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Only a year ago, Coinbase was one of the first Bitcoin exchanges to launch in the U.S., and the Golden Gate based exchange has since grown to become the largest Bitcoin exchange in the nation. But because of the recent attention Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have received, Coinbase has become a prime target for hackers.
Bitcoin mining involves racing monsters across a pixelated landscape, and if you don’t like these games then you probably don’t like Bitcoin. The problem with this analogy is that Bitcoin mining is much more than a game. It’s a vicious race to be the first to solve a complex mathematical equation. Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, designed it to function as an electronic crypto-currency.
A new form of cyber-crime is now gaining traction across the Internet, and it is all about making money. Dubbed “ransomware” by law enforcement, this new form of crime involves hackers locking up computer systems and then demanding money from the owner to unlock them.
For centuries, detectives searching for criminals have chanted, “Follow bitcoin.” This fight between criminals and police in cyberspace has been going for years, and now the bad guys are winning?
Despite the anonymity of cryptocurrencies, new methods to trace their money on the bitcoin blockchain — a public record of all transactions between wallets – have led to the arrest of hundreds of hackers in the past two years.
Is it possible, though, that the tables are about to turn? On the darknet, a new service is being offered that allows criminals to verify how “clean” their digital currencies are.
Dr. Tom Robinson, chief researcher and creator of analytics firm Elliptic, who uncovered the website, said, “What we’re seeing is that criminals are beginning to cut down on blockchain analysis, and this service is the first.” Dr Robinson said, “It’s called Antinalysis, and criminals may now check their Bitcoin wallets to see whether the police are looking into them for illegal activity.”
The finding, according to Elliptic, demonstrates how sophisticated cybercrime networks have grown, as well as how criminals dread getting discovered (unsurprisingly). “This is a unique method. If the monies are tainted, we may conduct further money laundering to attempt to break the connection to the crime until we have clean coins,” the researcher explained the method.
This, according to Dr. Robinson, is a concerning new trend that may make his and law enforcement’s jobs more difficult. However, according to the institute’s experts, the service is presently ineffective. “It hasn’t done a great job of detecting connections to illegal websites. However, over time, it will surely improve. So, in the future, I believe it will be a major capacity for crooks and money launderers,” the expert said.
A global search is underway.
Governments across the globe, including China, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, are using cryptocurrencies to combat the increasing issue of money laundering. Cryptocurrency tracking has already resulted in high-profile arrests, such as US teenager Graham Ivan Clark, who is now doing time in prison for masterminding one of the largest social media breaches ever.
Clark hacked into the accounts of scores of celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Joe Biden, on Twitter. Clark and his hacker team then tweeted an ad for a cryptocurrency fraud, which attracted hundreds of public referrals expecting to profit from the phony contribution. Clark earned almost $100,000 in a matter of hours and quickly began concealing his traces.
That, however, did not work. Officials successfully examined the blockchain and re-anonymized the Bitcoin transactions, allowing the hackers to be identified, according to the US Department of Justice’s charge against him. Clark, now 18, pled guilty and was sentenced to three years in jail in Florida.
This isn’t exactly PC.
The increasing popularity of so-called privacy coins is another trend that authorities are concerned about. Cryptocurrencies like Monero, for example, provide more privacy than popular coins like Bitcoin. Hackers may offer victims to pay with these currencies in return for a discount in certain extortion instances.
This is yet another emerging trend, and according to Kim Grauer, research director at bitcoin analytics company Chainalysis, this approach offers disadvantages for criminals. “We haven’t seen as much adoption of privacy coins as we had hoped. The main reason for this is because they lack the liquidity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. “Cryptocurrencies are only valuable if you can purchase and sell products and services with them, and this is considerably more difficult with privacy coins,” said the institute’s director.
BBC News is the source of this information.
Bitcoin is the first digital currency to enter mainstream consciousness. It’s been around for a few years now, and it’s hard to imagine the internet without it. Bitcoin is often thought of as a currency; however, it’s more accurate to describe it as a concept. Bitcoin is a decentralised digital currency that’s controlled by no one; it’s bought, sold, and traded by individuals and businesses alike, keeping it from being used as a monetary instrument. All Bitcoins are the same, but what sets them apart is their number. Imagine a coin with a 1 in 100,000 chance of being the next Bitcoin. If one of those coins were to be discovered, it would be worth over $100 million!. Read more about why is cryptocurrency valuable and let us know what you think.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- ransomware attack
- what is ransomware
- ransomware definition