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Researchers warn 3 apps have been stealing crypto undetected for a year

Three crypto based apps have concealed a nasty surprise for those that have downloaded them.

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Cyber security researchers have discovered a year-long malware operation that has targeted cryptocurrency users with the creation of a number of fake apps.

Security firm Intezer Labs warned that ever increasing crypto prices have created heightened activity among hackers and malicious actors seeking financial gains. The malware has been disseminated over the past year, but was only discovered in December 2020.

The new remote access trojan (RAT), dubbed ElectroRAT, has been used to empty the cryptocurrency wallets of thousands of Windows, macOS, and Linux users, the report added.

Three cryptocurrency-related apps deployed in the attack — Jamm, eTrade/Kintum, and DaoPoker — were all hosted on their own websites. The first two are bogus crypto trading apps while the third is gambling based.

The ElectroRAT malware hidden inside these apps is extremely intrusive according to the researchers;

“It has various capabilities such as keylogging, taking screenshots, uploading files from disk, downloading files, and executing commands on the victim’s console.”

After being launched on a victim’s computer, the apps show a foreground user interface designed to divert attention from the malicious background processes. The apps were promoted using social media platforms Twitter and Telegram in addition to cryptocurrency based forums such as Bitcointalk.

Intezer Labs estimated that the campaign has already infected “thousands of victims” who have had their crypto wallets emptied. It added that there was evidence that some victims who were compromised by the apps were using popular crypto wallets such as MetaMask.

The malware has been written in a multi-platform programming language called Golang which makes it harder to detect. The security firm stated that it was uncommon to see a RAT designed to steal personal information from cryptocurrency users that was written from scratch, adding;

“It is even rarer to see such a wide-ranging and targeted campaign that includes various components such as fake apps and websites, and marketing/promotional efforts via relevant forums and social media.”

There have been a number of cases in 2020 where fake versions of legitimate apps and browser extensions such as MetaMask or Ledger have made their way onto victims computers. This may be related to Ledger’s massive data breach in mid-December.

In September 2020, Coinbase users were among the victims of new Android-based malware disseminated through Google Play Store.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/researchers-warn-3-apps-have-been-stealing-crypto-undetected-for-a-year

Blockchain

Thieves Stole About $450,000 from Crypto Trader at Knifepoint

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A Hong Kong woman has fallen victim to a gang of robbers after conducting a crypto transaction worth almost $450,000.

Gang of Four Steal $450K From Hong Kong Crypto Trader

According to a report by the South China Morning Post, a female crypto trader was held at knifepoint by a gang of thieves, who stole HK $3.5 million ($448,700) from the victim.

As part of the robbery operation, one of the thieves posed as a prospective cryptocurrency buyer. The woman had earlier conducted different crypto transactions for the man, ranging between HK$600,000 and HK$700,000.

Hong Kong authorities stated that the trader sold Tether (USDT) tokens to the man via her iPhone and was later lured to an office to receive payment in cash. Shortly after receiving the money, other members of the gang held the trader at knifepoint to steal the money and her iPhone.

Authorities were able to get wind of the robbery after the victim contacted her husband with a second phone, who in turn called the police. Meanwhile, authorities are conducting a search for the gang.

The woman’s uncle, who escorted her to the location of the transaction, also told the police that he saw four men fleeing the scene of the crime.

The details of the attack also closely resemble another incident from earlier in January when a gang of four robbers stole HK $3 million from another crypto trader. In the earlier case, the hoodlums also posed as prospective buyers, completed a few transactions to gain trust before pouncing on their victim.

Armed Robbers and Kidnappers on the Prowl for Crypto Owners

Physical crypto-related thefts are reportedly a regular occurrence in Hong Kong, with the number of such incidents doubling between 2019 and 2020. Indeed, the growing value of cryptocurrencies seemingly provides incentives for armed robbers looking for victims.

Back in 2018, a police officer in India was among a group of people arrested in connection with the kidnapping and extortion of a businessman to the tune of over $49 million.

CryptoPotato compiled a list of crypto security tips for investors and traders to safeguard their wallets and crypto. One of the important things to consider is keeping your holdings private and be very careful when it comes to peer-to-peer transactions.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/thieves-stole-about-450000-from-crypto-trader-at-knifepoint/

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Blockchain

3 key reasons why Polkastarter (POLS) price rallied 500% since December

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Polkastarter (POLS) is a cross-chain token pool and auction protocol built on the Polkadot (DOT) blockchain. It launched in October of 2020 as a way for projects to raise capital in a decentralized environment and since January the token has rallied 500% to a new high at $1.78.

Three possible reasons for the recent growth of POLS are the strong rally seen from Polkadot, strategic partnerships and exchange listings and an expanding list of token launches via auctions.

POLS/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The rise of Polkadot

The rising popularity of the Polkadot network is arguably the most significant influencer on the price of POLS. Similar to Kusama, Polkastarter’s association with Polkadot could attract additional user and investor attention.

POLS price vs. Social engagement. Source: LunarCrush

Polkadot’s rally began on Dec. 27, 2020, and it culminated on Jan.15 as DOT saw a 75% price increase in one week. POLS strong rally also reignited on Dec. 27 and followed a similar trajectory to DOT.

Now that DOT has flipped XRP to become the fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, further price strength for Polkadot has the potential to have a positive impact on the overall performance of Polkastarter.

Exchange listings and partnerships

Prior to Jan. 14 POLS was only available on Uniswap and Poloniex. At the time its liquidity was limited and high ETH gas fees also complicated matters for those thinking about trading the token.

After the Huobi exchange announced plans to list POLS on Jan. 14, its trading volume increased from an average of $2 million to $22 million overnight.

Now the POLS community is working on being listed at OKEx and a recent tweet from the project informed supporters that the project only needs 2,000 more votes to qualify.

Listing POLS on another high-volume exchange has the potential to further boost the token’s price as more people will have access to one of the fastest-growing Polkadot based projects.

Successful auctions and token launches

Similar to the initial coin offerings (ICO) that occurred in 2017 and 2018, Polkastarter is gaining momentum due to its ability to attract capital heavy investors looking for the opportunity to get first access to the newest blockchain projects.

Polkastarter’s protocol is designed to enable cross-chain token pools and auctions as a method of raising capital in a decentralized fashion. To date, the platform has conducted 12 separate Initial Decentralized exchange Offerings (IDOs) with 20 different pools consisting of both public and private offerings. To date, only one pool failed to sell out.

The strong rally seen from DOT has only increased the desire of projects wanting to develop on top of Polkadot in order to capitalize on its growing popularity as well as avoid the challenges associated with building on Ethereum.

List of initial decentralized exchange offerings on Polkastarter. Source: Polkastarter

Tosdis, the most recent IDO conducted on Polkastarter, tweeted the following after its successful auction as an example of the platform’s growing popularity:

“We are really delighted to announce that our IDO on Polkastarter is sold out. POLS pool was sold out in record 30 seconds. After fixing some overloading and gas issues, the public pool was sold out in 90 minutes. We are overwhelmed by the support. Thank you and Stay tuned.”

Polkadot’s rise, successful IDOs on the Polkastarter platform and the listing of POLS on new exchanges have helped propel the value of the token to new highs and investors are optimistic that these strong fundamentals will push the price higher.

In addition to these fundamental factors, Ether’s (ETH) recent surge to a new all-time high has many analysts calling for the start of a new ‘altcoin season’. According to Raoul Pal, the CEO and co-founder of Real Vision Group and Global Macro Investor, traders are likely to plow into “higher risk alts” after Ether secures a new all-time high.

If this prediction does come to pass, it could also mean even brighter days are ahead for the Polkastarter ecosystem.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/3-key-reasons-why-polkastarter-pols-price-rallied-500-since-december

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Latest CME Report Reveals Growing Appetite for Bitcoin Amongst Institutions

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  • Bitcoin has been consolidating within the $30,000 region throughout the past few days and weeks
  • Bulls and bears have largely reached an impasse, with buyers and sellers both being unable to spark any trend
  • This comes as large institutional inflows show some signs of tapering, with these buyers largely being viewed as the ones responsible for the recent market-wide surge
  • The latest Commitment of Traders (CoT) report from the CME reveals a striking trend – institutions are increasingly adding to their long exposure
  • This seems to invalidate the notion that institutions are slowing their accumulation habits and may point to an imminent wave two of buying from these parties

Bitcoin has seen mixed price action as of late, with the selling pressure in the upper-$30,000 region slowing its ascent as bulls and bears largely reach an impasse.

Where the crypto market trends in the mid-term may depend largely, if not entirely, on whether or not Bitcoin can continue stabilizing or break above $40,000.

Any strong rejection here could cause the crypto to see some notable losses that potentially lead altcoins to follow suit and selloff as well.

One positive trend that seems to bode well for Bitcoin’s outlook is growing long-exposure from institutions using the CME.

This trend suggests that institutions are still pouring money into the market.

Bitcoin Stagnates as Consolidation Phase Persists

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up just under 2% at its current price of $36,700. This marks a notable decline from daily highs of nearly $38,000 set just a couple of hours ago.

The entire market retraced with BTC, but ETH and other altcoins are all trading up significantly from where they were just a few days ago.

Institutional Traders Are Increasingly Long on BTC

One positive trend for Bitcoin is the growing presence of institutions in the market, which is a large part of why it has been rallying so heavily throughout the past few months.

Although they may be bidding less aggressively on BTC as it hovers around its all-time highs, data from the CME’s latest Commitment of Trader’s report indicates that long interest for BTC amongst institutions is steadily climbing.

“12 – January CME $BTC Commitments of Traders (COT) report – Open Interest: 12,039 up 6.5%”

Bitcoin

Image Courtesy of Unfolded. Source: TradingView.

The coming few days should shine some light on whether or not the constant rejection seen by Bitcoin in the upper-$30,000 region will have any impacts on its mid-term trend.

Featured image from Unsplash.
Charts from TradingView.

Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/analysis/btc/latest-cme-report-reveals-growing-appetite-for-bitcoin-amongst-institutions/

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