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The Covid-19 Pandemic Reveals Ransomware’s Long Game

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The novel coronavirus pandemic has stretched the world's health care systems to their limits, creating a global crisis. New research from Microsoft shows that ransomware attackers are actively making that crisis worse, forcing health care and critical infrastructure organizations to pay up when they can least afford downtime. In many cases, hackers are reaping the rewards of groundwork they laid months ago, before Covid-19 fully hit.

Hackers have known for years that hospitals and other health care providers make perfect targets for ransomware attacks, since there's life-or-death urgency in getting back up and running quickly. During the pandemic, though, the risk has become even more dire. After a hospital in the Czech Republic was hit by a debilitating ransomware attack in March, the country's cybersecurity oversight agency warned two weeks ago that it was bracing for widespread cyberattacks against critical services in the country. Two Czech hospitals reported attempted attacks a day later, and the US State Department threatened consequences if the antagonism continued.

The Czech incidents reflect just one corner of a worrying global trend of opportunistic ransomware activations.

"The attackers are definitely being what I’ll call rational economic actors, which unfortunately also means vicious," says Rob Lefferts, corporate vice president of Microsoft 365 security. "We see behavior where they will break into organizations and actually lie dormant, both because they’re doing reconnaissance but also because they are apparently estimating what is the moment in time when that organization will be most vulnerable and most likely to pay."

An initial attack might give hackers access to a victim's network. But they'll then wait weeks or months for a particularly opportune moment to actually infect the system with ransomware. Microsoft has been tracking such behavior from groups using a number of prominent strains of ransomware, like Robbinhood, Maze, and REvil. While some ransomware groups had pledged not to attack hospitals during the coronavirus crisis, in practice hackers are increasingly attempting to cash in.

The Microsoft researchers often observed attackers getting their initial network access by exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities in victims' web infrastructure. They saw some hackers taking advantage of a widely publicized flaw in the Pulse Secure VPN and others exploiting flaws in remote management features like remote desktop systems. Attackers also targeted vulnerabilities and insecure configurations of Microsoft's own products. Attackers could guess passwords of organizations using Remote Desktop Protocol without multifactor authentication or exploit known bugs in Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange servers that victims had neglected to patch.

Attackers even took advantage of tools used in security to proactively find and plug network holes, including the attack emulation platform Cobalt Strike and malicious techniques in Microsoft's remote management framework PowerShell. This activity often looks legitimate and can sneak past scanners, allowing attackers to lie in wait and do reconnaissance undetected on the network until they choose the moment to actually strike.

While attackers wait for the right conditions to release the ransomware, they often exfiltrate data from their victims' networks. The motive of this activity isn't always clear, though, Microsoft says. It can be difficult to tell the difference between attackers who have IP theft or other intelligence gathering as their main goal and those that just collect what they can as a secondary benefit of positioning themselves for ransomware attacks.

"That dwell time can vary between days, weeks or even months," says Jérôme Segura, head of threat intelligence at the monitoring firm Malwarebytes. "When the time has come for ransomware deployment, threat actors will typically choose weekends, and preferably the wee hours of Sunday morning. This made sense pre-pandemic as staff would typically return to work on Mondays to witness the damage. Now many businesses have their resources stretched far more than before and as a result may be in a tougher position to respond to a compromise."

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Microsoft's Lefferts emphasizes that attack groups can't be reliably traced by the tools or type of ransomware they're using, because so many groups copy each other or use different techniques against different targets. And he says that while most of the activity simply capitalizes on known vulnerabilities, ransomware groups are generally smart about rotating their infrastructure like IP addresses to make it harder to trace them.

"It does point to a real need for organizations to think about posture and hygiene and how they do detection and monitoring," Lefferts says. "In many ways organizations have been catapulted five years into the future by the pandemic continuing remote work trends we were already on. It presents moments to ensure that you are thinking about these kinds of attacks—crisis moments like this do create opportunities to make things happen and take action."

Microsoft's findings are mostly based on ransomware attacks during the first two weeks of April that began as intrusions during the prior months, and the researchers say they saw a small increase in ransomware attacks during this time. But this doesn't necessarily mean that attackers always succeeded in collecting a ransom. The cryptocurrency firm Chainalysis said two weeks ago that it has seen a decrease in traceable ransomware payments throughout the pandemic. The company notes that it can only track certain payments, though, and that many organizations pay ransoms quietly to avoid bad publicity.

At the beginning of April, Interpol issued a global warning about the threat of ransomware to health care providers. "As hospitals and medical organizations around the world are working nonstop to preserve the well-being of individuals stricken with the coronavirus, they have become targets for ruthless cybercriminals who are looking to make a profit at the expense of sick patients,” Interpol secretary general Jürgen Stock said in the notification.

The best defenses against ransomware have largely remained the same over the years, and the pandemic may serve as special motivation to finally get old vulnerabilities patched, change easily guessable default passwords, and expand system monitoring capabilities. But the spread of Covid-19 presents unique challenges—just as ransomware is at its most threatening.

Updated Tuesday April 28, 2020 at 3:30pm ET to include comment from Malwarebytes researcher Jérôme Segura.


More From WIRED on Covid-19

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/covid-19-pandemic-ransomware-long-game/

Source: https://blockchainconsultants.io/the-covid-19-pandemic-reveals-ransomwares-long-game/

Blockchain

Curve Finance Price Prediction: CRV DeFi Dominance Surges As Breakdown To $1 Beckons

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  • Curve Finance total value of funds locked rise by more than 33% in the last 24 hours to $1
  • 26 billion.
  • CRV/USD awaits a technical breakdown to $1.0, especially if the triangle support caves in.

Curve Finance (CRV) is currently the third-largest decentralized finance (DeFi) token in the cryptocurrency industry by the amount of funds locked in the network. Interestingly, the last 24 hours were particularly yielding for CRV as it added over 33% to the total value of locked funds. At the moment, investors have locked $1.26 billion in the project. CRV trails Aave, which currently has $1.32 billion in locked funds. UniSwap has continued to hit new highs with the value locked rising to $1.94 billion, hence holding tightly in the first spot.

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Despite the attention Curve Finance is getting in terms of uptake in the decentralized ecosystem, the token’s value has continued to dwindle. CRV commenced trading on Binance mid-August. Following the support on the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, the token rallied to $25. Unfortunately, the spike to all-time highs was short-lived, with CRV embarking on a gains-trimming exercise.

The downtrend has been unstoppable as various support levels have been rendered unhelpful. CRV tested levels below $2.0 while the upside is limited under a descending trendline. At the time of writing, CRV is doddering at $1.34 amid a bearish building trend.

CRV/USD 4-hour chart

CRV/USD price chart by Tradingview

The 21 Simple Moving Average caps the token’s immediate upside. Curve Finance is also trading within a descending triangle, commonly interpreted as a continuation pattern in technical analysis. They signal that an asset is bound to continue with the previous trend (in this case, downtrend) on breaking a certain level (triangle support). Therefore, if CRV extends the leg below the triangle support, there is a chance the price will test the $1.0 level before recovery comes into the picture.

All technical indicators illustrate a growing bearish momentum, including the Relative Strength Index. The 21 SMA is also under the 50 SMA, somehow suggesting bears will remain in control a while longer.

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Curve Finance Intraday Levels

Spot rate: $1.34

Relative change: -0.017

Percentage change: -1.4%

Trend: Bearish

Volatility: Expanding

Read more: 3 Reasons Why DeFi May Have Reached Its Peak


To get the daily price analysis, Follow us on TradingView

Author: John Isige




John is a talented writer with over two years of experience actively contributing to the cryptocurrency industry by providing credible, interesting and easy to read the content. His main focus is on cryptocurrency price analysis and industry news coverage. Lets follow him on Twitter at @jjisige

Source: https://coingape.com/curve-finance-price-prediction-crv-defi-dominance-surges-as-breakdown-to-1-beckons/

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Kraken Daily Market Report for September 20 2020

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Overview


  • Total trading at $125.5 million. Trading volume up slightly from the Sunday average as Ethereum and other coins had losses of few percentage points.
  • A little after 21:00 UTC, there was a system maintenance for a few minutes.
  • he only coin that had a positive day was Augur +4.0%. Otherwise, even the stable coins had minor losses. Kusama, Curve DAO, Balancer, and StorJ – four of the newer coins to the platform, had 5-10% losses.

September 20, 2020 
 $125.5M traded across all markets today
 Crypto, EUR, USD, JPY, CAD, GBP, CHF, AUD 
XBT 
$10915. 
↓1.5% 
$58.0M
ETH 
$370.61 
↓3.7% 
$29.1M
USDT 
$0.9999 
↓0.01% 
$11.7M
LINK 
$9.7370 
↓3.8% 
$6.5M
DOT 
$4.6639 
↓5.2% 
$5.35M
XTZ 
$2.2170 
↓4.4% 
$3.18M
XRP 
$0.2464 
↓1.7% 
$1.93M
ADA 
$0.0893 
↓2.2% 
$1.84M
USDC 
$1.0001 
↑0.0% 
$1.57M
LTC 
$47.065 
↓2.9% 
$1.55M
BCH 
$225.90 
↓3.1% 
$1.53M
ALGO 
$0.3273 
↓4.2% 
$978K
ATOM 
$4.6586 
↓5.8% 
$818K
TRX 
$0.0269 
↓2.8% 
$801K
OXT 
$0.2749 
↓5.1% 
$800K
XMR 
$92.685 
↓1.9% 
$764K
CRV 
$1.3599 
↓8.4% 
$639K
OMG 
$2.8933 
↓5.6% 
$468K
XLM 
$0.0768 
↓2.1% 
$445K
ETC 
$6.0722 
↓1.6% 
$442K
DAI 
$1.0107 
↓0.04% 
$410K
KAVA 
$2.4526 
↓1.0% 
$401K
REP 
$15.741 
↑4.0% 
$387K
WAVES 
$2.4299 
↓4.3% 
$322K
BAT 
$0.2372 
↓2.2% 
$292K
DASH 
$70.701 
↓2.9% 
$292K
QTUM 
$2.5190 
↓4.3% 
$278K
ICX 
$0.4582 
↓1.6% 
$271K
KNC 
$1.0085 
↓4.7% 
$256K
PAXG 
$1958.8 
↓0.15% 
$226K
EOS 
$2.6700 
↓1.1% 
$214K
COMP 
$144.55 
↓4.8% 
$166K
MLN 
$32.999 
↓2.7% 
$157K
ZEC 
$57.529 
↓0.7% 
$140K
KSM 
$39.179 
↓9.0% 
$135K
SC 
$0.0029 
↓2.1% 
$129K
BAL 
$17.75 
↓4.9% 
$126K
NANO 
$0.7980 
↓5.1% 
$115K
SNX 
$4.1994 
↓4.4% 
$108K
GNO 
$53.950 
↓4.5% 
$74.9K
STORJ 
$0.4079 
↓6.4% 
$66.5K
XDG 
$0.0027 
↓0.6% 
$48.8K
LSK 
$1.3404 
↓4.5% 
$32.9K
REPV2 
$14.569 
↓3.5% 
$5.85K



#####################. Trading Volume by Asset. ##########################################

Trading Volume by Asset


The figures below break down the trading volume of the largest, mid-size, and smallest assets. Cryptos are in purple, fiats are in blue. For each asset, the chart contains the daily trading volume in USD, and the percentage of the total trading volume. The percentages for fiats and cryptos are treated separately, so that they both add up to 100%.

Figure 1: Largest trading assets: trading volume (measured in USD) and its percentage of the total trading volume (September 20 2020)



Figure 2: Mid-size trading assets: (measured in USD) (September 20 2020)



Figure 3: Smallest trading assets: (measured in USD) (September 20 2020)



#####################. Spread %. ##########################################

Spread %


Spread percentage is the width of the bid/ask spread divided by the bid/ask midpoint. The values are generated by taking the median spread percentage over each minute, then the average of the medians over the day.

Figure 4: Average spread % by pair (September 20 2020)



.


#########. Returns and Volume ############################################

Returns and Volume


Figure 5: Returns of the four highest volume pairs (September 20 2020)


Figure 6: Volume of the major currencies and an average line that fits the data to a sinusoidal curve to show the daily volume highs and lows (September 20 2020)



###########. Daily Returns. #################################################

Daily Returns %


Figure 7: Returns over USD and XBT. Relative volume and return size is indicated by the size of the font. (September 20 2020)



###########. Disclaimer #################################################

The values generated in this report are from public market data distributed from Kraken WebSockets api. The total volumes and returns are calculated over the reporting day using UTC time.

Source: https://blog.kraken.com/post/6386/kraken-daily-market-report-for-september-20-2020/

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Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC Facing The Ultimate Make Or Break Level Of $11,000

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  • Bitcoin price is pivotal between the 50-day SMA and $11,000, suggesting possibilities of consolidation taking over.
  • The impact of an ascending wedge is kept at by the 50-day support, breakdown back to $10,000 is still in the picture.

Bitcoin has spent the last three weeks trying to recover from the dip at the beginning of September. There was a break above $11,000 last week, but BTC hit a wall at $11,200, allowing bears to take back control. Since then, support has been established above $10,700. Unfortunately, resistance at $11,000 has stayed put.

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Meanwhile, the flagship cryptocurrency is trading at $10,960 amid attempts to overcome the resistance at $11,000. BTC/USD is also trading at the tip of an ascending wedge pattern. If the hurdle at $11,000 is pushed into the rearview, there is a likelihood of Bitcoin soaring towards $12,000. However, if the rising wedge’s impact comes into play, BTC could embark on a gains-trimming exercise towards the support at $10,000.

Read more: Bitcoin Trading Volume on Bakkt Peaks Again as September Expiration Approaches

BTC/USD daily chart

BTC/USD price chart
BTC/USD price chart by Tradingview

The 50 Simple Moving Average (SMA) in the daily range is in line to offer initial support at $10,850. As long as Bitcoin holds above this level, the potential for gains above $11,000 will remain high in this week’s trading.

The Relative Strength Index (RSI) hints that the largest cryptocurrency is ready for consolidation by leveling marginally above 50. Moreover, the low trading volume means that BTC is less volatile at the moment. The reckoning level remains at $11,000, where Bitcoin can either kick start the journey to $12,000 or embark on a reversal to $10,000. Either way, it is essential to wait for a confirmed breakout before going all-in on BTC/USD.

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Bitcoin Intraday Key Levels

Spot rate: $10,655

Relative change: 41

Percentage change: 0.39%

Trend: In consolidation (short term)

Volatility: Low

Read more: Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC Eyes $12,000 If 50-day MA Flips Into Support


To get the daily price analysis, Follow us on TradingView

Author: John Isige




John is a talented writer with over two years of experience actively contributing to the cryptocurrency industry by providing credible, interesting and easy to read the content. His main focus is on cryptocurrency price analysis and industry news coverage. Lets follow him on Twitter at @jjisige

Source: https://coingape.com/bitcoin-price-analysis-btc-facing-the-ultimate-make-or-break-level-of-11000/

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