Archive for July, 2017


While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have enjoyed meteoric popularity over the past several months, there are still many potential investors who remain skeptical. And one of the reasons for this skepticism is the ongoing concern about cryptocurrency security. Now that a second major hack of Ethereum has taken place within the span of one week, those concerns may have more traction, although it certainly hasn’t stopped many investors from shifting their attention to the digital money space.

Two High-Profile Hacks in Three Days

Ethereum suffered major losses because of two separate hacking incidents that occurred within three days of each other last week, according to a report by PC Gamer.

The second of the two robberies was the more substantial. It exploited a vulnerability in Parity, the digital wallet service popular among many Ethereum miners. Hackers stole about 153,000 Ether, the network’s native currency, with a value of about $34 million. The hackers stole this sum from three different multi-signature Ethereum wallets.

Gavin Wood, founder of Parity, issued a critical security notice in response to the hacking event. “A vulnerability in Parity Wallet’s variant of the standard multi-sig contract has been found,” he explained.

Wood then urged all Parity users to “immediately move assets contained in the multi-sig wallet to a secure address.” Simultaneously, hackers working to defend the network siphoned more than 377,000 additional Ether tokens to a safe space. The White Hat Group explained its actions in a post on Reddit, saying it would re-issue the funds back to owners once the vulnerability could be properly addressed.

CoinDash Exposes Another Entry Point for Hackers

The other hacking event, which occurred last week, exposes another point of concern with regard to crypto security. Hackers stole about $10.3 million in Ether from CoinDash, a popular exchange. In this case, the robbers may have simply replaced wallet addresses with a simple hack.

And yet, in spite of these and a number of other prominent thefts in recent months,

its seem to be showing no signs of slowing down in terms of growth.

The largest currencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, have appreciated 178% and 2,569%, respectively, so far in 2017, and the overall user base of cryptocurrencies worldwide is expanding at a significant pace. It could be that the risk of hacking and theft is simply not great enough in the minds of potential investors to convince them to stay away from a potentially lucrative investment.

PC Gamer suggests that the downfall of cryptocurrencies, if there is one at any time in the future, would more likely be because of a drop in the values of those currencies than due to concerns over possible theft of assets.

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AlphaBay,  one of the largest Dark Web marketplaces for drugs, guns, and other illegal goods — that mysteriously went dark earlier this month without any explanation from its admins has reportedly been shut down by the international authorities.

On July 4th, the dark web marketplace suddenly went down without any explanation from its admins, which left its customers who have paid large sums in panic.

Some customers even suspected that the site’s admins had pulled an exit scam to steal user funds.

However, according to the Wall Street Journal, the disappearance of the AlphaBay came after authorities in the United States, Canada, and Thailand collaborated to conduct a series of raids and arrest Alexandre Cazes, who allegedly was one of the AlphaBay’s operators.

Citing_ “people familiar with the matter,”_ the publication claims that Cazes, a resident of Canada, was arrested in Thailand and taken into custody in Bangkok on July 5th, the same day the police executed two raids on residences in Quebec, Canada.

The 26-year-old Canadian citizen was awaiting extradition to the United States when a guard found him hanged in his jail cell on Wednesday, the Chiang Rai Times confirms. Cazes is believed to have hanged himself using a towel.

AlphaBay Market — one of the largest Dark Web marketplaces for drugs, guns, and other illegal goods — that mysteriously went dark earlier this month without any explanation from its admins has reportedly been shut down by the international authorities.

On July 4th, the dark web marketplace suddenly went down without any explanation from its admins, which left its customers who have paid large sums in panic.

Some customers even suspected that the site’s admins had pulled an exit scam to steal user funds.

However, according to the Wall Street Journal, the disappearance of the AlphaBay came after authorities in the United States, Canada, and Thailand collaborated to conduct a series of raids and arrest Alexandre Cazes, who allegedly was one of the AlphaBay’s operators.

Citing_ “people familiar with the matter,”_ the publication claims that Cazes, a resident of Canada, was arrested in Thailand and taken into custody in Bangkok on July 5th, the same day the police executed two raids on residences in Quebec, Canada.

The 26-year-old Canadian citizen was awaiting extradition to the United States when a guard found him hanged in his jail cell on Wednesday, the Chiang Rai Times confirms. Cazes is believed to have hanged himself using a towel.

Cazes had been living in Thailand for nearly 8 years. During his arrest, authorities also seized “four Lamborghini cars and three houses worth about 400 million baht ($11.7 million) in total.”

AlphaBay, also known as “the new Silk Road,” also came in the news at the beginning of this year when a hacker successfully hacked the AlphaBay site and stole over 200,000 private unencrypted messages from several users.

After the disappearance of Silk Road, AlphaBay emerged in 2014 and became a leader among dark web marketplaces for selling illicit goods from drugs to stolen credit card numbers, exploits, and malware.

Unlike dark web market ‘Evolution’ that suddenly disappeared overnight from the Internet, stealing millions of dollars worth of Bitcoins from its customers, AlphaBay Market was shut down by the law enforcement, suffering the same fate as Silk Road.

Silk Road was shut down after the law enforcement raided its servers in 2013 and arrested its founder Ross William Ulbricht, who has been sentenced to life in prison.

The FBI also seized Bitcoins (worth about $33.6 million, at the time) from the site. Those Bitcoins were later sold in a series of auctions by the United States Marshals Service (USMS).

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Personal details of some 120 Million customers have been allegedly exposed on the Internet in probably the biggest breach of personal data ever in India.

Last night, an independent website named Magicapk.com went online, offering Reliance Jio customers to search for their identification data (Know Your Customer or KYC) just by typing in their Jio number.

Reliance set up the Jio 4G network across the length and breadth of India in September last year and gained more than 50 million subscribers within a span of just 83 days. The company gave seven months of free internet, unlimited calls, unlimited music to its subscribers.

Although the website that claimed to have hacked into Jio database is no longer accessible, many users confirmed their personal data showed up on the website, displaying their names, email addresses and most alarmingly, in some cases, Aadhaar numbers.

Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued by the Indian government to every resident of India. This number is also used for enrolling for a SIM.

In response to the breach, Reliance Jio released a statement, saying that the claims are unverified and that the leaked data appears to be “unauthentic.”

“We have come across the unverified and unsubstantiated claims of the website and are investigating it. Prima facie, the data appears to be unauthentic,” a spokesperson said.

“We want to assure our subscribers that their data is safe and maintained with highest security. Data is only shared with authorities as per their requirement.”

The Jio spokesperson said the company has “informed law enforcement agencies about the claims of the website and will follow through to ensure strict action is taken.”

 

Breach Appears to be Authentic! But Doesn’t Affect All JIO Users

The Hacker News independently verified the leak for a few Jio numbers, and the data came out to be accurate for some Jio numbers, but not for all.Therefore, the data on the website seems to be authentic, but luckily some customers are spared–probably those who have been issued Jio SIM after the breach.

For obvious reasons, we are not naming the customers we tested on the website and found their identity leaked just by typing their mobile number. The leaked information includes:
First Name
Middle Name
Last Name
Mobile Number
Email-Id
Circle-Id
SIM Activation Date and Time
Aadhaar Number, in some cases Mobile numbers for other telecom operators in India, such as Vodafone and Airtel, did not work on the website.

 

Hackers Identity is Unknown Yet

The website was hosted by the web hosting company GoDaddy.com and was registered in May 2017, but so far it is not clear who owned the domain.

Also, it is not clear at this moment that how the hackers got access to sensitive data of Jio customers and was it Jio who got hacked or some third-party marketing company with whom the company shared its customer’s data.

Though there is very little victims (especially those who have exposed their Aadhaar number) can do to protect themselves from future attacks. Hackers holding their Aadhaar number can disguise their identities to carry out several frauds.

All Jio customers are highly recommended to be vigilant to unrequested calls asking for their further details or account passwords. No company asks for these details over phone calls or emails.

Victims should also particularly be alert of the Phishing emails, which are usually the next step of cyber criminals after a large-scale hack at any telecoms company. Phishing tricks users into giving up further personal details like passwords.

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