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Hacker Who Stole $5 Million By SIM Swapping Gets 10 Years in Prison

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Blockchain App Factory

A college student who stole more than $5 million in cryptocurrency by hijacking the phone numbers of around 40 victims pleaded guilty and accepted a plea deal of 10 years in prison, Motherboard has learned.

Joel Ortiz accepted the plea deal last week, Erin West, the Deputy District Attorney in Santa Clara County, California, told Motherboard during a meeting on Thursday. The authorities believe Ortiz is the first person to be convicted of a crime for SIM swapping, an increasingly popular and damaging hack. The prosecutors and agents who have been investigating these hacks celebrated the conviction, and said they hope that this will serve as an example for the other alleged criminals who have already been arrested, as well as the ones who have yet to be caught.

“We think justice has been served. And hopefully this is a strong message to that community,” Samy Tarazi, one of the agents who investigated the Ortiz case, told me.

Ortiz is one af a handful of SIM swappers who have been arrested in the last year for hijacking phone numbers and using them to then hack into emails, social media accounts, and online Bitcoin wallets. Other people who have been arrested are Xzavyer Narvaez, who’s accused of stealing around $1 million in Bitcoin; Nicholas Truglia, who’s also accused of stealing millions in Bitcoin; and Joseph Harris, one of the most infamous SIM swappers who allegedly stole more than $14 million in cryptocurrency.

The authorities think the slow but constant drip of arrests, and Ortiz’s sentencing, will send a clear message to those who are still out there.

“Each arrest that we made sent shockwaves through that community,” West said. “That hey weren’t safe in their basement, they weren’t safe in their room in their mom’s house, that they were being tracked down and arrested—one by one.”

West added that “in looking at Joel’s sentence—10 years—it shows that our community will not tolerate this type of crime. And we will continue to find everyone who’s responsible.”

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Bitcoin

Huobi DM To Launch Bitcoin Cash Contracts

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Huobi Group

Users will soon have even more flexibility and choices on Huobi Derivative Market (Huobi DM). Bitcoin Cash (BCH) service will go live tomorrow on the crypto asset contract platform and two more coins are scheduled to be launched before the end of May.

Inclusion on Huobi DM means traders will be able to take both long and short positions on BCH, allowing for arbitrage, speculation, and hedging. Since 2017, Bitcoin Cash’s value has fluctuated between $75.08 and $4,355.62.

In addition to BCH, Huobi DM offers weekly, bi-weekly, and quarterly cryptocurrency contracts for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), EOS (EOS), Litecoin (LTC), and, as of last month, Ripple (XRP). Since its launch in late 2018, Huobi DM has grown rapidly, recently exceeding USD$92 billion in cumulative trading volume.

Features of Huobi DM:

  • Competitive fee structure for BCH: 0.02% to open or close for makers and 0.03% to open or close for takers.
  • Superior risk management: including Price Limit, Order Limit, and Position Limit.
  • Superior risk control: with the sophisticated price limit mechanism, no claw back has occurred since its launch.
  • Real-time risk supervision: Huobi constantly monitor contract prices, index prices, abnormal transactions, and positions.
  • Newly raised open position limits for all crypto contracts to up to twice their previous level and order limits to more than double their previous level.
  • User protections: To cover the societal losses attributed to unfilled liquidated orders/settle incidents in contract trading, Huobi also has a dedicated Risk Management Insurance Fund for each trading pair.
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Altcoins

Huobi DM Launches Ripple Contracts

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Ripple

The crypto asset contract service has launched Ripple (XRP) and revamped its user experience to include trigger orders and a streamlined user onboarding process.

“We’re always looking to serve our users – and the broader crypto community – better, so this was a natural decision,” said Ross Zhang, Head of Marketing for Huobi Group. “Adding XRP to our growing list of coin types on Huobi DM and improving our user experience are just further steps in our goal of building Huobi DM into the premier platform of its kind.”

Inclusion on Huobi DM means traders will now be able take both long and short positions on XRP, allowing for arbitrage, speculation, and hedging. Since 2014, the value of XRP has fluctuated between $0.002802 and $3.84, making Huobi DM a potentially powerful tool in managing risk and uncertainty.

In addition to XRP, Huobi DM currently offers weekly, bi-weekly, and quarterly cryptocurrency contracts for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and EOS (EOS), and Litecoin (LTC).

The Huobi DM team has also enabled trigger order functionality for the platform. Starting today, users can now utilize this type of pre-set orders to set take profits and stop losses. While trigger order functionality is currently limited to web applications, the Huobi DM team expects to enable it for mobile orders soon. Huobi DM has also streamlined its user onboarding process, eliminating the need for uploaded photos and instituting a handwritten signature requirement instead.

Features of Huobi DM:

  • Competitive fee structure for XRP: 0.02% to open or close for makers and 0.03% to open or close for takers.
  • Superior risk management: including Price Limit, Order Limit, and Position Limit.
  • Superior risk control: with sophisticated price limit mechanism, no claw back has occurred since its launch.
  • Real-time risk supervision: constantly monitor contract prices, index prices, abnormal transactions, and positions.
  • Newly raised open position limits for all crypto contracts to up to twice their previous level and order limits to more than double their previous level.
  • User protections: In addition to a 20,000 BTC Huobi Security Fund to protect users against catastrophic security failures, Huobi also has a dedicated Risk Management Insurance Fund for each trading pair.

Disclaimers: Digital assets are innovative trading products, and prices fluctuate greatly. Please rationally judge your trading ability and make decisions prudently. Please note that users must clear the requisite KYC checks and assessments prior to commencing usage of Huobi DM. Huobi DM is not available to users from the United States of AmericaSingaporeIsraelIraqHong Kong (China), CubaIranNorth KoreaSudanMalaysiaSyria, Samoa Eastern, Puerto RicoGuamBangladeshEcuador, and Kyrgyzstan.

For more information on Huobi DM, please visit www.hbdm.com

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Technologies

Bitmain announces selling date of next-gen Antminer S17 series

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Bitcoin Scam

Bitmain, the world’s top 10 and China’s second largest fabless chipmaker, is putting their new energy efficient miners that mine cryptocurrencies based on the SHA256 algorithm, such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), up for sale globally on 9 April 2019.

The key features of the Antminer S17 include: improved energy efficiency; higher hashrate and size compatibility with the previous S15 series.

The new miners in the 17 series include: Antminer S17 Pro, Antminer S17, and Antminer T17.

Ahead of the new model release, Yangxin, Product Manager of Bitmain’s latest Antminer series, reveals what went into the production of the new and improved 2nd generation 7nm ASIC BM1397 mining chips.

“The new miner offers a steep improvement in the hashrate in terms of space and power consumption,” said Yangxin.

The new chip equipped in the 17 series offers a 28.6 percent improvement in power efficiency in comparison with Bitmain’s previous 7nm chip, the BM1391.

Yangxin has specialized in the field of IC (Integrated Circuit) design for over a decade and currently manages miner production delivery, which includes system design and mass production. Here’s what he had to share on the following:

On the highlight features of the new Antminer S17, Yangxin said: 

“There are two key indicators to look for when measuring the quality of a mining machine: efficiency and the hashrate: 

The stand out features of the S17 are reflected in the following: 

  1. Improved performance compared to the previous generation chip. Improved energy efficiency has a big part to play in this.
  2. Higher hashrate in a single miner. This increases the hashrate density per unit space and saves deployment costs for mining farms.”

On the improvement of the 15 series and the 17 series Yangxin said:

“Electricity bills are very high for Bitcoin mining right now so the improved energy efficiency means a significant drop in costs and, thus, increase in profits. Secondly, the new miner offers a steep improvement in the hashrate in terms of space and power consumption. This will be especially meaningful for mining farms when you consider the investment needed with set up.

On what’s next and whether there is an incentive to develop higher hashrateminers beyond 7nm chips Yangxin said: 

“From a technical point of view, there is no end to the development of technology. However, in the short run, the driving force behind the development of next-gen miners beyond 7nm chips is slowing down due to physical limitations.

With the nm size shrinking quantum effects, among other new challenges, come into play. It is promising that TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is already in the process of building 5nm chips. We will continue to follow the development of this technology but it is still early days.  

It takes several iterations to create new miners based on the next generation semiconductor process. The solutions to the challenges of nanometer scale mass production require more investment and further research and development.

Considering the rapid pace of development in this area in the past few years, the industry would soon have to find what the next generation would be. For the near future, 7nm would remain the most preferred in terms of performance and economics.”

The new Antminer 17 series will go up for sale on Bitmain’s official website on 9 April 2019.

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Technologies

Western Union Partners Thunes for Mobile Wallet Transfers

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Western Union

Western Union, a leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement, has teamed up with Thunes, a cross-border payments network for emerging markets, to enable Western Union customers to send funds directly into mobile wallets around the world.

Senders can now utilise Western Union’s growing digital network or an agent location to send funds directly into a recipient’s mobile wallet.

“We are continuously expanding and enhancing our account payout portfolio, providing customers with multiple payout options including bank accounts, cards or mobile wallets,” said Sobia Rahman, Global Head of Account Payout Network for Western Union. “Our goal is to make digital money transfer services more accessible, with a specific focus on enabling mobile transactions.”

The collaboration will enable greater financial access for consumers – especially those who lack access to traditional financial services – by connecting them to alternative payment solutions, such as mobile wallets, that ultimately help drive better financial inclusion on a global scale.

“We are delighted to be working with Western Union to provide global reach for their customers,” said Steve Vickers, CEO at Thunes. “Our payments platform seamlessly interconnects payment providers globally and enables interoperability between diverse payment systems, and by utilizing our vast networks, Western Union customers will now have more flexibility when sending money across borders.”

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Blockchain

HYPE Sports Innovation Launches World’s First Blockchain Accelerator for Sports Technology

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HYPE

HYPE Sports Innovation (HYPE), a global platform which facilitates connections and investments among the sports innovation ecosystem, today announced the launch of the first ever Blockchain accelerator for Sports Tech. The program will feature 14 week accelerators for 10 of the leading startups from around the world focusing on blockchain for sports technology. The accelerators will run globally, and startups selected for the 2 bootcamps will participate at the Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport at New York University as well as the ISDE Higher Institute of Law and Economics in Barcelona.

Interested companies can learn more and apply for the program by visiting the blockchain accelerator homepage.

Blockchain technology is already revolutionizing the sports industry with its many unique applications. Italian soccer club Juventus launched the “Official Fan Token” to enable the clubs’ 340 million fans worldwide to interact with and create a personal connection to the club, while the LA Kings of the National Hockey League launched the first augmented reality blockchain authentication platform, utilizing blockchain’s authentication features to ensure fans can easily verify the authenticity of their memorabilia purchases.

“The accelerators are at the heart of everything we do at HYPE,” said Bernd Wahler, Chairman of HYPE and former CMO of Adidas. “Sports has the unique ability to create magical moments for players and fans alike and technology is changing the way we experience and share those moments and celebrate our sports heroes. Our team at HYPE is always on the lookout for innovators and entrepreneurs that can make a meaningful impact on the games we all grew up loving.”

HYPE’s blockchain accelerator is the 12th unique accelerator program offered by HYPE and is designed to identify the most promising companies working on blockchain applications, and aid them in their quest to improve the world of sports. The program includes an intensive two day bootcamp, personalized mentoring processes, weekly remote classes from top experts, and access to an unrivaled ecosystem all culminating in a demo-day in front of partners, investors and sports clubs. To date, HYPE has 11 accelerator programs partnered with leading sports brands such as FC Cologne and Shakhtar Donetsk, as well as universities such as University of Queensland, George Washington University and Loughborough University.

“We are very excited about launching the world’s first blockchain accelerator,” said Dr. Ilan Hadar, CEO of HYPE. “While blockchain is a relatively new technology, it has limitless potential, particularly when it comes to sports. With the launch of this new accelerator, we will provide the entrepreneurs in our program with unmatched access to our global network of teams, investors and partners, helping turn their startups into real game-changers and market leaders.”

HYPE leverages an ecosystem of over 11,000 startups, 750 Investors and VCs, 450 global sports teams and 40,000 members worldwide to offer accelerator participants unrivaled resources in the world of sports technology. Of the 125 graduates of the 11 existing accelerator programs to date, 58 have signed equity agreements with HYPE, 27 have raised significant funding during the accelerator cycles, and 4 have signed major deals with strategic partners.

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Business

CoinMarketCap Cryptocurrency Benchmark Indices to Launch on NASDAQ and Bloomberg

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Crypto Exchange

CoinMarketCap launching two cryptocurrency benchmark indices on NASDAQ GIDS, Bloomberg Terminals, Thomson Reuters Eikon (Refinitiv), and Börse Stuttgart. These indices will be the most comprehensive ones on the market, covering the Top 200 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, one including Bitcoin, and one without.

Our cryptocurrency benchmark indices will help users to quickly reference and track the general performance of the cryptocurrency market. Including 200 cryptocurrencies weighted by market capitalization, the headline index CMC Crypto 200 Index (CMC200), which includes Bitcoin, essentially covers more than 90% of the global cryptocurrency market. Another index excluding Bitcoin, CMC Crypto 200 ex BTC Index (CMC200EX), has also been created to track the performance of the market without the influence of Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency dominating ~50% of total market capitalization at the time of writing.

“We are excited to launch and share these indices with the market,” says Brandon Chez, CEO of CoinMarketCap, “These indices will promote greater accessibility to cryptocurrency data in an easier-to-digest format. In partnership with Solactive, our chosen index administrator, we hope these professionally-calculated indices will serve to expand the reach of cryptocurrencies into the larger financial markets.” – Brandon Chez, CEO of CoinMarketCap

At CoinMarketCap, we pioneered the use of the terms “market capitalization” in the cryptocurrency space back in 2013, when we needed to a way to quickly compare other cryptocurrencies to Bitcoin. We also created the term “circulating supply”, inspired by the concept of “public float” in equities. We also popularized “Bitcoin dominance” as a quick indicator of Bitcoin’s market capitalization against the value of all other listed cryptocurrencies. With the indices launching today, we aim to capture these data points in a single, easy-to-use index performance number that can efficiently describe the state of the cryptocurrency market.

The market capitalization for each cryptocurrency calculated as “price multiplied by circulating supply”. The circulating supply metric used by CoinMarketCap accounts for locked, reserved or non-saleable coins or tokens that cannot affect the price of a cryptocurrency, and hence are not factored into a cryptocurrency’s market capitalization.

Solactive AG, the independent German index provider, will calculate and administer the CoinMarketCap indices to exacting standards and strictly adhere to the stated methodology, such as rebalancing the index quarterly accordingly. The company counts among its index-calculating capabilities a Cboe Bitcoin Futures index launched in December 2017. Administering over 3,000 custom indices, Solactive is well-placed to provide and uphold the standards required to launch and maintain these comprehensive, market-wide indices in collaboration with CoinMarketCap. Solactive is fully compliant with the IOSCO Principles for Financial Benchmarks.

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Altcoins

Bitsane Exchange Lists EOS

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eos crypto

Bitsane, European cryptocurrency exchange listed EOS, the fifth largest cryptocurrency by market cap on Tuesday 12, March. Bitsane platform offers trading EOS in pairs with the following currencies: BTC, ETH, EUR, USD, USDT, ETC, XRP, BCHSV.

Bitsane is the only platform that possesses EOS/ETC and EOS/BCHSV trading pairs. The addition of these new pairs to Bitsane will enhance traders’ accessibility and unlocks greater opportunities. Bitsane focuses on feedback and provides the platform with a variety of trading methods based on user’s preferences. By introducing a larger number of trading pairs, the time and money needed for successful trading will be reduced.

Why should you trade EOS?

Block.one has revealed EOS.IO blockchain protocol to deploy decentralized apps. It was released as an Open Source software on June 1, 2018. One billion tokens have been distributed by block.one as ERC-20 tokens, guaranteeing that the native cryptocurrency will be broadly distributed at launch. This distribution has enabled everyone to start the EOS blockchain.

EOS is attractive to investors. It has developed an innovative third-party capital attraction system: the system’s potential capabilities are distributed among all network users according to the number of available EOS tokens. So if a user has a set number tokens, then they automatically are entitled to manage the resources corresponding to set number, opening up a huge amount of earning opportunities. Token holders are also provided with such bonuses as well:

  • You may charge for transactions within the system;
  • Providing access to the storages in the blockchain;
  • The impact on system management;
  • The access to the applications developed in the system and their users;
  • Dividends from EOS;
  • Airdrop – distribution of cryptocurrency existing within the system.

The idea of EOS is innovative. If it is implemented in accordance with the promises declared, EOS may become a completely new stage in blockchain technology development and bring prospects in the form of impressive income to the company’s investors and tokens holders.

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Business

Coinbase Pro Market Structure Update

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Coinbase Pro

Coinbase Pro will implement a set of changes to further optimize the market health of our platform. These changes are designed to increase liquidity, enable better price discovery for trades, and to make price movements smoother. This will lead to a more efficient market and increase trading opportunities for all of our customers. The changes include:

  1. New fee structure that is designed to increase liquidity by reducing the delta between maker and taker fees
  2. Updated order maximums designed to help protect customers from large price movements
  3. New order increment (“tick”) sizes aimed at improving market structure
  4. Turning off stop market orders
  5. Adding market order protection points

New Fee Schedule

The calculation for volume tiers will continue to be based off trailing 30 day volume. You can also see your trailing 30 day volume within Pro.

Updated Order Maximums

We periodically review our maximum order size, which is designed to mitigate the impact of large orders on market liquidity. The latest order maximums can be found on our markets summary page.

Updated Tick Sizes

The tick size of a market is the minimum increment between orders. We will be decreasing the tick size on the following 5 books: ETC-USD, ETC-EUR, ETC-GBP, LTC-BTC, ETC-BTC

The latest tick sizes for all products can be found on our markets summary.

Deprecating Stop Market Orders

Coinbase Pro and Prime will no longer support stop market orders. All stop orders must now be submitted as limit orders and include a limit price. All currently open stop market orders will be canceled on Friday, March 22 @ 6:00 pm PDT.

Adding Market Order Protection Points

Coinbase Pro and Prime will introduce a 10% market protection point for all market orders. Market orders that move the price in excess of 10% will stop executing and return a partial fill. For example: a market buy submitted when the last trade price is $4,000 will only fill at price levels below $4,400. Protection points help prevent large orders from causing more than 10% slippage.

Scheduled Downtime

Coinbase Pro will be offline Friday, March 22 @ 6:00 pm PDT to 6:30 pm PDT. Please subscribe to the Coinbase Pro Status Page to receive updates on the market closing and re-openings.

  1. 3/22 @ 6:00 pm PDT — Downtime begins, all open market stop orders cleared
  2. 3/22 @ 6:30 pm PDT — Markets restarted
  3. 3/22 @ 6:30 pm PDT — New fee schedule and market structure rules go into effect
  4. 3/22 @ 6:30 pm PDT — Markets will enter limit-only mode
  5. 3/22 @ 6:30 pm PDT — Normal trading activity will resume per our trading rules.
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Technologies

Cyber Criminals Increasingly Favouring ‘Low and Slow’ Stealth Attacks

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Blockchain-Powered

A “low and slow” approach to financially driven cyber attacks has overtaken ransomware as the chief attack vector for criminals seeking to extort money by stealth using crypto mining-based malware, according to research by British cybersecurity upstart Darktrace.

Although ransomware made headlines when it wrought havoc across the UK, Europe and America, most prominently with WannaCry, a new generation of malware is instead sitting quietly on users’ devices and in data centres to steal electricity and bandwidth to mine crypto currencies such as Monero.

According to Darktrace, throughout 2018 and into 2019 there had been increasing prominence of malware with crypto mining payloads, as well as the return of banking trojans.

Speaking with Computerworld UK, director of threat hunting at the company Max Heinemeyer, said that Darktrace had seen “very creative forms of crypto jacking going on”. Speculating as to why this shift was taking place, he said that it’s possible threat actors lost profit because ransomware victims may not have been tech-savvy enough to actually go onto Tor and make bitcoin payments.

“A better approach might be to go underground and use crypto mining because it is low and slow and guarantees a profit,” he said.

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Business

The World’s First Full-Stack Cryptocurrency Ecosystem, to Launch on Nasdaq Market Technology

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Nasdaq

Nasdaq Inc. and Bcause LLC, creator of the world’s first full-stack cryptocurrency ecosystem, today announced that Bcause’s markets will operate on Nasdaq’s matching engine, clearing and market surveillance technology via the Nasdaq Financial Framework platform. The technology is expected to go live in 1H 2019 with the launch of the new Bcause spot cryptocurrency market. In addition, Bcause has filed with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to become a designated contract market (DCM) and to establish a derivatives clearing organization (DCO).The full line of Bcause market offerings will soon operate on the most widely used market infrastructure technology in the world.

Once derivatives trading and clearing officially commence, Bcause will be the only venue to serve as a one-stop shop for all parts of the digital currency value chain: from the state-of-the-art digital mining facility launched in February 2018, to spot trading for digital assets, to a futures market and derivatives clearinghouse which are pending regulatory approval. The surveillance technology powered by Nasdaq is designed to ensure that surveillance protocols fit the needs of a crypto marketplace. This will help Bcause monitor its markets for manipulative activities, among other misconduct, thereby creating a safer spot and derivatives market for all participants.

“We have tremendous respect for the Nasdaq brand and are honored that we can deploy these robust, tried-and-tested platforms – customized to our unique markets – as the foundation of our technology,” said Fred Grede, CEO, Bcause. “I fully expect that our markets will attract a broad range of users, from those who are already quite active in the financial markets and familiar with Nasdaq technology, to a new breed of investors wanting to participate in the growing cryptocurrency marketplace.”

“Bcause has methodically built a unique ecosystem that gives investors, partners and market players a holistic experience in tapping the cryptocurrency market and value chain,” said Paul McKeown, SVP and Head of Marketplace Operators & New Markets, Market Technology, Nasdaq. “By leveraging the Nasdaq Financial Framework, Bcause will have the scalability and modular functionality to introduce new micro-services and expand its business offerings to meet industry demands and the evolution of the digital assets economy.”

Nasdaq’s market technology powers more than 250 of the world’s market infrastructure organizations and market participants, including broker-dealers, exchanges, clearinghouses, central securities depositories and regulators, in over 50 countries with end-to-end, mission-critical technology solutions.

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