Bitcoin 'whales' and market manipulation, plus 3 more things in cybersecurity this week
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This week's roundup of cybersecurity news features bitcoin's quiet masters – the few who have the bulk of bitcoin cryptocurrency – .playing a possible part in the direction bitcoin is going towards. Additionally, there's news on the Trump-Kim summit being a magnet for cyberattacks from Russia, as well as the tug of war between Apple and the hackers who want to crack apple's security.
Bitcoin's 'whales' manipulating cryptocurrency value
Analysts are casting doubt on the veracity of the perception that bitcoin is an open system, noting the bulk of bitcoin is actually heavily concentrated in the hands of a powerful few. These bitcoin "whales" – a word popularly used for big money players in financial markets – "literally control the currency," said Bob McDowall, an expert in cryptocurrencies.
McDowall added these people "dictate monetary policy, which is normally the function of a central bank or a government."
Apple removes iPhone USB access feature, while hackers are working to crack it open
Threatpost reported on June 14 that Apple was set to release an iOS software update to remove the iPhone USB access feature, preventing hackers and law enforcement from accessing the data from a locked phone through the device port. Users could still charge a phone, but data transfers would be disabled until the passcode is entered again.
A day later, a Motherboard report said Grayshift, the company behind the system which helped police break into iPhones, might have found a workaround for this restriction.
Trump-Kim summit becomes target for Russian cyberattacks
Data analyzed by F5 networks and its partner Loryka pointed to 88% of cyberattacks on targets in Singapore from June 11 to 12 – the dates of the summit between the US and North Korea – being launched from Russia.
There were approximately 40,000 attacks launched from 11 pm of June 11 to 8 pm of June 12. The report added 92%of the attacks collected were reconnaissance scans looking for vulnerable devices, while the other 8% were exploit attacks.
French nationals arrested for 'Rex Mundi' cyber-extortion scheme
Several French Nationals – including a 25-year-old coder – were arrested in the past year on suspicion of being part of the group Rex Mundi. The group attempted cyber-extortion attacks, penetrating systems of organizations and then asking them to pay a ransom to either not release the data they stole or for information on how the attack was done so they could prevent further attacks.
Europol said, "Five people were arrested in June 2017 by the French authorities. The main suspect admitted his involvement in the blackmail but hired the services of a hacker on the dark web to carry out the cyber-attack. The French National Police arrested two hackers in France in October 2017 and a final accomplice, also a French national with coding skills, was recently apprehended in Thailand." – Rappler.com