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Posts tagged ‘Bitcoins’

Austrian Hotel Shut down By hackers


One of Europe’s largest luxury hotels found itself on the end of an online hostage situation over an undiscovered vulnerability in its electronic key system.

According to the English language Austrian news site The Local, the Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt located in the picturesque Alps was hit by a cyberattack that resulted in all its guests being locked out of their rooms.

Activating the door locking mechanism remotely, the hackers were able to put the hotel into achaotic state during the height of the ski season, while also shutting down the hotel’s entire computer system.

To give control back to the hotel, the hackers demanded a sum of €1,500 to be paid in bitcoin, or otherwise its guests were going to be sleeping in the hallways.

Given the circumstances, hotel management relented and paid the ransom, but unbeknownst to them the hackers had built in a backdoor to their fix resulting in two further hacks.

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A Number Of Banks Hit By Bitcoin Cyberextortionists


UK corporations and institutions, such as Lloyds Bank and BAE systems, have reported a “marked increase” in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks from the Bitcoin extortionist group DD4BC, which has been in operation since last year. The increased aggressions appears concurrent with reports from other organizations. A cybersecurity case study released by Akamai identified 114 DD4BC attacks against the company’s customers since April 2015, with 41 cases taking place in June alone. In comparison, there were only 5 attacks in January and February 2015.

DD4BC, a malicious group responsible for several Bitcoin extortion campaigns in 2014, has expanded its extortion and distributed denial of service (DDoS) campaigns to target a wider array of business sectors. An email informs the victim that a low-level DDoS attack is underway against the victim’s website. DD4BC then demands a ransom paid in bitcoins in return for protecting the site from the unleashing of a larger DDoS attack (as much as 400+ Gbps) that would take down the website.

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The Georgia Institute of Technology has become the first university to integrate bitcoin for the student’s dining and shopping experience.

Campus payment cards, known as BuzzCards, can now be topped up with the digital currency at the university’s BuzzCard Centre, located inside its bookstore.

BuzzCards can be used at more than 200 locations on campus, allowing students to pay for meals, parking, recreational facilities and tickets for various sporting events using bitcoin. Georgia Tech also features 10 BuzzCard ATMs where students can withdraw hard cash.

Captcha Takes Down Silk Road


Former FBI agent Christopher Tarbell has claimed that the agency tracked down the servers of anonymous online marketplace Silk Road by employing an IP leak caused by a Captcha prompt on the site’s login page.

The anonymous online marketplace, popular as a black market trading bazaar, was taken down in October last year, with its owner and operator the Dread Pirate Roberts, aka Ross William Ulbricht, arrested at San Francisco airport.

Silk Road employed the anonymous  internet privacy network in order to keep its true IP address and web server location secret, however, according to Tarbell’s declaration (PDF) for the United States of America v. Ross Ulbricht case being heard at the Southern District New York District Court, the FBI tracked down the Silk Road server by allegedly using the leaky Captcha prompt.

During  the FBI’s investigation of the Silk Road website, the SR Server was located by Tarbell and another member of the CY-2 squad of the FBI New York Field Office. who is a former computer forensic examiner with the FBI’s global forensic team, and also served as a lead case agent in the Silk Road investigation while part of the FBI’s CY-2 cybercrime squad.

Tarbell says “The IP address leak we discovered came from the Silk Road user login interface. When examining the individual packets of data being sent back from the website, they noticed that the headers of some of the packets reflected a certain IP address not associated with any known Tor node as the source of the packets. This IP address (the ‘Subject IP Address’) was the only non-Tor source IP address reflected in the traffic we examined.

“The Subject IP Address caught our attention because, if a hidden service is properly configured to work on Tor, the source IP address of traffic sent from the hidden service should appear as the IP address of a Tor node, as opposed to the true IP address of the hidden service, which Tor is designed to conceal.

When Tarbell typed the Subject IP Address into an ordinary (non-Tor) web browser, a part of the Silk Road login screen (the Captcha prompt) appeared. Based on his training and experience, this indicated that the Subject IP Address was the IP address of the SR Server, and that it was ‘leaking’ from the SR Server because the computer code underlying the login interface was not properly configured at the time to work on Tor.

After the Silk Road shutdown  in October of 2013, 3.6 million bitcoins were seized.


Expedia Accepting Bitcoin Payments

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Expedia has announced that it will now accept Bitcoins for hotel payments. Expedia customers can find and select Bitcoin as a payment option at check-out along with all other methods accepted on its website, including all the major credit cards, Discover, JCB, Diners Club and PayPal. When using bitcoins for reservations,customers indicate this as their method of payment at the appropriate prompt and then follow a few more steps to complete the transaction.



New York Accepting Applications For Bitcoin Exchanges

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New York financial authorities says that they would soon begin accepting applications for virtual currency exchanges including those dealing in bitcoins.

Approved applications will ultimately have to adhere to a proposed regulatory framework that New York plans to enact for virtual currency firms operating in the state. That framework will be developed no later by the end of June, New York’s Department of Financial Services announced Tuesday.

The state’s regulations could include the development of a “BitLicense” for virtual currency firms operating in the state. New York’s department of financial services is also looking to consider applications for other types of virtual currency firms beyond exchanges, which may include payment processors or storage services.


Commotion Over The Bitcoin Creator

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Newsweek,  dropped a bombshell on Thursday: that the Bitcoin creator was actually an individual named Satoshi Nakamoto, who later on changed his name to Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto. He  is a 64-year-old who lives in a modest house with his mom. In his two-hour interview with the AP, Nakamoto has denied any involvement with Bitcoin and says he is  not Dorian Nakamoto. 

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