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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

These Alts Dumped the Most as Total Crypto Market Cap Lost $100B in a Day (Market Watch)

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Bitcoin’s price movements over the past several days were quite promising as the asset had recovered from last week’s crash and stood above $66,000 and even $67,000 before the landscape changed for the worse once again today.

The altcoins, though, are in an even worse state, with numerous massive price declines across almost all charts.

BTC Slides Below $64K

CryptoPotato reported the adverse price movements last week that were propelled by the escalating tension between Iran and Israel. This culminated in a price drop to under $59,500 on Friday, hours before the fourth halving.

However, when Iran tried to calm the situation, bitcoin went on the offensive and jumped by over five grand in hours. It faced the completion of the halving at around $65,000 and kept climbing gradually over the next few days to just under $67,000.

The latest failed attempt to overcome that level was yesterday. However, the bears were quick to intercept the move and pushed the cryptocurrency south hard.

In a matter of hours, the asset fell by more than $3,000 and kept dropping to a multi-day low of $63,500 (on Bitstamp). Its current price tag is not much higher amid the growing ETF outflows, and its market cap has declined to $1.260 trillion on CG. Its dominance over the alts has remained at the same level of 50.7%.

Bitcoin/Price/Chart 25.04.2024. Source: TradingView
Bitcoin/Price/Chart 25.04.2024. Source: TradingView

Alts Turn Red

The landscape around the altcoins is even worse today. Aside from BNB, TRX, and LEO, who have been spared by the crash, the rest of the larger-cap alts are deep in the red. ETH is down by 4% and trades inches above $3,100. Similar losses are evident from XRP, LINK, LTC, and NEAR.

More painful declines come from the likes of Solana (-7%), Dogecoin (-8%), Toncoin (-9%), Cardano (-6%), Shiba Inu (-8%), Avalanche (-10%), Bitcoin Cash (-6%), and Polkadot (-8%).

The total crypto market cap has dumped by around $100 billion in a day and is under $2.5 trillion on CG now.

Cryptocurrency Market Overview. Source: QuantifyCrypto
Cryptocurrency Market Overview. Source: QuantifyCrypto
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Disclaimer: Information found on CryptoPotato is those of writers quoted. It does not represent the opinions of CryptoPotato on whether to buy, sell, or hold any investments. You are advised to conduct your own research before making any investment decisions. Use provided information at your own risk. See Disclaimer for more information.

Cryptocurrency charts by TradingView.

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Cryptocurrency

It’s Not Looking Good for Bitcoin HODLers, Warns Peter Schiff as BTC Correction Continues

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The popular bitcoin perma-bear Peter Schiff has carried out another verbal attack on X during the most recent price correction that drove the asset to a multi-day low of around $63,000.

Schiff, known for his support and admiration for gold, believes BTC’s price could plummet even more if it breaks below $60,000.

Not Looking Good?

Although the fourth halving took place less than a week ago, an event typically related to the start of another bull run, many crypto experts, including Arthur Hayes, warned that the largest crypto asset could retrace ahead, during, and shortly after the block reward reduction.

This has indeed been the case so far, as bitcoin dumped hard last week amid the geopolitical issues between Iran and Israel, recovered some ground after the halving but started losing value in the past 24 hours again.

The latest decline drove BTC south by approximately four grand, from almost $67,000 to around $63,000 as of now. Such corrections are usually used by bitcoin critics, such as Peter Schiff, to (perhaps) exaggerate the current market conditions and issue big warnings for HODLers.

In his latest attempt to spread FUD, Schiff said new investors who are not used to the volatile nature of bitcoin, could be “in for a rude awakening.” He also pointed out the $60,000 level as the most important psychological line BTC has to maintain to prevent further declines.

What About Gold?

As mentioned above, Schiff is a well-known gold bug and recently also commented on the yellow metal’s correction. The safe-haven asset went from an all-time high of $2,425/oz to under $2,300 in the span of a few weeks.

However, it managed to bounce off and is currently trading above $2,320. Consequently, Schiff believes the worst for gold is over as he sees $2,300 as the new support level that won’t be broken soon. Moreover, he predicted that the precious metal would go above $2,400 shortly and forecasted another BTC correction.

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Velocity Labs and Ramp Network facilitate fiat to crypto onramp on Polkadot via Asset Hub support

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[PRESS RELEASE – Zug, SWITZERLAND, April 25th, 2024]

Velocity Labs is proud to announce a fiat to crypto onramp using Ramp Network through the integration of Asset Hub. Through it, Ramp will be able to service any parachain in the Polkadot ecosystem.

Onramps from fiat to crypto have historically been one of the biggest pain points with regard to DeFi accessibility. Thanks to the tireless builders who identified this issue early on, and have been working with regulators, credit card issuers and other payment infrastructure providers, the high barriers to crypto entry are about to be a thing of the past.

In November of last year, Velocity Labs began talks with Ramp, the leading onramp infrastructure provider for web3. The objective was simple: maximize Asset Hub’s accessibility, and to get it to its full potential.

Asset Hub is a system parachain considered the “home base” of assets in the Polkadot blockspace ecosystem. It enables the creation, management, and use of assets in the Polkadot network. As a system parachain, it has a trusted relationship with the Polkadot Relay Chain, allowing for porting of DOT from the Relay Chain to Asset Hub. Asset Hub is crucial for the emission of tokens similar to ERC-20 (the Ethereum standard powering DeFi on that chain) and the imminent and future resurgence of DeFi on Polkadot. However, Asset Hub has many constraints, particularly around UX and DevEx. Recognizing the potential of Asset Hub and its importance, Velocity has been working tirelessly to address these limitations.

Ramp is a financial technology company building solutions that connect the crypto economy with today’s global financial infrastructure. Through its core on- and off-ramp products, Ramp provides businesses and individuals across 150+ countries with a streamlined and smooth experience in converting between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies. Ramp is fully integrated with the world’s major payment methods, including debit and credit cards, bank transfers, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more.

About Velocity Labs

Velocity Labs is a DeFi and infrastructure development company founded with the objective of transforming the Polkadot blockspace ecosystem into a thriving hub for DeFi innovation. A team formed by Polkadot veterans and DeFi experts, Velocity Labs is committed to building critical market infrastructure and tooling to unlock Polkadot’s full potential.

More information on velocitylabs.org

Velocity Labs actively searching for builders to join us in creating the most efficient and resilient ecosystem for DeFi on Polkadot. If you think this is you, please get in touch with us through this form.

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