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Beware: Bitcoin Sextortion Racket, Don’t get scammed



Sextortionists are sending emails claiming to have video evidence of people seeing adult content online asking for a ransom to be paid in Bitcoin.

A research was conducted by the cyber crime investigation firm of UK Digital Shadows which was then reported in The Next Web that the cyber criminals have managed to generate around $332,000 in Bitcoin from a blackmail scam which is email-based. These funds were sent from more than 3,100 unique addresses of Bitcoin.

In 2017, the scam was reported for the first time but in 2018 the cases of fraud flooded throughout the year.

The funds ended up in 92 different bitcoin addresses believe to belong to the same organization, that could reportedly be making an average of $540 per victim.


Scammer’s tactic to earn Bitcoin:

The publication has referred to them as ‘sextortionists’. Sextortionists are reported to send the users an email that would include a known password as “proof” they hacked and claimed to have video evidence of them seeing adult content online. The sender blackmails them by leaking with the footage if a ransom is not paid in Bitcoin.


The below tweets show that the attack is still going on:

Operation of Scammers:

The report by UK Firm clearly shows that the ‘sextortion’ operation was highly developed one, as scammers were trying to hire more people to help them target high-net-work individuals.

Those who were hired would be getting high salaries, up to $768,000 per annum These cyber criminals have been particularly using social media to target their victims.

The emails were sent from 5 different continents. Majority of the emails were from Vietnam, Brazil, and India. Scammers from these nations are said to be behind 8.5, 5.3, and 4.7 percent of the total number of “sextortion” attempts respectively. It is possible that the email servers could have been compromised too as part of the attack.

As per the reports, these scammers are turning to social media and targeting the high net worth individuals.


J-Code Arrests 61, Seizes $4.5 Million in Crypto from Dark Web Traffickers



J-Code has arrested 61 people and seized around $4.5 million in cryptocurrency from Dark web traffickers during the Operation SaboTor.

J-Code or the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement team has arrested 61 people and seized around $4.5 million in cryptocurrency during the Operation SaboTor which targets the drug traffickers worldwide that operate on the dark web.


The J-Code comprises of organizations such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Durg Enforcement Administration, Health and Safety Institution, Customs and Border Protection, United States Postal Inspection Service, Department of Defense in the United States and other international organizations. The operation SaboTor is the 2nd such operation after Operation Disarry which was organized last year which led to the arrest of 8 people involved in drug trafficking.


J-Code strikes Dark Web

J-Code arrested 61 drug traffickers and closed 50 accounts operating on the darknet that were performing illegal activities. The law enforcement team carried out sixty-five search warrants and around 299.5 kgs of drugs, fifty-one fire and ammunition along with $7 million cash were seized by them. Out of the $7 million, around $4.5 million is in cryptocurrency, $2.5 million cash and $40,000 worth of gold.


According to Christopher Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J-Code is heading the fight against online drug trafficking and monitoring the darknet.

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Bitcoin and Dark web: Transactions increasing, Values decreasing



The bitcoin transactions on the dark web, underground illegal marketplace have doubled in the last year (2018) in comparison to 2017.

The bitcoin transactions on the dark web, underground illegal marketplace have doubled in the last year (2018) in comparison to 2017 while the value of the transactions has decreased from around $700 million in 2017 to $600 million in 2018 as revealed by Chainalysis’s report.


Dark web not affected by the bear market:

It seems that the dark web is not affected by the bear market trend which led to the price of bitcoin to fall from over $19000 to around $3200 last year. Even during the bear market, the transactions on the dark web have been rising.

According to the report by Chainalysis, a blockchain analysis company, the value of the total transactions on the dark web was around $700 million in 2018 while the value of bitcoin transactions in 2018 was around $600. This was probably due to the shut down of dark web markets such as AlphaBay and Hansa in 2017.

The dark web websites have been experiencing massive growth in terms of the number of cryptocurrency transactions even though the prices of these cryptocurrencies have seen a tremendous decline over the past year. According to Kim Grauer, the senior economist at Chainalysis, the buyers and sellers on these dark web marketplaces really do not care about the price of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies while transacting. She also believes the in the coming time, the value of these transactions may further decrease as the governments are taking strict measures in order to shut down these markets.


Binance using Chainalysis:

Binance, which is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges revealed last year that it was using Chainalysis’s KYC and anti-money laundering software to prevent any illicit transactions on the exchange. The software by Chainalysis is used by companies to perform investigations in terms of financial transactions. The same software is also being used by many institutional clients of security firms for compliance.

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Cybersecurity Crumbles as self destructing Windows Installer Virus proliferate




Script based virus has reached epidemic proportions, and contingency security measures are the need of the hour, warn experts in crypto-threat experts.

Cyber Security industry warnings of Script-based virus proliferating in search of coins in 2018 have come true. Script based virus has reached epidemic proportions, and contingency security measures are the need of the hour, warn experts in crypto-threat experts.

Trend Micro is one of the security firms engaged in threat detection was unsettled to discover that coin miners were actually riding on Windows Installer-like installation packages to bring in malware to the system. The legitimate-looking packages could easily hoodwink local security levels. Most importantly, the malware was self-destructive making it impossible for users to detect the presence of the virus in the background.


Threats amplified by a coin-mining virus

Cybersecurity needs and threats appear to have amplified by x times the number of cryptocurrencies being born. Malware of every type tries to crypto-jack using scripts being hidden in every conceivable downloaded app, productivity tool or advertisement. These crypto-snaring virus have come riding on updates to programs such as Adobe Flash, hacking of government sites, routers as well as advertisements.

The reasons for crypto-jacking have been widely reported. Criminals profit by way of robbing coins mined by others or use the computing power of unsuspecting victims typically government institutions which house massive computational infrastructure to stealthily my coins in the background. Researchers have been able to identify nearly $250,000 in profits being made by these crypto-jackers.


Windows Installer

One of the latest virus-heists for cryptocoins has been the use of Windows Installer MSI file on the machine of the victim. Windows Installer is considered to be a legitimate application for installing software. The real component thus becomes ‘less suspicious and will also allow’ it to bypass security filters.

The trick that the hackers will typically use is that the malware directory will contain files which are usually decoys. The installer will operate like a script and will counteract anti-malware processes which run on any machine. Additionally, it will also control the mining module of the cryptocurrency.



The highlight of the research is that the malware includes a self-destruction mechanism so that the tracks are covered. The research report indicates that the detection, as well as analysis, shall become more difficult in terms of the malware deleting every file in its installation directory. In the process, all the traces of installation are removed from the system.

The researchers have found it very difficult to link back to the originating country. It has found that the proxy-installation package uses Cyrillic, a language which is the default script for many a crypto-mining virus.

Even as the adoption of cryptocurrencies begins to gather momentum, cyber-jacking is one of the biggest trade-offs. As for the price of these non-fiat currencies increases or their value in terms of fiat currencies like the US Dollar increase, they appear more and more attractive to criminals.

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