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This is How Hackers Stole 116 BTC From University of California

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Hackers pulled off a successful ransomware attack on COVID-19 researchers from the University of California in San Francisco and received 116 bitcoins.

Now, recently surfaced transcripts reveal how the entire operation played out.

Phase One: The Hack

Although the name of the group was initially a mystery, the Bloomberg report said that the organization had a history of targeting health-care entities. Later on, a group dubbed Netwalker claimed credit for executing the ransomware attack on the University of California in San Francisco in early June.

The UCSF confirmed the attack specifying that the target was a research team testing a possible coronavirus vaccine. The university had alerted security experts and law enforcement agencies of the attack and that “with their assistance, we are conducting a thorough assessment of the incident, including a determination of what, if any, information may have been compromised.”

University of California San Francisco. Source: UCSF
University of California San Francisco. Source: UCSF

By executing a ransomware attack, the hackers gain control over sensitive information belonging to the victim and request some form of a ransom paid to unlock it. In this particular scenario, Netwalker initially demanded $3 million.

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Phase Two: The Negotiations

According to the transcripts revealed by Bloomberg, the UCSF negotiator entered the chatroom four days after the hack when the attackers had already locked down multiple servers used by the researchers.

The hackers redirected the UCSF negotiator to a webpage on the dark web containing at least ten victims and demands and a flashing red timer counting down to a payment deadline. As of June 5th, it read: 2 days, 23 hours, 0 minutes. If the ransom was not paid in that timeframe, the price would double.

Although the UCSF negotiator claimed that the university is down on funds due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hackers’ representative, called the Operator, said that a school collecting more than $7 billion in revenue each year should have no issues paying a few million.

“You need to understand, for you, as a big university, our price is shit. You can collect that money in a couple of hours. You need to take us seriously. If we’ll release on our blog student records/data, I’m 100% sure you will lose more than our price what we ask.” – the Operator warned.

Negotiations Between The Operator And The UCSF Negotiator. Source: Bloomberg
Negotiations Between The Operator And The UCSF Negotiator. Source: Bloomberg

Phase Three: Pay With Bitcoin

The negotiations continued for almost a week with some classic strategies employed by the UCSF negotiator, like requesting a delay and trying to reduce the ransom price.

Ultimately, some of the tricks indeed worked as the two sides reached an agreement – 116 bitcoins. With the price of one BTC at just beneath $10,000 at the time, the value equaled 1.14 million in USD.

After a day and a half of clearing the deal and purchasing the bitcoins, the UCSF transferred the funds. Once they did, the university received access to the decryption key for the locked information, and the hackers forwarded all the data they had stolen. It took the attackers two days to decrypt, transmit, and show that they had deleted their copies of the stolen files, but the drama ended on June 14th.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/this-is-how-hackers-stole-116-btc-from-university-of-california/

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Cardano long-term Price Analysis: 29 November

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Disclaimer: The findings of the following article are the sole opinion of the writer and should not be taken as investment advice

Cardano recorded a stark surge in its price, despite its drop of 30% following Bitcoin’s correction on the charts. Altcoins are the ones that suffer the most due to Bitcoin’s volatility and the same has been true in ADA’s case.

However, what’s different is that Cardano’s bounce since the drop – the 30% drop – was almost fully retraced over the next 2 days. This underlined the strong buyback for ADA, one that was backed by a good volume surge on the charts.

At the time of writing, ADA’s outlook seemed 50-50. The cryptocurrency’s price was just above the 61.8%-Fibonacci level and could go either way.

Cardano 4-hour chart

Source: ADAUSD on TradingView

The 4-hour chart had Fib extensions, the moving averages, and indicators to it. While there was no pattern to it, ADA’s chart seemed eager to surge higher. A bounce from the 61.8% level could take ADA higher. However, failure to respect this level could push ADA down to the 50% level, which was at $0.1442.

Rationale

Since the odds seemed equally skewed, considering ADA’s correlation with BTC might help break it. At press time, the 60-day correlation between ADA and BTC had surged from 0.276 to 0.50.

Such a stark surge in correlation meant that ADA will promptly follow where Bitcoin goes. Since Bitcoin did show a bearish outlook, we can expect ADA to head south as well.

Additionally, there was the confluence of moving averages 50, 100, and 200. There hadn’t been a reversion to the mean between the price and these MAs. Hence, this supported the bearish scenario.

The OBV indicator showed a good surge in volume for the second wave, however, it still seemed to be lower than the previous surge. The RSI was testing the overbought zone yet again. A failure at this level would be higher, hence, a short position will make sense.

Levels to look out for

Entry: $0.162438
Stop-loss: $0.173178
Take-profit: $0.144140
Risk-to-Reward: 1.7

Source: https://eng.ambcrypto.com/cardano-long-term-price-analysis-29-november

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Ripple Plans To Cash Out 33% Of Its MoneyGram Stake With A Significant Profit

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  • The San Francisco-based payment protocol has filed a document on Friday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It reads that Ripple Labs has entered into an agreement with MoneyGram, which entitles Ripple to sell up to 4,000,000 shares of common stock.
  • Ripple’s option to sell these shares will expire “upon the earliest of March 31st, 2021, the time at which the maximum amount shall have been sold, or the occurrence of certain other customary events affecting the issuer.” 
  • CryptoPotato reported last year that Ripple and MoneyGram announced a strategic partnership. The initial term of the agreement was for two years. Ripple had agreed to provide a capital commitment amounting to $50 million in exchange for equity through the two-year period.
  • As per the SEC filing, Ripple owns 6.22 million shares of the giant money transfer company (or 8.6% of shares outstanding). However, the blockchain company has a warrant to buy up to another 5.95 million shares, amounting to a total equity position of 12.2 million shares or 17% of MoneyGram’s shares outstanding).
  • With the initial investment in 2019, Ripple purchased the MoneyGram shares at 4.10 per stock, which was a significant premium to the market price. 
  • Nevertheless, MoneyGram’s stocks (MGI) have surged in 2020, closing Friday’s session at $7.42. As such, Ripple can cash out with an 80% profit, despite the initial premium.
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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/ripple-plans-to-cash-out-33-of-its-moneygram-stake-with-a-significant-profit/

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South Korea To Postpone Previously Planned Crypto Income Tax

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Lawmakers in Korea are planning to postpone a recently considered tax on crypto assets profits. Reports say the tax rule delay will be about three months – instead of October 2021, January 2022.

The New Crypto Income Tax Rule To Wait Until January 2022

According to a recent media report, the South Korean congress plans to put off the recently considered cryptocurrency income tax rule. A planning and finance committee of the National Assembly has issued a report, which proposes the necessity of implementing the crypto income tax rule from at least 2022.

A few months ago, in July, a report stated that South Korea’s Minister of Finance and Economy believes that the country should come up with a tax on cryptocurrency trading and investing. Back then, he added that South Korea has been in discussion with other countries about introducing a new digital law.

In July 2020, the country’s Ministry of Economy and Finance amended its tax code, where it included the plan for charging residents a 20% tax on gains from cryptocurrency trading, which are worth more than 2.5 million Korean won (about $2,000).

Lawmakers in the National Assembly are to approve the Government’s plan, which was to carry into effect the cryptocurrency income tax rule from October 2021.

Reason For The Delay – Time Is Tight

As per the media report, the reason for the postponement of the crypto tax law is based on some concerns, raised by local crypto exchanges. They have claimed the lack of time to build their proper tax reporting system and infrastructure, needful for the process to begin.

The so-called “Specific Financial Information Act” would be enforced from March next year, so crypto exchanges have to complete the necessary reporting system by September 2021 for verifying their real names of deposit withdrawal accounts.

As CryptoPotato reported, South Korea announced the planning of the crypto income tax in June this year. The Asian country went through some different views on how and whether it should tax profits from cryptocurrency. Firstly, at the beginning of 2020, the Ministry of Economy and Finance did not consider that digital asset trading gains as taxable income. A month later, another local report said the Ministry believes that the nation could start label cryptocurrency trading profits as “other income.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/south-korea-to-postpone-previously-planned-crypto-income-tax/

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