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UK Digital Bank Starling Bans Crypto Exchange Deposits: Report

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UK Digital bank Starling bans deposits to cryptocurrency exchanges due to high levels of suspected financial crime as we can see more in our latest crypto news today.

The UK Digital Bank Starling barred its customers from sending money to crypto exchanges but withdrawals are not affected. The bank temporarily barred its customers from depositing money to crypto exchanges because of concerns about criminal activity:

“This is a temporary measure that we’ve taken to protect customers, having observed high levels of suspected financial crime with payments to some cryptocurrency exchanges. This is not just an issue for Starling, but for all banks.”

Starling noted that it will reverse the ban once they rolled out more checks specifically for payments to crypto exchanges and the spokesperson declined to comment when the bank proposes to lift the ban. However, the bank confirmed that only deposits from Starling accounts to exchanges are barred. Customers can continue withdrawing funds from exchanges into Starling accounts with no restrictions as the bank is a mobile-only bank launched in the UK back in 2014. Other UK banks didn’t take the same stance as Barclays said they haven’t blocked transactions to crypto exchanges.

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Contrary to customer difficulties, reports show that there were no problems transferring money from Monzo to Binance. NatWest warned since Thursday that customers against crypto traders promised big profits and offering to help with the bank has not placed more restrictions on traders. It advises the customers only to deal with crypto companies that are registered or temporarily registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. Five companies were fully registered like Ziglu, Gemini Europe Service, Digivault, and Archax.

Additional 167 crypto companies had outstanding applications, John Glen, MP for Salisbury said that 90% of the companies applied withdrew applications after the FCA intervention.

UK Leaves EU

Speaking of the UK, The UK Treasury and the Bank of England have launched a CBDC taskforce to coordinate the exploration of CBDC while UK is still one of the few countries that consider launching its own CBDC like China and Japan. Both entities launched a task force to coordinate the exploration of the central bank’s digital currencies as per a statement. The project will explore how the potential digital currency would work and what are the possible risks associated with it. The UK government and the BoE haven’t really made a decision yet on whether they want to introduce CBDCs but the joint project is still a huge step in this regard.

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DC Forecasts is a leader in many crypto news categories, striving for the highest journalistic standards and abiding by a strict set of editorial policies. If you are interested to offer your expertise or contribute to our news website, feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Source: https://www.dcforecasts.com/regulation/uk-digital-bank-starling-bans-crypto-exchange-deposits-report/

Blockchain

Alert: Modified hardware wallets spotted in the wild

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Last week someone on the Ledger subreddit reported receiving an unsolicited package with a Ledger Nano X along with a  letter from “the CEO” of Ledger. The scam tries to trick people into migrating their crypto holdings onto the new, modified device. Kraken Security Labs decided to explore this supposed phishing scam.

In the video above, our security team demonstrates how this scam was supposed to play out and, as with previous Ledger phishing attacks, will explain how best to avoid these attacks from happening to you. 

As an important note, there are no flaws with the Ledger wallet or its firmware. The purpose of the video and blog is to simply increase awareness about this phishing attack, as this is often the single-best way to prevent crypto holders falling victim to these attempts. 

The Letter and Device

The package was delivered in what appeared to be official Ledger shrink wrapping. But after opening the package, the recipient spotted an immediate red flag. The letter, which was purportedly from Ledger CEO Pascal Gauthier, was in poorly-written English and had errors throughout; hardly consistent with the communication clients usually receive from companies. 

Having already heard about Ledger falling victim to a data breach in the past, the recipient felt increasingly suspicious. They decided to take the Ledger apart and posted pictures of the insides on Reddit. The community quickly discovered that a tiny USB stick had been secretly implanted into the device. Once plugged into a computer, the device would appear as a USB stick, containing a malicious application attempting to phish the user’s seed

You can also check out Bleepingcomputer’s full writeup of the attack here.

Rebuilding The Attack   

Kraken Security Labs has rebuilt the attack to demonstrate how this highly sophisticated, real-world phishing attack works, so clients are prepared in case anyone should ever attempt this on them.

The implant: A simple USB stick

Kraken Security Labs ordered a Ledger Nano X wallet online. Once received, we used a simple tiny USB-stick as an implant, extracted from a promotional gift. After removing some padding, the USB stick fitted perfectly underneath the display of the wallet.

The USB stick attached to the USB lines of the Ledger Nano X.

Next, just like the original attacker, we used magnet wire to connect the contacts of the USB-stick to the USB data-lines on the original wallet’s Printed Circuit Board (PCB), which connects all the device’s electrical components together.

To prevent conflicts between the USB-stick and the Ledger CPU we had to make additional modifications. Hardware security expert Mike Grover highlighted that the attackers had removed an oscillator – a component which basically allows the device to keep time – to prevent the CPU from interfering with the USB-stick. Our testing found that removing that component would disable the device, making the attack more conspicuous. Kraken Security Labs performed a slightly different modification so the wallet would work normally and would therefore raise less suspicion. This included allowing regular connections to the wallet via bluetooth.  Additionally we found that the attackers performed further hardware modifications to make the USB connection work.

From the outside, it’s virtually impossible to distinguish a genuine Ledger wallet from a backdoored one. The USB-stick is hidden below the display, and the tiny wires connect it to the Ledger PCB. When plugged in, the wallet will boot, charge its battery, and appear like a completely unmodified Ledger.

When the device is plugged into a computer, it will appear as a USB stick, containing only a phony “Ledger Live” application that will try to trick the victim into entering their seed phrase, which will enable the attackers to drain funds from their wallet.

Can you tell which Ledger is modified?

Reminder

When utilizing a hardware wallet, always make sure you order directly from the vendor and check that the packaging, including the cellophane wrapping, has not been tampered with. 

If you are ever in doubt, contact the wallet vendor directly or speak to someone through the official support portal.

Stay up-to-date with the latest security alerts and best practices with Kraken Security Labs.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://blog.kraken.com/post/9659/alert-modified-hardware-wallets-spotted-in-the-wild/

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Blockchain

Things Are Getting Worse For ETH As It Drops Below $2000

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Things are getting worse for ETH as it drops below the $2000 price point on several major exchanges as we can see more in our latest Ethereum news today.

Ethereum dropped below $2000 for the first time in a month and the HODLers hoped that today’s pullback will not signify the start of a longer-term bear market and the world’s second-biggest crypto by market cap dropped briefly below $2000 before it became accustomed to the price back in April and then again in May but each dip lasted for a few hours. Launched at the end of July 2015, Ethereum popularized the smart contract and enforced financial contracts executed on the blockchain so from smart contracts came to NFTs as the unique cryptocurrencies based on ethereum, starting a new craze that helped ETH to rise to $4100 this year.

eth chart
ETH 24/7 CHART BY COINGECKO

Non-fungible tokens are a very popular way to sell digital art since each token is one of a kind and we saw Beeple selling a collection of JPEGs as an NFT for $69 million this year. The bull run, Ethereum’s smart contracts spurred the developments of the Decentralized Autonomous Organisation, and the DAOs use automated decision-making processes as well as smart contracts to allow the group of people that remain anonymous to govern themselves like real organizations.

Even though scammers drained the original DAO out of $55 million in 2016, DAOs are the main thing for decentralized finance now. Polychain Capital CEO Olaf Carlson-Wee estimated that the DAOs raised major breakthrough in blockchain after digital cash. Ethereum 2.0 is expected to drop this year and the upgrade promised low fees, fast transactions processing, and a reduction in the overall energy requirement by more than 99% as the network moves to a greener proof of stake model. Even if things look bleak, Ethereum’s history proves that it is still an invaluable part of the diversifying crypto-verse.

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Ethereum’s London Hard Fork, eth, eip-1559

However, things are getting worse for ETH as the coin dropped below $2000 as the entire market did as well. As we reported recently, After a few days of adverse price developments, BTC calmed down at $33,000 while most alternative coins continued registering price losses with ETH sliding to $2200 again and XRP dumping more than 5% in one day. The workweek was going in BTC’s way for a few days as it spiked above $40K to a new 26-high at $41,375 as the community started preparing for a new leg up that can take the asset to $50,000 or higher while the bears regained control and BTC started losing.

DC Forecasts is a leader in many crypto news categories, striving for the highest journalistic standards and abiding by a strict set of editorial policies. If you are interested to offer your expertise or contribute to our news website, feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.dcforecasts.com/ethereum-news/things-are-getting-worse-for-eth-as-it-drops-below-2000/

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Blockchain

Can Bitcoin Still Pride Itself On Anonymity?

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Can Bitcoin Still Pride Itself On Anonymity?

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Bitcoin’s arrival to the financial scene was a rough one. Upon its numerous qualities, it was still called lots of negative names, including a scam, a bubble, and a ‘thing associated with crime’ as many argued it didn’t have any base value.

One of Bitcoin’s qualities however caught the eye of many investors and that was its anonymity. The option of one performing a transaction without revealing his or her identity became a sensation, pulling many people towards it. As time went on, investors and industry players got to grasp the concept of Bitcoin’s underlying technology, striking out the notion that Bitcoin was a safe haven for crime and criminals.

However, recent events across the crypto space have brought Bitcoin’s anonymity into question. The United States Justice Department seized over a billion dollars in Bitcoin in numerous investigations last year.

The Justice Department again located a sum of $2.3 million paid as ransom by Colonial Pipeline to DarkSide, a dark web hacker group. Colonial Pipeline made the payment in Bitcoin, which many investors thought was untraceable, leading to most asking whether the biggest cryptocurrency can still pride itself on anonymity?

Anonymity and privacy are words that have been used interchangeably whenever Bitcoin is said which is wrong. Bitcoin is anonymous but very far from private, a vital distinction that is often overlooked. Bitcoin’s underlying technology blockchain contains a massive historical ledger of all Bitcoin transactions which can be viewed publicly by anyone at any time.

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Every Bitcoin transaction is publicly recorded on the Bitcoin blockchain which is permanent and will remain public. Federal investigators have over the years been able to trace criminals’ proceeds with the help of analysis tools and Bitcoin transactions.

Bitcoin’s anonymity is however the factor that complicates Bitcoin recovery as both the sender and recipient are represented by special wallet addresses and a string of numbers and letters instead of what it usually is, names or Social Security numbers.

Bitcoin components including addresses, transactions as well as private and public keys are all read in text strings, such as a public address, that do not directly link to a user’s identity.

Everything about a Bitcoin transaction is anonymous and the only way to identify the user or person behind it is by linking the address to a real-world identity and backing it with evidence. Bitcoin however offers no privacy.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://zycrypto.com/can-bitcoin-still-pride-itself-on-anonymity/

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