$3.6 Billion Bitfinex Hack! NYC couple pleads guilty to money laundering

Aug 07 2023

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Welcome to Gone Phishing, your daily cybersecurity newsletter that causes upsets in the cybercrime community like Jake Paul did for boxing on Saturday night. Damn, son ???????????? Still, Nate’s 38 and not a boxer ????

Today’s hottest cyber security stories:

  • ???? $3.6 Billion Bitfinex Hack! NYC couple pleads guilty to money laundering ????

  • ???? Hackers use ‘versioning’ technique to bypass Google Play Store scanners ????

  • ???? Microsoft sounds alarm for potential cyberattacks at major sporting events ⚽️ ???? ????

absolutely no editing required to make this picture funnier ????????

Bitfinextramarital affair ????

???????? NYC Couple Pleads Guilty in Bitfinex Hack & Money Laundering Case! ????????

In a significant cybersecurity development, a married couple from New York City, Ilya Lichtenstein (35) and Heather Morgan (33), have pleaded guilty to money laundering charges connected to the 2016 hack of cryptocurrency stock exchange Bitfinex.

This led to the staggering theft of about 120,000 bitcoins! ????

The couple's arrest took place in February 2022, after authorities seized roughly 95,000 of the stolen crypto assets valued at $3.6 billion at the time. But that's not all! The U.S. government recently announced that they have also seized an additional $475 million linked to the breach. ????????

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), Lichtenstein used advanced hacking tools and techniques to gain unauthorised access to Bitfinex's network. Once inside, he fraudulently authorised over 2,000 transactions, transferring a whopping 119,754 bitcoins to a cryptocurrency wallet under his control. ????️‍♂️????

But the story doesn't end there. Lichtenstein allegedly involved his wife, Heather Morgan, in laundering the crypto proceeds using a variety of intricate methods. These included setting up online accounts using fake identities, converting some of the stolen bitcoin into gold coins and other crypto assets, and concealing the funds' origin by sending them through mixing services. ????????

Interestingly, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis found that a significant portion of the illegal money was moved to the now-defunct darknet market AlphaBay, which was used as a mixer. The stolen bitcoin was deposited and withdrawn in equivalent amounts to obfuscate the trail. ????️‍♀️????️

This case serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of robust cybersecurity measures and vigilance in the cryptocurrency world.

????️ Top Tips:

????Remember to protect your assets and stay informed about potential risks to safeguard yourself from cyber threats! ????????

Stay tuned for further updates as the case unfolds! ????????

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Hackers: We’re versioning on a breakthrough! ????

 ???? Beware Android Users! New Malware Technique Targets Google Play Store Apps! ????

Threat actors are upping their game by using a sneaky technique called "versioning" to bypass Google Play Store's malware detection and target unsuspecting Android users. ????

According to the Google Cybersecurity Action Team (GCAT) in its August 2023 Threat Horizons Report, these malicious campaigns commonly aim to steal users' credentials, data, and finances. ????️‍♂️????????

The old switcheroo…

Here's how versioning works: Initially, a developer releases an app on the Play Store that passes Google's security checks. However, they later update the app with a hidden malware component.

The trick is achieved by sending an update from an attacker-controlled server, which uses a technique called dynamic code loading (DCL) to inject malicious code into the app, essentially turning it into a backdoor. ????????

This method of attack is hard to detect, making it particularly dangerous for unsuspecting users. ???? Earlier this year, ESET discovered a screen recording app called "iRecorder – Screen Recorder" that remained harmless for nearly a year before it was covertly turned into a spy tool.

Another example is the malware called SharkBot, which disguised itself as security and utility apps while functioning as a financial trojan, initiating unauthorised money transfers from compromised devices using the Automated Transfer Service (ATS) protocol. ????????????

To attract less attention, some malicious dropper applications appear with reduced functionality on the Play Store. Once installed, they download the full version of the malware, putting users at significant risk. ????????

????️ Top Tips:

In light of these threats, it's essential for both individuals and enterprises to practise defence-in-depth principles.

This includes limiting app installations to trusted sources like Google Play and managing corporate devices through mobile device management (MDM) platforms.

????️???? Stay vigilant and protect yourself from evolving cyber threats! ????????

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Let us know what you think!

“C’mon ffs! Where’s the defence?!” ⚽????

“I know! They’ve got passwords stored in plain text!” ????

“… eh?” ????

???????? Microsoft Warns of Cyber Threats at Stadium Events! ????????️

In a recent Cyber Signals report, Microsoft issued a warning about the growing cyber risk at live sporting events, including stadiums.

The company highlighted the increasing threat posed by malicious cyber actors, who are eyeing valuable information related to athletic performance, competitive advantage, and personal data. ????️‍♂️????

Sports teams, major leagues, and entertainment venues house a treasure trove of desirable information for cybercriminals, making them vulnerable targets due to the abundance of connected devices and networks in such environments. ????????⚾

Of particular concern are ransomware attacks targeting hospitals providing critical support and health services for fans and players, leading to service disruptions. ????????

To defend against these cyber threats, Microsoft recommends the following measures:

  • Companies should disable unnecessary ports and conduct network scans to detect rogue or ad hoc wireless access points.

  • Attendees should secure their apps and devices with the latest updates and patches, avoid using sensitive data over public Wi-Fi, and refrain from scanning QR codes from untrusted sources.

  • Commerce systems should ensure that point-of-sale (PoS) devices are patched, up to date, and connected to a separate network.

  • Stadium operations should implement logical network segmentations to create divisions between IT and OT systems, limiting cross-access to devices. ????️????

By taking these precautions, we can better protect the integrity and security of sporting events for everyone involved. Let's stay vigilant and safeguard our data in this fast-paced digital age! ????????

So long and thanks for reading all the phish!

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