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Warning Issued After Malware Is Found To Have Hijacked Bitcoin Blockchain

Bitcoin’s blockchain has been hijacked by a new strain of the Glupteba malware that uses the network to resist attacks, cyber security researchers have warned.

The malware uses the bitcoin blockchain to update, meaning it can continue running even if a device’s antivirus software blocks its connection to servers run by the hackers, security intelligence blog Trend Micro reported this week.

The Glupteba malware, first discovered in December 2018, is distributed through advertising designed to spread viruses through script and can steal an infected devices’ browsing history, website cookies, and account names and passwords with this particular variant found to be targeting file-sharing websites.

However, according to researchers, the new version of the malware can also mine the privacy-specialized monero cryptocurrency and threaten the security of Instagram users’ accounts.

The malware uses the Electrum bitcoin wallet to send bitcoin transactions that the attackers use to gain access to systems.

“This technique makes it more convenient for the threat actor to replace command and control servers,” Trend Micro researchers wrote. A command and control server is the centralized computer that issues commands to an infected network of devices.

The Glupteba malware, first discovered in December 2018, is distributed through advertising designed to spread viruses through script and can steal an infected devices’ browsing history, website cookies, and account names and passwords with this particular variant found to be targeting file-sharing websites.

However, according to researchers, the new version of the malware can also mine the privacy-specialized monero cryptocurrency and threaten the security of Instagram users’ accounts.

The malware uses the Electrum bitcoin wallet to send bitcoin transactions that the attackers use to gain access to systems.

“This technique makes it more convenient for the threat actor to replace command and control servers,” Trend Micro researchers wrote. A command and control server is the centralized computer that issues commands to an infected network of devices.

“If they lose control of a command and control server for any reason, they simply need to add a new bitcoin script and the infected machines obtain a new command and control server by decrypting the script data and reconnecting.”

It’s not the first time the bitcoin blockchain has been taken advantage of by criminals, with German researchers last year discovering child abuse imagery shared via the decentralized network.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: Warning Issued After Malware Is Found To Have Hijacked Bitcoin Blockchain

by Christian Karam & Vitaly Kamluk The blockchain is the public ledger stacking all bitcoin/altcoins transactions. It is constantly growing as “completed” blocks are automatically added to it with a new set of records. The blocks are added to the blockchain in a linear and chronological order. The blockchain has complete information about the addresses and their balances right from the genesis block to the most recently completed block through the mining process. Depending on the crypto-currency and the implementation of its protocols, there would be a fixed open space, where data can be stored, referenced or hosted on the blockchain within encrypted transactions and their records. This very versatile nature of the blockchain offers great opportunities for future innovation especially in decentralized systems. The research focus revolves around the threat of embedding decentralized chunks of malware on the blockchain by either hosting it or referencing it with cascaded pointers. Transactions and data are encrypted throughout the blockchain networks using different versions of public/private key encryption. Could malware survive eternally inside crypto-transactions? A proof of concept will be explained highlighting the concerns revolving around the “abuse and bloating” of the blockchain while comparing it to previous malware hosting and deployment models. In this talk, INTERPOL will frame the scope of this future threat and provide potential solutions for a threat surrounding the blockchain technology.

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New Data Reveals Serious Bitcoin Warning

Bitcoin has been rallying hard so far this year but the latest bull run, which has seen the bitcoin price soar by around 200% in just six months, could be coming to an end.

The bitcoin price, which is now hovering just under $10,000 per bitcoin, has climbed so far this year mostly due to expectations the world’s biggest technology companies, led by social media giant Facebook, could be about to dive headfirst into bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Now, it seems bitcoin could be headed for a sudden fall, with technical data suggesting the bitcoin price could be about to move sharply lower.

Bitcoin earlier this week broke below its 50-day moving average, which it’s thought could mean the bull run that saw the bitcoin price rise from under $4,000 per bitcoin at the beginning of the year to almost $14,000 could be over.

Bitcoin price data also shows it’s trading under the lower limit of the closely watched GTI Vera Band indicator, it was first reported by Bloomberg, a financial newswire.

The bitcoin price began climbing earlier this year as the likes of iPhone maker Apple, micro-blogging platform Twitter, and Facebook looked to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a potential new revenue stream.

However, the rally was halted in its tracks after regulators around the world poured cold water on Facebook’s ambitious plans to issue its own cryptocurrency, libra, some time next year.

It’s now thought that regulatory issues could completely derail Facebook’s libra project, though it says it’s committed to working with lawmakers around the world to make libra a reality.

“There can be no assurance that libra or our associated products and services will be made available in a timely manner, or at all,” Facebook said.

“[Bitcoin] stands at a key technical juncture,” Miller Tabak + Co.’s equity strategist Matt Maley was quoted by Bloomberg. “[Greater regulatory scrutiny] will become an even more prominent issue (much more prominent) once we move past the summer recess for Congress and into the meat of the 2020 election cycle.”

Bitcoin was pushed into the limelight earlier this month by U.S. president Donald Trump when he unleashed a scathing attack on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, branding them “unregulated assets” in a series of tweets.

Following Trump’s attack and warnings from other global regulators, forensic accountancy firm BTVK warned the bitcoin and crypto “wild west” could be coming to an end, with global regulators closing in on bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges as a result of the spotlight brought by Facebook’s libra project.

Some U.S. presidential hopefuls have though said they’d support bitcoin and the creation of other cryptocurrencies to rival the U.S. dollar, potentially turning bitcoin and crypto into a 2020 election issue.

Earlier today, U.S. lawmakers grilled bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain experts on how Facebook’s libra could upset the U.S. economy.

“It’s clear that digital assets don’t really fit in our current financial system, as the current regulatory framework is awkwardly divided between banking regulators and market regulators,” said Christine Trent Parker, partner at law firm Reed Smith, following the hearing.

“It is unfortunate that today’s hearing made clear that Congress is not going to move forward any time soon in rectifying this issue and that in fact, the lack of clarity and uniformity may be intentional to hamper the ability of U.S. consumers to access (and benefit from) these technologies.”

Some bitcoin and cryptocurrency analysts remain upbeat, however, despite regulatory fears.

“Volumes continue to decline in the crypto market as the cool-down seems to be coming to completion,” Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at brokerage eToro, wrote in a note to clients.

Follow me on Twitter.

I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk

Source: New Data Reveals Serious Bitcoin Warning

Trader: If Bitcoin Can’t Recover to $5k to $6k in Short-Term, It’s in Trouble

Mark Dow, a trader who shorted Bitcoin (BTC) from its all-time high at $19,500 to $3,500, said that the dominant cryptocurrency could be in trouble if it does not escape the $5,000 to $6,000 range

Source: Trader: If Bitcoin Can’t Recover to $5k to $6k in Short-Term, It’s in Trouble

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