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FBI seized $500,000 from North Korean hackers

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The U.S. Department of Justice has announced the seizure of about $500,000 in bitcoins previously paid by U.S. health care providers to the operators of the cryptocurrency attacker Maui.

Earlier this month, U.S. law enforcement officials had already warned about the activity on Maui, which is targeting medical organizations and public health care. Then it was reported that Maui uses a combination of AES, RSA and XORfor the encryption process: files are encrypted using AES with a unique key, which is then encrypted using a pair of RSA keys generated during the first run of Maui, and then the RSA public key is encrypted using another hard-coded RSA public key.

Experts speculated that the entire malware campaign is built on the willingness of medical institutions to pay a ransom, as they need to recover quickly from the attack and provide uninterrupted access to critical data and services, because people’s lives and health depend on it.

As the DOJ now explains, the discovery of this malware came after an incident at a Kansas hospital that the victims rushed to report to the FBI. In May 2021, that medical facility paid extortionists about $100,000 to recover data after the encryption attack.

“Through prompt reporting and cooperation from the victim, the FBI and Department of Justice disrupted a North Korean-sponsored group that was developing a ransomware program known as Maui,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monak. – “This not only allowed us to recover the ransom, but also to recover ransom payments made by previously unknown victims and to identify a previously unknown type of ransomware.

Thanks to a quick report of the incident, law enforcement could trace another $120,000 payment from an unnamed health care provider in Colorado. Those two payments, as well as an unknown number of $280,000 payments, were eventually recovered in May 2022, bringing the total amount recovered to approximately half a million dollars.

It is currently unknown how the seizure of the funds was arranged. It is likely that law enforcement could trace the victims’ funds, which the criminals were trying to launder, to a certain cryptocurrency exchange, which offers services for cashing out and converting cryptocurrencies into fiat.

While the amount recovered this time is small, it is emphasized that what happened demonstrates how rapid reporting of incidents allows law enforcement to more quickly and easily follow money trails, recover ransoms, and identify the perpetrators and their tactics. 


Cryptocurrency

The Balance: Bitcoin bearish trend hasn’t stopped Americans from investing more in cryptocurrencies

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bitcoin bearish trend

Analytical resource The Balance posted a report stating that 39% of U.S. investors have become more invested in cryptocurrencies, despite the bitcoin bearish trend. 

According to the report’s author, these Americans are looking for new investment avenues to preserve their savings amid economic uncertainty.

Meanwhile, 41% of survey participants said they invested more in stocks, and about a third of them invested more in exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded index funds amid market uncertainty. Thirty-four percent of investors reported no change in their investment habits.

Slightly more than a quarter of investors surveyed admitted to investing less in assets. Nearly 20% of those surveyed admitted to investing less in cryptocurrencies this year. The report’s author argues that investing in cryptocurrency in times of uncertainty is more popular among young people.

Nearly half of millennials and Generation Z investors (age 41 and younger) said they prefer cryptocurrency – as opposed to just under a third of Generation X investors and older. The online survey was conducted from June 30 to July 9, 2022, and surveyed 1,200 Americans over the age of 18 who at least partially manage their finances.

However, according to Bank Of America, the number of active cryptocurrency users is down more than 50 percent from its peak last November.

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Cumberland: institutional investors give bitcoin growth predictions as high as $32,000 as early as 2022

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bitcoin growth prediction

US market maker Cumberland conducted a survey of institutional investors and found that most respondents were making bitcoin growth predictions as early as this year.

It is worth emphasizing that most of those surveyed are convinced that the crypto market will continue its decline in the near future. Analysts stress that the value of the main coin in the world of cryptocurrencies can fall to 16000 dollars. After that, Bitcoin should quickly recover the lost positions. At the end of the year, the value of BTC could reach $32,000. Cumberland experts point out that investors remain bullish. 

“Even with the current bearish trend, these results are not surprising. After all, those surveyed are trading cryptocurrencies, which means they believe in bitcoin. If they didn’t have this attitude toward BTC, they would continue to trade forex,” Cumberland analysts said.

Respondents do not expect any success in the stock market, despite the significant correlation between the stock and markets in recent months. According to institutional investors, the crypto market, at least in the near term, will depend significantly on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decisions on prime rates and “other Fed moves.”

Cumberland analysts have previously said that the recovery of the market will be determined by the rate at which assets move from insolvent to solvent companies.





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Is dogecoin a good investment? Elon Musk: Dogecoin is much faster than the Bitcoin network

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is dogecoin a good investment

Is dogecoin a good investment? The CEO of Tesla again spoke out in support of Dogecoin. He stressed that the “meme cryptocurrency” network can process significantly more transactions than the Bitcoin network.

During a conversation with a podcast host, the head of Tesla and SpaceX said that the popularization of DOGE is paying off. The coin is increasingly being used as a full-fledged means of payment. As you know, coins can be used to buy goods and pay for various services of several large companies. The most important advantage is the high speed of transactions. Usually it takes no more than a minute to process a transaction online.

“To be honest, I mostly support DOGE because this cryptocurrency has memes, dogs, the developers have a sense of humor, they don’t take the project too seriously. And with all that being said, it’s strange that though DOGE was invented just as a joke, the actual throughput of the Dogecoin network is much higher than Bitcoin blockchain,” said Tesla’s CEO.

Ilon Musk also reminded that Dogecoin’s inflation model allows it to issue 5 billion coins annually, while Bitcoin’s number is limited to 21 million. And this makes DOGE much more suitable for use as a payment currency.

Recall that Tesla sold most of its bitcoin holdings amid falling cryptocurrency markets.



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