Well, well, well. Crime does pay: Ransomware creeps let off with community service

Dutch court goes easy on Coinvault duo

Two men who masterminded various Coinvault ransomware infections will carry out 240 hours of community service as punishment for screwing over 1,200 computers and banking around €10,000 (£9k, $12k) in profit.

The sentence was handed down by a court in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, where it was ruled brothers Melvin and Dennis van den B. had earned leniency based on their cooperation with police, lack of a criminal record, and young ages at the time they were collared in 2015. Melvin was 22 and Dennis 18 at the time of their arrest.

Prosecutors had asked they receive a year in prison in addition to the 240 hours of community service.

Coinvault surfaced in 2014 as a high-profile file-scrambling malware. The software encrypted victims’ documents, and demanded they pay a ransom of one Bitcoin (worth a few hundred Euros at the time) to restore access to their data.

While the pair was only charged with infecting 1,259 machines, researchers have estimated that the actual number of PCs hit with the malware was more like 14,000, with victims in more than 20 countries.

It was claimed in court that about 100 people coughed up the ransom demands before antivirus makers were able to develop a decryption tool to unscrambled hostage files. The malware would only be eradicated fully in 2015 when the brothers were arrested and the full decryption keys were recovered.

Interestingly, it was the pair’s Dutch nationality that brought them down. Researchers were able to pinpoint the locality of the authors to the Netherlands after finding snippets of the code containing “flawless Dutch phrases” that are usually only bandied about by native speakers of the notoriously difficult language.

Kaspersky Lab, who helped lead the investigation and eventual takedown of Coinvault, said that, despite the lenient sentence, the ultimate takeaway from the three-year ordeal should be that, in the end, extortionists get caught.

“Cybercrime doesn’t pay,” said Kaspersky Lab researcher Jornt van der Wiel. “If you become a victim of criminal or ransomware activity, keep your files and report the incident to the police. Never pay the ransom and be confident that not only will the decryption tool appear, but also that justice will triumph in regards to the criminals.”


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Author: Shaun Nichols
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International Task Force Notes Use of Cryptocurrencies in Financial Crime

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced Monday that a new joint force of tax enforcement authorities will combat international and transnational tax crimes – including cybercrimes facilitated through cryptocurrencies.



Tax enforcement agencies from the U.K., Australia, Canada and the Netherlands will join the IRS in forming the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) to prosecute tax crimes, according to a press release. The organization was formed in response to “a call to action” by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to “do more” on the crackdown on tax crimes.

The entity has already met, with cryptocurrencies coming up as an area of concern in financial crimes.

In a statement, Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service general director Hans van der Vlist said:
“The unique thing about the J5 is the operational collaboration between five countries on tackling professional enablers that facilitate offshore tax crime, cybercrime and the threat of cryptocurrencies to tax administrations, as well as making best use of internationally available data and technology.”

Johanne Charbonneau, general director of the Canada Revenue Agency, also said that J5 is building a “serious commitment” in an international cooperation that will fight against serious international tax crimes, including cybercrimes through “the use of cryptocurrencies.”

No details are disclosed regarding how J5 will work together to end the threats received from cryptocurrency-related tax crimes, but an update on its initiatives is expected in late 2018, according to the news release.


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Author: Muyao Shen
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Hackers Target Infrastructure and Weak Security to Steal Cryptocurrencies

Carbon Black, a predictive cloud security service, recently published a report demonstrating that $1.1 billion worth of cryptocurrency-thefts occurred in the last six months


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Security Experts Weigh in

Unfortunately, most of these thefts came from an attack on a cryptocurrency exchange or business. TechWire mentioned that hackers often hide malware on websites or weak infrastructure especially on cryptocurrency exchanges with inadequate security.

According to the report, cryptocurrency exchanges were the most vulnerable target to hackers and represented 27 percent of cryptocurrency-related attacks, followed by businesses at 21 percent, users at 14 percent and government resources at seven percent.

Cryptocurrency exchanges ranked highest because malicious agents were able to leverage vulnerable problems in their security infrastructure and easily steal large amounts of data and drain victim’s wallet.

While the theft is in the billions, it does not come as much of a surprise considering Coincheck suffered a hack of over $500 million at the beginning of 2018. Just recently, South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail, while a significantly smaller exchange also lost approximately $40 million in cryptocurrencies.

Instead of targeting the network, many hackers are taking advantage of the lax security from exchanges. They deploy stealer malware and drain the exchange of vulnerable cryptocurrencies. Some hackers even leverage their access to data to undergo follow-up attack on the users.

The report mentioned that “unfortunately, new investors and traders looking to jump on the crypto bandwagon will exacerbate the opportunity for exploitation. We expect to see cryptocurrency theft and illicit mining activity expand in the mid-to-long term as security mechanisms and user awareness slowly catch up to the evolving threat.”

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Stealer Malware Popular among Cybercriminals

“It’s surprising just how easy it is without any tech skill to commit cybercrimes like ransomware,” said Rick McElroy, Carbon Black Security strategist.

“It’s not always these large nefarious groups, it’s in anybody’s hands.”

McElroy mentioned that malware purchases on the dark web often comes with customer service. “You just have to able to log in and be able to buy the thing – you can call customer support and they’ll give you tips,” he continued.

The malware costs on average $224, however, the security expert has seen some malware options as low as $1.04. The Carbon Black report stated that the available dark web marketplace, a marketplace that can only be accessed using specialized software, is currently a $6.7 million economy which is built from cryptocurrency-related malware development and sales.

While many thefts can come from huge crime groups targeting cryptocurrency exchanges and companies, McElroy stated that thefts can even emerge from an unemployed engineer who’s looking to make extra money on the side. “You have nations that are teaching coding, but there’s no jobs,” said McElroy. “It could just be two people in Romania needing to pay rent.”

In regards to the most vulnerable countries susceptible to cryptocurrency attacks, the US emerged first with 24 cryptocurrency attacks. China came in second with ten attacks, and the UK came in third with eight.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author Cindy Huynh
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12 arrested in Japan for a Bitcoin [BTC] scam worth $2 million!

Tokyo and Hyogo police have apprehended 12 suspects for an alleged scam worth $2 million. The prime suspect Mr. Kenta Higashi, a youngster working in the food industry in Kobe transacted fake fiat currency for Bitcoin. As reported by Tokyo times, in June 2017 Higashi the infamous conman had offered an executive 200 million fiat currencies for 190 million yen worth of Bitcoin.

The victim aged 40 was not aware of the fraud until he was informed via his agent upon receiving the counterfeit cash. This case has brought forward the risks in dealing national fiat currencies as they can be easily forged. There have been similar cases in the past years wherein agents have been targeted at gunpoint or threatened.

According to sources from Tokyo, these trades are very unpredictable and dangerous as they generally take place over the counter, evading exchange commission. Direct transactions and trade exchanges are pretty common in Japan. The nation is working hard to stop money laundering, hacking and other crypto-crimes as it poses a major threat to the economy and its people.

Marty Melan tweeted,
“Fiat currency will be ultimately replaced by digitalized currency in the coming years. This is a technological revolution, do we still use the Barter system, No. We adapt and accept whatever is more feasible and economically better. This is high time the governments around the world switch to crypto-mode”

Chen Pi on a social forum commented,
“Throw away your mining gear! Now you don”t need a high performance to…
This new generation cryptocurrency based on Blockchain 2.0 is now the fastest in the world!
Your face when you know there is no use of mining anymore!”
“Crypto-crimes is nothing new, with every economy there comes illegality. This does not mean that cryptocurrency and blockchains are illicit. I see that cybercrimes have increased at disturbing rate. Police are taking strict action on these criminals who will help people keep faith in the digital currency and the future”

Andre Nate, another crypto enthusiast says,
“Since Japan is the epi-center of crypto-currency. This was an amazing move from the Japanese cops, but will this bring justice to all those who have lost money; both fiat as well BTC.”


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author: Joel Mathew
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