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Ex-Security Engineer Jailed 3 Years for $12.3 Million Crypto Exchange Thefts

Ex-Security Engineer Jailed 3 Years for $12.3 Million Crypto Exchange Thefts
Apr 13, 2024 Cryptocurrency / Regulatory Compliance
A former security engineer has been  sentenced  to three years in prison in the U.S. for charges relating to hacking two decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges in July 2022 and stealing over $12.3 million. Shakeeb Ahmed, the defendant in question,  pled guilty  to one count of computer fraud in December 2023  following his arrest  in July. "At the time of both attacks, Ahmed, a U.S. citizen, was a senior security engineer for an international technology company whose resume reflected skills in, among other things, reverse engineering smart contracts and blockchain audits, which are some of the specialized skills Ahmed used to execute the hacks," the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) noted at the time. While the name of the company was not disclosed, he was residing in Manhattan, New York, and  working for Amazon  before he was apprehended. Court documents show that Ahmed exploited a security flaw in an unnamed cryptocurrency exchange's smart contracts to insert "

U.S. Sanctions 3 Cryptocurrency Exchanges for Helping Russia Evade Sanctions

U.S. Sanctions 3 Cryptocurrency Exchanges for Helping Russia Evade Sanctions
Mar 26, 2024 Money Laundering / Digital Currency
The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned three cryptocurrency exchanges for offering services used to evade economic restrictions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. This includes Bitpapa IC FZC LLC, Crypto Explorer DMCC (AWEX), and Obshchestvo S Ogranichennoy Otvetstvennostyu Tsentr Obrabotki Elektronnykh Platezhey (TOEP). In all, the designations cover thirteen entities and two individuals operating in the Russian financial services and technology sectors. "Many of the individuals and entities designated today facilitated transactions or offered other services that helped OFAC-designated entities evade sanctions," the Treasury  said , adding the action seeks to "target companies servicing Russia's core financial infrastructure and curtail Russia's use of the international financial system to further its war against Ukraine." Bitpapa, which offers virtual currency excha
Webinar: Learn How to Stop Hackers from Exploiting Hidden Identity Weaknesses

Webinar: Learn How to Stop Hackers from Exploiting Hidden Identity Weaknesses

Apr 10, 2024Webinar / Identity Security
We all know passwords and firewalls are important, but what about the invisible threats lurking beneath the surface of your systems? Identity Threat Exposures (ITEs) are like secret tunnels for hackers – they make your security way more vulnerable than you think. Think of it like this: misconfigurations, forgotten accounts, and old settings are like cracks in your digital fortress walls. Hackers exploit these weaknesses to steal login information, gain sneaky access, and move around your systems unnoticed, whether they're in the cloud or on-site. This upcoming webinar,  " Today's Top 4 Identity Security Threat Exposures: Are You Vulnerable? "  isn't just for tech experts—it's about protecting your business.  We'll use real-world examples and insights from Silverfort's latest report to show you the hidden dangers of ITEs. You'll learn about: The Top 4 Identity Threats You Might Be Overlooking:  We'll name them and explain why they're

U.S. Sanctions Russians Behind 'Doppelganger' Cyber Influence Campaign

U.S. Sanctions Russians Behind 'Doppelganger' Cyber Influence Campaign
Mar 21, 2024 National Security / Data Privacy
The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Wednesday announced sanctions against two 46-year-old Russian nationals and the respective companies they own for engaging in cyber influence operations. Ilya Andreevich Gambashidze (Gambashidze), the founder of the Moscow-based company Social Design Agency (SDA), and Nikolai Aleksandrovich Tupikin (Tupikin), the CEO and current owner of Russia-based Company Group Structura LLC (Structura), have been accused of providing services to the Russian government in connection to a "foreign malign influence campaign." The disinformation campaign is tracked by the broader cybersecurity community under the name  Doppelganger , which is known to target audiences in Europe and the U.S. using inauthentic news sites and social media accounts. "SDA and Structura have been identified as key actors of the campaign, responsible for providing [the Government of the Russian Federation] with a variety of servic

UPCOMING WEBINAR: Implementing What's New in NIST CSF 2.0

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websiteArmorPointCybersecurity / Webinar
Learn three practical steps to implement the latest version of the NIST CSF on 4/15 at 3pm ET. Register Today!

29-Year-Old Ukrainian Cryptojacking Kingpin Arrested for Exploiting Cloud Services

29-Year-Old Ukrainian Cryptojacking Kingpin Arrested for Exploiting Cloud Services
Jan 13, 2024 Cryptojacking / Cloud Security
A 29-year-old Ukrainian national has been arrested in connection with running a "sophisticated cryptojacking scheme," netting them over $2 million (€1.8 million) in illicit profits. The person, described as the "mastermind" behind the operation, was apprehended in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, on January 9 by the National Police of Ukraine with support from Europol and an unnamed cloud service provider following "months of intensive collaboration." "A cloud provider approached Europol back in January 2023 with information regarding compromised cloud user accounts of theirs," Europol  said , adding it shared the intelligence with the Ukrainian authorities. The Cyber Police of Ukraine, in a separate announcement, said the suspect "infected the servers of a well-known American company with a miner virus" at least since 2021, using custom brute-force tools to infiltrate 1,500 accounts of the firm. "Using the compromised accounts, the hacker gained access to the management of the service," the a

Beware: Scam-as-a-Service Aiding Cybercriminals in Crypto Wallet-Draining Attacks

Beware: Scam-as-a-Service Aiding Cybercriminals in Crypto Wallet-Draining Attacks
Dec 30, 2023 Cryptocurrency / Phishing Scam
Cybersecurity researchers are warning about an increase in phishing attacks that are capable of draining cryptocurrency wallets. "These threats are unique in their approach, targeting a wide range of blockchain networks, from Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain to Polygon, Avalanche, and almost 20 other networks by using a crypto wallet-draining technique," Check Point researchers Oded Vanunu, Dikla Barda, and Roman Zaikin  said . A prominent contributor to this troubling trend is a notorious phishing group called Angel Drainer, which advertises a "scam-as-a-service" offering by charging a percentage of the stolen amount,  typically 20% or 30% , from its collaborators in return for providing wallet-draining scripts and other services. In late November 2023, a similar wallet-draining service known as Inferno Drainer announced that it was  shutting down its operations  for good after helping scammers plunder over $70 million worth of crypto from 103,676 victims sinc

Crypto Hardware Wallet Ledger's Supply Chain Breach Results in $600,000 Theft

Crypto Hardware Wallet Ledger's Supply Chain Breach Results in $600,000 Theft
Dec 15, 2023 Cryptocurrency / Malware
Crypto hardware wallet maker Ledger published a new version of its " @ledgerhq/connect-kit " npm module after unidentified threat actors pushed malicious code that led to the theft of  more than $600,000  in virtual assets. The  compromise  was the result of a former employee falling victim to a phishing attack, the company said in a statement. This allowed the attackers to gain access to Ledger's npm account and upload three malicious versions of the module – 1.1.5, 1.1.6, and 1.1.7 — and propagate  crypto drainer malware  to  other applications  that are dependent on the module, resulting in a software supply chain breach. "The malicious code used a rogue WalletConnect project to reroute funds to a hacker wallet," Ledger  said . Connect Kit , as the name implies, makes it possible to connect DApps (short decentralized applications) to Ledger's hardware wallets. According to security firm Sonatype, version 1.1.7 directly embedded a wallet-draining pa

New NKAbuse Malware Exploits NKN Blockchain Tech for DDoS Attacks

New NKAbuse Malware Exploits NKN Blockchain Tech for DDoS Attacks
Dec 15, 2023 Blockchain / Internet of Things
A novel multi-platform threat called  NKAbuse  has been discovered using a decentralized, peer-to-peer network connectivity protocol known as  NKN  (short for New Kind of Network) as a communications channel. "The malware utilizes NKN technology for data exchange between peers, functioning as a potent implant, and equipped with both flooder and backdoor capabilities," Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky  said  in a Thursday report. NKN, which has over 62,000 nodes, is  described  as a "software overlay network built on top of today's Internet that enables users to share unused bandwidth and earn token rewards." It incorporates a blockchain layer on top of the existing TCP/IP stack. While threat actors are known to take advantage of emerging communication protocols for command-and-control (C2) purposes and evade detection, NKAbuse leverages blockchain technology to conduct distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and function as an implant inside com

N. Korea's Kimsuky Targeting South Korean Research Institutes with Backdoor Attacks

N. Korea's Kimsuky Targeting South Korean Research Institutes with Backdoor Attacks
Dec 08, 2023 Cyber Espionage / Cryptocurrency
The North Korean threat actor known as  Kimsuky  has been observed targeting research institutes in South Korea as part of a spear-phishing campaign with the ultimate goal of distributing backdoors on compromised systems. "The threat actor ultimately uses a backdoor to steal information and execute commands," the AhnLab Security Emergency Response Center (ASEC)  said  in an analysis posted last week. The attack chains commence with an import declaration lure that's actually a malicious JSE file containing an obfuscated PowerShell script, a Base64-encoded payload, and a decoy PDF document. The next stage entails opening the PDF file as a diversionary tactic, while the PowerShell script is executed in the background to launch the backdoor. The malware, for its part, is configured to collect network information and other relevant data (i.e., host name, user name, and operating system version) and transmit the encoded details to a remote server. It's also capable of

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Sinbad Cryptocurrency Mixer Used by North Korean Hackers

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Sinbad Cryptocurrency Mixer Used by North Korean Hackers
Nov 30, 2023 Hacking / Cryptocurrency
The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed sanctions against  Sinbad , a virtual currency mixer that has been put to use by the North Korea-linked  Lazarus Group  to launder ill-gotten proceeds. "Sinbad has processed millions of dollars' worth of virtual currency from Lazarus Group heists, including the Horizon Bridge and Axie Infinity heists," the department said . "Sinbad is also used by cybercriminals to obfuscate transactions linked to malign activities such as sanctions evasion, drug trafficking, the purchase of child sexual abuse materials, and additional illicit sales on darknet marketplaces." In addition to the sanctions, Sinbad had its website seized as part of a coordinated law enforcement action between agencies in the U.S., Finland, and the Netherlands. The development builds on prior actions undertaken by governments in Europe and the U.S. to blockade mixers such as  Blender ,  Tornado Cash , and  ChipMixer , all of which have been accu

N. Korean Hackers 'Mixing' macOS Malware Tactics to Evade Detection

N. Korean Hackers 'Mixing' macOS Malware Tactics to Evade Detection
Nov 28, 2023 Malware / Cyber Espionage
The North Korean threat actors behind macOS malware strains such as RustBucket and KANDYKORN have been observed "mixing and matching" different elements of the two disparate attack chains, leveraging RustBucket droppers to deliver KANDYKORN. The  findings  come from cybersecurity firm SentinelOne, which also tied a third macOS-specific malware called ObjCShellz to the RustBucket campaign. RustBucket  refers to an  activity cluster  linked to the Lazarus Group in which a backdoored version of a PDF reader app, dubbed SwiftLoader, is used as a conduit to load a next-stage malware written in Rust upon viewing a specially crafted lure document. The  KANDYKORN campaign , on the other hand, refers to a malicious cyber operation in which blockchain engineers of an unnamed crypto exchange platform were targeted via Discord to initiate a sophisticated multi-stage attack sequence that led to the deployment of the eponymous full-featured memory resident remote access trojan. The t

Randstorm Exploit: Bitcoin Wallets Created b/w 2011-2015 Vulnerable to Hacking

Randstorm Exploit: Bitcoin Wallets Created b/w 2011-2015 Vulnerable to Hacking
Nov 20, 2023 Cryptocurrency / Blockchain
Bitcoin wallets created between 2011 and 2015 are susceptible to a new kind of exploit called  Randstorm  that makes it possible to recover passwords and gain unauthorized access to a multitude of wallets spanning several blockchain platforms. "Randstorm() is a term we coined to describe a collection of bugs, design decisions, and API changes that, when brought in contact with each other, combine to dramatically reduce the quality of random numbers produced by web browsers of a certain era (2011-2015)," Unciphered  disclosed  in a report published last week. It's estimated that approximately 1.4 million bitcoins are parked in wallets that were generated with potentially weak cryptographic keys. Customers can check whether their wallets are vulnerable at www.keybleed[.]com. The cryptocurrency recovery company said it re-discovered the problem in January 2022 while it was  working for an unnamed customer  who had been locked out of its Blockchain.com wallet. The issue

Binance's Smart Chain Exploited in New 'EtherHiding' Malware Campaign

Binance's Smart Chain Exploited in New 'EtherHiding' Malware Campaign
Oct 16, 2023 Blockchain / Malware
Threat actors have been observed serving malicious code by utilizing Binance's Smart Chain (BSC) contracts in what has been described as the "next level of bulletproof hosting." The campaign, detected two months ago, has been codenamed  EtherHiding  by Guardio Labs. The novel twist marks the latest iteration in an ongoing malware campaign that leverages compromised WordPress sites to serve unsuspecting visitors a fake warning to update their browsers before the sites can be accessed, ultimately leading to the deployment of information stealer malware such as Amadey, Lumma, or RedLine. "While their initial method of hosting code on abused Cloudflare Worker hosts was taken down, they've quickly pivoted to take advantage of the decentralized, anonymous, and public nature of blockchain," security researchers Nati Tal and Oleg Zaytsev  said . "This campaign is up and harder than ever to detect and take down." It's no surprise that threat act

Ransomware Extortion Skyrockets in 2023, Reaching $449.1 Million and Counting

Ransomware Extortion Skyrockets in 2023, Reaching $449.1 Million and Counting
Jul 12, 2023 Ransomware / Cyber Threat
Ransomware has emerged as the only cryptocurrency-based crime to grow in 2023, with cybercriminals extorting nearly $175.8 million more than they did a year ago, according to findings from Chainalysis. "Ransomware attackers are on pace for their second-biggest year ever, having extorted at least $449.1 million through June," the blockchain analytics firm  said  in a midyear crypto crime report shared with The Hacker News. "If this pace continues, ransomware attackers will extort $898.6 million from victims in 2023, trailing only 2021's $939.9 million." In contrast, crypto scams have pulled in 77% less revenue than they did through June of 2022, largely driven by the abrupt exit of  VidiLook , which paid users VDL tokens in return for watching digital ads that could then be exchanged for large rewards. So have the inflows to illicit addresses associated with malware, darknet markets, child abuse material, and fraud shops. The development, following a  declin

Authorities Shut Down ChipMixer Platform Tied to Crypto Laundering Scheme

Authorities Shut Down ChipMixer Platform Tied to Crypto Laundering Scheme
Mar 16, 2023 Cyber Crime / Cryptocurrency
A coalition of law enforcement agencies across Europe and the U.S.  announced  the takedown of ChipMixer, an unlicensed cryptocurrency mixer that began its operations in August 2017. "The ChipMixer software blocked the blockchain trail of the funds, making it attractive for cybercriminals looking to launder illegal proceeds from criminal activities such as drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, ransomware attacks, and payment card fraud," Europol  said  in a statement. The coordinated exercise, besides dismantling the clearnet and dark web websites associated with ChipMixer, also resulted in the seizure of $47.5 million in Bitcoin and 7 TB of data. Mixers, also called tumblers,  offer full anonymity  for a fee by commingling cryptocurrency from different users – both legitimate and criminally-derived funds – in a manner that makes it hard to trace the origins. This is achieved by funneling different payments into a single pool before splitting up each amount and transmit

BitKeep Confirms Cyber Attack, Loses Over $9 Million in Digital Currencies

BitKeep Confirms Cyber Attack, Loses Over $9 Million in Digital Currencies
Dec 28, 2022 Blockchain / Android Malware
Decentralized multi-chain crypto wallet BitKeep on Wednesday confirmed a cyber attack that allowed threat actors to distribute fraudulent versions of its Android app with the goal of stealing users' digital currencies. "With maliciously implanted code, the altered APK led to the leak of user's private keys and enabled the hacker to move funds," BitKeep CEO Kevin Como  said , describing it as a "large-scale hacking incident." According to blockchain security company  PeckShield  and multi-chain blockchain explorer  OKLink , an estimated  $9.9 million  worth of assets have been plundered so far. "Funds stolen are on BNB Chain, Ethereum, TRON and Polygon," BitKeep further  noted  in a series of tweets. "More than 200 addresses on the other three chains were used in the heist, and all funds were transferred to two main addresses in the end." The incident is said to have taken place on December 26, 2022, with the threat actor exploiting

Critical Flaw Reported in Move Virtual Machine Powering the Aptos Blockchain Network

Critical Flaw Reported in Move Virtual Machine Powering the Aptos Blockchain Network
Oct 22, 2022
Researchers have disclosed details about a now-patched critical flaw in the Move virtual machine that powers the Aptos blockchain network. The vulnerability "can cause Aptos nodes to crash and cause denial of service," Singapore-based Numen Cyber Labs  said  in a technical write-up published earlier this month. Aptos is a  new entrant  to the blockchain space, which  launched  its  mainnet  on October 17, 2022. It has its roots in the Diem stablecoin payment system proposed by Meta (née Facebook), which also introduced a short-lived digital wallet called  Novi . The network is built using a platform-agnostic programming language known as  Move , a Rust-based system that's  designed  to implement and execute  smart contracts  in a secure  runtime environment , also known as the Move Virtual Machine (aka  MoveVM ). The  vulnerability  identified by Numen Cyber Labs is rooted in the Move language's verification module (" stack_usage_verifier.rs "), a com

Hackers Used Fake Job Offer to Hack and Steal $540 Million from Axie Infinity

Hackers Used Fake Job Offer to Hack and Steal $540 Million from Axie Infinity
Jul 11, 2022
The $540 million hack of Axie Infinity's  Ronin Bridge  in late March 2022 was the consequence of one of its former employees getting tricked by a fraudulent job offer on LinkedIn, it has emerged.  According to a report from  The Block  published last week citing two people familiar with the matter, a senior engineer at the company was duped into applying for a job at a non-existent company, causing the individual to download a fake offer document disguised as a PDF. "After what one source described as multiple rounds of interviews, a Sky Mavis engineer was offered a job with an extremely generous compensation package," the Block reported. The offer document subsequently acted as a conduit to deploy malware designed to breach Ronin's network, ultimately facilitating one of the crypto sector's biggest hacks to date. "Sky Mavis employees are under constant advanced spear-phishing attacks on various social channels and one employee was compromised," t

North Korean Hackers Suspected to be Behind $100M Horizon Bridge Hack

North Korean Hackers Suspected to be Behind $100M Horizon Bridge Hack
Jun 30, 2022
The notorious North Korea-backed hacking collective Lazarus Group is suspected to be behind the recent $100 million altcoin theft from Harmony Horizon Bridge, citing similarities to the  Ronin bridge attack  in March 2022. The finding comes as Harmony  confirmed  that its Horizon Bridge, a  platform  that allows users to move cryptocurrency across different blockchains, had been breached last week. The incident involved the exploiter carrying out multiple transactions on June 23 that extracted tokens stored in the bridge and subsequently making away with about $100 million in cryptocurrency. "The stolen crypto assets included Ether (ETH), Tether (USDT), Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) and BNB," blockchain analytics company Elliptic  said  in a new report. "The thief immediately used Uniswap – a decentralized exchange (DEX) – to convert much of these assets into a total of 85,837 ETH." Days later, on June 27, the culprit is said to have begun moving funds amounting to $
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