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New York Times: Russian Intelligence Hackers Targeted Us

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New York Times

In a report late Tuesday, the New York Times revealed that it’s Moscow bureau was the target of a cyberattack from Russian hackers, earlier this month.

Although details are currently scarce, the New York Times’s Moscow bureau was, according to the publication, the target of an attempted cyberattack this month.

A spokeswoman for The Times insisted that there was no evidence to show that the cyberattack was successful.

We are constantly monitoring our systems with the latest available intelligence and tools,” Eileen Murphy stated. She added, “We have seen no evidence that any of our internal systems, including our systems in the Moscow bureau, have been breached or compromised.”

The New York Times is one among other US news organizations targeted with cyberattacks, CNN reported earlier, citing US officials as sources while not naming the other news agencies.

The officials revealed that investigations so far point to Russian intelligence as the instigators of the attacks. The news network also hinted that The Times’ email network may have been among the targets of the cyberattack, while noting that Times employees’ email services are outsourced to Google.

Private investigators involved in earlier investigations which saw hackers breach the networks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) point to two of Russia’s intelligence agencies behind the incidents. They maintain with “high confidence” that the now-infamous attack on DNC servers was the doing of two Russian intelligence agencies, the F.S.B and the G.R.U. The former is notably the successor to Russia’s K.G.B while the latter is the country’s leading military intelligence unit.

Since the DNC hack, the FBI has also widened the net of its investigation, covering other recent breaches including that of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fund-raising arm of the Democratic party.

Russia intelligence alleged involvement in United States’ affairs, particularly during a time when the latter is gearing up toward the Presidential elections, is gaining notoriety and attention from all corners. Indeed, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump infamously asked Russian hackers to dig up rival Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Once the FBI’s investigation is complete, senior US administration officials claim that US President Obama will have to make a decision. If Russian culpability is far too strong with the evidence presented, the NYT reports that economic sanctions, quiet warnings toward Russia or even a cyberespionage counterattack, is entirely within the realms of possibility.

Meanwhile, cyberespionage is a practice that most governments engage in, according to comments from US National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper Jr, last year. He remarked that the much-publicized OPM breach was not an attack and rather a form of “theft or espionage.”

“We, too, practice cyberespionage,” Clapper Jr stated,”…we’re not bad at it.”

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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 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsSamburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.




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  1. Kerouac

    August 27, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    These are coming left and right, back and around, up and down, all the time. NYT isn’t innocent, nor are the Russians, Obama administration, or so-called “alt media” sell-outs to the big-name dirty-tricks! Am I the only one who just doesn’t care anymore if this is true? I mean, Clinton overplaying it, Trump downplaying it, I just think I’ve become indifferent to stuff. Trump may be semi-cozy with Putin, but it ain’t some conspiracy theory, and Clinton is just distracting sh*t from her scandal, then Breitbart does what these NYT/AP/CNN type shams do by blaming her crime on a tool which isn’t even perfect, instead of focusing on the fact, neither candidate is perfect, and the media usually lies for Clinton, but as much as I prefer alt-media, usually more of Old-Right affiliation, there are some doing this sh*t on that side, too. I’m sad to say, I have no more sympathy for hacks like this – if that makes me a sociopathic traitor, so-be-it. I’m American and I’m pissed at both sides and everything in between! This just means more news for me and their humiliation as well as any dirt this can dig up on ’em! Government controls the media and the government is its own corporation, virtually indistinguishable from the monopolies who front the show below them! They’re all guilty! What we need is more freedom, transparency, none of the f*cking back-and-forth…you get that from people who like crypto and not guns or guns and not crypto, or who race-bait on both sides. Research is valuable, screw any such accusations, but it ain’t right to fan the flames and then get that big media show and its drama, and it also needs to be said what you take away from someone else can be taken away from you, especially when companies or the populace advocate such tyrannical centralization. I value my crypto, I value my right to bear arms, if NYT or Fox, CNBC, etc., can’t understand that by picking either sides when they’re all the same, then good luck, this stupid sell-out willingness just produces more like-minded people as me who couldn’t care less when I have more important things to worry about like my ability to pay bills, these taxes, college debt, while the Federal Reserve, DoJ, NSA, IRS, State Dept and White House f*ck all our lives up on behalf of gaining their leverage through publications like this, then play the victim-game!

  2. Kerouac

    August 27, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    Trump ain’t innocent, but he didn’t “ask” them to dig more up on her. Firstly, he was trolling and the MSM picked up on it – left and right – aka establishment and establishment. Secondly, they didn’t need to, they were in the systems before, they already have the data and that’s been proven. And it’s funny because the Obamacrats such as Clinton and even RINOs like Jeb push for stricter surveillance to supposedly “prevent” this sh*t, when we all know it’s to, #1: cover-up actions of the federal government, #2: take away both our crypto and gun rights – which are of the same vein and should be treated as such, and #3: win elections by distracting the media from the real scandal which is what the emails contained in the first place (bleachbit ain’t perfect, FBI is almost always corrupt; don’t turn a blindeye to it just because you may dislike the “cleared” dumba** who was “under investigation,” because corruption is corruption and it’s no need to pollute the media with hyped drama). I’m not going to advocate foreign intervention by Russia anymore than I’d advocate our involvement over this type of crap-drama, but all I’m saying is: the establishment acts as though it’s the victim when it perpetrated several felonies and got away with it, externally blames it, outright perjors, when it does the same against other nations and that’s “justified,” even though Arab Spring led to not-so-better tyranny replacement in Egypt, the rise of Islamic terror organization, ISIS in Syria, cozying up with Iran, or even picking sides in the Crimean crisis when let’s face it, both Russia AND Ukraine are corrupt. But the fact we’d pretend Ukraine is innocent when they do the same dirty sh*t we call Putin out for doing, to protect a dying disorder named the European Union, is pitiful!

    While there is evidence to show Russians were behind DCLeaks, keep in mind they also leaked RNC emails which is a no-no if they were sabotaging in favor of Trump rather than just sabotaging us, period, and 2nd: the people behind DCCC were Slavic, but they very likely could’ve been Moldovan which would make a lot of sense. TAO “hack” was obviously faked to look as though the Russians did it. While I don’t trust Putin who’s an authoritarian, there ain’t no conspiracy between him and Trump subverting the election by conspiring some hack. Further, let’s face it: Trump, Clinton, Putin – not much different. proud a**, a** who plays victim and silences any challengers, a** who’s surely authoritarian but also loved by his own people.

    No one’s innocent here. Who got shafted as always? The citizens who’ve gotta pay for the ISIS “refugees,” hand over their liberties either crypto or firearms, privacy, 1st amendment, etc., in order to feed a hungry leviathan led by a two-headed monster feigning rivalry in a hopeless contest charaded as being “OUR” choice. The people in power get away with it. Comey and the other charlatons in office are just headed by Loretta – another fraudulent SoB, who wanna take away your 4th amendment in the name of so-called “security,” but none really know what it means. Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson did! It’s a lost art. We deserve security, but good gawd man, government ain’t your deity anymore than f*cking corporations are! The government IS a monopoly, and the sooner we get them and their bend-over lobbyists out of power, the better! Until then, we see this war on common sense and a penchant for sensationalist “media,” from either corrupt side. And think that Gary Johnson’s any better? He sold out just like everyone else! We’re supposed to proudly wave the Gadsden, not become a tool of the centralized dictatorship that is D.C. Pride in your country is very important, but that means respecting the liberties we are supposedly guaranteedd under our founding principles, because without them, there’s no reasonable sense of pride by anyone who valued what we once were. Until we hold the aristocrats responsible for their crimes, instead of painting them into a portrait of victimhood while demonizing anyone who dares rebel against uselessly ill-conceived “laws,” we don’t have a Consttitutional Republic! The cultist culture of selling-out one’s own values makes me sick and I see it in Shrilldebeast fanatic circles just as I do in Trumpkin circles! I’d rather take an a** who shows his a**holery, than one who vigorously hides it, but in the end, no matter which side wins, we’re all gonna be f*cking doomed! In such a sensible, educated world, this would be recognized as realism, but most others see it as pessimism. Meh, give it names, IDC, it’s my opinion and I’m gonna come right out and say it!

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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Network Faced One-Two Punch of Inflation and DoS Threats

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Bitcoin Core has emerged seemingly unscathed from a major vulnerability that threatened to shut down parts of the network in a denial-of-service (DoS) attack. But apparently, the bug was even worse than originally thought. According to a Bitcoin Core Full Disclosure Report, the issue included an “inflation vulnerability,” one in which if seized upon could have bolstered the supply of bitcoin beyond the famous 21 million coin ceiling. By pouring more coins into the supply, the hackers would have diminished the value of the circulating bitcoins.

The decision to expose only the lesser extreme part of the bug to the public was deliberate. According to the report:

“In order to encourage rapid upgrades, the decision was made to immediately patch and disclose the less serious Denial of Service vulnerability, concurrently with reaching out to miners, businesses, and other affected systems while delaying publication of the full issue to give times for systems to upgrade. On September 20th a post in a public forum reported the full impact and although it was quickly retracted the claim was further circulated.”

Double-Edged Sword

The strategy was a success and the bug is no longer a threat, as evidenced by more than 50% of the bitcoin mining hashrate having been upgraded to the patched nodes with no known attempts to “exploit this vulnerability.”

Here’s what we know, according to the report –

“A developer by the title earlz independently discovered and reported the vulnerability to the Bitcoin Core security contact email.”

Meanwhile, on social media, a contributor identified as a Bitcoin Cash developer who goes by the handle “Awemany” was cheered on Reddit for discovering and reporting the bug and cementing their place in “bitcoin’s history book.” Awemany in a blog post pointed to bitcoin developer Matt Corallo, whose 2016 pull request in an attempt to accelerate validation times led to what Awemany characterized as “one of the most catastrophic bugs in Bitcoin ever.”

The bottom line is that the bug was discovered and the threat has been lifted. It’s both a reminder of the risks associated with the consensus mechanism and a demonstration of good faith among the decision makers.

While it’s mostly the future of ETH that has been contemplated of late, given the plummeting of the No. 2 cryptocurrency’s value this year along with the confidence of investors, bitcoin has its own issues. In an exclusive interview with CCN, Sheffield Clark, who is at the helm of bitcoin ATM maker Coinsource, pointed to potentially “stagnant” mainstream adoption of bitcoin amid a lack of regulatory framework to help resolve issues like extreme volatility.

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 62 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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Cyberespionage

North Korea is now Targeting Crypto Users with Macs

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AppleJeus Malware Hack

The Lazarus group has earned quite a reputation for themselves in cyber-security circles.

This group of North Korean hackers have been responsible for some of the most well known intrusions in the past few years. For example, they were behind the Sony Pictures hack in 2014, the Bangladesh central bank heist in 2016 and the Wannacry ransomware outbreak in 2017.

It is safe to say that these are quite effective operators.

However, with the popularity of cryptocurrencies, the Lazarus group has changed their attack vectors and are targeting every day users with Malware.

The latest report now has the hackers using MacOS malware to hoover up information from those cryptocurrency users who work on Macbooks.

“AppleJeus”

This was the first time that the Lazarus group has developed malware to target Mac users. Indeed, Mac operating systems are far less susceptible to Malware than Windows based systems.

It was a surprise for researchers at Kaspersky Lab to have learned about the latest Lazarus attempt to target users with there macOS malware. They have labelled it “AppleJeus”.

This was first spotted on machines that were being used by cryptocurrency company in Asia. Indeed, this is no coincidence as the Lazarus group has often targeted cryptocurrency related businesses and exchanges in South Korea.

How Does it Work?

AppleJeus hides itself inside the code of a seemingly legitimate piece of cryptocurrency trading software called Celas Trade Pro. The user will download the app from the website of the developer. When it is first downloaded, there are no signs that anything could be off. The app appears to operate normally.

Celas Trade Screenshot

Screenshot of Celas Trade, the offending program. Source: kaspersky labs

Once the app is installed on the device, it will request to update the software. This sort of request is present in authentic software and as such will not trigger any alerts. However, there is malicious code that is inside of this update.

The moment that the update is installed, it will scan the computer and gather as much information as possible. This will then be sent back the hacker’s server so that they can make a decision on whether the person is worth attacking.

If they think that there is valuable information (or cryptocurrency) on the machine then they will instruct the software to install a trojan called “Fallchill”. For those who do not know, Trojans are malicious malware that will install a “backdoor” into the machine

Fallchill is a particularly robust trojan and can gather a great deal of information from the machine. This includes data such as financial information, login credentials and of course, information about cryptocurrency trading accounts.

Once the hackers have this personal information, they can either access your online accounts or they can conduct other spear phishing attacks against you. It is indeed a troubling development and according to Vitaly Kamluk of Kaspersky:

“For macOS users this case is a wakeup call, especially if they use their Macs to perform operations with cryptocurrencies”

So now that you know North Korea is actively trying to get their hands on your cryptocurrency, how do you protect yourself?

Keeping Safe from AppleJeus

The most effetive way to protect yourself from this Malware is to make sure that you only download software that is well known and reputable. This of course goes without saying but it is far too often that relatively inexperienced cryptocurrency traders will avoid doing their research.

The researchers have recommended that people and businesses do not download the software of Celas Trade. Even though they appear to have a a good reputation and verified digital certificates, this cannot be fully trusted.

You should also consider investing in some effective anti-malware software that you should use to scan all files that you have downloaded. This should be done even if you trust the source because hackers have been known to infiltrate trusted websites.

Cryptocurrency Security 101

Even if you are unlucky enough to have your machine infected with crypto grabbing malware, basic crypto security best practices will still protect you.

If you do a great deal of online trading with your cryptocurrency then it is essential that you secure your accounts with 2 factor authentication. This way, you are at least able to reduce the number of attack vectors.

You should always secure your large cryptocurrency holdings in hardware wallet. This is because the wallets operate external from the machine and hence the trojan cannot read your private key information.

Caution and a healthy does of scepticism will protect you from the an unhealthy does of AppleJeus.

Featured Image via Fotolia.

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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5 stars on average, based on 3 rated postsNic is an ex Investment Banker and current crypto enthusiast. When he is not sitting behind six screens trading Bitcoin, he is maintaining his numerous mining rigs.




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Cryptocurrencies

Crypto Pump and Dumps Have Generated $825 Million in Activity This Year: WSJ

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Price manipulation involving ‘pump and dump’ schemes are alive and well in the cryptocurrency market. According to new research by The Wall Street Journal, organized cryptocurrency groups have generated at least $825 million in trading activity over the past six months.

Pump Groups Thrive in Nascent Crypto Market

In a comprehensive review of trading data and online communications among crypto traders between January and July, WSJ identified 175 pump and dump schemes spanning 121 different coins. Among the 50 pumps with the biggest increase in price, nearly half had lost their value.

Among the dozen pump groups analyzed by WSJ, Big Pump Signal and its 74,000 Telegram followers have had the biggest impact on markets. The group engineered 26 pumps resulting in $222 million in trades.

Pump schemes have exploded over the past 18 months as initial coin offerings (ICOs) garnered mainstream attention. More than $12 billion has flowed into coin offerings since January 2017, according to ICOData.io, inviting a new form of speculation in markets that remain largely unregulated to this day.

Analysts say most pump and dumps following a similar pattern: the group announces a time and exchange for a pump; at the set time, traders execute the signal, creating a short-term buying frenzy; after a set time (usually a few minutes), the coin is sold for instant profit.

One of the biggest pumps in recent memory came in early July after Big Pump Signal commanded its followers to buy cloakcoin (CLOAK), an obscure cryptocurrency that purports to be “fully private, secure and untraceable.” After the call was made, CLOAK spiked 50% on Binance before plummeting more than 20% after two minutes.

Stopping the Fraud

Although the pump and dump is one of the oldest forms of market fraud, regulators have struggled to stem the practice. As WSJ reports, similar practices were banned in the 1930s, but that hasn’t stopped pump and dumps from proliferating at different points in history. Jordan Belfort, whose life was chronicled in the movie “Wolf of Wall Street,” pleaded guilty in 1999 for running pump and dumps costing investors more than $200 million.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regularly deals with pump and dumps in the stock market, but has yet to bring a case involving cryptocurrencies. In the meantime, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has offered a reward for anyone who warns the agency about potential pump and dump schemes involving cryptocurrencies.

“If you have original information that leads to a successful enforcement action that leads to monetary sanctions of $1 million or more, you could be eligible for a monetary award of between 10 percent and 30 percent,” a CFTC memo, released in February, read. That translates into a potential reward of at least $100,000.

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 610 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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