Tag: Bitcoin

1
Weather Bureau IT mining cryptocurrencies?
2
Malware with your coffee? Starbucks customers sent to the virtual mines… to find bitcoins
3
Open for business, ransomware authors and perpetrators cashing in on emerging dark web marketplace economy
4
Bitcoin operators exposed to cyber threats

Weather Bureau IT mining cryptocurrencies?

By Cameron Abbott and Allison Wallace

The Australian Federal Police are investigating two members of the Bureau of Meteorology’s IT team for allegedly running an operation in which they made use of the Bureau’s powerful computers to “mine” cryptocurrencies.

It was revealed late last week that the AFP raided the Bureau’s Melbourne CBD offices on February 28, and questioned the two employees. No charges have been laid, or arrests made.

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Malware with your coffee? Starbucks customers sent to the virtual mines… to find bitcoins

By Cameron Abbott and Harry Crawford

“Free” Wi-Fi isn’t necessarily so. The Wi-Fi provided in a Starbucks store in Buenos Aires was recently discovered to be planting malware onto customer’s laptops. This is another lesson in how cybersecurity can affect even the most innocuous corner-store businesses.

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Open for business, ransomware authors and perpetrators cashing in on emerging dark web marketplace economy

By Cameron Abbott and Giles Whittaker

The emergence of a booming dark web marketplace has facilitated the skyrocketing ransomware sales from US$249,287.05 in 2016 to US$6,237,248.90 as of September 2017, representing a growth rate of 2,502%. This rapid growth is in part due to not only the effectiveness of ransomware as a criminal enterprise but the increased availability to partake in such activities. According to a recent report by Carbon Black, The Ransomware Economy: How and Why the Dark Web Marketplace for Ransomware Is Growing at a Rates of More than 2,500% Per Year, there are 45,000 ransomware product lines at an average price of US$10.50 and includes various do-it yourself (DIY) kits.

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Bitcoin operators exposed to cyber threats

By Cameron Abbott and Rebecca Murray

Reuters has reported that a third of bitcoin trading platforms have been hacked, and nearly half have closed since they entered the scene 6 years ago. This increasing risk for bitcoin holders is compounded by the fact there is no depositor’s insurance to absorb the loss. That approach heightens cybersecurity risks and also exposes the fact that bitcoin investors have little choice but to do business with under-capitalized exchanges.

This issue was evident when Bitfinex was hacked earlier this month and an estimated $70 million in bitcoin was stolen. The virtual bank’s customers were forced to share the losses resulting in a generalized loss percentage of 36.067%. Read our blog post on this hacking here.

Experts say trading venues acting like banks such as Bitfinex will remain vulnerable. These exchanges act as custodial wallets in which they control users’ digital currencies like banks control customer deposits. However, unlike their brick-and-mortar counterparts, when customers’ bitcoin accounts are hacked, there is currently no third party that can step in to deal with the theft. As a result, these underfunded exchanges require nearly perfect security.

Given this it is not surprising that certain governments around the world are exploring the possibility of central bank issued digital currencies using distributed ledger technology which could compete with the private digital currency systems such as bitcoin. Read more on this here.

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