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Uber Exec Allegedly Concealed 2016 Hack With $100K BTC ‘Bug Bounty’ Pay-Off

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Joseph Sullivan, a former Chief Security Officer at Uber, allegedly tried to cover up a 2016 hack of sensitive data by funneling a hush money payment of $100,000 in Bitcoin through a bug bounty program.

The hackers had obtained the drivers’ license numbers of roughly 600,000 Uber drivers as well as private information for roughly 57 million users.

According to an Aug. 20 announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), Sullivan has been charged with obstruction of justice and misprision of a felony in connection with the 2016 hack. The former CSO is accused of taking “deliberate steps to conceal, deflect, and mislead” the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the data breach and the associated $100,000 Bitcoin (BTC) hush money payment.

The DoJ accused him of preventing knowledge of the breach from being reported to the FTC by funneling the Bitcoin hush money through a bug bounty program. Ordinarily such programs are used for legitimate payments to ‘white hat’ hackers who report on a company’s security issues, not those who actually obtain unauthorized data.

“We will not tolerate illegal hush money payments,” said U.S. Attorney David Anderson. “Silicon Valley is not the Wild West.”

The agency also alleges Sullivan tried to conceal the company’s involvement in the breach by asking the hackers to sign non-disclosure agreements falsely stating they had not obtained any personal data from Uber — even while they were anonymous. When an investigation unmasked two of the individuals responsible for the breach, the DoJ alleges Sullivan still asked for the hackers to sign NDAs rather than report them.

Two of the hackers involved in the Uber breach pleaded guilty to charges of computer fraud conspiracy in October and are now awaiting sentencing.

Negotiating with criminals

Companies are increasingly being forced to deal directly with cyber criminals — though most remain within the law while doing so. Representatives from U.S.-based corporate travel firm CWT were able to negotiate a 50% discount from hackers demanding a $10 million payment after they stole sensitive files from the company in July.

More recently, the University of California conducted a week-long negotiation with a NetWalker ransomware group after it shut down seven of the institution’s servers. The university was able to convince the group to come down from $3 million to $1 million using respectful and flattering language in their chats.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/uber-exec-allegedly-concealed-2016-hack-with-100k-btc-bug-bounty-pay-off

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The Changes Continue: Facebook’s Libra Has Been Rebranded To Diem

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  • Facebook shook the world last year after announcing plans to introduce a “single global digital currency” dubbed Libra. However, the social media giant’s efforts were quickly scalded by global regulators as the project received massive blowback.
  • Facebook didn’t give up on its idea. Instead, the company decided to rebrand its two main products. Firstly, the Calibra wallet became Novi, and today, Reuters reported that the Libra name had been changed to Diem (meaning ‘day’ in Latin.) 
  • Stuart Levey, CEO of the Geneva-based Diem Association behind the digital coin, confirmed that the name change comes as a direct consequence of the regulatory hurdles. He noted that “the original name was tied to an early iteration of the project that received a difficult reception from regulators. We have dramatically changed that proposition.”
  • The Diem currency would operate as a signal dollar-backed digital coin. Although Levey failed to specify the timing of the launch, recent reports suggested that it may arrive as early as January 2021. 
  • Levey further explained that the Novi team has already begun building a digital wallet that will eventually hold Diem coins. Apart from waiting for approval from Swiss regulators to launch, the Diem Network is also in talks with US federal and state watchdogs. However, Levey didn’t disclose the nature of those negotiations. 
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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/the-changes-continue-facebooks-libra-has-been-rebranded-to-diem/

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Coinbase Faciliated MicroStrategy’s $425M Bitcoin Purchase Without Moving The Market

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The leading US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase assisted in MicroStrategy’s massive purchase of $425 million worth of BTC. The platform pledged to help other large firms diversify their portfolios with bitcoin in the future as well.

Coinbase Involved In MicroStrategy’s BTC Purchase

The NASDAQ-listed business intelligence firm made the news on two occasions earlier this year as it announced the total purchase of 38,250 bitcoins. At the time, this sizeable amount equaled about $425 million.

However, the entity that helped broker the deal remained unknown until today. The San Francisco-based crypto exchange Coinbase announced that it was “selected as the primary execution partner for MicroStrategy’s $425 million purchase of Bitcoin.”

The community speculated on how such a considerable amount didn’t move the markets as the price of BTC remained relatively still back then. Coinbase explained that this was the company’s intention in the first place:

“Using our advanced execution capabilities, leading crypto prime brokerage platform, and OTC desk, we were able to buy a significant amount of bitcoin on behalf of MicroStrategy and did so without moving the market.”

Furthermore, the exchange noted that its system takes a single large order and breaks it into many small pieces that are executed across multiple trading venues. This type of smart order routing reduces the trade’s impact on the market and assists in disguising the overall trade size.

This also helped MicroStrategy to get a better price for its BTC purchase as Coinbase’s trading team “achieved an average execution price that was less than the price at which the buying started.” The post highlighted that this strategy ultimately saved 1% (or about $4.25 million) for the NASDAQ-listed company.

More Large Companies To Come?

MicroStrategy’s purchase kicked off a wave of large companies and prominent individual investors who expressed willingness to get in bitcoin as well.

Jack Dorsey’s Square followed with a $50 million BTC allocation. More recently, the Wall Street giant Guggenheim Partners filed a document with the SEC to purchase about $500 million worth of bitcoin for one of its funds.

Coinbase asserted that more firms will look to BTC to hedge or diversify their excess cash. Consequently, the large US exchange will “look forward to helping more corporate companies and institutions looking to diversify their capital allocation strategies with crypto.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/coinbase-faciliated-microstrategys-425m-bitcoin-purchase-without-moving-the-market/

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Hackers Using Monero Mining Malware as Decoy, Warns Microsoft

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Crypto-jacking is giving nation-state hackers a decoy for their more malicious attacks, warned Microsoft in a Monday report.

The company’s intelligence team said a group called BISMUTH hit government targets in France and Vietnam with relatively conspicuous Monero mining trojans this summer. Mining the crypto generated side cash for the group, but it also distracted victims from BISMUTH’s true campaign: credential theft.

Crypto-jacking “allowed BISMUTH to hide its more nefarious activities behind threats that may be perceived to be less alarming because they’re “commodity” malware,” Microsoft concluded. It said the conspicuousness of Monero mining fits BISMUTH’s “hide in plain sight” MO.

Microsoft recommended organizations stay vigilant against crypto-jacking as a possible decoy tactic.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/hackers-using-monero-mining-malware-as-decoy-warns-microsoft

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