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Lizard Squad Fails Hard

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Lizard Squad (currently: @LizardMafia), the bane of Sony Playstation and Microsoft XBOX online gaming communities, was the DDoS Grinch that stole Christmas gaming this year. Neither platform was usable for more than thirty minutes, and those brief respites were tied to Twitter account pumping.

@LizardMafia would pick a smaller account from their group to promote, promising the attacks would stop if the account met some goal, such as reaching 5,000 followers. They also ran repeated tweet polls, asking followers to RT the tweet if they wanted Play Station Network attacked, or favorite the tweet to direct their attention to XBOX.

Also read: Lizard Squad Stops PSN and Xbox Live Takedown Possibly Thanks to Mega and Kim Dotcom

Their most recent act has been promoting lizardstresser.su, which offers ‘shell booters’, and in doing so they made a string of mistakes. Security researcher Brian Krebs has had direct, personal conflict with them in the past, and their errors permitted him to characterize them accurately.

Smoke, Mirrors & Lizards

Lizard MafiaThe holiday attacks have been maddening for the members of the predominantly male fifteen to twenty five year old demographic that received either type of game console for Christmas. The practice of promoting multiple Twitter accounts meant any attempt to banhammer them had to hit half a dozen targets in very quick succession. The frontal assault tactics favored by young men were at best of limited use, and more often backfired on innocent bystanders, precisely as the Lizards intended.

@LizardMafia itself had a few particular personas they chose to single out for direct attention. The aush0k mentioned here is Matthew Flannery, an Australian hacker who belatedly and quite incorrectly declared himself the supreme leader of LulzSec last year, during his arrest for vandalizing a tiny Australian village government site.

@LizardMafia Taunts aush0k

@LizardMafia Taunts aush0k

@MeanTXLawyer is Texas attorney Jason Lee Van Dyke, whose twin claims to fame are being dumb enough to try to drag Tor Project into court over the content on the PinkMeth hidden service revenge porn site, and for offering a bounty on doxbin operators nachash (@loldoxbin) and Intangir, then publicly threatening to kill both of them.

@LizardMafia Taunts @MeanTXLawyer

@LizardMafia Taunts @MeanTXLawyer

Seeking Media Attention

Emboldened by their successes and in a manner eerily similar to what happened during the FBI orchestrated fifty day LulzSec rampage of 2011, some of the ringleaders took to the airwaves, and the group’s downfall began.

First was the young man seen below, Julius Kivimaki, a Finnish teen who has been at the center of much mayhem for over two years. Brit Vinnie Omari appeared as well, only to be arrested a few days later on some Paypal fraud charges.

Promoting LizardStresser, Doxing Subscribers

Internet celebrity KimDotCom ransomed both PSN and XBOX for $300,000 worth of his company’s cloud storage product, and the Lizards moved on to a new strategy – offering DDOS as a service via lizardstresser.su. Brian Krebs was quickly on the scene with Lizard Kids: A Long Trail Of Fail.

Krebs’ post and Ode To LizardSquad on Malware Tech are the sort of thing one reads with a copy of Maltego running to collect all of the details for further inspection but the executive summary is found in this pastebin: LizardStresser User Dump. Some details of their 1,700 subscribers are now public, and it is unclear what else their sloppy OPSEC has exposed.

Best of all, Malware Tech performed a simple test, proving that LizardPatrol and Darkode share the same system. Read those detailed studies and you’ll be able to trace the Lizards back to their point of origin.

LizardPatrol & Darkode Hosted Together

LizardPatrol & Darkode Hosted Together

Another FBI Sponsored Hacker Rampage?

If what Lizard Squad is doing were organic, it would follow the same power law distribution seen in insurgencies. A few months ago they hit hard and managed to divert an American Airlines flight in order to inconvenience a Sony exec on his way to a conference, then they slipped away quietly. The Christmas holiday attack doesn’t look odd; it’s the right time in terms of maximum audience, and it doesn’t seem particularly closely correlated with the Sony intrusion. If the next few months bring smaller actions with different methods, or nothing at all, that would be a statistical fit.

But two of the members have been arrested. If there is immediately another big hit involving LizardStresser, or some other very noteworthy move, and then another … and another? A steady or escalating stream of events would be clear signs that the next Sabu is moving among the next herd of victims, setting up the young and unwary.

Images from Lizard Mafia, Malware Tech and Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Crypto-Security Testnet Surpasses Key Milestones

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Security and has been combined with micro-compucomputing are a combination which ascended to greatly relevant, both economically and financially, since the early days of commercial internet technology, the John McAfee associated era of anti-virus software, and fears of ‘millennium-bug’ (‘Y2K’)-induced societal meltdowns.

As a market player, ‘cybersecurity‘ is hailed for its continuedvalue and growth, with recent implementations advancing in tandem with technological development. With ‘blockchain’ having become a key buzzword in recent years, it comes as little surprise that digital security providers have been attempting to identify and provide protection against cryptocurrency related scams.

Examples of these include ‘malware‘ AKA ‘malicious software’. They are often created with the aim of illicitly subvert the processing power of the victim’s device for use towards the mining of cryptocurrencies, or lock and potentially delete highly sensitive data (such as Ransomware’).

Cybersecurity and Blockchain

Crypto attacks can affect almost any person or institution: from private wallets and exchanges, to cryptocurrency operators, and even sometimes unsuspecting users of internet browsers with no relation to blockchain based services.

In an article published at CCN in August 2018, I wrote about the large prolificity and news coverage of cyber-attacks carried out against cryptocurrency organisations: with a majority of them involving the theft of high-value quantities of tokens or sensitive data.

Key points raised in the piece include the identification of wallets and exchanges as high-value targets for potential thieves, as well as a discussion surrounding a study of over 1000 participants in which none of the top exchanges were “lauded for security”.

As cybersecurity has been exposed as a fatal flaw in the unauthorised access / theft access of finances and data, it has also drawn a spotlight on the various methods employed by the companies which suffer these attacks.

Middleware, Wear and Tear

Some teams attempt to protect their data and finances through the creation and implementation of their own proprietary cybersecurity solutions whilst others seek the tender of others,

‘Middleware’ is nothing new and has long been utilised as a means of implementing third-party solutions as a means of shifting professional a legislative liability regarding essential functions of a brand technology.

It’s a creation by third party product / service providers that sits between external and internal code in order to facilitate functions or protections.

Decentralized Security Testnet

REMME is a project harnessing blockchain technology to create a distributed cybersecurity solution for enterprises.

Its now-released testnet has already demonstrated the efficacy of storing hashed Public Key Infrastructure certificates on the blockchain, and with 300 pilot program participants signed up, REMME isn’t short of applicants eager to trial its distributed identity and access management solution.

‘Distributed Identity and Access management’ (IAMd) and ‘Public Key Infrastructure’ requests (PKId) count amongst two of the primary features of the proprietary REMChain testchain network infrastructure. Both claims of which have come from CEO Alex Momot, who additionally praised “The interoperability of the public blockchain and sidechains”.

Additional features include the ‘REMchain block explorer’ – ‘node monitoring’ (connected to five nodes worldwide) – REMME WebAuth demo application.

While a pilot program reportedly attracting over 300 global enterprise applicants, REMME feels confident about the future of their long terms plans: which include full integration existing enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, Accounting software etc.).

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 12 rated posts




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Breaches

MyEtherWallet Compromised in Security Breach; Users Urged to Move Tokens

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Popular cryptocurrency service MyEtherWallet (MEW) is urging users to move their tokens after the platform succumbed to its second cyber attack of the year. As the company reported earlier, hackers targeted MEW’s popular VPN service in an attempt to steal cryptocurrency.

Hola VPN Users Compromised

Rather than target MEW directly, hackers took control of the Hola VPN service, which claims nearly 50 million users. For the next five hours, MEW users who had the Hola chrome extension installed and running on their computer were exposed.

MEW took to Twitter to urge users to move their funds immediately.

“Urgent! If you have Hola chrome extension installed and used MEW within the last 24 hrs, please transfer your funds immediately to a brand new account!” the company said. It added the following message shortly thereafter:”We received a report that suggest Hola chrome extension was hacked for approximately 5 hrs and the attack was logging your activity on MEW.”

At the time of writing, MEW’s Twitter feed had no further updates.

MyEtherWallet is used to access cryptocurrency wallets, where users can send and receive tokens from other people.

The company reportedly told TechCrunch that the attack originated from a Russian-based IP address.

“The safety and security of MEW users is our priority. We’d like to remind our users that we do not hold their personal data, including passwords so they can be assured that the hackers would not get their hands on that information if they have not interacted with the Hola chrome extension in the past day,” MEW said, as quoted by TechCrunch.

It’s not yet clear how many users were compromised in the attack or how much, if any, was stolen from their wallets. MEW suffered a similar incident in February after a DNS attack wiped out $365,000 worth of cryptocurrency from users’ accounts.

Cyber Attacks on the Rise

The attack on MEW came less than 24 hours after Hacked reported another major cyber breach involving Bancor, a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. The security breach compromised roughly $23.5 million worth of digital currency, including Ethereum, NPXS and BNT, Bancor’s native token.

Last month, a pair of South Korean exchanges fell prey to cyber criminals, prompting local regulators to expedite their approval of new cryptocurrency laws.

It has been estimated that a total of $761 million has been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges in the first half of the year, up from $266 million in all of 2017. That figure is expected to rise to $1.5 billion this year.

CipherTrace, the company behind the estimates, told Reuters last week that stolen cryptocurrencies are mainly used to launder money and aid criminals in concealing their identities.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 647 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Mt. Gox vs. Bithumb: That Was Then, This Is Now

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Bithumb now shares something in common with the Tokyo-based shuttered bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox — both suffered a hack on about the same date, June 19. It’s a club that no exchange wants to belong to and that Bithumb happened on the seven-year anniversary of Mt. Gox’s maiden attack has to be more than an eerie coincidence.

It’s a stark reminder of the risks involved with keeping funds on an unregulated exchange, vulnerabilities that cost South Korea’s Bithumb some $36.6 million in digital cash and Mt. Gox $450 million in hacked bitcoin and its future. The Mt. Gox theft unfolded over a series of hacks that culminated in 2014. Though it’s still early on in the Bithumb hack, it appears the South Korean exchange will recover from the security breach. So what do we know now that we didn’t on June 19, 2011?

Then vs. Now

Former Coinbase official Nick Tomaino, who is also the founder of crypto fund 1 confirmation, reflected on the Mt. Gox hack in what proved to be a prescient tweet given the Bithumb attack that was about to surface.

The thing to note about Mt. Gox is that the Japan-based exchange in 2011 controlled most of the BTC trading volume, approximately three-quarters of it by average estimates — more if you ask Tomaino. Since bitcoin fever caught on in 2017, there are more than 500 cryptocurrency exchanges on which trading volume is shared. Binance boasts the highest trading volume and captures nearly 15% of bitcoin trading. It’s much less than Mt. Gox days but still a little high.

The other thing to note is that the Mt. Gox hack or actually hacks, as there were multiple attacks on the exchange over several years, was a mysterious event that was shrouded in controversy and mistrust of a key executive. Bithumb, on the other hand, confronted the hack seemingly right away on Twitter and has not let any grass grow under its feet in the interim, which is a key difference in the way Mt. Gox was handled.

Also, the bitcoin price didn’t tank in response to the Bithumb hack. It traded lower for a while, but less than 24 hours it was back in the green, which is a reflection of the fact that bitcoin trading is no longer dependent on a single exchange.

Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin (LTC), the No. 6 cryptocurrency by market cap, was among the first to respond to the Bithumb hack. He tweeted:

Indeed, Bithumb does expect to be able to cover the losses via their reserves.

Crypto Security

It’s still early on in Bithumb’s security breach, and more details are sure to emerge in time. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to use the hack as an opportunity to examine the security of your cryptocurrency investment portfolio. There are several hardware wallet options out there for you to choose from — whether it’s Trezor or Ledger Nano S, to name a couple — and as Charlie Lee advised, “only keep on exchange coins that you are actively trading.”

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 68 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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