Bitcoin News — Bitcoin Scams

Mining Giant Bitmain Sues Unknown Hacker for Alleged Theft of $5.5 Million in Crypto

Posted by Helen Partz on

Bitman sues unknown hacker who allegedly stole $5.5 million worth of crypto by using Binance and Bittrex wallets for manipulation of MANA token.

China-based Bitcoin (BTC) mining giant Bitmain has sued an anonymous hacker for the alleged theft of cryptocurrency worth $5.5 million from Bitmain’s account on Binance in April, according to a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle on Nov. 7.

As stated in the court document, an unknown hacker, referred to as “John Doe” in the case, managed to take over Bitmain’s Binance account and used stored Bitcoin to manipulate the price of altcoin Decentraland (MANA) and then steal the profits.

Bitmain says in the court document that the amount of the company’s losses “exceeds” $5.5 million in “Bitcoin and other digital assets,” and specifying that the defendant was able to steal “approximately 617 BTC.” The document cites that the unauthorized action took place on April 22, when Bitcoin was trading at around $8,935.

The document also explains that as a part of the “scam,” the unknown hacker used two of their own accounts on now-second largest crypto exchange Binance, as well as on Bittrex, with around 2.3 million MANA already acquired on Bittrex. “John Doe” reportedly placed purchase orders from Bitmain’s digital wallet offering to buy MANA “and other digital assets” with Bitmain’s bitcoins at a price that was “far above the going market rate.” The defendant also allegedly further artificially inflated MANA’s price by using Bitmain’s BTC to buy Ethereum (ETH), which was then used to buy MANA.

According to the lawsuit, the hacker further carried out a number of orchestrated trades in the reverse direction between BTC and MANA from Bitmain’s wallet and their own, eventually reportedly completing the theft by transferring BTC from their Bitmain account “ultimately into a digital wallet on the Bittrex cryptocurrency trading platform.”

In Mid-October, Cointelegraph reported that losses caused by hacks of crypto exchanges in the first nine months of 2018 have exceeded the numbers for the whole year of 2017 by 250 percent, with $927 million stolen.

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South Korea: Four ‘Young’ Hackers Booked in Cryptojacking Case Targeting Over 6,000 PCs

Posted by Marie Huillet on

Four “young” hackers have been arrested in South Korea in a major cryptojacking case involving over 6,000 computers.

Four “young” hackers have been arrested in a cryptojacking case involving over 6,000 computers in what is allegedly South Korea’s “first” known case of its kind, Korean English-language news outlet Aju Daily reports Nov. 8.

Cryptojacking is the practice of using a computer’s processing power to mine for cryptocurrencies without the owner’s consent or knowledge.

Aju Daily cites a statement from the National Police Agency's cyber bureau that clarified that the four accused had not been detained, but would face a trial for allegedly infecting 6,038 PCs with malicious mining malware, which had been concealed in job application documents sent via email.

The cryptojacking campaign is said to have lasted two months as of October 2017, but resulted in mined crypto worth only worth around one million won ($895).

According to daily South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh, the mined crypto was anonymity-oriented altcoin Monero (XMR), which frequently features in cryptojacking cases that employ the “Coinhive” code — a program created to mine XMR via a web browser. According to a study published this summer, around 5 percent of all XMR in circulation has been mined surreptitiously through cryptojacking, a figure that was noted to likely be “too low.”

Hankyoreh similarly reports that the case is the first in the country to have drawn the attention of the police authorities. The newspaper notes that some of the emails masking the malware resembled real resumes, resulting in the infection of computers used by human resources (HR) staff, adding that the hackers targeted 32,435 people in total. A police official told Hani that:

"Security firms quickly responded to the spread of malware, and [the hackers’] revenue was not very high. Most of the cases were detected by anti-virus software within 3 ~ 7 days. When it was detected, the hackers sent further malware, but it was soon detected again.”

In a global context, the South Korean case is dwarfed by other cryptojacking campaigns; in July, 20 suspects were arrested in China in a major case that allegedly affected over one million computers and generated 15 million yuan (around $2.2 million) in illicit profits.

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Three Thai Siblings Accused of $24 Million Bitcoin Scam Plead ‘Not Guilty’

Posted by Ana Berman on

Three Thai siblings accused of swindling $24 million worth of Bitcoin from a Finnish investor have recently pleaded “not guilty” in a Bangkok court.

Three Thai citizens who are currently being prosecuted for allegedly swindling $24 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) have pleaded “not guilty” in the Criminal Court of Bangkok, major Thai newspaper Bangkok Post reports Wednesday, Nov. 7.

During the hearings, Thai prosecutors accused the three defendants and six accomplices of defrauding 21-year-old Finnish investor Aamai Otava Saarimaa back in 2017. According to the investigation, he was persuaded to buy shares in Expay Software Co, invest in a gambling-focused crypto token Dragon Coin (DRG), and buy 500 million shares in DNA (2002) Co, which he consequently did by transferring crypto to the siblings’ wallets.

The prosecutors claim that after receiving the money, the Jaravijit family bought several blocks of land in Thailand. Saarimaa, in his turn, received no profit and later complained to the Thai Crime Suppression Division (CSD).

The three Jaravijit siblings, charged with conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, have recently pleaded “not guilty.”

Two of the siblings, Jiratpisit (a Thai actor known as “Boom”) and Supitcha, were arrested in August and then released on bail of $61,000 each. Their elder brother, Prinya Jaravijit, managed to flee to the U.S. in an attempt to avoid the charges.

However, in October, the Thai CSD revoked the Prinya Jaravijit’s passport — making his stay in the U.S. illegal — in order to force his return. After arriving in Bangkok, Jaravajit was then detained without bail and is currently being held in the Bangkok Remand Prison.

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Fake Elon Musk Accounts on Twitter Promote Bitcoin Scams, One Collects $170K

Posted by Ana Alexandre on

Scammers comprised several Twitter accounts today to masquerade as Tesla CEO Elon Musk and promote fraudulent Bitcoin scams.

Several verified Twitter accounts have been hacked to impersonate Elon Musk today, Nov. 5, with one reportedly collecting almost $170,000.

After compromising verified accounts, scammers changed the profile name and picture in order to pose as the Tesla CEO. Scammers would then post in comment threads started by the real Elon Musk, so as to give the impression of legitimacy. Some of the scam tweets said that Elon Musk was conducting “the biggest” crypto-giveaway in the world for those who use “Bitcoic” (read Bitcoin), and provided a link to “participate” in the giveaway.

Screenshot of compromised Pathe UK account. Source: Business Insider

Screenshot of compromised Pathe UK account. Source: Business Insider

To skirt Twitter security measures, scammers subtly changed one of the characters in the name, while still maintaining a display name that appeared to be “Elon Musk” at a glance, preculding Twitter from automatically flagging the account.

Hackers reportedly compromised several different accounts, including those of film production firm Pathe U.K. and U.S. politician Frank Pallone Jr.

Daily Beast reporter Lachlan Markay reported that sources on Pallone’s campaign confirmed the account was hacked, albeit without any political goals saying, “Just looks like a Bitcoin Scam.”

He subsequently added that one of the BTC wallets used in the scams received $158,256 and that the payments “are still coming.” At press time, the address referred to by Markay had a final balance of 26.38 BTC ($168,930).

Pathe U.K. later confirmed that it had recovered control of its account and deleted the fake Elon Musk tweets.

Other high-profile individuals in the crypto and tech space have been similarly impersonated. In April, founder and CEO of Telegram Pavel Durov tweeted a warning, telling his followers that the messaging app was experiencing downtime due to its server clusters overheating. Durov’s tweet drew attention to fake crypto giveaway scammers who posed as the Telegram CEO and claimed to offer crypto to users as a “thank you for [their] support.”

In January, Twitter saw an influx of Litecoin (LTC) founder “Charlie Lee” impersonators, with multiple imposters posing as the LTC creator and promoting a fake LTC giveaway. Most of the scammers were using Twitter handles with names very similar to the real Charlie Lee, @SatoshiLite, such as @SatoshiLitez and @SatoshiLitee_.

In September, Elon Musk asked Jackson Palmer, the creator of Dogecoin (DOGE), to help him combat "annoying" cryptocurrency scammers on Twitter. Palmer replied almost immediately, urging Musk to reach out to him using direct messages. Later on, the creator of Dogecoin sent Musk a script that could purportedly solve the problem.

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New Zealand’s Financial Authority Blacklists Three Local Crypto Platforms

Posted by Ana Berman on

The Financial Markets Authority of New Zealand claims a local crypto platform is a scam because of its use of a certified company’s name and identity.

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) of New Zealand has added three new crypto-related websites to its list of online scams, an announcement by the FMA reveals Thursday, Nov. 1.

On Nov. 1, the FMA listed three companies — Crypto Gain, Russ Horn, and Zend Trade — on its “scam” list, where citizens are warned about the potential risk of dealing with certain websites.

In regards to Crypto Gain, the FMA states that the company is posing as a New Zealand company with the same name without permission to do so, noting:

“The website www.cryptogainlimited.com is not associated with, nor a representative of, the New Zealand registered company Cryptogain Limited.”

Crypto Gain Limited (not to be confused with the other Crypto Gain — a desktop app to track one’s crypto assets) claims on its website that it has a certificate of incorporation granted by local authorities in August 2017. According to the website, the company provides consulting services for those who are new to crypto trading.

Earlier in October, the FMA had blacklisted several other crypto-related companies. Fix Club Limited, a crypto trading platform, was mentioned because of false claims that it belonged to the New Zealand regulated crypto area. Bitcoin Revolution Trading was listed for reportedly claiming that country’s current or former prime ministers and Treasury officials were investing in Bitcoin (BTC).

As Cointelegraph previously wrote, rumors spread on social media in late 2017 that former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir John Key held $300 mln in BTC from his initial investment of $1,000. However, Key denied all the allegations, revealing that the initial piece was posted by a fake website pretending to be the New Zealand Herald — the largest newspaper in country.

New Zealand’s police have also warned citizens about crypto-related online scams in September, shortly after an investor lost $320,000 NZD ($213,000 USD) to crypto fraudsters. “Members of the public should seek advice before making any online investments they are unsure of,” the police sergeant said at the time.

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