated computer networks that spread ransomware, and online marketplaces that are used to Promote or sell malicious software.

The DOJ policy requires U.S. law firms to file internal reports of every new ransomware incident they hear about.

CNN’s Christina Carrega, Brian Fung and Geneva Sands contributed to the coverage.

Cryptocurrency

bitcoin price: Top cryptocurrency prices today: Bitcoin, Polkadot, Ethereum surge up to 16%

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NEW DELHI: Major cryptocurrencies traded higher on Tuesday after investor confidence was boosted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s tweet over the weekend. Led by Bitcoin and Polkadot, all of the top 10 digital tokens saw an increase of up to 16 percent.

After another weekend of wild price swings, the crypto market got its mojo back after Musk pared criticism of its market influence, saying Tesla had sold Bitcoin but may have resumed transactions with it. Investors eagerly await Tesla’s next earnings update – due next month – for any disclosure of changes in its position.

The crypto market rose sharply as Tesla announced purchases in digital Numero Uno tokens, while the virtual currency market collapsed

to use. Tesla’s U-turn on cryptos wasn’t the only trigger, however. Around the same time, the Chinese government took action against institutions dealing with cryptocurrencies.

“Bitcoin is the market leader and the dominant asset. It has managed to keep the crypto community, financial institutions and banks interested in the asset as the volume has held the position and has not decreased much. This is the result of banks, MNCs and, in some cases, even governments seeing the potential of the asset, “ZebPay told Trade Desk.

“A highly anticipated event, the Ethereum Protocol Upgrade Proposal (EIP-1559), which promises us to provide an improved transaction process and streamline the user’s experience by reducing transaction costs and making the determination of fees much easier and simpler Being made less stressful and wasteful is also due very soon, “she added.

“We can see a consolidation in the markets. Trading volumes remained low. This consolidation was well anticipated and could continue for the whole month. The sell-off had very little trading volume, which is a positive sign for the crypto market, ”said Edul Patel. CEO and co-founder of Mudrex.

Crypto shopping cart: Quick Glance (Source: coinmarketcap.com, data as of 9.30 a.m., ACTUAL on June 15, 2021)

  • Bitcoin: $ 40,518.56, up 4.32 percent
  • Ethereum: $ 2,595.23, up 4.82 percent
  • Tether: $ 1.00, up 0.07 percent
  • Binance Coin: $ 373.65, up 4.22 percent
  • Cardano: $ 1.58, up 2.54 percent
  • Dogecoin: $ 0.33, up 1.74 percent
  • XRP: $ 0.89, up 2.16 percent
  • Polkadot: $ 25.26, up 16.785 percent
  • USD coin: $ 1, up 0.04 percent
  • HEX: $ 0.092, up 6.09 percent

Note: price change in the last 24 hours

Tech View of Giottus Cryptocurrency Exchange


Cardano (ADA)


Everyone is talking about Cardano at crypto town and has gained incredible amounts after one of the founders discussed its roadmap through 2025. Cardano will grow into one of the most sophisticated ecosystems in the crypto space in the coming years. This news is very bullish for Cardano and the market has reflected it on its charts.

ETMarkets.com

Cardano recently broke trendline resistance of a falling wedge pattern. It is expected to test the trendline resistance of a huge ascending channel, a short-term bullish pattern. ADA remains bullish and will remain so until it is on the channel. Once broken down, it can hit multiple lows. But when ADA breaks and exceeds $ 2.45, new highs can be formed.

All of these moves remain dependent on the movement of Bitcoin, which broke out of its downtrendline this week and appears to be targeting $ 43,000 as the next resistance.

Main stages

Support: $ 1.25, $ 1.16, $ 0.96

Resistance: $ 1.87, $ 2.0, $ 2.45

Binance Coin (BNB)

Binance Coin (BNB) has risen parabolically since late 2020 and recorded a more than 60 percent correction after the crypto crash in May 2021. It is the native coin of the Binance exchange.

BNB is currently forming a rising wedge that can still grow until the first week of July. It will be interesting to see how BNB performs as it broke a large technical and psychological resistance ($ 350) and is being tested

100 (100 day exponential moving average). Breaking the EMA 200 and the trend line resistance of the rising wedge will be extremely bullish for the NBB.
Giottus_BNB_analysisETMarkets.com

Since the ascending wedge is inherently bearish, we cannot rule out the possibility of a bearish reversal. But it will likely bounce off the first ($ 350) or second ($ 275) big support after collapsing. Failure to bounce back from the second big support, the NBB could fall to the USD 210 level.

Main stages

Support: $ 305, $ 290, $ 275

Resistance: $ 410, $ 430, $ 475

The time is in UTC and the daily time frame is 12:00 PM – 12:00 PM UTC

(The views and recommendations in this section are the analysts’ own views and recommendations and do not reflect those of ETMarkets.com. Please consult your financial advisor prior to entering into any position in any of the above assets.)

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‘Banks should be scared’ of cryptocurrency-based DeFi

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Billionaire investor Mark Cuban is very optimistic about the future of DeFi or decentralized finance and DAOs or decentralized autonomous organizations.

“There are many financial institutions that should be concerned,” Cuban wrote in a blog post on Sunday. For one thing, “banks should be afraid,” he wrote.

DeFi applications aim to emulate traditional financial systems with cryptocurrency, while DAOs can control and monitor DeFi applications and other projects.

DAOs are similar to traditional companies or organizations, instead control is democratized within DAOs. Instead of having a centralized leader, DAOs have members who vote on decisions and rules, which are then coded into smart contracts on the blockchain.

For example, DeFi loans allow users to lend cryptocurrencies like a traditional bank does with fiat currency and earn interest as a lender. DeFi loan applications like Aave, Compound and Maker are regulated by DAOs.

The structure of these decentralized protocols is one of the things that piqued Kuban’s interest and made him think that DeFi could be a serious competitor to traditional banks.

He uses Aave as an example to explain why. (A Shark Tank star and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Cuba invested in Aave, which he announced during a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” in February.)

“Aave looks like a bank like its competitor Compound. But it’s not. Nowhere around,” said Cuban. “Aave is a fully automated, permissionless platform with no bankers, no buildings, no toasters, no safes, no cash, no money custody, no forms to fill out, no credit ratings.”

“Everything is controlled by smart contracts. It’s fully automated. You don’t have to get approval from anyone and it takes minutes to get a loan.”

This, of course, is part of what makes DeFi so risky. Unlike a traditional bank, there is no regulation or insurance for your money when you use DeFi. Although DeFi loans are collateralized with other crypto assets, borrowers who use DeFi protocols cannot otherwise be held responsible if they cannot effectively repay a loan.

“The old crypto adage ‘don’t put in more than you can afford to lose’ applies twice to DeFi,” reported CoinDesk. “This stuff is overly complex and a lot can go wrong.”

DeFi-related hacks stole $ 156 million between January and April, according to CipherTrace.

Another feature that draws Cubans to DeFi exchanges is the fact that they don’t necessarily have to raise a lot of capital to scale, he says. “Rather than the company’s owners, investors and their creditors raising capital for all transactions that take place, the liquidity providers (LPs) do it for them,” he wrote.

Liquidity providers are users who fund pools that enable DeFi loans or loans, among other things.

For Cuban, this makes automated financial markets like DeFi “so much more capital and operational than comparable traditional companies”.

Cuban acknowledges the risks and admits that with all of this technology there are technical details to be clarified, but still says that “this approach is the future of private banking”.

And despite the risks, DeFi has been particularly buoyant lately. DeFi Pulse currently has more than $ 60 billion locked in DeFi logs, according to DeFi Pulse.

Cuban is a liquidity provider for a decentralized exchange, he wrote in his blog post. He is also invested in a number of companies in the crypto space, including DeFi companies, and has a portfolio of multiple cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

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Do not miss: This is the fintech that Mark Cuban says you should get to know now

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Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang talked about the value of ethereum, advances in crypto mining and the global semiconductor shortage in a recent interview. Here are the 10 best quotes. | Currency News | Financial and Business News

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Nvidia boss Jensen Huang

  • Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang spoke to a group of journalists at the Computex IT conference.
  • He said Ethereum will be valuable in areas like DeFi because of its scalability and credibility.
  • He also spoke about Nvidia’s role in the future of crypto mining, saying he believes a metaverse is imminent.
  • Check out Insider’s business page for more stories.

Jensen Huang, CEO of chip and graphics card maker Nvidia, recently spoke to a group of journalists at the Computex IT fair about his views on the value of Ethereum, how Nvidia’s products fit into the crypto ecosystem, and why he thinks we are at the There is a threshold to create a metaverse in an interview published by VentureBeat.

Nvidia’s graphics processors are top of the range graphics cards that also have crypto mining capabilities. Huang, a big proponent of artificial intelligence, introduced a lower-resolution graphics card at the conference that was specifically designed for crypto mining. He also addressed the global chip shortage, Nvidia’s role in it and whether he believes the Chinese government will intervene in the development of artificial intelligence.

Here are the ten best quotes from Huang from the interview, which have been slightly edited and condensed for clarity.

  1. “Am I looking forward to the Proof of Stake? The answer is yes … Ethereum has established itself. It now has the opportunity to implement a second generation that will continue the platform approach and all services based on it. It is legitimate. It is Established. There’s a lot of credibility. It works well. Lots of people rely on it for DeFi and other things. This is a great time to prove its worth. ” – about the opportunities that Ethereum offers and the value of the network for blockchain and crypto.
  2. “We purposely reduced the performance of our GPU so that when you want to buy a GPU for gaming you can do so. If you want to buy a GPU for crypto mining you can either buy the CMP version or if you would like to use the GeForce for that, unfortunately the performance will be reduced “- how Nvidia tries to lower the prices of graphics cards and why they developed CMP.
  3. “We’ll just continue to work with our supply chain to keep them informed of the changing world of IT so they are better prepared for future demand. But I believe that the areas we are in, the markets we are in, because we have very specific reasons, will be in great demand for some time “- to deal with the ongoing global shortage of semiconductors.
  4. “It is now clear that Ethereum will be very valuable. There is a future in which these transactions can be processed much faster, and with so many people building on it now, Ethereum will be valuable.” – on the prospects for the Ethereum network due to its scalability.
  5. “I think we’re about to do it. […] There will be many types of metaverse, and video games are one of them. […] We’re going to see this overlay, a metaverse overlay, if you will, into our physical world. “- about when and how a metaverse becomes real.
  6. “You need this blockchain to have fundamental value, and that fundamental value could be mined. Cryptocurrency is here to stay to stay. Ethereum might not be as hot as it is now. It could cool down a bit in a year. But I think crypto mining is here to stay “- on the future of crypto mining and blockchain networks.
  7. “I believe there will be a bigger market, a bigger industry, more designers and creators designing digital things in virtual reality and metaverse than designing things in the physical world. […] The economy in the metaverse, the economy of the omniverse, will be larger than the economy in the physical world. Digital currency, cryptocurrency, could be used in the world of Metaverse “- about his vision for the omniverse that Nvidia is developing.
  8. “I have a feeling that we are welcome in China and will continue to work hard to deserve to be welcomed in China and in every other country.” – Whether the Chinese government will intervene and regulate Nvidia’s work on artificial intelligence.
  9. “One of the most important technologies that we need to develop, for several of them – in the case of the consumer, one of the most important technologies is AR, and it is coming.” – for the development and accessibility of augmented reality.
  10. “This is the biggest market opportunity the IT industry has ever seen. I can understand why it inspires so many competitors. We just have to keep doing our best and act as quickly as possible. ”- on the future of the graphics processing industry and its competition.
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