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Bank of Thailand Is Open to Discuss Libra, Concerned Over Security

Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said that the institution is open to discuss Facebook’s Libra stablecoin with the company.

Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said that the institution is open to discussing Facebook’s Libra stablecoin with the company, local media Xinhuanet reported on July 19.

Per the report, Santiprabhob made his remarks at the Bangkok FinTech Fair on July 19, pointing out that Facebook had already contacted the central bank many times. He also noted that the institution had established a new team to study Libra’s whitepaper, but their analysis will take time. “We are not going to rush into a decision of Libra as yet,” Santiprabhob reportedly said, continuing to emphasize the importance of security:

“All kinds of new digital money have been emerging, therefore the Bank of Thailand monitors all and don’t give favoritism to any particular financial service. Security in financial services is the bank’s top priority. It will take time.”

Santiprabhob reportedly said that Libra cannot simply replace the Thai baht, concluding that “Libra cannot just step in and replace all currencies and digital money.”

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, Fiscal Policy Office legal officer Sumaporn Manason argued that Libra will likely run up against difficulties entering Thailand as the cryptocurrency does not fall under any local financial legislation currently existing.

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Bitcoin-Seeking Ransomware ‘Ryuk’ Virus Found and Studied in China

Tencent Yujian Threat Intelligence Center has spotted Ryuk ransomware in China, and received an extortion request in the amount of 11 BTC during their study.

Tencent Yujian Threat Intelligence Center says that a Ryuk ransomware virus has been spotted in China.

The intelligence center released information on the outbreak in a report on July 16.

According to the report, Ryuk viruses are a family of malware aimed at infecting government and enterprise machines holding valuable data. According to the report, a Ryuk virus derives from the Hermes virus, with code that is directly modified off of the latter.

As noted in the report, Ryuk is the name of a death spirit in the popular manga Death Note. As per its title, Ryuk possesses a notebook that can be used to kill a person by writing their name on one of its pages.

Researchers at the intelligence center were reportedly able to capture and study the virus in action. According to the report, this virus came attached with a ReadMe note containing two email addresses. Upon replying to the first email address, the researchers received instructions and a ransom demand set at 11 Bitcoin.

The intelligence center advised personal users to run Tencent PC Manager and enable file backups, turn off Office macros, and to stay away from unfamiliar emails.

The report also referenced a number of Ryuk ransom cases. In the United States, for instance, the public administration of La Porte County, Indiana paid a $130,000 ransom to get rid of the virus. In Lake City, Florida, the local government paid a $460,000 ransom after Ryuk infected the city’s computer systems. 

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, research in January suggested that Ryuk originated in Russia. The virus was originally thought to have come out of North Korea, but McAfee Labs and Crowdstrike have suggested that Russia is the more likely source. According to these cybersecurity companies, Ryuk may in fact have come from the Russia-based group “GRIM SPIDER.”

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0x DEX Protocol Suspended Because of Vulnerability, Funds Safe

The Ethereum smart contract of 0x decentralized exchange protocol has been suspended after the discovery of a vulnerability in its code.

The Ethereum (ETH) smart contract of 0x (ZRX) decentralized exchange (DEX) protocol has been suspended after a vulnerability has been uncovered in its code, the project’s team announced in a Medium post published on July 13.

Per the announcement, third-party security researcher samczsun warned the 0x team about the vulnerability in the exchange smart contract and, after evaluating it, the team suspended the exchange’s contract and the AssetProxy contracts.

The vulnerability would have allowed an attacker to fill certain orders with invalid signatures. The announcement reassures that one has exploited this vulnerability and no users have lost their funds. The only consequence is apparently a temporary suspension of the service:

“Unfortunately, this also means the currently deployed 0x contracts cannot process trades and are unable to be used. A patched version of the Exchange contract — that we are confident fixes this vulnerability — and new AssetProxy contracts are being deployed to the Ethereum mainnet and we expect them to be ready to use later tonight.”

Lastly, the team notes that the vulnerability is not contained in its ZRX token contract and that user funds are safe. They thanked the security researchers while inviting other white hat hackers to participate in 0x’s bug bounty program:

“We also want to extend our sincerest gratitude to samczsun. We continue to offer a generous bug bounty to white hat hackers and community members that identify potential vulnerabilities. ”

As Cointelegraph reported in October last year, ZRX was the first ERC20 token to be listed on the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange.

At the beginning of May, the Tron Foundation disclosed a fixed vulnerability that could have crashed its blockchain.

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McAfee on BTC, Exile & the US: ‘No Way the Current System Can Survive’

John McAfee speaks with Cointelegraph about Facebook’s Libra, the importance of privacy and why he hasn’t paid U.S. taxes in eight years.

When people outside of crypto think of John McAfee, they think computers, cybersecurity, anti-virus software. But in the world of crypto and blockchain, you think of a yacht in tropical waters, passionate — and sometimes, admittedly, inebriated — tweets on tech and crypto… and an enviable amount of partying. 

When I called McAfee to talk on record, he was sitting at a table outside a cafe in Cuba with palm trees and patches of blue sky behind him. 

We talked about McAfee’s presidential campaign in the United States, his relationship with the U.S. government, cryptocurrency mass adoption and why he’s actually a patriot in exile. 

Olivia Capozzalo: You tweeted recently that Libra is a “grotesque distortion of the original intent of Cryptocurrency — economic freedom.” 

John McAfee: Libra is a universal, digital identification that’s going to be rolled into the cryptocurrency, meaning that everything that you do with that currency can be monitored and traced back to you. 

Now, I’m a firm believer in privacy and even anonymity when it comes to our financial transactions. 

We each have the right to earn a living and to do what we wish with the money that we earn. I mean, if not, then we are still under the control of the financial system we’re trying to escape from.

That is the purpose of digital currency: to give control of currency back to the people rather than to governments and institutions that can control the currency that we use. 

Watch our interview with John McAfee here:

And you need to understand how important currency is. If we don’t have freedom of currency, we don’t have freedom of anything.

To get that freedom, we have to have a decentralized system, and we have to have a system that provides a degree of privacy — because without privacy, then we still are controlled.

The reverse of privacy is a system where everything that you do is known. This is what Facebook has produced.

Please God, we cannot tolerate this. Now, they can produce it, but we do not have to use it.

Please understand that using Facebook is the abdication of everything that we have worked for for almost 10 years. So understand what it is, let them do what they want, but please, God, do not accept it as your standard of currency.

It will be the end of your freedom and the end of your privacy.

Exile in Cuba

OC: So, you’re in Cuba right now. Are you getting a sense of cryptocurrency use there or people’s relationship to crypto or blockchain.

JM: Well, keep in mind Cuba is a very unique country. It’s the only communist country in the Caribbean area — the closest communist country to America. Cryptocurrency has had very little impact on the economy here, on the people. And very few people understand it or know anything about it. 

For safety reasons, I’m trying to keep my mouth shut here and talk about crypto in other parts of the world because I really have no choice of anywhere else to go.

But, I can’t go anywhere. I was run out of America; I went to the Bahamas. I went to the Bahamas because America was charging me with income tax violations. 

Well, it’s true. I haven’t paid taxes in eight years, and I never intend to pay them again. 

To me, they are unconstitutional in America and they’re illegal. 

I went to the Bahamas because they have no income tax at all. According to international law, you cannot extradite someone from a country where the crime that you are extraditing them for is not a crime in that country. So, if you have no income tax, not paying it is not a crime. 

So, the U.S. then manufactured a bunch of other things — murder, money laundering and racketeering — which every country would have to extradite me for.

Their intent was to drop those charges as soon as they collected me and delivered me to America, and then continue to prosecute me on income tax. Now, I don’t want to play those games, so I came to Cuba. 

Cuba has never extradited an American citizen and if they extradite me, it would be an extraordinary exception.

OC: Can you explain your stance a little bit more about income tax? Why do you say it’s illegal in the U.S.?

JM:

Our constitution states very clearly, Congress shall pass no laws to inhibit, restrict or in any way hinder an individual’s ability to earn a living. 

Now, if you’re taking 25% of my money, if you’re making me work for you — the government — for one quarter or one third of the year, I insist that is inhibiting my ability to make a living. 

OC: So, you’re running your presidential campaign in exile. And the base of your campaign and your personal ideals is economic freedom, as you’ve been describing.

But on the other hand, Cuba is actually very low on the economic freedom index. I’m wondering if you see any contradiction in that.

JM: Well, not in the least. Let me ask you who creates that index? Is Cuba asked about it? Do people come to Cuba and actually study what’s happening here? Let me tell you something: This is the most entrepreneurial society I have ever been in. 

Yes, the government does restrict absolutely everything in terms of your making a living. However, there is an undercurrent just below that. There is an economic, entrepreneurial system, which I have never seen before. It’s the same thing in every communist country — in Russia, it was the same. 

So, you know people are making $20 a month, and yet, they’re buying cars that cost $60,000. Now, how do you do that? Ask simple questions, right? They’re doing it by being creative, by adhering to the laws of the government and at the same time, managing to make a good living. 

Keep in mind, America has strangled the Cuban economy for 63 years through embargoes. They can’t get building materials, they can’t get paint to paint their frigging houses. They can’t get parts to maintain their cars. 

One of the first days I was here, I bought a Bic lighter and along the bottom were seven tiny, little holes. And I asked the person: What is this? He said, “Oh it’s been refilled.” They will refill a throw away lighter seven-10 times until the flint wears out. It costs $0.10 to have them refilled, rather than $2 to buy a new one. I’ve never seen creativity like that before. 

So, people all band together to figure out how they can live. Jesus, I’ve never seen anything more entrepreneurial. 

So, do not buy America’s garbage propaganda, because I promise you: All those indexes, they have to pass the U.S. government’s approval. 

They have the airplanes, the bombs, the battleships. They tell the world what to do. They think they are the world’s policeman. So, don’t buy all this s— about being that low on the index. How do you know? Come here and take a look. I promise you: You will be startled.

Running for U.S. president

OC: I want to ask a little bit more about your plan to run for president of the U.S. If you were president, what would the role of cryptocurrency be in the U.S.?

JM: Okay, let me start off by saying this is my second run. I ran in 2016 under the Libertarian Party. I lost to Governor Johnson for the primary nomination. I did not want to win in 2016. 

In 2016, I thought the largest problem America faced was it was lagging behind in cybersecurity. So, I spoke on the national stage for a year about that and that’s all I talked about. 

Now, I could not possibly be president even if I had a platform, even if I wanted to, if I dressed in a business suit and didn’t curse. No matter what I did, I can’t be president. Jesus, God — I’m John McAfee. However, I can certainly run for president. 

So, let’s not talk about what I would do the first day in office. Let’s talk about what I’m going to do while running, which is to raise awareness — not just in the U.S., but around the world. 

I want to educate people about how fiat currencies are their prison and the means that governments use to make a society of slaves.

This is a terrible situation. You have a prison of the mind — certainly in America. And this is what I want to educate people about. We take control first of our economy, of our currency, of our ability to survive, buy food, clothes and shelter. Without the currency, you cannot do that. That is how you’re controlled. So, this is what I’ll be talking about.

McAfee vs. the U.S. Government

OC: Last month, you tweeted about having terabytes of incriminating data on corruption in governments. Could you go into a little more detail about what kind of data we’re talking about and how you got the data? Can you share some of it or reveal some of it?

JM: Let me give you an example of the kind of data. I was in the Bahamas. The U.S. government had manufactured these charges against me to get me extradited from the Bahamas so they could try me for the IRS crimes. The people who operate illegally with the U.S. government in the Bahamas were the head of the police force and the head of the armed forces in the Bahamas.

So, I outed those people. They both had secret bank accounts. I published the name of the bank, the account numbers on the secret accounts. The deposits that came in to these accounts, the dates, the amount and from who and the withdrawals in cash totaling many times their annual salary. So, now I’m wanted in the Bahamas.

This is hard data that I have on almost everybody in the world. Why? Because people tell me everything. When someone finds out a piece of information, I’m probably the first person they gave it to. I have it on everybody, Okay? I don’t want to bring anything down. I’ve never had a problem with the CIA other than that they keep harassing me. 

The CIA is as fragmented as any other element of our government, there are decent people and there are crooks. 

And believe me, I could bring down the U.S. government, like I almost brought down the Bahamian government. 

OC: How does the CIA harass you? Have you seen people following you?

JM: Oh, my security sees them all the time. They alert me to them: “Oh, this car is following us,” and I say, “Well, get the license number.” I have it checked out and it’s always owned by some obscure element of the U.S. government. 

Of course they’re following me — God almighty, I am a rebel. I’m an outrage to the stability of the U.S. corrupt government. Not the whole government, good Lord. There are some decent people there. But unfortunately, there are many indecent people. James Comey of the FBI. Jesus, God. One of the most corrupt individuals in the world — a total scumbag.

I mean there are many people in high positions that can control what’s going on. Now, I haven’t released anything. However, if anything happens to me… absolutely. I’ve got dead man switches everywhere. Within a day of my disappearance or untimely death, there will be every newspaper in the world pouring through more documents than they could have 100 people pour through in 100 years. 

So, no — it will be chaos. But right now, I just want to be able to live happily, try to make a better world for my children and grandchildren and fish from time to time.

OC: It sounds like you’re succeeding at the moment.

Promo in the crypto industry

OC: You’ve openly spoken about promoting projects, and often on your Twitter, you’ll do a video about a particular company. Can you talk a little bit about your vetting process for these companies, given our industry is known for seeing a large number of scams?

JM: Well the first thing I do is I have the company checked out.

I would say 90% of what’s happening in crypto is a scam.

The problem with that is, since it is, trolls and others can point to anything and say, “That’s a scam,” and people will believe it. It’s a very complex and subtle interchange of energies. But the first thing I do is I say, “Are you real? Are you people real?” and have the people checked out. It’s a very trivial thing: Have you ever been in jail? Have you ever run out on another company and left people hanging? It’s simple.

But before I even do that, it has to be a project that appeals to me. 

Then, I do my thing. And people call them scams — or I don’t care what they call them. I’ve checked them out. They’re doing the best they can. They don’t all succeed. There is not a universal success rate for anything in life. But they all attempt it. They all try and they all have good developers and — for whatever reason — if they do not, it’s not because there was a scam or because they weren’t trying. It’s simply because it didn’t work. 

OC: Do you generally invest in the companies that you promote?

JM:  No, I do not. I wish I was in a position to invest. Keep in mind, especially now that the IRS has shut down all my banks, I’m living hand-to-mouth. So, no. But what I invest is my time and my advice. 

I think my advice — you know, coming from a 74-year-old man who’s been in business since he was 23 — is worth something. And people generally take my advice. 

People do stupid things — I don’t know why. They’re looking for the money before they build the product. It doesn’t work that way: You’re not going to sell something that doesn’t exist. Or, they won’t put the product out soon, so they can get the money now rather than making sure it doesn’t have bugs. 

Listen, you have to have a solid product, because if you put something out and you promoted it and it’s got a bug, then everybody fails. You’re dead in the water after all of this work. Wait another two months. Advice like this is just invaluable to young people.

Mass adoption of crypto

OC: What needs to happen for people to use cryptocurrency on a mass scale?

JM: We have to have more friendly user interfaces. You’re not going to get the average plumber and give him a crypto wallet and say, “This 150-digit number is an address. It means something. You must copy it somehow or take a picture of this.” 

No. Please, God. That scares people. We need something that has a name. Frank Smith. Okay, I want to send Frank Smith 50 Bitcoins or five or a fifth or whatever. That’s cool. By the way, I don’t think crypto trading is the end-all for crypto. I mean, that might be the entry point, but the end-all is where we f—ing buy things with the crypto that we have, for heaven’s sake, rather than trading it constantly. But that’s coming… that will come. 

I think in 10 years there’ll be no fiat anywhere in the world. Everything will be electronic, everything will be cryptocurrency. 

In five years, I think the majority of people will be using crypto for the majority of their purchases. I mean, already you can buy houses, cars, almost everything with crypto — some services even. 

You can even buy prostitutes — both male and female — with crypto these days. I think in two years time, we’re going to see a quadrupling of both the number of businesses that accept crypto and the number of people that are using it not to trade, but to actually buy and sell.

OC: But people also need to be convinced that cryptocurrency is better for them to use than fiat currency.  

JM: Here’s an example — and if this doesn’t sell you, nothing will. Let’s say I’m doing business with somebody in England or Germany — in another country — and in order to get started, I’ve got to make a down payment. All right, so I’ve got to get out of bed, get dressed, hop in my car, drive to the bank, fill out a bunch of forms, sign them, get approval from the bank and they will say, “Well, within 24 hours, it’ll be there.” 

Or I can not get out of bed, grab my smartphone — even if I do have to copy and paste a 150-character string — push send and go back to sleep. I’ve got 60 seconds versus an entire hour. 

Which would you rather do? This is one example. Please, God. It’s so superior to our current system that there is no way the current system can survive. 

Bitcoin price predictions

OC: Recently, crypto analyst Mati Greenspan pointed out that there is an 86% chance that Bitcoin will be worth less than 50K by 2020. Are you concerned about the bet that you made?

JM: No, good Lord. Listen, anybody with common sense, and who can add and subtract and multiply, actually can count the total transactions in the world every year. And look at the number of dollars and yen and British pounds and euros and Chinese yuan. So, that’s about $2,000 trillion. There’s only 21 million Bitcoins and actually 7 million of those are lost forever. 

If Bitcoin were the only currency, it would be worth a trillion dollars per Bitcoin. Now, it’s not the only currency.

Take the growth at this point, the number of users and the fact that it’s going to be three times as large by the end of 2020. If it’s not worth a million dollars, then something’s wrong with math. 

I can’t lose this bet. It’s not possible mathematically. Understand, the market is an artificial thing right now. As Bitcoin gets more and more utility, it will be less artificial and more real. And it’s getting that way right now. So, to those that go “nah, that’s impossible,” please go back to school and take fourth grade math — that’s all you need. Figure it out.

OC: All right. Well, I think that’s all I have for today. Thank you so much for your time.

JM: Thank you very much.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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US SEC and FINRA Issue Statement on Crypto Custody Issues

The U.S. SEC and FINRA have issued a statement on regulatory compliance issues for crypto custodians.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) outlined regulatory compliance issues for cryptocurrency custodians in an announcement on July 8.

According to the joint statement, the organizations have yet to discover a set of circumstances in which a crypto custodian could comply with the SEC’s Customer Protection Rule, which is described as follows:

“Put simply, the Customer Protection Rule requires broker-dealers to safeguard customer assets and to keep customer assets separate from the firm’s assets, thus increasing the likelihood that customers’ securities and cash can be returned to them in the event of the broker-dealer’s failure.”

The report further claims that a crypto custody service may not be able to sufficiently demonstrate that it actually controls the assets it purports to hold.

The SEC and FINRA discuss how simply holding a private key, for instance, is not sufficient to demonstrate ownership of crypto. They say that another party could have a copy of the private key, and thus perform transactions that the custodian did not approve. 

Furthermore, if such a transaction were performed, the custodian would not be able — at least not in virtue of holding a private key — to reverse it. This would also apply more generally to any transactions that the custodian might desire to cancel or reverse, as per the statement.

In addition to addressing custodial services, the report also touches on issues for registering noncustodial services such as over-the-counter (OTC) platforms and broker-dealer transactions more broadly. Other areas of compliance concerns include bookkeeping policies and liquidation via the Securities Investor Protection Act.

The SEC and FINRA previously scheduled a broker-dealer meeting in Chicago for June 27 to discuss crypto. The meeting was intended to cover “regulatory hot topics” including cybersecurity and digital assets. 

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the SEC requested feedback in March on how it might regulate crypto settlements. The SEC also was interested in the role of custodians in non-delivery versus payment trading and what safeguards are currently in place.

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Bitcoin Hash Rate Hits New All-Time-High

The Bitcoin hashrate reached new all-time highs today.

The Bitcoin (BTC) hash rate reached a new all-time high today, according to data from monitoring resource Blockchain.com on July 7.

The previous record was broken in the second half of June, when bitcoin’s hashrate reached 65.19 TH/s and growth has steadily continued since then.

Hash rate is the number of calculations that a given hardware or network can perform every second. It is a very important parameter for miners, as a higher hash rate will increase their chances of solving the mathematical problem, sealing off the block and collecting their reward. A higher network hashrate also increases the amount of resources needed for performing a 51% attack, making the network safer.

Bitcoin Network Hashrate

Bitcoin Network Hashrate | Courtesy of blockchain.com

Increases in the network’s hash rate also often mean that its energy consumption increases. Still, cryptocurrency investment products and research firm CoinShares recently estimated that 74.1% of bitcoin mining is powered by renewable energy.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, the period after September 2018 — during the so-called “crypto winter” — proved to be a retrograde step for the bitcoin network. At the time, the network’s hashrate decreased for the first time ever.

In June news broke that bitcoin’s mining difficulty has reached an all-time high, demonstrating the increasing competition for block rewards between miners.

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19% of World Population Bought Crypto Before 2019: Kaspersky Report

Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky released a survey revealing that only 10% of global consumers “fully understand how cryptocurrencies work.”

A new survey by Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab introduced on June 17th revealed that 19% of people globally have purchased cryptocurrency.

The survey, titled “The Kaspersky Cryptocurrency Report 2019,” was carried out in October and November 2018, with a total of 13,434 respondents in 22 countries.

According to the report, 81% of global population have never purchased cryptocurrencies, while only 10% of respondents said they “fully understand how cryptocurrencies work.”

Meanwhile, just 14% of those who haven’t ever used cryptocurrencies would like to do so in the future, the report notes.

Key findings of The Kaspersky Cryptocurrency Report 2019. Source: Kaspersky Labs

Key findings of The Kaspersky Cryptocurrency Report 2019. Source: Kaspersky Labs

Among major reasons why global crypto investors have stopped using cryptocurrencies, majority of respondents cited its “too high” volatility, implying that the need of stability before they are prepared to use them.

While volatility factor accounted for 31%, other important reasons included loss of money in the bear market, as well as a belief that crypto “is not profitable anymore,” with both factors equally amounted to 23% among the respondents.

With that, 22% of respondents claimed that they stopped using cryptos because they are not backed with real assets. Additionally, hacks and fraud vulnerabilities weren’t the biggest reasons for global crypto users becoming disillusioned, with the respondents citing those factors accounted for only 19% and 15%, respectively.

Reasons why people stopped using cryptos. Source: Kaspersky Labs

Reasons why people stopped using cryptos. Source: Kaspersky Labs

In a press release accompanying the report, Kaspersky team noted that the adoption of crypto industry by global consumers have been slowing down due to lack a proper understanding of how cryptocurrencies work.

Previously, another survey found that almost 12% of American crypto crypto holders are long-term investors

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Report: Android Phishing Malware Impersonates Turkish Cryptocurrency Exchange

New Android malware sidesteps Google’s SMS permissions restrictions to get hold of two-factor authentication codes received via SMS.

The cybersecurity company behind major antivirus software NOD32, ESET, reported on June 17 that new Android malware sidesteps Google’s SMS permissions restrictions to get hold of two-factor authentication (2FA) codes received via SMS.

Per the report, some malicious apps are capable of accessing one-time-passwords sent to users via SMS by circumventing the restrictions recently implemented by Google. Furthermore, the same technique reportedly also allows for accessing email-based codes.

According to the author, the apps in question impersonate Turkish cryptocurrency exchange BtcTurk and phish for login details to the service. The malware, “instead of intercepting SMS messages to bypass 2FA protection on users’ accounts and transactions, these malicious apps take the OTP from notifications appearing on the compromised device’s display.” The app also takes measures to prevent the user from noticing the ongoing attack:

“Besides reading the 2FA notifications, the apps can also dismiss them to prevent victims from noticing fraudulent transactions happening.”

The first app to act as such was uploaded onto Google’s Play Store on June 7 under the name BTCTurk Pro Beta by developer account BTCTurk Pro Beta and has been installed by over 50 users before ESET allegedly reported it to Google. After this first instance, another two versions of the app were uploaded and then subsequently removed from the store.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX has reported an influx of attacks on user account credentials. In a message to clients, the exchange stressed the importance of property security measures

Also in June, cyber security researchers found a Trojan-spreading website masquerading as that of Cryptohopper, a site where users can program tools for automated cryptocurrency trading.

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Trend Micro: Outlaw Hacking Group’s Botnet Is Now Spreading a Monero Miner

Trend Micro claims to have detected a web address spreading a botnet featuring a monero mining component alongside a backdoor.

Cybersecurity company Trend Micro claims to have detected a web address spreading a botnet featuring a monero (XMR) mining component alongside a backdoor. The malware was described on Trend Micro’s official blog on June 13.

Per the report, the firm attributes the malware to Outlaw Hacking Group, as the techniques employed are almost the same used in its previous operations. The software in question also holds Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) capabilities, “allowing the cybercriminals to monetize their botnet through cryptocurrency mining and by offering DDoS-for-hire services.”

Trend Micro also believes that the creators of the malware in question are still testing and developing it, since it contained some scripts that were included, but not executed. The firm’s telemetry also reportedly detected infection attempts in China.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, Trend Micro had confirmed that attackers have been exploiting a vulnerability in the Oracle WebLogic server to install monero mining malware while using certificate files to obfuscate the endeavor.

In May, Firefox Quantum, the latest version of open-source internet browser Firefox, announced a new privacy toggle that protects against cryptojacking. Users can now toggle an opt-in feature that purportedly blocks would-be cryptojackers from taking advantage of spare computing power to mine cryptocurrencies.

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Digital Asset Security Startup Fireblocks Leaves Stealth Mode With $16 Million in Funding

Digital asset cybersecurity startup Fireblocks announced its launch out of stealth mode with $16 million in funding.

Digital asset cybersecurity startup Fireblocks announced its launch out of stealth mode with $16 million in funding, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on June 11.

Per the release, Fireblocks obtained the capital during its Series A funding round from Cyberstarts, Tenaya Capital, EightRoads (Fidelity INTL), Swisscom Ventures and MState. The startup reportedly counts crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, over-the-counter digital trading platform Genesis Global Trading and others among its customers, with the company declaring:

“Currently, Fireblocks is integrated with 15 digital asset exchanges and offers support for over 180 cryptocurrencies, tokens, and stablecoins.”

The author of the release claims that over $3 billion in digital assets have been stolen by hackers in the past 18 months and cites the 7,000 bitcoins (BTC) stolen from major crypto exchange Binance (worth $40,705,000 at the time). Michael Shaulov, CEO and co-founder of Fireblocks, is quoted in the announcement as saying:

“While Blockchain based assets by themselves are cryptographically secure, moving digital assets is a nightmare. After interviewing over 100 institutional customers, including hedge funds, broker-dealers, exchanges, and banks, we concluded that the current process is slow and highly susceptible to cyber attacks and human errors.”

Lastly, Shaulov claims that his startup created a platform which “secures the process and simplifies the movement of funds into one or two steps.”

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, cryptocurrency wallet provider Komodo effectively hacked itself to prevent fraudsters from accessing its users’ funds.

In May, Sean Coonce, engineering manager at cryptocurrency custodian BitGo, announced that he had fallen victim to a SIM swapping hack.