Category Archives: Cryptocurrencies

Crypto Update: Coins Pop Higher as Consolidation Continues

Trading activity increased in the major coins today, amid a mixed news flow, and for now, bulls scored a small victory following last week’s bearish price action. Bitcoin, Ethereum and most of the largest digital currencies gained several percents, despite the weekend’s deterioration, and although the technical setup didn’t change significantly, an immediate breakdown has […]

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New York Approval of Crypto Trading App Ignites Price Rally for Bitcoin, Altcoins

The cryptocurrency market on Monday added $13 billion in the span of one hour after New York’s Department of Financial Services granted Square a digital currency license. Square Cash App Approved for BitLicense San Francisco-based startup Square, Inc. announced Monday it has been granted approval by New York regulators to launch its cryptocurrency trading platform […]

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Crypto Critics: Fractured Facts

I have another confession.  As a long time investor, I believed in the theory of efficient markets. This basically means that every participant in the market has immediate and complete access to all information facts like price, earnings and other data.   I made the mistake in applying this theory to cryptocurrencies. Lately, this has […]

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Bitcoin’s Stalled Recovery Keeps the Bulls in Check

The bitcoin recovery engine stalled on Monday, setting the stage for a possible price reversal that mirrors last week’s 70-day low. With the total market cap so low, a decline in bitcoin would almost assuredly lead to a similar correction for other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin Price Levels Bitcoin prices reached a low of $6,335.77 on Monday, […]

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All Sports’ SOC Token Dips Amid Poor World Cup Showing

  The All Sports SOC token has sunk 11% over the past 24 hours, falling to a three month low of $0.107. This takes All Sports back to a late April valuation, right before its market cap trebled over the course of a week in early May. The SOC token’s poor performance against the dollar […]

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Crypto Update: Coins Consolidate Above Support but Downtrend Still Intact

It has been a very quiet weekend for the major cryptocurrencies so far, as the predominantly bearish week ended with range trading and a collapse in volumes across the board. Most of the top coins failed to gain back the ground they lost during the steep selloff, with only Binance Coin and VeChain showing meaningful […]

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Long-Term Cryptocurrency Analysis: Bull Market in Jeopardy

As the crucial rally attempt that we pointed out in our previous long-term analysis failed, and the major coins sold off heavily afterwards, the segment is now in a difficult situation. While Bitcoin and especially Ethereum are still in bullish setups, the most valuable coin is now close to a major breakdown that could lead […]

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Bibox Token Down 33% for the Week

Bibox Token’s (BIX) loss of 11% over the last 24 hours compounds the 33% loss it incurred over the past week, and ends a fruitful period of growth for the exchange token. When the rest of the market sunk throughout the month of May, Bibox managed to power through those thirty days, recording week on […]

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SEC Decision on Ethereum Could Open Door to Futures Contract: CBOE President

Proponents of Ethereum were vindicated Thursday when a high ranking U.S. regulator said transactions involving the cryptocurrency won’t be subject to federal securities laws. The announcement has renewed speculation that ether will soon make its way to the futures market. CBOE Optimistic About Ether’s Futures Potential CBOE Global Markets Inc. President Chris Concannon announced Friday […]

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Crypto Psycho:  Crazy Price Action

Say what you will about the cryptocurrency bubble of 2017 not making sense, what about the action lately?  Prices are acting terribly. Professor John Griffin claims last year’s bitcoin rally was manufactured by Bitfinex. Economist Nouriel Roubini proclaims bitcoin is going to zero. The founder of Crypto Asset Management says about bitcoin: “We are shorting […]

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EOS Mainnet Officially Launches

After a tumultuous few weeks, the EOS mainnet is officially live after receiving the minimum votes needed to launch the distributed network. At the time of writing, more than 170 million votes have been staked to determine the 21 entities that will maintain the blockchain. EOS Goes Live EOS Authority has confirmed that it now […]

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Crypto Update: Ethereum Leads Rebound, Boosted by the SEC

The cryptocurrency segment experienced a sudden bullish surge in late trading today, following the words of a top-level SEC official that substantially eased regulatory fears, which were among the leading negative drivers this year. The director said that the institution won’t treat ETH as a security, and it doesn’t see value in regulating it. The positive […]

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Upcoming EOS Airdrops in June

June is proving to be a busy month for EOS. First came their much anticipated mainnet launch and the 20% market growth which accompanied it. Then the mainnet launch stalled, and this was accompanied by the sudden global market dip of ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’; which saw EOS lose 30% of its value. The mainnet launch […]

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Bitcoin’s Brush With Oversold Levels Suggests Selloff May Be Over – For Now

Bitcoin’s epic collapse culminated on Thursday with a price-per-coin of around $6,130, prompting an imminent reversal. Though possibly short-lived, bitcoin’s bounce can be attributed to one of its worst RSI readings in almost two years. Bitcoin Price Update The value of bitcoin plunged toward $6,100, its lowest in two months, as volatile futures activity and […]

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Crypto Update: Coins Dumped Again as Bitcoin Nears $6000

The bloody week continued in the cryptocurrency segment on Fed-day too as the major coins suffered another hit, falling around 10% on average compared to yesterday’s price levels. The move dragged down the previously relatively stronger coins too, and that led to further deterioration of the short-term technical picture, as several key support levels were […]

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Three Sleeper Cryptos With Massive Long-Term Potential

Unless you have access to trading software and bots, trying to trade in and out of different cryptocurrencies is a recipe for disaster. The better strategy is to find a couple projects you really did research on and believe in. Then pile large sums of money into said projects when prices are near their floor. […]

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Technical Analysis: Bitcoin Trades at $6500 as Crucial Support Levels Fall

The cryptocurrency market suffered a big hit in past three days, as all of the major coins sold off heavily after Sunday’s Coinrail hack.  Following the failure of the recent crucial rally attempt, the plunge of Bitcoin and major altcoins sent shockwaves throughout the segment, pushing several majors, like BTC, DASH, Monero, and NEO to […]

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Coinbase Cites Regulation for Its Surprise Ethereum Classic Listing; ETC Volumes More Than Double

After nearly six months of speculation, Coinbase finally added a new cryptocurrency to its “elite four” listing. And nobody saw it coming. The choice to go with Ethereum Classic (ETC) on Monday triggered a bit of a PR firestorm for Coinbase. To clear up the confusion, vice president and general manager Dan Romero has provided […]

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Crypto Carnage Resumes as Bitcoin Comes Within $500 of Yearly Low

Cryptocurrencies suffered yet another selloff on Tuesday, as bitcoin approached new lows for the year and Ethereum fell below a key psychological level. Market Update: Downtrend Continues Crypto markets bled more than $20 billion on Tuesday, including a flash crash that wiped out $10 billion in the span of 30 minutes. The market capitalization for […]

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Loom Network Explodes 50% in 24 Hours

Amid the general bloodletting of the last couple of days, at least one coin has managed to achieve some upward momentum. Loom Network (LOOM) jumped from $0.198 to 0.299 earlier today, which amounts to a 50.01% growth, to be precise. That was earlier this morning. Right now LOOM tokens are priced at $0.275 – marking […]

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The 1,000 Club – Altcoins From the Depths

Ah, the 1,000 Club – where 24 hour volume range between $0 and the price of a good pair of shoes. Where blockchains abandoned by their developers go to die. Where a 500% daily spike can be caused by a few hundred dollars worth of trades. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. In our […]

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As Bitcoin Searches for Bottom, Miners Lose Profitability

For miners, bitcoin’s profitability has been called into question as plunging price points and rising energy costs make rig operations more expensive to maintain. As bitcoin’s bear market deepens, the mining ecosystem will struggle just to break even. Bitcoin Mining in Perspective The arms race for hash power has intensified since early 2017 as the […]

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Just Under 3.5% of EOS Tokens Have Voted to Declare Mainnet Valid

The EOS Blockchain and the team behind it are facing yet another hurdle in their quest to unseat Ethereum as the blockchain of choice for anyone making Dapps or smart contracts. As a refresher, EOS is not minable. “Block producers” generate the required number of blocks to hash and get rewarded by the creation of […]

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Bitcoin’s Latest Collapse Mirrors the 2014 Bear Market

The yearlong selloff in cryptocurrencies deepened over the weekend, erasing more than $40 billion of market value in less than 24 hours. Investors, analysts and general observers are now struggling to understand why. According to one long-time observer, bitcoin’s recent price collapse is almost identical to the onset of the bear market all the way […]

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The Secret Behind What’s Driving Cryptocurrency Prices

What’s been driving crypto prices? During a period roughly between May 23rd and last weekend, crypto prices were holding a steady course and then suddenly within a brief 24 hour period both bitcoin and Ethereum lost over 12% of their value.  During that same period virtually all of the 100 largest cryptos were also falling […]

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Tron Hits Two Month Low; Down 50% Since April

Tron (TRX) has felt the crash worse than most in the last 48 hours, as Sunday Bloody Sunday extends through to Monday. TRX is still down 13% against the dollar, carrying over the same losses since yesterday, which leaves one unit of Tronix trading for $0.045. Tron gained huge ground in the last few months, […]

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Crypto Market Selloff Intensifies Amid CFTC Probe; Bitcoin Plunges Below $6,700

Cryptocurrency prices experienced a massive selloff on Sunday, as investors grappled with multiple pain points ranging from cyber security to regulation. At the time of writing, the overall market was trading at its lowest level since mid-April. Market Meltdown The cryptocurrency market has shed $47 billion over the past 24 hours, according to data provider […]

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South Korean Exchange Suffers a Hack, Sending Crypto Markets Tumbling

If you haven’t checked the cryptocurrency market in the past 24 hours, you may be in for a shock. Bitcoin has fallen the most that it has since May 23, as Bloomberg pointed out, and is currently hovering at $7,200, down 5%. The broader cryptocurrency market is in selloff mode too, with just about each […]

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Siacoin Price Dips After Strong Week

Siacoin continues its overall trend downwards since last month with a 5% dip in the last few hours which sees SC coins valued at $0.0172. This is down from a recent peak of $0.0184 on June 8th, which remains a high-point for SC since the general market peak of late April where one SC coin […]

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Crypto Update: Quiet Days in Crypto Land

The major coins have been drifting sideways for several days now, with progressively declining volatility and trading volumes. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple are all stuck below key resistance levels, while holding up above primary support, leaving the technical setup unchanged. Out of the top 10 coins, only EOS experienced relatively larger swings, but it also […]

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The 500 Club: Altcoins From the Depths

The market cap top-100 gets all the attention, but for every EOS or Ripple that gets mentioned on a daily basis, there are a hundred other altcoins that fail to make the RSS feeds. Today we’re going to shine the spotlight on a few altcoins that find themselves hovering around the 500-599 spots in terms […]

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EOS Will Be the Best Performing Cryptocurrency of the Year, According to Finder.com Survey

Of all the major cryptocurrencies, EOS has the most potential to outperform the market this year, according to Finder.com’s latest survey of fintech leaders. In fact, with the exception of Monero, all major coins are poised for at least double digit growth. A Bright Future for Cryptocurrency Despite a difficult six months, cryptocurrencies prices are […]

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Crypto Update: EOS Eyes Breakout as Major Coins Settle Down

The cryptocurrency segment has been trading in a bullish short-term consolidation pattern, with the largest coin staying in very short ranges throughout the day. The majority of the digital currencies are sporting small gains, but no crucial levels have been broken with regards to the top ten coins, leaving the technical setup unchanged. Small-cap coins […]

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Subdued Volumes Are Limiting Activity in Cryptocurrency Market

Cryptocurrencies drifted sideways on Thursday, as trading activity remained subdued amid debates over regulation, scalability and institutional adoption of digital assets. Market Update Cryptocurrency values were little changed on Thursday compared with 24 hours ago, with major assets treading water. The total value of all cryptocurrencies in circulation hovered above $345 billion, down from an […]

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Crypto Update: Bitcoin Gathers Strength as Crucial Rally Still Intact

The largest cryptocurrencies are little changed after a choppy Wednesday session, despite a late day sell-off that briefly dragged down all of the top coins. Bitcoin emerged quickly from the dip, and after a period of clear relative weakness, the most valuable digital currency is close to finally giving a short-term buy signal in our […]

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Steem Dollars Spike 340% as Prices Reach $36 on HitBTC

The Steemit platform has been awash with both joy and panic in the last few hours as the value of Steem Dollars (SBD) jumps 340% in the last five hours. The panic stems from the fact that all of the purchases of SBD are coming from the HitBTC exchange alone – where SBD reached a […]

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Google Searches for Bitcoin Plummet to Nine-Month Lows

Interest in bitcoin has waned through the first six months of the year and has now reached its lowest level since September, according to the latest Google search trends. Bitcoin Searches Way Down This Year An evaluation of Google search trends reveals a sharp decline in interest for bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin’s […]

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Loopring, Elastos and Ontology: Lesser-Known Altcoins on the Move

The lesser-known altcoins have been making big moves as of late. Hacked recently reported on a wild 87% gain for BitTube, whose TUBE coin ranks no. 402 in market capitalization. Focusing our attention on the top-100 cryptocurrencies, three names stand out: Loopring, Elastos and Ontology. Each coin has outpaced the broader market’s 3% return over […]

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BitTube Swings Wildly – Up 87% in 24 Hours

In the space of two hours this morning, the value of BitTube’s TUBE coin jumped 200% to a price of $0.45, before plunging back down again to the tune of around 35%. That leaves TUBE coins at a price of $0.279 against the dollar – still a near 100% increase on this morning’s starting price […]

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Cryptocurrency Ebb and Flow Continues as Bitcoin Claws Back Above $7,500

Cryptocurrency markets were back in positive territory Tuesday, as bitcoin reversed earlier losses and major altcoins led by Monero posted steady gains. Market Update Cryptocurrency prices were mostly higher on Tuesday, as the market stabilized following a volatile start to the week. Bitcoin touched an intraday high of $7,599.74 and would later settle around $7,570. […]

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Crypto Picks: Two Ideas For June

Now that the mayhem of May is behind, where do we go from here? For what it’s worth, I believe June will end up looking more like April than May.  Yes, there will be some cryptos performing better than others but a rising market should benefit most. One reason for the short term optimism comes […]

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Long-Term Cryptocurrency Analysis: Crucial Rally Attempt

The crypto segment is at a very important point from a technical perspective following the strong late-April rally and the subsequent correction. The major coins formed a bottom last week after triggering long-term buy signals and now a very important rally attempt is underway. Several weaker coins drifted back to their April lows, with Bitcoin […]

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EOS Prices Drop 10% as Wealthy Investors Hoard Majority of Tokens Following Mainnet

EOS prices declined sharply on Monday, as traders evaluated early snapshot results that showed an uneven distribution of tokens following the network’s mainnet launch. EOS Price Levels The value of EOS fell by as much as 10.8% on Monday, reaching a low of $13.40 a coin, according to data provider CoinMarketCap. Prices later recovered to […]

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Huobi Token Marks Strongest Growth in Last 24 Hours

Huobi’s strong performance comes in a day when the majority of the market was glowing green and moving upwards. But a 15% growth over the last 24 hours far outperforms any other coin on the top 100 list, and has allowed Huobi to leap several places in the market cap rankings. HT started the morning […]

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Bitcoin Cash Leads Crypto Market Recovery Ahead of Google Ad Ban

Bitcoin cash was in the driver’s seat Sunday, with prices reaching their highest levels in two weeks as markets shrugged off Google’s plan to shut down digital currency advertising this month. BCH/USD Price Levels After a series of dips in quick succession, bitcoin cash (BCH) has rebounded sharply over the past six days. The latest […]

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Money for Nothing, Clicks for Free – How Steemit’s Currencies Work

Steemit is a social media platform with a difference – namely that it runs on a blockchain. As such, it comes with many of the typical features you’d expect of a blockchain platform. First of all, every post made on Steemit is irretrievably stored on the blockchain forever, just like with a cryptocurrency transaction. Second, […]

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The Ethereum Killers – A Hit Still Waiting to Be Carried Out

When a new cryptocurrency comes along promising decentralized app creation, smart contracts and token creation services, they inevitably describe themselves using the immortal term – Ethereum Killer. Since its launch in 2014, Ethereum has risen quickly to prominence, and has been secure in the No.2 place in market cap rankings for a while now. But […]

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Aeternity Outperforms in a Good Day for Crypto Markets

Aeternity started the morning with AE tokens trading at $3.11 against the dollar. At the time of writing they’re up to $3.59, marking a 15% growth in the past 18 hours. Aeternity’s strongest market cap to date came on May 5th with a value of $1.1 billion – a near 50% increase on the high […]

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TRON:  Underwhelmed Or Undervalued?

It is hardly a distinction.  Among the top 10 cryptocurrencies in the last month, TRON was the worst performer.  Roundly speaking, the price fell by 35%. May was brutal enough in general, but to land on the bottom to the performance charts is hardly the sort of thing to be proud of.   The underlying […]

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EOS Spikes After Mainnet Launch as Block.one Concludes Crowdsale

EOS prices surged on Saturday following the release of the highly anticipated mainnet software, which proponents say will deliver an operating system for large-scale decentralized applications. EOS Price  Levels The value of EOS skyrocketed more than 17% on Saturday, reaching a high of $14.33 on the major exchanges. The digital currency was last seen trading […]

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Altcoins to Watch Out for in June

May has been a rough month for just about every altcoin out there; however, a few have managed to buck the trend and hold strong in the face of the market downturn. Such market behaviour may spell a strong month to come for those altcoins, so let’s take a look at some of the strongest […]

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Crypto Update: Buy Signals Popping Up

The weekend started out on a clearly positive note in the cryptocurrency segment, with the major coins adding around 3% on average compared to Friday’s price levels. What’s more is that several coins finally triggered short-term buy signals following a long period when selling pressure dominated the market. While the majority of the top digital […]

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Crypto Update: IOTA Hits $1.9 as Range Trading Continues

The major cryptocurrencies are still trading without clear direction, although most of the coins are slightly in the red in US trading. The biggest outlier is IOTA, as the only coin that triggered a buy signal in our trend model since the Monday bottom is now up by almost 40% off the lows. The top […]

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Hedge Fund Manager and Market Technician Agree Bitcoin Has Found a Bottom

Pantera Capital Management’s Dan Morehead and Fundstrat’s Robert Sluymer believe the worst is over for the bitcoin price. Bitcoin has fallen from glory in 2018 and is currently hovering at about the $7,400 threshold after racing to nearly $20,000 in 2017. Morehead, whose hedge fund Pantera Capital is dedicated to investing in bitcoin, altcoins and […]

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10 EOS Block Producer Candidates to Keep Your Eye On

The EOS main-net is due for launch June‎ ‎2‎, ‎2018‎ at ‎03‎:‎00‎ ‎PM‎ ‎PDT. However, it will not be considered valid and activated until at least 15% of all issued tokens have staked a vote. The problem right now is there is no simple way to vote, and there is over 180 different projects to choose […]

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IOTA Is Surging on Beta Trinity Mobile Wallet Release

IOTA prices continued to surge on Thursday, as investors rallied behind the beta release of the highly-anticipated Trinity Mobile wallet. IOTA Price Levels The value of MIOTA coin shot up nearly 15% on Thursday en route to a session high of $1.80. That was its best level in about 11 days. In doing so, it […]

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May Recap: Top 5 Altcoins of the Month by ROI

It has been a hectic month for the crypto markets. Strong growth patterns in the first week of May had many predicting a lengthy bull run, but then everything started trending downwards. As the rising tide which lifts all boats, Bitcoin’s numbers sum up the month of May on their own. On May 5th, one […]

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Cryptocurrencies Attempt New Rally as Bitcoin Tests $7,600

Crypto assets advanced on Thursday, recouping from an earlier loss as bitcoin and the major altcoins set their sights on a corrective rally. Market Update After a failed rally attempt on Wednesday, cryptocurrencies were back on the offensive 24 hours later, with the total market peaking near $334 billion. That’s broadly consistent with the two […]

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Technical Analysis: Durable Bottom Forming?

The major cryptocurrencies are still consolidating after last week’s steep decline, with a failed breakdown on Monday and the subsequent recovery providing hope for bulls. The declining short-term trends remained intact in most cases, and correlations between the coins are still high, but bearish momentum is weakening in the segment. The decline that followed the […]

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What’s Driving Cardano? ADA Coin Touches One-Week High

Following in bitcoin’s footsteps, the top-30 cryptocurrencies declined on Wednesday – with one notable exception. Cardano, or ADA coin, touched an eight-day high on the heels of an important testnet launch. ADA Price Levels The value of ADA peaked at $0.218 on Wednesday, its highest in over a week, according to CoinMarketCap. At the time […]

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Ethereum Classic Dips in Wake of Successful Network Upgrade

Ethereum Classic underwent a successful fork Tuesday, as developers diffused a “difficulty bomb” that would have eventually made the cryptocurrency unprofitable to mine. Less than 24 hours later, ETC was trading in the general direction of the market with prices down slightly compared with the previous close. ETC/USD Price Levels The value of Ethereum Classic […]

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Crypto Update: Bitcoin Hits $7000 Then $7500 amid Strong Snap-Back Rally

While the week started out on a negative note in the cryptocurrency segment, the tide has turned on Tuesday, as the major coins staged a rebound after hitting multi-week lows on Monday. While the rally is encouraging, the short-term downtrends remained intact, and for now, most of the coins are still not on buy signals […]

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Cryptocurrency Prices Rebound $27 Billion as Bearish Momentum Ebbs

Digital currency prices led by bitcoin retraced $27 billion in lost market cap on Tuesday, as volumes rebounded from six-week lows and sentiment improved. Cryptos Rally, but Risks Remain The cryptocurrency market as a whole reached a high of $330 billion on Tuesday, according to CoinMarketCap. Total market values had bottomed near $303 billion earlier, […]

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Ethereum Price Meltdown and What’s Causing It

Ethereum was the center of a vicious selloff recently, with prices falling as much as 14% over a 60-minute stretch. Hours later, the cryptocurrency had recovered from intraday lows but was among the worst performers in the top-100, as listed by CoinMarketCap. ETH/USD Price Levels Ether’s precipitous drop began around 23:49 UTC on Sunday, culminating […]

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Crypto Update: Coins Suffer Another Hit as Bounce Fades

Bulls were only in control for a short period during the weekend, as the declining short-term trend continued in the cryptocurrency segment. Most of the majors hit marginal new lows today in early trading, and small caps are also under pressure, as correlations between the coins spiked higher again. Bitcoin is holding up relatively well […]

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Tron: The Lone Survivor in Last Week’s Crypto Carnage

Among the world’s top-25 cryptocurrencies, only Tron managed to escape last week on a positive note, as a favorable news (or hype) kept TRX values elevated. However, the picture appears to have quickly shifted at the start of this week as the majors struggled to regain momentum. TRX Vs. Broader Market The cryptocurrency market shed […]

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ICOs to Watch in 2018 Part 2: Akropolis and GoChain

This is part 2 of the series, ICOs to Watch in 2018, which highlights ICOs that are positioned to do well over the next few months. To review the first article in the series, where we explored FarmaTrusst and OpenPlatform, click here.  As more and more ICOs are launching on a regular basis, some of […]

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Bitcoin, Ethereum Lead Cryptocurrency Market Lower as Trade Volumes Plunge to Six-Week Lows

Cryptocurrencies continued lower on Sunday after a stalled recovery limited gains to the low single digits, as weak trading volumes kept prices locked in a downtrend. Crypto Market Price Update Digital currency prices were down across the board Sunday, with bitcoin and Ethereum leading the declines. Bitcoin bottomed at $7,243.90, its lowest since April 11. […]

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Long-Term Cryptocurrency Analysis: Correction Deepens but Leaders Remain Stable

As the major cryptocurrencies got hit hard this week, losing around 20% on average, the long-term picture in the segment got close to an entry point for investors. The overbought readings that developed during the late-April rally are now cleared and although the short-term trends are still clearly negative, we still expect the coins to […]

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John McAfee Just Made Some Bold Predictions for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Private

Technologist and crypto bull John McAfee has made a series of eyebrow-raising predictions concerning bitcoin and bitcoin private. While McAfee is no stranger to gutsy calls, his new forecast sees bitcoin prices doubling in a matter of weeks. And yes, the forecast came after the Wednesday price collapse. McAfee Raises the Stakes on Bullish Bets In a […]

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Bitcoin’s Plunge Has Not Shaken Tom Lee

Bitcoin’s latest technical breakdown hasn’t affected Tom Lee’s bullish outlook on the digital currency. The head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors is standing by his target of $25,000 by year’s end. Typical Volatility In an email conversation with CNBC, Lee said the latest drop in market prices can be attributed to “typical market volatility” […]

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Five Ethereum-Based Tokens That Made It Big

Proponents of Ethereum have long argued that ETH will one day become the world’s largest cryptocurrency. Though the jury is still out on whether ether can leapfrog bitcoin for top spot in the market cap ranking, the protocol has already established itself as the premier building block for the crypto economy. Hundreds of cryptocurrency projects […]

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Crypto Update: Coins Spike Lower amid Regulatory Woes, Technical Breakdown

Following a period of directionless range trading in the segment, cryptocurrencies got hit hard yesterday, on a very busy day in financial markets. The largest coins and small caps are down by 20% in two days on average, with the total value of the market declining by around $70 billion. The Indian tax plan, and […]

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The Great Unwind: Cryptocurrency Prices Shed $50 Billion in Market Cap on Wednesday

Cryptocurrency prices faced a brisk selloff Wednesday, with bitcoin threatening a bearish reversal and altcoins touching their lowest levels in over a month. Market Update The cryptocurrency market touched a low of around $324 billion Wednesday following a $50 billion reversal from the previous day’s high. At press time, the market had recovered at $334.6 […]

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Market Update: Stock-Rally Falters with U.S.-China Trade Talks in Focus

U.S. stocks declined in the final hour of trading Tuesday, with the S&P 500 Index giving up earlier gains as investors evaluated ongoing developments in U.S.-China trade negotiations. Stocks Finish Lower After trading in positive territory throughout the day, the S&P 500 Index reversed course to settle down 0.3% at 2,724.44. Losses were concentrated in […]

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Crypto Update: Coins Lose Ground as Range Trading Continues

While the weekend rally got bulls hope up that the consolidation phase might have ended, the technical setup hasn’t changed much in the segment, and today all of the major coins are lower again. The losses, which range from 2-5%, are not significant from a long-term standpoint, and most of the top coins are still […]

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Five Low Market-Cap Altcoins With Huge Potential

With more than 1,600 altcoins in circulation, finding the appropriate balance between risk and reward isn’t always easy. Making matters more challenging is the fact that hundreds of projects have already been labelled duds by researchers who have tracked the life cycle of digital currencies beyond their initial coin offering. While many investors are perfectly […]

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Cryptocurrency Bull Brian Kelly Rallies Behind Bitcoin Cash

Cryptocurrency investor Brian Kelly believes bitcoin cash is an essential buy for digital currency holders in the wake of an important meeting of BCH miners over the weekend. Bitcoin Cash: A Must-Have In a Monday interview with CNBC‘s “Fast Money,” Kelly cited the development of a new bitcoin cash development fund as the principle catalyst […]

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Crypto Update: Sideways Drift Continues as Bitcoin Fights with the $8400 Level

The largest coins attempted another rally towards the end of the weekend, but today the, not too strong, momentum faded and the majority of the majors is sliding lower today. The coins are in or close to the recent trading ranges, with the whole segment hovering in or near the recent ranges, without major changes […]

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As Gemini Embraces Zcash, Japan’s Coincheck Delists Privacy Coins

Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck has announced it will remove privacy coins from its trading platform in the wake of a “drastic review” of its internal controls. The decision paints privacy coins like Zcash in a negative light vis-a-vis consumer protection and stability. Coincheck to De-List Privacy Coins Beginning next month, trading of Zcash (ZEC), Monero […]

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Cryptocurrencies Rebound 8% from Recent Low as Tom Lee Gives Post-Consensus Takeaways

Cryptocurrenc prices have begun the week on a positive note, as bullish sentiment returned to the market following an underwhelming reaction to the Consensus blockchain summit. Crypto Prices Rally Bitcoin and the broader altcoin universe booked solid gains Monday. The combined value of all cryptocurrencies peaked at $392 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. At time time […]

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What Is Po.et?

There are now so many alt-coins out there that it’s almost impossible to keep track of which projects are legitimate and which are garbage. This article is the first entry in a series I will write for Hacked which will give summaries and context around a specific crypto project. The topic of today’s summary is […]

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Crypto Update: Ethereum Back Above $700 as Coins Rise but Buy Signals Still Lacking

The major cryptocurrencies are all sporting gins today, with Ethereum, EOS, Stellar, and Monero leading the way higher percentage-wise. Despite the rally, the short-term technical setup is unchanged in most cases, with the top coins still on neutral trend signals, and with no buy signals having been triggered just yet. From a technical standpoint, Ethereum […]

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Long-Term Cryptocurrency Analysis: Bitcoin Remains Under Pressure as Divergence Deepens

The segment has been drifting lower in a choppy fashion ever since our latest look at the long-term charts and the two-faced nature of the market is still apparent. Bitcoin and the other relatively weak majors, like Litecoin, Monero, Dash, and NEO are clearly lagging the leaders from a technical standpoint, while Ethereum is still […]

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Cryptocurrency Prices Approach One-Month Lows as Altcoins Plunge, Bitcoin Falls Below $8,000

Crypto prices were down sharply at the start of Friday trading, with the total market capitalization falling $22 billion over the past 24 hours. Market Update At the time of writing, cryptocurrencies were collectively valued at $361.6 billion, according to the latest data from CoinMarketCap. The asset class peaked above $391 billion roughly 20 hours […]

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Crypto Update: Ethereum Stuck at $700 as Choppy Trading Continues

Crypto traders are a having another slightly frustrating and directionless session, as the major digital currencies are all trading in narrow short-term ranges. Trading activity declined too, as volumes are down across the board, and the technicals are still not decisive. The weakness of Bitcoin and the strength of Ethereum are balancing the segment out, […]

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Altcoins Lead Crypto Market Recovery as Consensus Summit Draws to a Close

Cryptocurrencies rose in overnight trading Thursday, as altcoins rebounded from a double-digit slump on the heels of the biggest blockchain summit of the year. Altcoins Lead Recovery All major crypto assets reported gains Thursday, clawing back nearly $18 billion in lost market cap from the previous day’s low. At press time, the combined value of […]

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Crypto Update: Another Bearish Session but Technical Damage Limited

While today’s trading has been dominated by sellers, so far, the cryptocurrency segment continues to trade without a clear direction, even as the bearish short-term bias is apparent in the case of the majors and especially Bitcoin. The most valuable coin continues to lag the leaders of the market, and it hit a new correction […]

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Cryptocurrencies Plunge $23 Billion as Consensus Summit Fails to Provide a Boost

Cryptocurrency prices slumped further into the red on Wednesday after a high-profile blockchain summit failed to spark a sustained recovery. Crypto Prices Sink Measured by market capitalization, cryptocurrencies are down roughly $23 billion on Wednesday. The combined value of all currencies is currently hovering around $380.4 billion, according to data provider CoinMarketCap. Market valued had […]

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Technical Analysis: Coins Stabilize After Correction, Bullish Trend Still On

Although the major cryptocurrencies are still well below the highs hit in late April, and none of the top coins resumed the uptrend yet, the market remains positive, with price action still being consistent with an ongoing recovery. The technical divide between Bitcoin and Ethereum is still dominant, with the ETH/BTC pair hovering around its […]

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IT threat evolution Q1 2018

Targeted attacks and malware campaigns

Skygofree:  sophisticated mobile surveillance

In January, we uncovered a sophisticated mobile implant that provides attackers with remote control of infected Android devices.  The malware, called Skygofree (after one of the domains it uses), is a targeted cyber-surveillance tool that has been in development since 2014.  The malware is spread by means of spoofed web pages that mimic leading mobile providers.  The campaign is ongoing and our telemetry indicates that there have been several victims, all in Italy.  We feel confident that the developer of Skygofree is an Italian IT company that works on surveillance solutions.

The latest version of Skygofree includes functionality that has so far not been seen in the wild.  Features include the ability to eavesdrop on conversations when the victim moves into a specific location; using Accessibility Services to capture WhatsApp messages and the ability to force an infected device to Wi-Fi networks controlled by the attackers.  The malware includes multiple exploits for root access and is capable of stealing pictures and videos, capturing call records, SMS, geo-location, calendar events and business-related data stored in the device’s memory.  The Skygofree implant puts itself in the list of ‘protected apps’, so that it doesn’t get switched off when the screen is off (this is to work around a battery-saving technique that has been implemented by one of the top device vendors.)

Our investigation also uncovered several spyware tools for Windows that form an implant for stealing sensitive data from a target computer.  The version we found was created at the start of 2017:  at the moment, we do not know if this implant has been used in the wild.

Since then we have also found a version for iOS that uses a rogue MDM (Mobile Device Management) server in order to infect devices.

Olympic Destroyer… but who did the ‘destroying’?

The issue of attribution was thrown into sharp relief following the malware attack on the Olympic infrastructure just before the opening of the games in February.  Olympic Destroyer shut down display monitors, killed Wi-Fi and took down the Olympics web site – preventing visitors from to printing tickets.  The attack also affected other organizations in the region – for example, ski gates and ski lifts were disabled at several South Korean ski resorts.

Olympic Destroyer is a network worm, the main purpose of which is to deliver and start a wiper payload that tries to destroy files on remote network shares in the following 60 minutes. In the meantime, the main module collects user passwords from the browser and Windows storage and crafts a new generation of the worm that contains old and freshly-collected compromised credentials.  This new generation worm is pushed to accessible local network computers and starts using the PsExec tool, drawing on the stolen credentials and current user privileges.  Once the wiper has run for 60 minutes it cleans Windows event logs, resets backups, deletes shadow copies from the file system, disables the recovery item in the Windows boot menu, disables all services on the system and reboots the computer.  Those files on the network shares that it was able to wipe within 60 minutes remain destroyed.  The malware doesn’t use any persistence and even contains protection against recurring reinfection.

One of the most notable aspects of this incident was the ‘attribution hell’ that followed.  In the days after the attack, research teams and media companies around the world variously attributed the attack to Russia, China and North Korea – based on a number of features previously attributed to cyber-espionage and sabotage groups allegedly based in these countries or working for the governments of these countries.

Our own researchers were also trying to understand which group was behind the attack.  At one stage during our research, we discovered something that seemed to indicate that the Lazarus group was behind the attack.  We found a unique trace left by the attackers that exactly matched a previously known Lazarus malware component.  However, the lack of obvious motive and inconsistencies with known Lazarus TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) that we found during our on-site investigation at a compromised facility in South Korea led us to look again at this artefact.  When we did so, we discovered that the set of features didn’t match the code – it had been forged to perfectly match the fingerprint used by Lazarus.  So we concluded that the ‘fingerprint’ was a very sophisticated false flag, intentionally placed inside the malware in order to give threat hunters the impression that they had found a ‘smoking gun’ and diverting them from a more accurate attribution.

The problems associated with attribution must be taken seriously.  Given how politicised cyberspace has recently become, incorrect attribution could lead to severe consequences; and it’s possible that threat actors might try to manipulate the opinion of the security community in order to influence the geo-political agenda.

Sofacy turns eastwards

Sofacy (aka APT28, Fancy Bear and Tsar Team) is a highly active and prolific cyber-espionage group that Kaspersky Lab has been tracking for many years.  In February, we published an overview of Sofacy activities in 2017, revealing a gradual moved away from NATO-related targets at the start of 2017, towards targets in the Middle East, Central Asia and beyond.  Sofacy uses spear-phishing and watering-hole attacks to steal information, including account credentials, sensitive communications and documents.  This threat actor also makes use of zero-day vulnerabilities to deploy its malware

Sofacy uses different tools for different target profiles.  Early in 2017, the group’s ‘Dealer’s Choice’ campaign was used to target military and diplomatic organizations (mainly in NATO countries and Ukraine).

Later in the year, the group used other tools from its arsenal, ‘Zebrocy’ and ‘SPLM’, to target a broader range of organizations, including science and engineering centers and press services, with more of a focus on Central Asia and the Far East.

Sophisticated threat actors such as Sofacy continually develop the tools they use.  The group maintains a high level of operational security and focuses on making its malware hard to detect.  In the case of groups such as Sofacy, once any signs of their activity have been found in a network, it’s important to review logins and unusual administrator access on systems, thoroughly scan and sandbox incoming attachments, and maintain two-factor authentication for services such as e-mail and VPN access. The use of APT intelligence reports, threat hunting tools such as YARA and advanced detection solutions such as KATA (Kaspersky Anti Targeted Attack Platform) will help you to understand their targeting and provide powerful ways of detecting their activities.

Our research shows that Sofacy is not the only threat actor operating in the Far East and this sometimes results in a target overlap between very different threat actors.  We have seen cases where Sofacy’s Zebrocy malware has competed for access to victim’s computers with the Russian-speaking Mosquito Turla clusters; and where its SPLM backdoor has competed with the traditional Turla and Chinese-speaking Danti attacks. The shared targets included government administration, technology, science and military-related organizations in or from Central Asia.

The most intriguing overlap is probably that between Sofacy and the English-speaking threat actor behind The Lamberts. The connection was discovered after researchers detected the presence of Sofacy on a server that threat intelligence had previously identified as compromised by Grey Lambert malware.  The server belongs to a Chinese conglomerate that designs and manufactures aerospace and air defense technologies.  However, in this case the original SPLM delivery vector remains unknown. This raises a number of hypothetical possibilities, including the fact that Sofacy could be using a new and as yet undetected exploit or a new strain of its backdoor, or that Sofacy somehow managed to harness Grey Lambert’s communication channels to download its malware. It could even be a false flag, planted during the previous Lambert infection.  We think that the most likely answer is that an unknown new PowerShell script or legitimate but vulnerable web app was exploited to load and execute the SPLM code.

Slingshot: a route[r] into the network

One of the presentations at this year’s Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit was a report on a sophisticated cyber-espionage platform that has targeted victims in the Middle East and Africa since 2012.

Slingshot uses an unusual (and, as far as we know, unique) attack vector.  Many of the victims were attacked by means of compromised MikroTik routers.  The exact method for compromising the routers is not clear, but the attackers have found a way to add a malicious DLL to the device.  This DLL is a downloader for other malicious files that are then stored on the router.  When a system administrator logs in to configure the router, the router’s management software downloads and runs a malicious module on the administrator’s computer.

Slingshot loads a number of modules onto the victim’s computer, including two huge and powerful ones:  Cahnadr, a kernel mode module, and GollumApp, a user mode module.  The two modules are connected and support each other in gathering information, persistence and data exfiltration.  GollumApp is the most sophisticated of the modules:  it contains nearly 1,500 user-code functions and provides most of the routines for persistence, file system control and C2 (Command-and-Control) communications.  Cahnadr (also known as NDriver) contains low-level routines for network, IO operations and so on. Its kernel-mode program is able to execute malicious code without crashing the whole file system or causing a blue screen – a remarkable achievement.  Cahnadr, written in pure C language, provides full access to the hard drive and operating memory, notwithstanding device security restrictions, and carries out integrity control of various system components to avoid debugging and security detection.

Slingshot incorporates a number of techniques to help it evade detection.  These include encrypting all strings in its modules, calling system services directly in order to bypass security-product hooks, using a number of anti-debugging techniques and selecting which process to inject depending on the installed and running security solution processes.

Further information on targeted attack activity in the first quarter of 2018 can be found in the APT trends report for Q1 2018.

Malware stories

A Spectre is haunting Europe – and anywhere else with vulnerable CPUs

Two severe vulnerabilities affecting Intel CPUs were reported early in 2018. Dubbed ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’, they respectively allow an attacker to read memory from any process and from its own process.  The vulnerabilities have been around since at least 2011.

Rumours of a new attack on Intel CPUs emerged at the start of December 2017 when e-mails on the LKML (Linux kernel mailing list) appeared about adding the KAISER patches to the Linux kernel.  These patches, designed to separate the user address space from the kernel address space, were originally intended to ‘close all hardware side channels on kernel address information’. It was the impact of this seemingly drastic measure, with its clear performance impact, that had prompted the rumours.

This attack, now known as Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754), is able to read data from any process on the host system.  While code execution is required, this can be obtained in various ways – for example, through a software bug or by visiting a malicious website that loads JavaScript code that executes the Meltdown attack.  This means that all the data residing in memory (passwords, encryption keys, PINs, etc.) could be read if the vulnerability is exploited properly.  Meltdown affects most Intel CPUs and some ARM CPUs.

Vendors were quick to publish patches for the most popular operating systems.  The Microsoft update, released on 3 January, was not compatible with all anti-virus programs – possibly resulting in a BSoD (Blue Screen of Death) on incompatible systems.  So updates could only be installed if an anti-virus product had first set a specific registry key, to indicate that there were no compatibility problems.

Spectre (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715) is slightly different.  Unlike Meltdown, this attack also works on other architectures (such as AMD and ARM).  Also, Spectre is only able to read the memory space of the exploited process, and not that of any process.  More importantly, aside from some counter-measures in some browsers, no universal solution is readily available for Spectre.

It became clear in the weeks following the reports of the vulnerabilities that they are not easily fixable.  Spectre in particular opened new ways of exploitation that might affect different software in the months and years to come.  Most of the released patches have reduced the attack surface, mitigating against known ways of exploiting them, but do not eradicate it completely.  Since the problem is fundamental to the working of the vulnerable CPUs, it’s likely that vendors will have to deal with new ways of exploiting the vulnerabilities for years to come.

O smart new world…

These days we’re surrounded by smart devices.  This includes everyday household objects such as TVs, smart meters, thermostats, baby monitors and children’s toys.   But it also includes cars, medical devices, CCTV cameras and parking meters.  We’re even seeing the emergence of smart cities.  However, this offers a greater attack surface to anyone looking to take advantage of security weaknesses – for whatever purpose.  Securing traditional computers is difficult.  But things are more problematic with the Internet of Things, where lack of standardization leaves developers able to ignore security, or to consider it as an afterthought.  There are plenty of examples to illustrate this.

We’ve looked before at vulnerabilities in smart devices around the home.  But some of our researchers recently explored the possibility that a smart hub might be vulnerable to attack.  A smart hub lets you control the operation of other smart devices in the home, receiving information and issuing commands.  Smart hubs might be controlled through a touch screen, or through a mobile app or web interface.  If it’s vulnerable, it would potentially provide a single point of failure.  While the smart hub our researchers investigated didn’t contain significant vulnerabilities, there were logical mistakes that were enough to allow our researchers to obtain remote access.

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT recently checked a popular smart camera, to see how well protected it is from hackers.  Smart cameras are now part of everyday life.  Many now connect to the cloud, allowing someone to monitor what’s happening at a remote location –to check on pets, for security surveillance, etc.  The model our researchers investigated is marketed as an all-purpose tool – suitable for use as a baby monitor, or as part of a security system.  The camera is able to see in the dark, follow a moving object, stream footage to a smartphone or tablet and play back sound through a built-in speaker.  Unfortunately, the camera turned out to have 13 vulnerabilities – almost as many as it has features – that could allow an attacker to change the administrator password, execute arbitrary code on the device, build a botnet of compromised cameras or stop it functioning completely.

Before buying any connected device, it’s important to keep security in mind.

  • Consider if you really need the device. If you do, check the functions available and disable any that you don’t need, to reduce your attack surface.
  • Look online for information about any vulnerabilities that have been reported.
  • Check to see if it’s possible to update the firmware on the device.
  • Always change the default password and replace it with a unique, complex password.
  • Don’t share serial numbers, IP addresses and other sensitive data relating to the device online.

You can use the free Kaspersky IoT Scanner to check your Wi-Fi network and tell you if the devices connected to it are safe.

Potential problems are not limited to consumer devices.  Recently, Ido Naor, a researcher from our Global Research and Analysis Team and Amihai Neiderman, then at Azimuth Security, discovered a vulnerability in an automation device for a gas station.  This device was directly connected to the Internet and was responsible for managing every component of the station, including fuel dispensers and payment terminals.  Even more alarming, the web interface for the device was accessible with default credentials.  Further investigation revealed that it was possible to shut down all fueling systems, cause fuel a leakage, change the price, circumvent the payment terminal (in order to steal money), capture vehicle license plates and driver identities, execute code on the controller unit and even move freely across the gas station network.

It’s no less important for vendors to improve their security approach to ensure that security is considered when products are being designed.  Kaspersky Lab, as a member of the ITU-T Study Group 20, was a contributor to the development of Recommendation ITU-T T.4806, designed to classify security issues, examine potential threats and determine how cyber-security measures can support the safe execution of IoT systems tasks.  This applies mostly to safety-critical IoT systems such as industrial automation, automotive systems, transportation, smart cities, and wearable and standalone medical devices.

IoT-medicine under siege

Technology is driving improvements in healthcare.  It has the power to transform the quality and reduce the cost of health and care services. It can also give patients and citizens more control over their care, empower carers and support the development of new medicines and treatments.  However, new healthcare technologies and mobile working practices are producing more data than ever before, at the same time providing more opportunities for data to be lost or stolen.  We’ve highlighted the issues several times over the last few years – for example, in the articles ‘Hospitals are under attack in 2016‘, ‘The mistakes of smart medicine‘ and ‘Connected medicine and its diagnosis‘.

The number of medical data breaches continues to increase:

Over the last year we’ve continued to track the activities of cybercriminals, looking at how they penetrate medical networks, how they find data on publicly available medical resources and how they exfiltrate it.  This includes open ports:

And the services that sit behind them:

More than 60 per cent of medical organizations had some kind of malware on their computers:

We saw even more attacks on organizations closely connected to hospitals, clinics and doctors – that is, in the pharmaceutical industry:

It’s vital that medical facilities remove all nodes that process personal medical data, update software and remove applications that are no longer needed, and do not connect expensive medical equipment to the main LAN.  You can find more detailed tips here.

Crypto-currency mining is the new black

In the legitimate economy, capital tends to flow into areas where it will be most profitable.  It’s no different with cybercrime.  Malware development is focused in areas that are likely to be more lucrative.  So it’s no surprise that, as crypto-currencies become a mainstream feature of society, we’ve seen a growth in the number of malicious crypto-currency miners.  In 2017, we blocked malicious miners on the computers of 2.7 million Kaspersky Lab customers – compared to 1.87 million in 2016.  This is now beginning to eclipse ransomware as a way of making money illegally.

As the name suggests, crypto-currency miners are programs designed to hijack the victim’s CPU in order to mine crypto-currencies.  Like ransomware, the business model is simple:  infect victim’s computer, use the processing power of their CPU or GPU to generate coins and earn real-world money through legal exchanges and transactions.  Unlike ransomware, it’s not obvious to the victim that they are infected – most people seldom use most of their computer’s processing power; and miners harness the 70 to 80 per cent that is not being used for anything else.

Crypto-miners are installed – on the computers of consumers and businesses alike – alongside adware, cracked games and pirated content.  It’s becoming easy for cybercriminals to create miners, because of ready to use partner programs, open mining pools and miner-builders.  Another method is web mining, where cybercriminals insert a script into a compromised web site that mines crypto-currencies while the victim browses the site.  Other criminal groups are more selective, using exploits to install miners on the servers of large companies, rather than trying to infect lots of individuals.

Some of the ways cybercriminals install malicious miners in the network of corporate victims are very sophisticated, resembling the methods of APT attackers.  Our researchers identified a case where the attackers used a process-hollowing technique.  The infection starts with the download of a potentially unwanted application (PUA) that contains the miner.   This miner installer drops the legitimate Windows utility ‘msiexec’ with a random name, which downloads and executes a malicious module from a remote server.   The next step is to install a malicious scheduler task that drops the body of the miner. This executes the legitimate system process and uses a process-hollowing technique whereby the legitimate process code is switched for malicious code.  A special system critical flag is set for this new process:  if the victim tries to kill this process, Windows reboots.


Using such techniques, we estimate that mining botnets generated more than $7,000,000 in the second half of 2017.

You can find tips on securing businesses from malicious miners here.

Our data in their hands

Personal data is valuable.  This is evident from the regular news reports of data breaches.  These include the theft of huge amounts of data and the re-use of stolen credentials.  However, the recent scandal involving the use, by Cambridge Analytica, of Facebook data is a reminder that personal information is not just valuable to cybercriminals.

In many cases, personal data is the price people pay to obtain a product or service – ‘free’ browsers, ‘free’ e-mail accounts, ‘free’ social network accounts, etc.  But not always.  Increasingly, we’re surrounded by smart devices that are capable of gathering details on the minutiae of our lives.  Earlier this year, one journalist turned her apartment into a smart home in order to measure how much data was being collected by the firms that made the devices.  Since we generally pay for such devices, the harvesting of data can hardly be seen as the price we pay for the benefits they bring in these cases.

The issues surrounding security and privacy of data continue to make headlines, not least as we approach 25 May, 2018 and the implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.  It will, of course, be interesting to see what impact the legislation has.  But we should not forget that we should all consider what data we share, with whom, and how it might be used.  It’s vital to take steps to secure our data, by using unique, complex passwords for each account and by using two-factor authentication where it’s available.

Could Cryptocurrencies Be The Future Of Online Payments?

Cryptocurrencies and the potential that they have to evolve the way our financial institutions work is fascinating. Despite recent market fluctuations, BTC price appears to be climbing once again, further helping to increase the public interest in the exciting world of cryptocurrencies. However, how much potential do cryptocurrencies actually have, and could they be the future of online payments? Here, we’re taking a closer look.

Fast & Secure Transactions

The major benefit of cryptocurrencies is the speed and security of the transactions that are made across the blockchain. The technology behind cryptocurrencies is fully encrypted and due to the public ledger on which the blockchain is based, transactions can be made almost instantly. This is a huge difference when compared to some debit or credit card transactions which can take up to a number of days to be confirmed and for money to be transferred in full.

People who are shopping online are looking for more convenient ways to purchase the products and services that they are looking for, and as a result it is highly likely that cryptocurrencies are going to help to bridge this particular gap. This is likely to be integrated alongside social networks which are slowly beginning to offer native payment systems to further streamline online shopping. The security behind transactions is also highly beneficial, and the transparency of the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies helps to reduce human error while minimising security breaches.

Opportunities To Reach The Unbanked

A large proportion of the population around the world is considered to be ‘unbanked’. This means that they do not have access to a bank account and are therefore unable to transfer funds. While there are some eWallets available on the internet, the majority of these require a connection with a bank account, and if not, they can require fees to transfer funds across the globe. Cryptocurrencies on the other hand are not regulated by a single entity, meaning fees and charges to transfer funds internationally are minimised. This not only helps to benefit customers who are looking to purchase online, but businesses can also enjoy minimal transaction fees, too.

Digital Currencies vs. Cryptocurrencies

Having a clear understanding of the difference between digital currencies and cryptocurrencies is important when it comes to understanding just how much of an impact the latter will have on the future of online payments. Digital currencies have all of the characteristics of traditional fiat funds, where you can exchange, obtain and transfer it for another currency, but they are only available in the digital landscape. Digital currencies are not restricted by political or geographical borders, but they are still controlled by a single entity.

Cryptocurrencies on the other hand is an asset, and not an actual currency, and are run from a decentralised ledger, although they are often classified as a form of digital currency. Structure, anonymity, transparency, transaction manipulation and legal aspects are the major differences between the two, and it is the transparency and anonymity that are really likely to push cryptocurrencies to revolutionise the way we make online payments.

Technology is continuing to change and expand, and cryptocurrencies alongside the blockchain technology which helps to create a transparent and secure set up for them are likely to continue to have a huge impact in the way that we purchase products and services online.

The post Could Cryptocurrencies Be The Future Of Online Payments? appeared first on TechWorm.

Cyber Security Roundup for February 2018

February saw over 5,000 websites infected by cryptocurrency mining malware after a popular accessibility plugin called ‘BrowseAloud’ was compromised by hackers. This led to several UK Government and Councils websites going offline, including the Information Commissioner's Office, the Student Loans Company, and Manchester City, Camden and Croydon Council website. Symantec Researchers also announced that 'Crytojacking' attacks had increased 1,200% in the UK. Cryptojacking once involved the installation of cryptocurrency mining malware on users computers, but now it is more frequently used in-browser, by hacking a website and execute a malicious mining JavaScript as the user visits the compromised website, as with the case with the 'BrowseAloud' incident.

More than 25% of UK Councils are said to have suffered a breach in the last five years according to the privacy group Big Brother Watch, who said UK Councils are unprepared for Cyber Attacks.

There was a  fascinating report released about Artificial Intelligence (AI) Threat, written by 26 leading AI experts, the report forecasts the various malicious usages for AI, including with cybercrime, and manipulation of social media and national news media agendas.

GDPR preparation or panic, depending on your position, is gaining momentum with less than 100 days before the privacy regulation comes into force in late May. Here are some of the latest GDPR articles of note.

Digital Guardian released an interactive article where you can attempt to guess the value of various types of stolen data to cybercriminals -.Digital Guardian: Do you know your data's worth?

Bestvpns released a comprehensive infographic covering the 77 Facts About Cyber Crime we should all know about in 2018.

February was yet another frantic month for security updates, which saw Microsoft release over 50 patches, and there were new critical security updates by Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Dell, and Drupal.

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Cyber Security Roundup for January 2018

2018 started with a big security alert bang after Google Security Researchers disclosed serious security vulnerabilities in just about every computer processor in use on the planet. Named 'Meltdown' and 'Spectre’, when exploited by a hacker or malware, these vulnerabilities disclose confidential data. As a result, a whole raft of critical security updates was hastily released for computer and smartphone operating systems, web browsers, and processor drivers. While processor manufacturers have been rather lethargic in reacting and producing patches for the problem, software vendors such as Microsoft, Google and Apple have reacted quickly, releasing security updates to protect their customers from the vulnerable processors, kudos to them.

The UK Information Commission's Office (ICO) heavily criticised the Carphone Warehouse for security inadequacies and fined the company £400K following their 2015 data breach, when the personal data, including bank details, of millions of Carphone Warehouse customers, was stolen by hackers, in what the company at the time described as a "sophisticated cyber attack", where have we heard that excuse before? Certainly the ICO wasn't buying that after it investigated, reporting a large number Carphone Warehouse's security failures, which included the use of software that was six years out of day,  lack of “rigorous controls” over who had login details to systems; no antivirus protection running on the servers holding data, the same root password being used on every individual server, which was known to “some 30-40 members of staff”; and the needless storage of full credit card details. The Carphone Warephone should thank their lucky stars the breach didn't occur after the General Data Protection Regulation comes into force, as with such a damning list of security failures, the company may well have been fined considerably more by ICO, when it is granted vastly greater financial sanctions and powers when the GDPR kicks in May.

The National Cyber Security Centre warned the UK national infrastructure faces serious nation-state attacks, stating it is a matter of a "when" not an "if". There also claims that the cyberattacks against the Ukraine in recent years was down to Russia testing and tuning it's nation-state cyberattacking capabilities. 

At the Davos summit, the Maersk chairman revealed his company spent a massive £200m to £240m on recovering from the recent NotPeyta ransomware outbreak, after the malware 'totally destroyed' the Maersk network. That's a huge price to pay for not regularly patching your systems.

It's no surprise that cybercriminals continue to target cryptocurrencies given the high financial rewards on offer. The most notable attack was a £290k cyber-heist from BlackWallet, where the hackers redirected 700k BlackWallet users to a fake replica BlackWallet website after compromising BlackWallet's DNS server. The replica website ran a script that transferred user cryptocurrency into the hacker's wallet, the hacker then moved currency into a different wallet platform.

In the United States, 
the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined toy firm VTech US$ 650,000 (£482,000) for violating a US children's privacy laws. The FTC alleged the toy company violated (COPPA) Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule by collecting personal information from hundreds of thousands of children without providing direct notice.

It was reported that a POS malware infection at Forever21 and lapses in encryption was responsible for the theft of debit and credit card details from Forever21 stores late last year. Payment card data continues to be a high valued target for cyber crooks with sophisticated attack capabilities, who are willing to invest considerable resources to achieve their aims.

Several interesting cybersecurity reports were released in January,  the Online Trust Alliance Cyber Incident & Breach Trends Report: 2017 concluded that cyber incidents have doubled in 2017 and 93% were preventable. Carbon Black's 2017 Threat Report stated non-malware-based cyber-attacks were behind the majority of cyber-incidents reported in 2017, despite the proliferation of malware available to both the professional and amateur hackers. Carbon Black also reported that ransomware attacks are inflicting significantly higher costs and the number of attacks skyrocketed during the course of the year, no surprise there.  

Malwarebytes 2017 State of Malware Report said ransomware attacks on consumers and businesses slowed down towards the end of 2017 and were being replaced by spyware campaigns, which rose by over 800% year-on-year. Spyware campaigns not only allow hackers to steal precious enterprise and user data but also allows them to identify ideal attack points to launch powerful malware attacks. The Cisco 2018 Privacy Maturity Benchmark Study claimed 74% of privacy-immature organisations were hit by losses of more than £350,000, and companies that are privacy-mature have fewer data breaches and smaller losses from cyber-attacks.

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Cyber Security Roundup for December 2017

UK supermarket giant Morrisons, lost a landmark data breach court case in December after a disgruntled Morrisons employee had stolen and posted the personal records of 100,000 co-workers online, the supermarket chain was held liable for the data breach by the UK High Court. The High Court ruling now allows those affected to claim compensation for the "upset and distress" caused. Morrisons said it believed it should not have been held responsible and would be appealing against the decision. If the appeal is lost it could open up the possibility of further class action lawsuits cases by individuals. Pending the GDPR becoming law in May 2018, such a court ruling sets a legal precedent for individuals to claim damages after personal data losses by companies through the courts as well. After May 2018, the GDPR grants individuals the right sue companies for damages following personal data breaches. So we can expect 'ambulance chasers' lawyers to pick up on this aspect of the GDPR, with class action lawsuits following data breaches, it well could become the new "P.P.I. industry"

Any businesses or individuals using Kaspersky should be aware the UK National Cyber Security Centre has warned government agencies against using the Russian supplier’s products and services, which follows a ban by US government departments in November. Barclays responded to the warning by stopping their free offering of Kaspersky anti-virus products to its customers. 2017 saw Cyber Security become a political football, so it is no real surprise that the UK and US once again blamed North Korea for the devasting WannaCry attacks earlier in the year, personally, I blame poor patch management and hackers, not the North Korea cyber army!

Nadine Dorries MP got herself in hot water after trying to defend now former political colleague Damian Green, following claims of Mr.Green accessed porn on his Parliment computer. This was activity was reported by a retired Police officer, which was said to be a breach of the data protection act. Nadine tweeted "my staff log onto my computer on my desk with my login everyday" to suggest anyone could have used Damian Green's PC to access the illicit websites. This led to widespread condemnation and a warning by ICO to MPs on password sharing. 

The fact illicit websites were not blocked by Parliament systems is one concerning lack security issue, but the flagrant disregard for basic cybersecurity by government MPs is gobsmacking, especially when you consider they are supposed to be understanding the risk and setting laws to protect UK citizens from cyber attacks and data breaches. Its another "slap palm on head" after the last UK Prime Minister announced he wanted to ban encryption.

2017 has seen huge rises in cryptocurrencies values, which has placed cryptocurrency brokers and user crypto coin wallets in the sights of cybercriminals. This month mining platform NiceHash was breached by hackers, who stole £51 million worth of Bitcoin and Bitcoin exchange Youbit, which lets people buy and sell Bitcoins and other virtual currencies, shut down and filed for bankruptcy after losing 17% of its assets in the cyber-attacks. I think we can expect further cryptocurrencies attacks in 2018 given the cryptocurrency bubble is yet to burst.

Faked LinkedIn profiles are nothing new, however, the German Intelligence Agency (BfV) said it had spotted China were using faked LinkedIn profiles to connect with and gather information on German officials and politicians, which is an interesting development.

Finally, Hackers were reported as taking advantage of poorly secured systems at UK private schools, and it was claimed hackers could turn off heating systems at UK schools and military bases.

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