Category Archives: Cryptocurrencies

Crypto Update: The First Test of the Uptrend

The major coins continue to trade in a bullish general setup, despite the dip today in early trading, as the preceding rally on Saturday carried Bitcoin and the other leaders of the rally to important technical levels. The current correction is a crucial one, as we already mentioned, as an orderly pull-back with higher swing […]

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Bitcoin Leads Cryptocurrency Market Back Above $500 Billion

The cryptocurrency market’s broad recovery continued on Saturday, as bitcoin inched closer to $11,000 and nearly all major altcoins reported gains. $500 Billion Market Cryptocurrencies achieved a combined market cap of $508 billion on Saturday, their highest since Jan. 30. The market is up 22% over the past seven days and a staggering 84% from […]

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Technical Analysis: Cryptocurrencies Show Strength amid Slight Correction

The crypto segment is trading in a short-term correction, or rather consolidation pattern today, as bullish signs continue to dominate the landscape, despite the pause in the surge. The largest coins are mostly down by a few percent from the overnight highs, but the momentum of the move is not substantial, for now, and several […]

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Crypto Update: Coins Enter Shallow Correction

The segment experienced a rush of optimism yesterday, as Bitcoin’s price pushed over $10,000, Litecoin, the undoubted leader of the rally hit an intraday high at $235, and the other relatively strong coins like Monero, Dash, and IOTA also shined. Ethereum Classic, the early leader continued its short-term correction, while the slightly lagging currencies, most […]

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Bitcoin Cash Jumps 12%, Hitting $1,500 for the First Time in February

Bitcoin cash (BCH) generated strong momentum on Friday, as the world’s fourth-largest cryptocurrency added 12% en route to its highest level in over two weeks. BCH Price Levels The BCH currency reached a session high $1,546, bringing its total market cap to $26 billion. At the time of writing, the coin was valued at $1,510, […]

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Ripple’s XRP Gaining Traction as Western Union Confirms Partnership

Ripple XRP rallied on Thursday, with prices testing two-week highs after Western Union confirmed a pilot partnership with the San Francisco-based company. Western Union to Pilot xRapid System After much speculation, Western Union’s Chief Technology Officer Sheri Rhodes indicated that the global money transfer system will in fact integrate Ripple’s xRapid. “We continue to explore […]

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Technical Analysis: Bitcoin Tops $10,000

The cryptocurrency market continued to heal considerably, as the major coins keep on successfully tackling resistance levels following a very deep sell-off that shaved off more than 60% of the market value of the segment. The sector is now back near the $500 billion mark in market capitalization, but investors shouldn’t get complacent here, as corrections […]

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Crypto Update: Rally Pauses as Bitcoin Eyes $10,000

After the major cryptocurrencies followed Litecoin’s lead as expected yesterday, most of the segment pushed higher overnight again, running into another batch of key resistance levels. All eyes are on Bitcoin again, as the coin quickly got within Dollars of the psychologically important $10,000 price level after its break-out above the $9000-$9200 zone, as we […]

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Has the Crypto Market Finally Turned a Corner?

Bitcoin and the broader crypto universe traded firmly higher on Wednesday as South Korea left little doubt about its intent to foster a vibrant market. Not only are the South Koreans not banning cryptocurrency trading, they have shifted their focus to making the market more transparent. Market Extends Recovery The total value of cryptocurrencies reached […]

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Technical Analysis: Coins Jump as Litecoin Leads the Way Again

The short-term triangle pattern that developed in Bitcoin and in most of the segment, resolved today as expected, and it did so in a bullish manner, with the majority of the majors gaining close to double digits during the session. The consolidation phase, which saw a meaningful decline in volatility and the further breakdown of […]

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Dow Drops As Cryptos Pop

Inflation is the enemy of stock and bond investors but this is when crypto is coming to the rescue.  The market awoke to a Valentine’s Day present called the January Consumer Price Index.  It was borderline ugly at 0.5%.  After the opening, the Dow was down 142 points. At this time cryptos are going in […]

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Crypto Update: Litecoin on the Move

As the choppy consolidation period in most of the majors continued in Asian trading today, with the overhead resistance still towering above Bitcoin and Ethereum. In another bullish turn of events, Litecoin, which has been gathering relative strength in recent days, as we pointed out yesterday, popped higher, taking out the crucial $170-$180 resistance zone. […]

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Litecoin Prices Could Be Undervalued Ahead of LitePay Launch

From the vantage point of today’s price levels, Litecoin could be one of the most undervalued cryptocurrencies on the market. The world’s fifth-largest coin is about to get a major boost in a few weeks with the launch of LitePay, the self-styled instant payment platform. LitePay: A Potential Game-Changer The LitePay payment processor will officially […]

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Cryptocurrency Market Shows Poise Following Bitcoin’s Lead

The cryptocurrency market has demonstrated considerable calm in recent days, with the total capitalization of all coins holding steady above $400 billion. Although most major coins are well off recent swing lows, upside momentum has been capped by technical barriers limiting the bullish breakout. Nowhere is this more apparent than in bitcoin, which continues to […]

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Technical Analysis: Quiet and Choppy day in Crypto-Land

The tug of war that we described in yesterday’s analysis continued in earnest in the cryptocurrency market, as most of the major coins remained in low-volatility holding patterns, leaving the technical setup largely unchanged. The dominant short-term triangle pattern in BTC is noticeable in most of the major altcoins too, and that points to a […]

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Crypto Update: Market Stable as Consolidation Continues

The cryptocurrency segment is having its most boring period in a long-time, with no significant moves in the majority of the coins since the Sunday dip and the subsequent rebound. The major coins attempted a rally overnight, but last week’s highs proved too strong yet again in the case of most of the currencies. That […]

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Crypto Market Recovers from Early Slump as Ethereum Classic Jumps 16%

Capital flowed back into cryptocurrency portfolios Monday, as the market resumed its upward trajectory from last week’s lows. Among the most notable moves were bitcoin’s brief rally north of $9,000 and Ethereum Classic jumping double-digits to nearly two-week highs. Broad Recovery Continues Digital currencies enjoyed a broad upswing on Monday, as the market recovered more […]

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Technical Analysis: Tug of War between Bears and Bulls

Despite the weekend sell-off, the cryptocurrency market is having another quiet and mostly positive session, although the large-scale setup in the segment is still a declining trend. That said, the rally of the now one-week-old lows has been encouraging, and we still expect a new bullish cycle to begin, with the final lows likely being […]

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Crypto Update: Coins Regain Strength after Brief Correction

The major cryptocurrencies experienced a low-volume dip in the second half of the weekend that concluded a generally bullish week. The pullback didn’t cause major technical damage, with the important support levels holding up, and now the coins are likely headed for a test of last week’s highs. The stock market sell-off that has been […]

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Stability Means Usability for Cryptocurrencies

When Satoshi Nakamoto launched Bitcoin in 2009, he was creating a digital currency that he intended to facilitate peer-to-peer (p2p) transactions. In Bitcoin, he was building a borderless, independent currency that would not be subject to the rules and regulations of governments and central banks. Upset by the 2009 financial crisis and looking for a better way to navigate money in the digital age, Bitcoin launched, and, in many ways, it became an incredible success.

At least, that’s how many early investors felt as the digital currency swelled in value in 2017. However, for all of its acclaim, Bitcoin has functioned as a digital investment vehicle, more akin to digital gold, than a functional currency.

After all, nobody wants to face the same fate as Laszlo Hanyecz who purchased two pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoin in 2010. After Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in 2017, Hanyecz spent the equivalent of $10 million on those two pizzas. In other words, nobody wants to make purchases with a currency that fluctuates as frequently and drastically as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies often do.

An Unstable Investment Market

Cryptocurrencies are radical and irrational. They can be nauseating to the uninitiated, and they make it challenging to use cryptocurrencies practically. For example, just before Christmas, crypto markets inexplicably dropped by nearly 30% in only a few hours. Of course, investors had proverbial whiplash when, just a few hours later, crypto markets mostly recovered their value within the day and tacked on an additional 25% in only a few weeks.

This event isn’t an aberration. In 2017, Bitcoin dropped 70% or more on five separate occasions.

These dynamic price fluctuations are common in crypto markets. In fact, they are one of its most defining features. Cryptocurrencies are popular, practical, but incredibly unstable.

A Stable Solution

As a result, some cryptocurrencies have adopted measures to create more stable cryptocurrencies that would be more functional on account of their improved stability. These currencies, dubbed stable coins, unite their value to a tangible asset or investment so that their price is susceptible to the wild fluctuations of cryptocurrency markets.

Tether is a much hyped and hugely controversial expression of a stable coin.

To achieve greater stability and liquidity, tether “tethers” its value to the amount of money invested in the currency. According to their Proof of Funds report, “Each Tether token is backed 100% by fiat currency in Tether Limited’s reserve bank account.” Since actual dollars are required to make Tether’s price fluctuate, it was theorized that Tether’s value would remain more stable.

Their idea was reasonable enough, but its implementation has come under scrutiny. The digital currencies endured several embarrassing events in 2017 that brought increased examination of their claims. Later in the year, Tether severed ties with their independent auditor, and, In December, Tether was served a records subpoena by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Ways to Tether

However, there are other stable coins available that can more accurately and authentically stabilize the value of a cryptocurrency.

Kowala and its kUSD token are digitally connected to the price of the U.S. dollar. Using advanced computer metrics, Kowala can accurately correlate its value within seconds of a change in the value of the U.S. dollar. kUSD is not backed by a fiat currency, so it embraces the same digital laurels as other cryptocurrencies.

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In this way, Kowala is providing a stable cryptocurrency that is more equipped to fulfill Nakamoto’s original vision for digital currency – to buy things. A kUSD holder could confidently make a purchase with the digital currency without concern that it would radically change in value. In our digital-first culture, this feels like a natural expression and use-case for digital currencies.

Fortunately, although they are relatively new, cryptocurrency markets are incredibly diverse. It’s good that Bitcoin attracts so much attention and money, and it’s even better that there is a broad market of alternative currencies that can fulfill other niche needs. Unfortunately, each of hundreds of alt-coins share one quality – they are incredibly volatile. Stable coins like Kowala stand apart and serve an important role in the complex crypto ecosystem. They make it usable and reliable. It’s a fundamental concept that’s as old as money itself.

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Crypto Prices Slide as New Week Begins

The world’s top cryptocurrencies declined at the start of Monday trading, with bitcoin, Ethereum and Stellar falling by at least 4%. Each currency in the top 20 was down following a weekend rally that fizzled out on Sunday. Crypto Price Levels Bitcoin briefly traded below $7,900 on Monday, where it was off more than $1,000 […]

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U.CASH Cryptocurrency Cracks Top 30 Following 1,000% Gain

The value of U.CASH surged over the weekend, mere days after launching on the BTC-Alpha exchange, placing it among the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalization. U.CASH Price Levels The U.CASH (UCASH) cryptocurrency spiked more than 1,000% to $0.09 on Sunday, according to the latest figures provided by CoinMarketCap. At current price […]

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Ripple XRP is Leading the Crypto Market Rebound this Weekend as CEO Addresses FUD

Ripple’s XRP token surged by as much as 40% Saturday, leading a battered crypto market north of $450 billion for the first time since last weekend. By the afternoon, Ripple continued to hold double-digit percentage gains while most major coins had reversed gains. XRP/USD Price Levels The XRP token was well off session highs at […]

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Crypto Update: Ripple Leads Weekend Rally despite Pull-Back

The Asian session saw another bullish push in the cryptocurrency segment, as the uncertainty that the US stock volatility meant for all financial markets waned after the closing of traditional exchanges. The late-day rally in stocks also helped to calm tensions, and the major coins took advantage of the favorable environment and continued the rally […]

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Technical Analysis: Bullish Signs Remain Dominant as Coins Continue Rally

A quiet and positive day; it has been a while that cryptocurrency investors experienced such a comfortable environment, especially amid the most volatile period in global financial markets in the past two years. Of course, the preceding steep decline was challenging for crypto-bulls, but as early positive signs already emerged last week, and price action […]

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Crypto Update: Coins Still Stable as Ripple Breaks Trendline

While the major coins didn’t make too much progress in the last couple of days, with a few exceptions like Bitcoin Cash, Lisk, ETC, and Monero, the price action is encouraging considering the recent period and the global environment in financial markets. The segment shows clear signs of resilience amid the elevated levels of uncertainty […]

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The Dark Web Is Embracing Litecoin at the Expense of More Costly Bitcoin

Elements of the dark web are disavowing bitcoin in favor of Litecoin and even Dash, a sign that slow transaction speeds and higher fees are driving users away from the original blockchain. Criminals Embrace Litecoin A new report by Recorded Future found that cyber criminals are increasingly turning to Litecoin as their preferred unit of […]

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Bitcoin Cash’s Bullish Reversal Pushes Crypto Market Cap to $400 Billion

Bitcoin cash (BCH) added about $5 billion to its market cap on Thursday, extending its recovery to three days on sellers’ fatigue. BCH/USD Price Levels The alternative to bitcoin rose by as much as 40% on Thursday, hitting a session high of $1,343.68. That would have marked the highest settlement in more than a week. […]

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Technical Analysis: Coins Hold Gains amid Stock Turmoil

As volatility and uncertainty continue to reign supreme in financial markets, the cryptocurrency segment is an island of relative calm, which is a huge change compared to the previous weeks and months, when cryptocurrencies were the most volatile asset class by a mile. Bitcoin and the rest of the majors have been trading in relatively […]

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Earn Tradable Cryptocurrencies by Patronizing your Favourite Businesses

Customer relation is an essential part of every business. For the purposes of sustainability, businesses must strive towards having repeat customers, in other words customers who are loyal to their brands.

Limitations of suspended rewards

The typical business environment is littered with different forms of loyalty programs that are aimed at encouraging customers to return for more business. Other aspects of such programs are targeted towards receiving feedbacks from these customers for purposes of brand management and improvement. However, in today’s era where processes are ruled by increased dynamism, it is difficult to hold on to customers with mere promises of suspended value. Besides, following up on numerous loyalty programs from the various vendors than an individual patronizes can be exhaustive and confusing.

Most businesses today do not get the expected responses from their customers in terms of feedback. Unlike like several years ago when the world was generally slower, millennials these days hardly have the luxury of time to fill out forms especially over the internet. In most cases, the ones who make out time to give feedbacks are usually dissatisfied customers, hence not representing the true reflection of service or product delivery. By introducing blockchain and incentivized processes, the feedback mechanism will definitely function better. Beyond just a profitable exercise, customers will feel more respected and appreciated rather than just being used.

Beyond feedback delivery as a medium of loyalty, several companies already provide some extra incentives. The complication comes from how cumbersome it usually is claiming such incentives. Most times they come as suspended benefits other than real time immediate value.

A rallying point for every business

By creating a unifying platform, Sandblock is using blockchain technology to provide immediate value in terms of loyalty programs.

With the emerging trend where all the major brands in the world are now starting to look into the blockchain technology for their future developments, it is only a matter of time before each one of those brands will start using the blockchain to tighten the relationship with their customers. When this happens, you can only imagine the number of tokens an individual can hold with respect to the various businesses that they patronize.

Sandblock’s protocol is designed as a centre of gravity that can serve as a rallying point for an infinite number of tokens. On this platform, users can trade their tokens which they must have acquired from their various vendors, including loyalty tokens.

An effective utility token

All this will revolve around Sandblock’s ERC20 satisfaction (SAT) token. This will function as a consortium token in order to ensure the cohesiveness of the ecosystem which will be comprised of various sizes of businesses. Every other businesses can then create their own peculiar tokens off the SAT based on Sandblock’s protocol. This will enable all players to communicate, exchange and benefit from the collaboration efforts that they choose to engage in.

The existing loyalty systems have the tint of an arm twisting exercise, this is because to enjoy these benefits, customers in most cases must return to the same business. This sometimes feels like blackmail because failing to return automatically implies forfeiture of such benefits. By achieving rewards in tradable tokens, customers will retain control of their value since they can be easily exchanged within the ecosystem. However, it will also serve as a wake up call to businesses who will have to sit up, hence the introduction of healthy competition.

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Crypto Update: Bitcoin Leads Morning Rally after Overnight Dip

The crypto rally is well and alive this morning, even as the dominant downtrend is still intact in all of the majors. The coins are showing strength despite the renewed volatility-related fears in financial markets that are sending shockwaves through equity and forex markets since the Monday crash. The relative strength in cryptocurrencies comes on […]

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Cryptocurrency Lisk Climbs Ahead of Feb. 20 Relaunch

Utility token Lisk was one of the market’s top performers on Thursday, as trading activity on the Huobi exchange picked briskly following last week’s launch. LSK Price Levels The value of LSK jumped more than 17% on Thursday to reach $19.83, bringing the total market cap to $2.3 billion. Only 14 other cryptocurrencies are valued […]

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Technical Analysis: Cryptocurrencies Consolidate after Powerful Rally

The advance that catapulted the major coins off the recent lows by 30-50% stalled out today in the second half of the session, as the major coins settled down somewhat following the highly volatile period. As stock markets had a choppy and ultimately flat day after the crash and the subsequent bounce, and that helped […]

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Crypto Update: Coins Extend Gains Above Prior Lows

Although the major coins are still not completely out of the woods, with the dominant downtrend still being intact, bullish signs continue to show up across the board, and today’s rally could be the start of the durable rally that bulls have been expecting. The stabilizing global stock markets and the improving news flow helped […]

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Particl (PART) Leading Privacy Coins Higher

Particl (PART) was among the cryptocurrency market’s top gainers Tuesday, as trade volumes spiked following a chaotic selloff. PART is a lesser known privacy coin that is gaining  popularity among investors seeking anonymity in their digital transactions. PART Price Levels The Particl token was up nearly 46% overnight to $19.06., having briefly traded above $20 […]

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Daily Analysis: Stocks, Cryptos Bounce Back Hard after Volatility-Driven Crash

Tuesday Market Recap Asset Current Value Daily Change S&P 500 2684 2.94% DAX 12,392 -2.32% WTI Crude Oil 63.92 -0.36% GOLD 1326.00 -0.72% Bitcoin 7800 9.71% EUR/USD 1.2380 0.03% The disastrous overnight session in stocks that drove the S&P 500 almost 100 points below even yesterday’s crash lows, saw the unwind of several short-volatility ETFs, […]

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Technical Analysis: Coins Stabilize amid Positive Divergences

A hectic and bearish overnight session was followed by a strong bounce in the cryptocurrency segment, as the stock market, which experienced the largest sell-off in years, also rebounded. Bitcoin recovered above $7500 after hitting a low near $6000, and while most of the majors followed the largest coin, several currencies showed relative strength again. […]

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Crypto Update: Are We There Yet?

The crypto segment had another rough overnight session, despite the already steep losses in the segment. The uncertainty regarding the stock market volatility crisis and the preceding technical break-down in most of the major coins created a very unstable environment with wild swings in the still generally bearish trend. The positive divergences in the already […]

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Technical Analysis: Coins Hit New Lows amid China Crackdown and Stock Rout

Cryptocurrencies experienced heavy selling yet again, as the negative regulatory news flow continued to weigh on sentiment. The severe stock market decline in the US also increased uncertainty in the second half of the day, and the majority of the largest coins hit new correction lows. That said, several coins showed relative strength amid the […]

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Market Update: Re-Test or Another Leg Lower?

The major coins are plunging yet again today, as the panic lows of Friday are being tested by most of them with the dominant downtrend still being intact. Bitcoin already breached the Friday low, being down by 10% since yesterday, while all of the top 20 coins are sporting double-digit losses as well, with another […]

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Cryptos Surrender Gains After Weekend Bounce; Ethereum Leads Decline

Cryptocurrencies were back on the defensive Monday, with nearly all major tokens declining sharply following upward consolidation over the weekend. After amassing significant fortunes, speculators appear less keen to re-enter the market due to perceived regulatory risks and possible collusion between Bitfinex and Tether. Cryptos Resume Downtrend The cryptocurrency market’s total capitalization has fallen by around $50 […]

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Enjin (ENJ) Releases of Crypto Wallet and Efinity Coin for Faster Transactions

The Enjin (ENJ) cryptocurrency has achieved several important milestones recently, which has put it on many traders’ watch lists. The market as a whole has lost billions over the last few weeks. Speculation is that institutional investors have driven up the price of bitcoin, only to short it and then they will buy at the […]

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Controversy Surrounding Tether Builds After Coin Circulation Spikes in Wake of Subpoena

Embattled startup Tether increased the supply of USDT tokens dramatically in December after being handed a subpoena by federal regulators, raising fresh suspicion the company has been manipulating the bitcoin market. USDT Circulation Spikes Data provided by Bitcoin.com and CoinMarketCap have confirmed that the supply of USDT tokens has risen by about one-third since Dec. 6, […]

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Crypto Update: Coins Hold Gains, Consolidation Expected

After the classic panic selling/liquidation event yesterday, the cryptocurrency segment entered a violent snapback rally that carried the major coins up by 20-40% in a matter of hours. On a bullish note, most of the currencies are trading at or near their bounce-highs despite the overnight sell-off. That said, the downtrend remains intact and although […]

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Stack (STK) – Bringing Crypto to the Masses with MasterCard Partnership

Cryptocurrency is new to a lot of people, and while it has emerged as a profitable investment opportunity, spending it remains a problem. There are many issues associated with spending cryptocurrency. For example, if you want to buy something with bitcoin, the merchant has to accept it. Then there’s the large transaction fees that puts […]

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Technical Analysis: A Durable Low Might be in as Bitcoin Hits $7650

Cryptocurrencies got slaughtered in the first two days of February, with this morning’s sell-off closely resembling a wash-out liquidation event. While a confirmed trend change is far away, given the technical damage that the coins suffered, today’s panic low could be a significant bottom or the start of a more complex bottoming process. With all that […]

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Crypto Update: Carnage Everywhere (But This is How Panic Bottoms are Formed)

The downtrend that has been dominant throughout January is likely entering its final phase today, as correlations are sky-high, all majors are crashing, and forced liquidations are accelerating the decline. Volatility surged higher as expected, and technical trading is still the name of the game, with no significant news behind today’s move, even if the […]

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Check Your Shadow

Happy Groundhog Jobs Day!! February 2nd is marked on many calendars as a uniquely superstitious holiday in which a rodent named Phil who lives in Pennsylvania will decide if we’re ready for Spring or if we get six more weeks of winter. This tradition comes at an auspicious time for the financial markets. The irregularities […]

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DigixDAO: The Only Crypto in the Top-100 to Rise on Thursday

On a day where virtually every cryptocurrency in the top-100 was down double digits, DigixDAO posted impressive gains. The coin was up by as much as 24% on Thursday en route to new record highs. DGD Price Levels DigixDAO’s native DGD currency reached a new all-time high of $295.39 Thursday afternoon. The fresh record was […]

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Crypto Market Sheds $50 Billion on Perceived Regulatory Risks

The global cryptocurrency market suffered huge declines on Thursday, with most major coins down double-digit percentages on reports of increased regulation in India. Broad Declines The selloff on Thursday mirrored similar corrections throughout the month of January. With the exception of DigixDAO (DGD), all 100 of the top cryptocurrencies traded lower, according to data provider […]

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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.

NEWS

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REPORTS

Technical Analysis: Bitcoin Tumbles Below $9000 as Coins Hit New Lows

The new correction lows that we have been expecting in the segment arrived today, as the selling pressure of the Asian and European session remained dominant as US markets opened. The most valuable coin is now more than 50% off its all-time high set in December, and the currency traded on the lowest levels since […]

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Crypto Update: Bitcoin’s Plunge Continues, New Lows Ahead?

Yet another week bounce faded away in the segment as BTC continues to lead the market lower, with the most valuable coin hitting a new two-week low today below the $9500 level. Reports regarding India’s crackdown on illegal activities involving cryptocurrencies weighed on sentiment, but the market remains dominantly technical, with the on-going downtrend in […]

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Is Zcash the Swiss Bank Account of Cryptos?

In a market with over 1,500 cryptocurrencies, investors are always on the prowl for the next breakout asset. According to asset manager Grayscale Investments, Zcash (ZEC) could be poised for exponential gains over the next seven years. $60,000 Zcash? Zcash, the privacy-focused cryptocurrency, could reach $60,000 in 2025, based on a financial model put together […]

The post Is Zcash the Swiss Bank Account of Cryptos? appeared first on Hacked: Hacking Finance.

Aeternity (AE) Is Defying the Crypto Market Downtrend

A lesser known cryptocurrency by the name of Aeternity (AE) is up more than 70% over the last week, defying a broad downtrend that has shaved tens of billions of dollars from the market. The Bulgarian-based platform operates as a scalable smart contract for the IOT economy, which has been described as a $19 trillion […]

The post Aeternity (AE) Is Defying the Crypto Market Downtrend appeared first on Hacked: Hacking Finance.

Bitcoin Caps Off Worst Month in Three Years as Losses Mount

Bitcoin steadied above $10,000 on Wednesday, but not before closing out its worth monthly performance since 2015. January Woes The world’s largest digital currency by trade and market cap has declined 29% since New Year’s Eve. After adding more than $3,000 in the first week of January, bitcoin posted steady losses for the rest of […]

The post Bitcoin Caps Off Worst Month in Three Years as Losses Mount appeared first on Hacked: Hacking Finance.

Cryptocurrency Analysis: Market Stabilizes but Bounce Fizzles Out

The test of the crash lows in the segment got postponed by the early-session rally today, in the case of most of the majors, as yesterday’s sell-off ran out of steam. That said, the bounce that followed the overnight low didn’t change the short-term setup in the coins, as the dominant downtrend is still intact […]

The post Cryptocurrency Analysis: Market Stabilizes but Bounce Fizzles Out appeared first on Hacked: Hacking Finance.

Crypto Update: Coins Rebound as Crash Lows Hold

The bleeding in the cryptocurrency segment paused yet again overnight, and the major coins all stayed above their correction lows from early January, for now.  Trading remains focused on technical levels, with BTC’s $10,000 price level being in the center of attention. The crucial support/resistance zone around the historical price level acts as a magnet […]

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Technical Analysis: Bitcoin Price Drops Below $10,000 Again as Sell-Off Accelerates

The next volatile phase of the ongoing correction started today after the technical break-down in BTC that we warned about yesterday. The weak rising trend got violated by the most valuable coin after a bearish start of the week, and the decline strengthened even more amid reports of increased US scrutiny regarding Bitfinex and Tether […]

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Market Update: Persistent Selling Pressure in Crypto Land

Following a bearish start for the week, the major coins are in the red yet again today in early trading, with only last week’s laggard, IOTA sporting slight gains. The news flow is still mostly highlighted by regulatory issues, and the aftermath of last week’s gigantic exchange hack, but trading remains overwhelmingly technical in most […]

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What will 2018 bring to the world of cryptocurrencies?

With the vast amounts of people suddenly becoming millionaires, the chances of you not hearing about Bitcoin are almost nil. The success stories are all over the internet. Even the already rich rap-star 50 Cent added his name to the ever-growing list of Bitcoin millionaires. He claims that over the last few years he has been sitting on a “forgotten” fortune of 700 virtual coins that he made selling his album back in 2014. Is he a smart investor or a lucky guy? No one knows, but the truth is that he is now worth $7 million more than last year. Cheers, 50 Cent, this is what we call a flying start to the new year!

In 2017 Bitcoin managed to become so popular that it is an absolute rarity to live in the western world and not to have at least one friend or a relative who is somehow engaged in cryptocurrency trading. User-friendly virtual money exchanges such as Coinbase started gaining speed making the purchase of cryptocurrency as easy as requesting an Uber ride. People who wanted to invest no longer had to wire money to exchange sites but use a simple app to purchase some of the crypto-gold with a credit card. Last year was also the year that saw Bitcoin increase its value 20 times and become the 6th most valuable currency in the world.

While Bitcoin’s price kept surging, there were a ton of leading economists such as Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, and billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who said the crypto-world might be doomed. Jamie called it a fraud and Warren kept warning everyone that the craze over Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies won’t end well. Even Jordan Belfort, also known as the real Wolf of Wall Street and the man who predicted the 2008 financial crisis, called Bitcoin a “huge danger.” Things are never perfect, Bitcoin lost half of its gains but still managed to close 2017 about ten times more valuable than it started it.

Love it or hate it, there is no doubt, 2017 was the year of Bitcoin! Over the last 13 months, Bitcoin has been a subject of enormous attention and is rapidly changing the landscape of the financial world boldly paving the way for other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Monero, and Zcash. While Bitcoin was the primary currency making the news, it’s contenders had a good year too as almost all of them registered even better growth percentages than Bitcoin.

What about 2018?

High volatility and the lack of understanding have been scaring many investors away from the crypto-world. While governments are trying to regulate the market, it still feels like it is the wild west. Exchanges have been prone to hacks, investors have been afraid to jump in due to the lack of regulations and regular folks have been avoiding the crypto-world because of the lack of non-user friendly crypto exchanges. However, things are changing – governments from all over the world are starting to realize that instead of fighting the new currencies, they can tax the transactions and get their piece of the pie. New and stricter laws are making Initial Coin Offerings more and more transparent and regulated, and in 2018 exchanges in the US will most likely be forced to report every account trading more than $20k to the IRS. Exchanges are continually trying to increase security, and there are user-friendly exchanges like Coinbase who are allowing everyday people to participate. Cryptocurrencies will continue to be part of our lives in 2018.

What is the future of cryptocurrencies?

In 2018 we will see more and more governments trying to regulate cryptocurrencies, we will witness the creations of more altcoins, and we will see how Bitcoin’s main competitors Ethereum; Monero; ZCash; and Ripple, try to take a shot at Bitcoin. The new 2018 may be the year that will see Bitcoin being taken down from its throne. This wouldn’t be a first for the tech world – Nokia’s Symbian was the primary modern mobile OS, but later it got overshadowed by better mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS. This might be the case with Bitcoin too. The time will show!

On the other hand, Bitcoin has been known as the gold of the cryptocurrencies. It may stick around, but it won’t be the game-changer technology that will transform the financial world. The cashier at Stater Brothers won’t be happy if you try to pay for the groceries with gold bullions – you will most likely be asked to use a credit card or cash instead. This is what is happening with Bitcoin. Stripe, one of the first firms to help users do financial transactions with Bitcoin, recently announced that they would be stopping the support of Bitcoin payments saying the fees are too high. And people do not blame them for their decision, Bitcoin transaction fees can easily reach amounts of $20+, while transactions with currencies such as Ethereum and Ripple only cost a few bucks.

While governments are desperately racing each other to find ways to regulate the decentralized virtual currencies, they are also exploring opportunities of creating their national cryptocurrencies too. So the next groundbreaking virtual money might have not even been invented yet. The masses are more likely to support a government-backed cryptocurrency than the ones associated with the dark web that we see now.

If you are thinking of entering the world of crypto, or you are already in, you have to bear in mind that it is an extremely risky investment and there is no insurance for your assets. Hackers are lurking around so securing your digital wallet should be a high priority. Always make sure you have antivirus software on all your devices. Having another layer of security can prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your digital coins. It only takes seconds for hackers to send your virtual money away from your wallet, and once it leaves your digital portfolio, there is no way of getting it back. Be prepared!

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Neo Gas Surges 30% as DevCon Excitement Outweighs Market Downturn

Neo’s lesser known Gas token surged on Tuesday, extending its winning streak to two days amid a broad downturn in the cryptocurrency market. GAS Price Levels The value of GAS coin surged more than 30% on Tuesday, hitting a session high of $72.30 a unit. It was last seen trading at $68.76 for a gain […]

The post Neo Gas Surges 30% as DevCon Excitement Outweighs Market Downturn appeared first on Hacked: Hacking Finance.

Is Bitcoin Cash the Original Blockchain?

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the title of original blockchain belongs to bitcoin cash and not bitcoin, according to a recently published paper by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Original Blockchain In a 57-page draft paper published by NIST’s Computer Security Resource Center, researchers Dylan Yaga, Peter Mell, Nik Roby and Karen […]

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Technical Analysis: Consolidation Continues as Weekend Rally Fails but Support Levels Hold

The choppy, hard-to-trade period that we expected after the crash two weeks ago is still ongoing, as most of the major coins are trading sideways inside the range of the initial rally off the January 17th low. That said, the broader declining trend in the segment is clearly intact, and the continuation of the correction […]

The post Technical Analysis: Consolidation Continues as Weekend Rally Fails but Support Levels Hold appeared first on Hacked: Hacking Finance.

Crypto Update: Another Monday, Another Sell-Off

As traditional financial markets opened in Asian trading this morning, cryptocurrencies headed south yet again, as they did on most of recent Mondays. While this could very well be a coincidence, given the continuously growing futures BTC short positions, this could also be the result of banks and other financial institutions building up large bets […]

The post Crypto Update: Another Monday, Another Sell-Off appeared first on Hacked: Hacking Finance.

Seattle-based RChain Sees Large Capital Flows into RHOC Cryptocurrency

RChain’s native RHOC token surged on Sunday, with the coin adding hundreds of millions of dollars to its market cap in less than 24 hours. The vast majority of the buying frenzy took place on Hong Kong’s Kucoin exchange, which processed nearly 85% of the daily transactions. RHOC Price Levels RHOC coin saw huge gains […]

The post Seattle-based RChain Sees Large Capital Flows into RHOC Cryptocurrency appeared first on Hacked: Hacking Finance.

High Performance Blockchain (HPB): The EOS of China

Blockchains, in general, have crushed the ICO scene recently with Dragonchain as an example giving a 35x ROI from the initial token price. Infrastructure, Protocols, and Blockchain projects are some of the most promising ICOs at the moment. It is not too late to get involved with HPB as the market cap has room to grow. […]

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AirSwap: Decentralized Exchanges are Taking Over

AirSwap is a decentralized peer-to-peer exchange allowing users to trade ERC20 tokens. Some other exchanges are more centralized and therefore susceptible to security issues, and possible network failure. AirSwap facilitates transactions via a smart contract moderates every transaction, therefore, eliminating many risks associated with other exchanges. When using AirSwap to trade tokens they are swapped immediately […]

The post AirSwap: Decentralized Exchanges are Taking Over appeared first on Hacked: Hacking Finance.

Ethereum and Lesser-Known ICON Lead Crypto Market Higher on Sunday

The cryptocurrency market is finishing off the weekend on firmer footing, with Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and lesser-known ICON leading the rally. Ethereum Ethereum’s native token climbed as much as $200 on Sunday, where it reached its highest level in nearly two weeks. At the time of writing, ether was up 16%, or $165, to $1,200. […]

The post Ethereum and Lesser-Known ICON Lead Crypto Market Higher on Sunday appeared first on Hacked: Hacking Finance.

Are Cryptocurrencies the Last Free Market on Earth?

As cryptocurrencies continue to rise in popularity among retail investors and traders across the globe, mainstream media and institutional investors are also showing increasing interest in this space. As Hacked.com has reported on extensively, these new actors have just recently begun looking into bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology more broadly. It started at about the […]

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Long-Term Cryptocurrency Analysis: Ethereum Leads Yet Another Rally Attempt

The major coins had a relatively calm week, especially following the early sell-off as the largest currencies all held up above their crash lows and entered a low-volatility period. Thanks to the stabilization, and a slight breakdown of the correlations between the coins, some early strength is already obvious in some of the altcoins, as […]

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Playing the Rebound: NEM Bounces Back After Coincheck Hack

NEM climbed back above $1.00 on Saturday, a mere 24 hours after a high-profile security breach of Coincheck re-directed 500 million units of the token to an undisclosed account. The incident received widespread media attention, as the Japanese exchange suspended most trading and withdrawal activity. XEM/USD Price Levels The value of NEM peaked at $1.0659 on […]

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Good News and Low Prices

So interesting, isn’t it? Yes, we had gigantic hacking of a large exchange & perhaps some ponzi schemes, but overall I think we are sitting pretty! We have more and more banks looking into blockchain, and if you didn’t see it, Robinhood exchange is going to be offering BTC and ETH, with more coins to […]

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Technical Analysis: Coins Hold Their Ground Despite Early Sell-Off

Today’s session started out in a decisively negative fashion, as the continued regulatory issues and the Japanese exchange hack weighed heavily on investor sentiment. The previously weaker majors lead the market lower, while Ethereum remained the most notable bright spot in the segment before the weekend. Bitcoin fell as low as $10,300 after plunging below […]

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Crypto Update: Here We Go Again?

After a few days of sluggish and choppy trading in the cryptocurrency segment, today the major coins are trending lower again, underlying the still intact bearish short-term trend. As we emphasized throughout the week, the correction is likely not over yet, despite the admirable performance of some of the altcoins, and the fact that most […]

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What’s Behind Cardano’s Rising Popularity in South Korea?

Cardano, better known as ADA in South Korea, pronounced as “aeda” in the local market, is growing at an exponential rate due to UpBit. UpBit, South Korea’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange behind Bithumb, is operated by Dunamu, a subsidiary company of Kakao, the operating company of KakaoTalk and KakaoPay. The two mobile applications, KakaoTalk and […]

The post What’s Behind Cardano’s Rising Popularity in South Korea? appeared first on Hacked: Hacking Finance.

IOT Cryptocurrency VeChain Slides 13%, but Outlook Still Bright

VeChain declined sharply on Friday, extending its losing streak to four days as investors shrugged off news of a major partnership with a global risk management company. VEN Price Levels VeChain’s VEN cryptocurrency fell 13% early Friday to $6.79, where it was trading near session lows. Nearly $128 million in VEN tokens was traded over […]

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Highly Rated EOS Sees Market Cap Hit $9 Billion as Volumes Surge

EOS jumped as much as 10% on Thursday after rating agency Weiss ranked it and Ethereum tops among crypto assets. Like other cryptocurrencies, EOS has struggled to find its groove again following multiple selloffs throughout the month. EOS Price Levels The value of EOS touched a session high of $16.18 on Wednesday, which would have […]

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Technical Analysis: Market Remains Choppy as Bears Still in Control

The major coins are trading in a relatively low volatility environment today, with weekend-like volumes, and narrow trading ranges in most of the largest currencies. The day started out in a bullish fashion, but the early rally stalled yet again, and now, the market is little changed compared to yesterday’s levels. Bitcoin continued to trade […]

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Steem Cryptocurrency Notches 50% Gain as Social Network Gains Traction

Steem cryptocurrency saw its market value spike on Wednesday, with gains that far outpaced the competition as investors rallied behind the so-called media monetizing coin. The unexpected surge puts Steem in 19th spot among active cryptocurrencies with a market cap of more than $1.6 billion. Steem Price Levels The STEEM token rose 52% on Wednesday […]

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Stellar, NEO Lead Struggling Crypto Market Higher

Cryptocurrencies Stellar and NEO were among the strongest performers Wednesday, even as the broader market struggled for direction following new regulatory restrictions on South Korean exchanges. Stellar Stellar’s XLM token briefly rose more than 21% on Wednesday after payment company Stripe said it may support the cryptocurrency in the future. Stripe operates a globally recognized […]

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Technical Analysis: Cryptocurrencies Mixed as Rally Attempt Stalls

The correlation between the major coins slightly broke down today, as the currencies settled down somewhat after the latest sell-off. While that might be an early bullish sign for the segment, the short-term setups are still bearish for the largest coins, and the rally attempts failed near the key resistance levels. Bitcoin briefly spiked above […]

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Bitcoin Atom (BCA) Hard Fork Arrives Today

A new proposal to modify bitcoin’s underlying protocol is full steam ahead, according to the backers of the Bitcoin Atom project. Bitcoin Atom Hard Fork An anonymous team of developers will fork the bitcoin blockchain on Wednesday, creating a separate digital currency it says will uphold the founding principles of Satoshi Nakamoto. Like other forks, […]

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Populous Coin (PPT) Jumps Amid Broader Market Slump

The little-known Populous coin (PPT) rose sharply on Wednesday, defying a broad downtrend in the cryptocurrency market to reach its highest level in over a week. The gains quietly pushed PPT into the no. 22 spot among active cryptocurrencies based on market cap. PPT Price Levels Populous was up nearly 13% at $47.27, according to […]

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Technical Analysis: Coins Fight Back as $10,000 Holds in BTC For Now

Technical trading continued in earnest in the cryptocurrency segment, as the dominant downtrend briefly carried Bitcoin below the widely watched $10,000 level which was followed by a sharp snapback rally. As correlations between the major coins remained very high, altcoins tracked the movements of BTC closely, still pointing to a nervous and bearish sentiment in […]

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Ripple’s Double-Digit Advance Leads Crypto Market Higher on Tuesday

The cryptocurrency market rebounded on Tuesday, with Ripple’s native XRP token leading the way higher. The so-called banker’s cryptocurrency rose by as much as 22% before giving back around half the gain in afternoon trading. XRP/USD Price Levels The value of XRP peaked at $1.44 Tuesday morning, according to pricing data provided by Barchart.com. At […]

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Bitcoin Cash’s Roller Coaster Month Sees Market Cap Fall by 50%

The value of bitcoin cash (BCH) fell hard on Monday, extending a month-long slump that has shaved 50% off the virtual currency’s value. BCH/USD Price Levels Bitcoin cash was has declined roughly 8% over the past 24 hours, reaching $1,623, according to Bitstamp. The bitcoin alternative touched a session low near $1,500 before rebounding. Transactions […]

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Technical Analysis: Selling Resumes as BTC Eyes $10,000 Again

The post-crash bounce that carried Bitcoin and altcoins higher in a concerted fashion, ended on Sunday, and the major cryptocurrencies are now under pressure again, with steep losses across the board. The largest coins are holding on above their prior lows, but correlations are still very high, and that points to a likely re-test of […]

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Kaspersky Lab official blog: Phishing for cryptocurrencies: How bitcoins are stolen

The recent price rollercoaster of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have made this topic incredibly hot. Whereas only a year ago cryptocurrencies were the domain of geeks, now all online media are talking about them, and even TV and radio have joined in. Not a day goes by without fresh reports from the cryptomarkets.

But scammers too have been quick to smell the opportunity. Indeed, cryptocurrencies have given phishing — the creation of fake sites to steal credentials from unwary users — a new purpose.

[crypto-phishing-featured]

Simple cryptophishing

The simplest version of cryptocurrency phishing, aka cryptophishing, involves good old-fashioned spam mailings. In this case, such e-mails appear to originate with providers of cryptocurrency-related services — Web wallets, exchanges, and so on.

The messages are markedly more detailed and sophisticated than the average phishing e-mail. For example, one might be a security alert saying that someone just tried to sign into your account from such and such address using such and such browser — all you have to do is click the link to check that everything’s OK. The potential victim might even have requested such messages on the cryptowallet site, in which case they will notice nothing untoward.

Or it might be an invitation to take a survey about a cryptocurrency event, offering a fairly generous reward for your opinion (say, 0.005 bitcoin, which amounts to about $50–$70 at the current rate). Click on the link, it says, to enter.

The result is always the same: The victim is directed to a fake version of the expected cryptocurrency site and asked to enter their e-wallet credentials. Most popular Bitcoin Web wallet sites look quite simple, yet recognizable, which helps criminals to create convincing imitations.

Three different phishing sites that look like blockchain.info

Three different phishing sites that look like blockchain.info

The stakes are pretty high: Hijacking an e-wallet that contains a few decibitcoin isn’t like stealing a piffling e-mail account — those fetch some 20 cents per bucket on the black market. In e-wallets, criminals see a quick and direct route to some juicy pickings, so they are investing more in phishing messages and making them more plausible.

Inventive cryptophishing

A more intricate cryptophishing scheme was discovered recently that uses some, shall we say, interesting features of Facebook. Here’s how it works.

  1. Scammers find a cryptocurrency community and create a Facebook page with the same title and design as the community’s official page. They make the address of the fake page very similar to that of the real one, differing by as little as one letter. Spotting the difference is not so easy, because in Facebook you can set any name for your organization or yourself, and these names are always displayed far more prominently than real addresses.
The genuine Facebook page of a cryptoplatform — and a fake one

The genuine Facebook page of a cryptoplatform — and a fake one

  1. The scammers then send phishing messages to members of the real community from the fake page. Personal messages are not suitable for this purpose for various reasons (for example, they can’t be sent to a user on behalf of a page).

    So the scammers employ an interesting trick: To target someone, they share the victim’s profile photo on their page and tag them there.

    The cunning part is that the profile photo is always visible to everyone — and it is not possible to stop someone from sharing it, or tagging you in Facebook — so the trick is effective even against people who are privacy savvy. The only way to stay protected from such activity is to disable notifications about tags created by unknown users, pages, and communities.

  1. The most interesting bit is in the text of the message scammers use to mark their prey. For example, the message might say that the user is one of 100 lucky recipients of 20.72327239 (yes, the figure is that precise) cryptocurrency units for their loyalty to the platform. And, of course, there is a link for getting hold of the coins.

    Note that the message contains detailed terms and conditions for receiving the reward (a minimum number of transactions on the platform, for example). Coupled with the appealingly exact and not excessively high but reasonable amount (about $100–$200), it all seems plausible.

Some more examples of messages from cryptophishing pages on Facebook

How to guard against cryptophishing

Lately, the cryptomarket may have resembled a magic money tree, but cryptocurrency services are not charities, and they do not give away money for the fun of it. If someone promises you free cryptocurrency, most likely it’s on the end of a hook.

  1. Always check every link very carefully. It’s best not to click on links in messages from Internet services at all — instead, type in the address of the service in the address bar of your browser.
  2. Carefully configure your privacy settings to avoid fraudulent schemes in Facebook. See this post for details of how to do that. It’s also not a bad idea to configure Facebook notifications — we have a post about that too.
  3. Use an antivirus solution with dedicated antiphishing protection. Kaspersky Internet Security is one such solution.


Kaspersky Lab official blog

Crypto Update: Test of the Crash-Lows Ahead?

The major coins started the week on a negative note, as the broad correction entered another bearish swing after a strong pre-crash bounce. Technical trading is still dominant, with no major news behind the move as a catalyst, and as the correlation between the coins is still very high. The latest wallet-hack is a weighing […]

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Cryptos Pivot Sharply Lower After Weekend Rebound; Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple All Down

After a favorable weekend rally, cryptocurrencies were back on the defensive Monday as investors took profits on bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple. Although it’s still too early to determine if we are starting the next leg of the correction, market participants are still spooked about regulatory uncertainty in South Korea, not to mention the collapse of […]

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Tron Rebounds 100% From Last Week’s Amid Controversy

Tron has been among the biggest gainers since last week’s market crash, but controversy surrounding its founder has divided investors about the coin’s true potential. Somewhere in between the hype and controversy lies the truth about Tron’s long-term value proposition. TRX Price Levels After bottoming out around 4 cents USD on Tuesday, Tron’s TRX token […]

The post Tron Rebounds 100% From Last Week’s Amid Controversy appeared first on Hacked: Hacking Finance.

Long-Term Cryptocurrency Analysis: Bitcoin and Monero Shine As Post-Crash Consolidation Continues

It has been a week for the history books yet again in the cryptocurrency segment, as the market went through another violent phase of the ongoing broad correction that finally cleared the momentum and sentiment extremes of the late-2017 rally. Now, the majors are mostly in neutral long-term setups, although the late leaders of the […]

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Bitcoin, Ethereum Lead Crypto Market Rebound on Saturday

Money is pouring back into cryptocurrencies on Saturday, with bitcoin and Ethereum posting double-digit rallies to lead the market’s recovery. At the time of writing, all but two of the world’s top 50 cryptocurrencies were trading in positive territory, with 37 tokens valued at $1 billion or more. Bitcoin The world’s most active cryptocurrency approached […]

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The Technology Behind Bitcoin Private

By definition, bitcoin private (BTCP) basically refers to a privacy-centric bitcoin fork that has been hosted by another cryptocurrency named ZClassic (a privacy-oriented cryptocurrency based on Zero-Knowledge Proofs and forked from ZCash). The basic purpose of a hard fork is to validate the previously invalid blocks as well as transactions by changing the blockchain protocol […]

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Cryptocurrency Analysis: Market Turns Lower Again Before the Weekend

Choppy market conditions remained dominant, as we expected, after the segment-wide crash and the subsequent spectacular bounce. Trading volumes plunged back to normal levels as the majors settled down, but correlations remained high across the board, and the short-term downtrend in Bitcoin and most of the largest coins is still intact. The sector is headed […]

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Crypto Update: Volatility Declines as Choppy Consolidation Continues

The wild swings of this week will long be remembered by cryptocurrency investors, but for now, the market settled down, and the majors are holding on to most of their post-crash gains, despite the overnight sell-off. The oversold bounce was once again led by the price of Bitcoin, but percentage-wise, altcoins gained more than the […]

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Ripple Shakes Off Market Rout After Plunging to 88 Cents

Ripple’s XRP token added more than half its value back on Thursday as the cryptocurrency market shook off one of the biggest two-day routs in history. XRP Bounces Back Ripple led the crypto market higher, climbing 28% to $1.71 on the major global exchanges. The so-called banker’s cryptocurrency has rebounded more than 90% from Wednesday’s […]

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Technical Analysis: Coins Explode Higher but Segment Remains in Downtrend

The sea of red in the cryptocurrency sector quickly turned green today, as all of the major coins surged off the crash lows, gaining from 25% to 100% in less than a day after BTC plunged below the$10,000 level. The rally was fueled by reports from South Korea about the rumored exchange ban that suggests […]

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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.

NEWS
AWARENESS, EDUCATION AND THREAT INTELLIGENCE
REPORTS

Nhash: petty pranks with big finances

According to our data, cryptocurrency miners are rapidly gaining in popularity. In an earlier publication we noted that cybercriminals were making use of social engineering to install this sort of software on users’ computers. This time, we’d like to dwell more on how exactly the computers of gullible users start working for cybercriminals.

Beware freebies

We detected a number of similar websites with offers to download various types of free software. Some of them really were free applications (such as OpenOffice), while others attempted to entice users with “free” software packages of Adobe Premiere Pro, CorelDraw, PowerPoint, etc. From the victim’s point of view, the software was indeed free – it didn’t ask for activation keys and could be used immediately. Moreover, the cybercriminals used domain names resembling those of recognized legitimate products, such as thefinereader.ru, theopenoffice.ru, etc. There was one thing all these apps had in common – they were installed on the victim computer along with a custom-configured version of cryptocurrency mining software from the NiceHash project.

All sites followed the same design template, differing only in their product descriptions and download links

Mining coins at any price

Kaspersky Lab’s products detect the NiceHash miner with the verdict not-a-virus:RiskTool.Win64.BitCoinMiner.cgi; it is not malicious according to Kaspersky Lab’s classification. According to KSN data, around 200 files are detected with this verdict. We chose the file FineReader-12.0.101.382.exe for analysis. It was obtained from the website thefinereader.ru which is no longer available; at this website, it was presented as a “free full version” of ABBYY FineReader. It should be noted that this hacked version, minus the miner component, has long been available on the internet via Torrent file distribution systems:

The executable file contains the installation package Inno Setup; unpacking it will produce a number of folders containing the actual software and its resources, as well as an installation guide script. The installer’s root folder looks like this:

The {app} folder is of interest to us; it contains the software that is installed. This folder contains a ‘portable’ version of FineReader:

The lib folder contains some suspicious-looking files:

Among these files is the NiceHash miner that we mentioned above. There are also text files in this folder that contain the information required to initialize the miner – namely the wallet details and the mining pool’s address. This folder will be installed stealthily to the victim computer while FineReader is installing.

A shortcut will also be created in the autorun folder:

The shortcut reveals the path to the miner’s work directory on the C drive:

That leaves the tskmgr.exe and system.exe files of interest for analysis. Both files are BAT scripts compiled into PE files. Let’s look at the contents of system.exe after extracting the BAT script:

It ensures the wallet’s address is up to date and initializes the miner’s operation. It contacts the following addresses:

  • http://176.9.42.149/tmp1.txt
  • http://176.9.42.149/tmp3.txt?user=default&idurl=3
  • http://176.9.42.149/tmp2.txt?user=3id170927143302

After the third query, the following response is received:

This is a PowerShell script that assigns a unique ID to the infected computer and launches mining with the correct wallet details (in this specific case, the zcash cryptocurrency is mined). IDs are generated following a specific algorithm based on the mining start time. For example, the ID 4v09v2017v03v24v26 is made up of the date (14.09.2017) and time (03:24:26).

We have also identified other types of covert miners with a slightly different logic. Below is the same Inno Setup installation package, but if we take a look at its contents, we can see lots of shortcuts:

Let’s take a look inside:

This is a classic case – the shortcuts are scattered across the system; when opened by the user, they launch the miner. The package includes the TrayIt! utility that hides the miner’s window from the user by minimizing it to the system tray. This miner doesn’t receive any data from the server, but instead operates using the wallet and pool details that were hardwired into it.

Finances

Among the mining pools used by cybercriminals, we detected some that provided statistics about the wallets and the number of miners. At the time of our analysis, total revenue from all wallets was nearly US$3400.

The t1WSaZQxqBLLtGMKsGT6t9WGHom8LcE8Ng5 wallet

The t1JA25kJrAaUw9xe6TzGiC8BU5pZRhgL4Ho wallet

The t1N7sapDRuYdqzKgPwet8L31Z9Aa96i7hy4 wallet

The 3MR6WuGkuPDqPZgibV6gi4DaC7qMabEFks wallet

Conclusion

This small piece of research once again demonstrates that no one should ignore protection measures and get lulled into a false sense of security, believing cybercriminals are only interested in financial organizations; practice shows that regular users are also targeted. The mining software that we analyzed, albeit incapable of inflicting any damage, can seriously impair your workstation’s performance by hijacking its resources and making it work for somebody else.

Indicators of Compromise

C&C

176.9.42.149

MD5

a9510e8f59a34a17ca47df9f78173291
19cdaf36a4bafd84c9f7b2cfff09ca50
613bd514f42e7cc78d6e0e267fc706d0
ab31d1cbed96114f2ea9797030fb608f
0a571873a125c846861127729fcf41bb
fd8f89a437bcb5490a92dc1609f190d1
dd639dc20f62393827c2067021b7fd50
6b567d817b94f714c0005e183ffb6d47
11e66ac4c9e7e3d0b341bdb51f5f8740
58c7db74c6ce306037f22984dd758362
f38b5a31eee2fd8c97249cefbc5fa19f
f378951994051bf90dc561457c88c69f
fb9c1f949f95caeada09c0fd70fb5416
b017f2836988f93b80f4322dbd488e00
211c6c52527b8c1029d64bb75a9a39d8
57cda2f33fce912f4f5eecbc66a27fa6

URLs

thefinereader[.]ru
abby-finereader[.]ru
thexpadder[.]ru
theteamspeak[.]ru
thecoreldraw[.]ru
the-powerpoint[.]ru
theoutlook[.]ru
picturemanager[.]ru
furmark[.]ru
thedxtory[.]ru
thevisio[.]ru
kmp-pleer[.]ru
theadobepremiere[.]ru
cdburner-xp[.]ru
theopenoffice[.]ru
iobit-uninstaller[.]ru