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Breaches

Casino Sues Cybersecurity Firm in Landmark Case

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In one of the first cases of its kind, ever, a cybersecurity firm was sued by its client, a casino operator for it alleged lack of quality in an investigation following a breach of the casino operator’s system.

This case could potentially set a new precedent entirely in the field of cyber law. A Las Vegas-based (where else?) casino operator has sued cybersecurity firm Trustwave for, in essence, allegedly failing to conduct a competent investigation.

A legal complaint was filed by casino operator Affinity Gaming in a Las Vegas federal court against security firm Trustwave in December 2015.

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The Background

In the aftermath of a network breach that directly resulted in the breach of credit card data, Affinity Gaming hired Trustwave in late 2013 to investigate the incident. A forensics report was turned in by Trustwave in January 2014, noting that Trustwave had identified the source of the data breach. The report also claimed it subdued the malware used for the breach.

A year later, the casino operator was hit by a second breach. This time, it hired a competing cybersecurity firm, Mandiant. A subsequent investigation by the second cybersecurity company stated that the malware wasn’t fully purged.

Indeed, the complaint filed in court stated:

Mandiant’s forthright and thorough investigation concluded that Trustwave’s representations were untrue, and Trustwave’s prior work was woefully inadequate.

Furthermore, the complaint plainly alleges that Trustwave had lied with its purported investigation. The complaint, obtained by ArsTechnica, also claims that Trustwave was aware or recklessly disregarded the notion that it was only examining a small part of the casino operator’s gaming systems infrastructure.

Another conflict in the cybersecurity firms’ reporting comes to the fore when Trustwave points to October as the last semblance of breach activity while Mandiant stated that another breach occurred in December of 2013. December, incidentally, was also the month when Trustwave was investigating the breach.

Mandiant’s report also led Affinity Gaming to claim in its complaint that Trustwave failed to detect several strains of malware infecting network servers. The complaint also notes that the second breach was a direct result of malicious actors who were able to install backdoor software on the casino operator’s virtual private network.

Affinity Gaming was ultimately required to pay for additional assessments from an independent expert(s) after the second breach for banks to reissue new cards to replace those compromised earlier.

Trustwave for its part denied any and all wrongdoing and told the Economic Times:

We dispute and disagree with the allegations in the lawsuit and we will defend ourselves vigorously in court.

Affinity Gaming told the publication that it has used $1.2 million of a $5 million cyber insurance policy for related expenses after the breach. The casino operator Is seeking a minimum of $100,000 in damages from Trustwave.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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  1. Lewis Cowles

    January 25, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    This sounds like someone at the casino hired a business to conduct activities that were woefully inadequate, or that the business that carried them out were not given a full picture. In a field that is so new, I think we should be slower to blame the service business, and look closer at the details. Were company A and company B both given the same criteria, the same pay, the same data and access? I Don’t know because details look non-existent

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Breaches

Ethereum Notches Two-Month High as Bitcoin Offspring Triggers Volatility

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Digital currency Ethereum climbed to a two-month high on Monday, taking some of the heat off Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, which have slumped since the weekend.

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Ethereum Forges Higher Path

Concerns over Bitcoin created a favourable tailwind for Ethereum (ETH/USD), which is the world’s No. 2 digital currency by total assets. Ether’s price topped $340.00 on Monday and later settled at $323.54. That was the highest since June 20.

At its peak, ether was up 10% on the day and 70% for the month of August.

The ETH/USD was last down 2.2% at $315.02, according to Bitfinex. Prices are due for a brisk recovery, based on the daily momentum indicators.

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Fractured Bitcoin Community

Bitcoin and its offshoot, Bitcoin Cash, retreated on Monday following a volatile weekend. The BTC/USD slumped at the start of the week and was down more than 3% on Tuesday, with prices falling below $3,900.00. Just last week, Bitcoin was trading at new records near $4,500.00.

Bitcoin Cash, which emerged after the Aug. 1 hard fork, climbed to new records on Saturday, but has been in free-fall ever since. The BTH was down another 20% on Tuesday to $594.49, according to CoinMarketCap. Its total market value has dropped by several billion over the past two days.

Analysts say that a “fractured” Bitcoin community has made Ethereum a more attractive bet this week. The ether token has shown remarkable poise over the past seven days, despite trading well shy of a new record.

Other drivers behind Ethereum’s advance are steady demand from South Korean investors and growing confidence in a smooth upgrade for the the ETH network. The upgrade, which has been dubbed “Metropolis,” is expected in the next several weeks. Its key benefits include tighter transaction privacy and greater efficiency.

Ethereum Prices Unaffected by ICO Heist

Fin-tech developer Enigma was on the receiving end of a cyber-heist on Monday after hackers took over the company’s website, mailing list and instant messaging platforms. The hack occurred three weeks before Enigma’s planned Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for September 11.

In addition to defacing the company’s website, the hackers pushed a special “pre-sale” ahead of the ICO. While many users realized it was a scam, 1,492 ether tokens – valued at $495,000 – were directed into the hackers’ cryptocurrency wallet by unsuspecting backers.

The irony in all this is that Engima is a cryptography company that prides itself on top-notch security protocols. The company issued a statement that its servers had not been compromised.

ETH/USD (Bitfinex)

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Breaches

Ethereum Prices on Track for 35% Monthly Drop

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It has been a difficult month for ethereum. The world’s No. 2 digital currency has lost a third of its value over the past 30 days following a series of cyber breaches targeting vulnerable wallets and ICOs.

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Ethereum Struggles to Regain Momentum

Ethereum (ETH/USD) was trading near $197.00 Sunday at 6:30 BST, according to Bitfinex. That represents a decline of around 5%. At current values, ethereum’s market cap was $18.4 billion.

The ETH/USD exchange rate has struggled throughout July, with prices briefly falling below $160.00. The decline, which amounted to a 60-day low, lured bargain-hunters back into the market. After surging back toward $250.00, the ETH/USD has consolidated below the $220-mark, which continues to offer strong resistance. On the opposite side of the spectrum, major support is located at $180.00.

A price recovery may prove elusive in the short-term, with the Relative Strength Index (RSI) and Stochastic indicator signalling weak underlying momentum.

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Despite its recent decline, ethereum’s value has surged more than 2,200% this year.

Cyber Attacks, SEC Weigh on Market

The ethereum network suffered a large-scale cyber breach earlier this month resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars. A community of ethical hackers quickly banded together to “rescue” hundreds of millions of dollars worth of tokens.

Blockchain-based trading platform Coindash was also hijacked during an initial coin offering (ICO). The breach exposed Coindash’s ether wallet address, resulting in the loss of $7 million worth of ether.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also taken an interest in the ethereum-based ICO market. Last week, the regulator concluded that a certain multi-million dollar token sale last year violated securities law. Although ICOs have been compared to crowd-sourcing, the SEC maintained that some tokens were in fact securities.

Analysts say the SEC ruling could impact the future of ICOs, although it remains unclear how the regulator is pursuing this market. The SEC’s July 25 press release cautions investors about ICOs in general.

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Breaches

Coders Safeguard Vulnerable Ethereum Wallets Following Security Breach

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Ethereum suffered large-scale security breaches last week after anonymous hackers targeted vulnerable wallets in the network, resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars. However, it didn’t take long for a volunteer group of coders to “rescue” the funds in 500 at-risk wallets before the same attackers could get to them too.

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White Hat Group Takes Charge

The so-called White Hat Group showed initiative by “rescuing” the funds using the same techniques the thieves employed to compromise $32 million USD worth of ether from three multi-signature wallets. As of Monday, the White Hat Group of ethical hackers was in possession of $86 million worth of ether and an additional $122 million in tokens.

Tokens are digital assets that are sold during an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) fundraising event. They have proven to be extremely popular.

Tens of millions of dollars worth of ether and tokens have already been returned to their owners. The White Hat Group says it will issue full refunds by the end of July.

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Blockchain-based trading platform Coindash was also breached last week, resulting in the loss of more than $7 million worth of ether.

Security Breaches Nothing New in Crypto World

For all its benefits, cryptocurrency has been vulnerable to several high-profile security breaches. Last summer, Hong Kong-based Bitfinex was the target of a major attack that resulted in the theft of around $70 million worth of bitcoins. In response, the exchange announced a controversial plans to “socialize” its losses among all users. Each Bitfinex trader was docked 36% as a result.

Bitcoin prices declined sharply following the attack, stopping what had been a blistering summer of gains.

Ethereum Enterprise Alliance

For anyone doubting the potential of the ether, take a look at the list of companies participating in the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). The EEA is a forum that connects Fortune 500 companies, startups and academics with ethereum subject matter experts.  The EEA is made up of multinational banks and some of the world’s biggest technology companies.

The forum has made cyber security a top priority, according to a May 22 press release. In the release, companies like Infosys, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Synechron and others expressed their intent to contribute to the future of ethereum’s security.

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