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Music Publishers Double Claims Against Peloton To $300 Million For Using Taylor Swift, Adele Songs

Music publishers are continuing to fight Peloton over how it uses music in its workout classes. On Thursday, the National Music Publishers’ Association filed a request to amend its complaint to now seek $300 million in damages after discovering an additional 1,200-plus songs that Peloton had allegedly used but not paid artists for, including Ray Charles’ recording of “Georgia On My Mind” and the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There”.

“Since filing this lawsuit we have now discovered more than double the number of songs for which the plaintiffs’ songwriters were never paid by Peloton. The fact that Peloton has gone this long without proper music licenses is astounding,” NMPA President and CEO David Israelite said in a statement.

The request for increased damages comes right as Peloton prepares to go public. On Tuesday, the company set a share price range of $26 to $29 for its IPO, which would value it at around $8 billion, double its current valuation set by private investors.

Today In: Innovation

In its registration filing, the company noted that music was an “important element” to its content and also a particular business risk: “We depend upon third-party licenses for the use of music in our content. An adverse change to, loss of, or claim that we do not hold necessary licenses may have an adverse effect on our business, operating results, and financial condition.”

The fitness company rose in popularity thanks to its instructors mixing bike and treadmill workouts to pop hits. The cohort of music publishers first filed suit against Peloton in March and the company subsequently removed some classes from its service. Now, the NMPA is asking the courts to consider its amended complaint now that it has uncovered more songs used by Peloton.

The New York-based company plans to fight the lawsuit, calling the NMPA “anti-competitive.”

“This platform could only have been developed with the close collaboration of our trusted music partners, which include all of the major labels, major music publishers and performance rights organizations, among many others,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue to defend ourselves against claims made in this matter and look forward to pursuing our counterclaims.”

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I’m a San Francisco-based staff writer for Forbes with a focus on Uber, the sharing economy, and startups. I previously worked for Business Insider, Gigaom, and Wired. I also spent a year as newspaper designer for Gannet. I’m a native of Atlanta, Georgia and a proud graduate from Indiana University’s journalism school. Email me story tips at bcarson [at] forbes.com or follow me on Twitter @bizcarson

Source: Music Publishers Double Claims Against Peloton To $300 Million For Using Taylor Swift, Adele Songs

CNBC’s Julia Boorstin joins “Closing Bell” to report the latest news from Peloton as music publishers seek $300 million from the company in damages for wrongly using songs in its workouts.

 

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Here’s Where $800 Of Bitcoin Buys You $10,000 Cash

Researchers from cloud security-as-a-service provider Armor’s Threat Resistance Unit (TRU) have been taking a deep dive into a dozen dark markets and forums. Analysis of the data compiled from trawling these English and Russian-speaking criminal marketplaces has been published in the annual Armor Black Market Report. As well as the usual tracking of the prices for stolen credit cards, bank account credentials and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) for-hire operators, there was one surprising new trend: a Bitcoin to cash conversion scheme that offers criminal buyers the opportunity to buy cash for pennies on the dollar. Paying $800 (£647) in Bitcoin gets you $10,000 (£8,095) in cash.

The Black Market Report

The Armor Black Market Report is the result of researchers from the Armor TRU trawling through underground internet markets and criminal forums. These “dark markets” are notorious for selling just about anything that can be stolen online, from personal and financial data to illicit services such as articles of incorporation for creating shell companies, the distribution malicious spam and even hackers for hire who will scrub your credit history.

The TRU research team analyzed and compiled data from twelve dark markets and criminal forums visited between February and June 2019. It came as no surprise to me that they found cybercriminal after cybercriminal selling credentials for as yet “unhacked” Windows remote desktop (RDP) servers. These are often used by ransomware actors looking for an entry point into corporate networks. That these credentials were being sold for as little as $20 (£16) was unexpected though. The cost of entry, quite literally, to the ransomware threat sector has never been cheaper.

Today In: Innovation

Neither, for that matter, has the cost of cold, hard cash. The TRU researchers found that, partly to get noticed in a crowded market and partly to offset the risk of monetizing stolen banking and credit card accounts, entrepreneurial threat actors are selling cash for between 10 and 12 cents on the dollar. This isn’t, as you might have guessed, a case of criminal philanthropy.

Instead, it’s a method for criminals to offload the risk of monetizing stolen account credentials by transferring the funds available rather than taking possession of them. It’s still money laundering, and it’s illegal, but it puts the most significant weight of risk onto the buyer.

Here’s how the buy cash for Bitcoin scheme works

The seller offers bundles of cash in various amounts, from $2,500 (£2,020) to $10,000 (£8,095) in exchange for a pre-paid fee in Bitcoin. That fee varies between 10% and 12%. Which means that $10,000 of cold cash can be bought for $800 in Bitcoin.

The buyer makes the payment and then chooses how they would like to collect the cash. This can be a straightforward transfer of funds to a bank or PayPal account or wired via Western Union. As well as getting a significant return on their illicit investment, the purchaser no longer has to worry about monetizing online bank account or credit card credentials. It’s a turn-key service; there’s no risky logging into compromised accounts, no money mules to worry about, just the (totally illegal) collection of cash.

“For those scammers who don’t possess the technical skills and a robust money mule network to monetize online bank account or credit card credentials, this is an offer that can be very attractive,” Chris Hinkley, head of Armor’s TRU team said, “the threat actors are still selling financial account and credit card credentials outright, but this clever service gives them an additional channel for monetizing the large amounts of financial data available on the underground.”

Money mules served well by dark market documentation

One of the other interesting things to come out of this analysis was the fact that cybercriminals are selling articles of incorporation and sole proprietorship papers on the dark market. Not shocking, but interesting. While the cash for Bitcoin transactions gets rid of the money mule requirement, there are still plenty of people who adopt that role, and these papers are aimed at them. A money mule is someone who transfers stolen money between accounts in exchange for a fee of between 10% and 20% of the value. For a money mule to be successful, they need to open business bank accounts that don’t trigger fraud alerts on larger transfer volumes. To open these accounts, they need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) assigned by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and that’s where the documentation to create shell companies enters the equation. The documentation does not come cheap, however. Sole proprietorship papers complete with EIN were found on sale for $1,611 (£1,298), and Articles of Incorporation with EIN were $811 (£653).

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I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share

Source: Here’s Where $800 Of Bitcoin Buys You $10,000 Cash

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These 76,000 People May Have Committed Student Loan Fraud

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A new government watchdog report says that 76,200 people may be committing student loan fraud.

Here’s what you need to know.

Student Loan Repayment Fraud: New Report

A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found the following with borrowers enrolled in an income-driven student loan repayment plan:

  • 76,200 borrowers claimed they earned zero income and therefore could not “afford” to make a monthly student loan payment
  • As a result, these borrowers paid less money than they should have
  • These borrowers were enrolled in 95,100 income-driven repayment plans
  • This represents 11% of all income-driven repayment plans the GAO analyzed
  • These borrowers owed $4 billion of Direct Loans as of September 2017

According to the GAO, 34% of these income-driven repayment plans were held by borrowers who earned $45,000 per year, on average, with some earning as high as $100,000 per year. About 1% of the plans analyzed (40,900 plans) were for borrowers who claimed they had nine or more family members living in their household.

Why This Matters

Is it possible that some of these borrowers misunderstood the question or mistakenly entered the wrong information? Sure. Is it possible that student loan debt relief companies retained by borrowers may have completed the erroneous information on a borrower’s behalf? Yes. Are there other innocent reasons for these findings? Perhaps.

The report does not name specific borrowers nor determine the underlying reason behind the potentially false information. However, if borrowers erroneously claimed zero income to avoid paying their student loans, they are cheating the federal government, and ultimately taxpayers. Specifically, if a borrower doesn’t make a monthly student loan payment, the federal government doesn’t collect money each month. After 20 to 25 years, if the borrower then receives student loan forgiveness, taxpayers may pay a larger amount for student loan forgiveness.

An income-driven repayment plan enables you to repay your federal student loan based on the amount of income you earn, your family size and other factors. So, if you earn zero income and have a relatively larger family size, you may pay as low as $0 each month. After 20 or 25 years – depending if you have an undergraduate or graduate student loan, respectively – the remaining balance on your federal student loans could be forgiven. That’s potentially good news for you the borrower. The bad news is that you could owe income taxes on the amount forgiven. Ouch.

Education Department Response

“Misrepresenting income or family size is wrong, and we must have a system in place to ensure that dishonest people do not get away with it,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said. “We didn’t create that problem, but rest assured we will fix it.”

DeVos wants to increase measures to verify income and family size data, including with IRS data, for borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment plans. DeVos also wants to refer suspected cases of fraud to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution.

“If Congress provides the Department with this authority, we could significantly reduce the risk of fraud and improper payments, save taxpayers money, and reduce the burden on borrowers when they annually recertify their income with the Department,” DeVos said.

Your Next Steps

When enrolling in income-driven repayment plans, ensure that you answer all information accurately. If you’re unsure what information to enter, contact the U.S. Department of Education or your student loan servicer.

There are four primary ways to manage and repay your student loans. Make sure you understand all your options:

This free student loan repayment quiz can help you determine which student loan repayment options, including student loan forgiveness, are best for you based on your individual circumstances.

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Zack Friedman is the author of the highly-anticipated, blockbuster book, The Lemonade Life: How To Fuel Success, Create Happiness, and Conquer Anything. Zack is the founder and chief executive officer of Make Lemonade, a leading personal finance company that empowers you to live a better financial life. He is an in-demand speaker and has inspired millions through his powerful insights. Previously, he was chief financial officer of an international energy company, a hedge fund investor, and worked at Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, and the White House. Zack holds degrees from Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins.

Source: These 76,000 People May Have Committed Student Loan Fraud

Exclusive: Hack Breaks Your Visa Card’s Contactless Limit For Big Frauds

Think that £30 limit on contactless payments is going to protect you from big thefts? Think again.

Security researchers have found a way to bypass that limit on Visa cards. Their hack, which isn’t limited to U.K. cards, could let opportunistic crooks drain accounts with a single tap, and they claim they don’t even need to steal the credit card. And little on Visa’s side is being done to address this fresh fraud threat.

Forbes let the researchers—Leigh-Anne Galloway and Tim Yunusov from cybersecurity company Positive Technologies—try it out on a personal Visa card. They extracted three successful payments of £31 ($38). On their own cards they made contactless payments as high as £101, though it’s possible more could be stolen with just a tap.

Their hacks show how contactless fraud could get a lot worse. Typically, if a bank sees multiple £30 contactless payments, the card will cease to work, as fraud detection systems suspect it’s in the hands of a thief. But if it’s possible to make large transactions in one tap, the potential for significant frauds rises.

Card thieves can now make larger payments than they could before. But now, they don’t even need to steal the card. Criminals could, for instance, take a payment from a card when the user wasn’t looking with their own mobile payments machine (though a malicious merchant would eventually be caught by banks’ fraud systems if they used the same terminal). Or even more dastardly, it’s possible to take a payment reading from a credit card using a mobile phone, send the data to another phone and make a payment on that second device going beyond the limit, the researchers claimed. For the hack to work, all the fraudsters need is to be close to their victim.

“So that means if you found someone’s card or if someone stole your card, they wouldn’t have to know your PIN, they wouldn’t have to impersonate your signature, and they could make a payment for a much higher value,” said Galloway.

There should be some limits on just how much a hacker could steal. Galloway said that while it may be that thieves could go much higher than the £101 they tested, into the hundreds or possibly thousands, fraud detection systems at the banks may be able to spot any wildly high transactions. “What we found is that actually, we can make reasonably high-value payments. So in the U.K., we’re able to make payments of £100 without any detection,” she added.

They’re still testing whether the hack would work elsewhere in the world, but Galloway confirmed it was not limited to a single country. The limit, of course, differs between nations. For instance, in the U.S., it’s considerably higher at $100.

No fix planned?

That doesn’t detract from the finding that the limit set on Visa cards can be broken. But Visa isn’t planning on updating its systems to deal with the hack. The financial industry giant argued that such a hack wouldn’t be likely to occur in the real world as the criminals would need to have their hands on the card and this doesn’t happen frequently. A spokesperson for the company went as far as to say that despite the research there wasn’t a security problem that needed addressing.

“One key limitation of this type of attack is that it requires a physically stolen card that has not yet been reported to the card issuer,” a Visa spokesperson told Forbes, noting that Visa was continually working on improving its fraud detection tech. “Likewise, the transaction must pass issuer validations and detection protocols. It is not a scalable fraud approach that we typically see criminals employ in the real world.”

Galloway disagreed that the fraudster would need to steal the card. As their tests showed, the hacker only needs to get close enough to the victim’s card for a short period of time to take a payment. This kind of “skimming” has long been proven possible, even if it relies on the card owner being caught unawares.

The Visa spokesperson also claimed that Visa’s global contactless fraud rate declined by 33% between 2017 and 2018 and in Europe by 40%. But data from UK Finance shows fraud using contactless caused £19.5 million of losses during 2018, up from £14 million in 2017. UK Finance did, however, note this was “low” in light of total spending of £69 billion over the same year. And neither UK finance nor Visa said they’d ever recorded a case of contactless fraud in which the card hadn’t been stolen.

How the contactless hack works

To carry out their hack, the researchers used a specialized piece of hardware to intercept and insert messages in the communications between the card and the reader. For instance, they could tell the card that verification—like a PIN—wasn’t needed, even though the requested amount was more than £30. They then told the terminal that verification has already been made by another means.

The researchers said these checks hadn’t been made mandatory by Visa, as they had been by its rivals. And as banks follow the guidelines laid out by Visa, it could be doing more to address the issue, Galloway said. Though Visa said that card issuers are ultimately responsible for validating transactions.

For the attack using two mobiles, Galloway explained that it was possible to use one smartphone to tap a card and effectively clone it for a short period. That first mobile takes what’s known as a “payment cryptogram” from the card. This is essentially a signature that is supposed to guarantee the authenticity of future payments. The cryptogram is sent to the second phone, which simulates the card as if it were making a mobile payment. The hackers can then go beyond the limit by doing the same interception attack as before.

Stephen Ridgway, cofounder and chief technology officer at cybersecurity startup th4ts3cur1ty.company, said that addressing such attacks at a technical level could be problematic. “There may be no ‘quick fix’ for this, even if the payment providers mandate authentication for payments over £30, if the card and reader are susceptible to a ‘man-in-the-middle’ attack that tricks the system into believing that authentication has already taken place,” he said.

As for what concerned cardholders can do to protect themselves, keeping cards physically secure is vital. For anyone worried about someone reading their card through their wallet, there are covers that can prevent such “skimming” from working. Ridgway said another cheap solution was to use a phone cover, as they often provide the same protection. And monitoring transactions could help consumers detect fraudulent transactions before banks do.

Improving bank security and fresh new regulation should also improve matters. Ridgway said that should contactless limit bypasses become common, it’s very likely that payment providers will quickly learn to recognize and block them. And incoming new EU rules could also prove a boon. From September 2019, banks will need to ensure a PIN is required once total contactless payments exceed a value of £130 or when five contactless transactions have been made in a day.

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I cover security and privacy for Forbes. I’ve been breaking news and writing features on these topics for major publications since 2010. As a freelancer, I worked for The Guardian, Vice Motherboard, Wired and BBC.com, amongst many others. I was named BT Security Journalist of the year in 2012 and 2013 for a range of exclusive articles, and in 2014 was handed Best News Story for a feature on US government harassment of security professionals. I like to hear from hackers who are breaking things for either fun or profit and researchers who’ve uncovered nasty things on the web. Tip me on Signal at 447837496820. I use WhatsApp and Treema too. Or you can email me at TBrewster@forbes.com, or tbthomasbrewster@gmail.com.

Source: Exclusive: Hack Breaks Your Visa Card’s Contactless Limit For Big Frauds

Hackers steal an estimated $59m from Japanese crypto exchange Zaif – The Block

https://www.pivot.one/share/post/5c1ca8911d57e743859729c2?uid=5bd49f297d5fe7538e6111b6&invite_code=JTOJYV

U.S. Trader Fined $1.1 Million and Sentenced to 15 Months for Commiting Bitcoin Fraud – Aisshwarya Tiwari

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According to a report by Bloomberg, published November 13, 2018, U.S. resident named Joseph Kim has been fined $1.1 million and sentenced to 15 months in prison for orchestrating fraudulent schemes related to bitcoin (BTC), and litecoin (LTC), thus duping his employer and several other customers of their money. In 2017, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) found out that Kim had transferred $601,000 worth of bitcoin and litecoin from his employer’s cryptocurrency exchange wallet to his wallet. The misappropriation of funds was done sometime between September and November 2017, when Kim used to work for a Chicago based trading firm…………

Read more: https://btcmanager.com/u-s-trader-bitcoin-fraud/

 

 

 

 

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Billionaire Elon Musk’s $40 Million Tweet May Be A Blessing For Tesla After Settling Fraud Suit -Antoine Gara

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A tried and true platitude for many entrepreneurs is they learn more from mistakes than success. The maxim may prove especially true when it comes to automotive and aerospace billionaire Elon Musk and his $45 billion electric car giant Tesla TSLA -13.96%. In August, Musk used his Twitter TWTR -3.26% account to float a buyout of the company for a price of $420 a share, stating he’d secured funding for the take-private and had shareholder support. The price, as it turns out, was a veiled drug joke to Musk’s then-girlfriend Grimes and was pulled mostly out of thin air……

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/antoinegara/2018/09/30/billionaire-elon-musks-40-million-tweet-may-be-a-blessing-for-tesla-after-settling-fraud-suit/#55b46e987435

 

 

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Amazon is working with the FTC’s fraud investigation against Sellers Playbook — TechCrunch

Amazon said today it is working with the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into consumer fraud allegedly committed by Sellers Playbook, a Minnesota-based business that claimed to help Amazon sellers make more money. FTC and the state of Minnesota announced today that they have charged Sellers Playbook and its owner Jessie Tieva and CEO Matthew Tieva,…

via Amazon is working with the FTC’s fraud investigation against Sellers Playbook — TechCrunch

 

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