New Cryptojacking Threat Crashes PC’s When Removed

Cryptojacking Virus

Cryptojacking has become such a ubiquitous event that it’s become a normal annoyance at this point. Usually, malware like this are easily stopped by just closing your browser.

However, a new and very aggressive form of the malware has been discovered. One that will try to crash your computer once it detects efforts to remove it.

Security researchers at 360 Total Security have reported that the malware, dubbed ‘WinstarNssmMiner,’ has attempted to infect about 500,000 PCs in just three days through email and compromised websites.

Once on the PC, the malware launches a script labeled “svchost.exe”, that is used to manage basic functions in a PC’s operating system. The malware then injects malicious code in the script, allowing other applications in the background to run normally to avoid detection.

Once this is done, WinstarNssmMiner then alters a PC’s “Critical Process” function so that the malware can crash the system if it wants to. Before it installs, the malware checks around if the PC has any antivirus software installed. According to ZDNet, if it detects software from Avast, Kaspersky or other reputable antivirus software, WinstarNssmMiner won’t even bother installing itself in the first place.

Now if the PC doesn’t have antivirus software or has second-rate software, the malware will take advantage of every CPU that it can. This is where the crashing capabilities become critical: some computer savvy users can identify, and terminate the CPU consuming applications. WinstarNssmMiner puts the kibosh on that by configuring its mining processes’ attribute to CriticalProcess so infected computers crash when users terminate it.

As of Thursday, May 17th, ZDNet reported that WinstarNssmMiner had already mined 133 Monero tokens, the equivalent of about $26,500. Four mining pools have reportedly been linked to the malware, although details are still unclear.

Tea-Based Crypto Project Busted by Chinese Police

cop caught criminal vector

A cryptocurrency project has been scuttled by Chinese law enforcement for allegedly soliciting investments with fraudulent claims.

In a report from the Guandong Daily, a provincial media outlet, Shenzhen police arrested six individuals last Monday. They were accused of defrauding 3,000 Chinese investors out of $47 million by selling a cryptocurrency they claimed was backed by a commodity.

The suspects allegedly set up a firm based in Shenzhen called PEB, which beginning in January 2017 issued a blockchain-powered token dubbed Pu’er Coin, according to reports.

The project’s website says holders of the token were entitled to hold a contract which represented ownership of an amount of Pu’er Tibetan tea the firm supposedly had in stock, which the firm claimed to be worth billions of dollars.

While the token could be exchanged in a secondary market called Jubi.com, another website later claimed the contract could bring in a 12 percent annual return if investors choose to lock their funds for 12 months.

Police reports say that, though the firm had only a “very limited amount of the tea in stock,” it also promised high short-term returns to investors in social media promotions and roadshows at high-end hotels.

The police also said the project succeeded in attracting investors via manipulation of the secondary market, using it’s own funds to drive up the token price during the course of 2017.

The arrests mark another notable crackdown on alleged cryptocurrency fraud in China as law enforcement in the country have taken a hardline stance against illegal fundraising.

Previously, Xi’An Police have arrested the founders of an alleged nationwide crypto pyramid scheme that is said to have collected $13 million from over 13,000 people.

Crypto World, Not Spared From Legal Conflicts

Exchange vs Bank

A lawsuit directed against Ripple Labs Inc. was filed at the Superior Court of California. The company allegedly led a game plan to raise hundreds of millions of dollars with unregistered sales of its XRP tokens. They were further accused of creating billions of coins “out of thin air” and selling them to the public in “what is essentially a never-ending initial coin offering,” according to Bloomberg.

In the case of the Norwegian cryptocurrency exchange Bitmynt AS. It has lost its case against the Scandinavian financial services giant Nordea. Bitmynt AS sued the bank for closing its account due to poor safeguards. However, it was the other way around for the Chilean crypto firm Buda who won its case against two banks who closed its account.

In Israel, the cryptocurrency mining company Israminers brought legal charges against the Union Bank of Israel for allegedly stopping the cryptominer from receiving payments from crypto exchanges and sending back payments already received in the account.

Is this emerging trend of “exchange vs. bank” clashes a sign that crypto is getting so big that it tends to disrupt the existing laws and legal standards?

Shyft Network Funding Blockchain Educational Initiative In Bermuda

Bermuda Government and Shyft and Blockchain

The Bermuda Government and Shyft network inked a Memorandum of Agreement where Shyft will inject $10M into the Bermudan economy to develop blockchain technology education.

Shyft is a blockchain identity verification company safeguarding governments, industry, and consumers with “unbreachable” data and new KYC and AML standards.

Bermuda Premier and Minister of Finance David Burt, who signed to MOU said that his country “is able to accelerate economic growth, create jobs and attract global interest.” He further stated:

“The Government of Bermuda has decided to lead the way and build interoperability into the government legislation, in essence, approach regulatory frameworks with exportability in mind… We’re leading the world in digital assets regulation, there’s no other country that provides comparable certainty and [a] progressive regulatory environment.”

As declared in the MOU, the Toronto-based Shyft network will be putting in $10M into the local economy tapping Bermuda’s Department of Workforce Development to train the residents in blockchain technology and development.

In April, Premier Burt also signed an MOU with Binance for a a $10M funding for university level education of Bermudans in blockchain technology and a $5M capital infusion for startup blockchain firms in the country

Although MOU’s are not legally binding, they are a good instrument for building mutual relationships between public and private entities. MOU’s can be adopted by a government without legislative approval because they do not include conditions with legal restrictions.

Five Arrested in BitCoin Robbery Plot

The Forsyth County Police Department in Georgia has arrested five men in connection with a plan to invade a Forsyth County home in the hopes of stealing $1 Million in Bitcoin.

The arrests come on the heels of a four month long investigation, following the police response to what was initially thought to be a drug investigation at a local hotel. Police detectives made contact with four males who had zip ties, latex gloves, duct tape and bandanas in their possession. However, due to a lack of sufficient evidence, the four males were released from custody.

The subsequent investigation linked the suspects to a planned robbery of a homeowner, with the men allegedly targetting the owner’s Bitcoin. After detectives were able to secure arrest warrants, they moved to arrest the four men-Trivette Adams, Matthew Schwartz, Jacob South and Michael McDermont.

Officers arrested Adams and McDermont near the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta before they were able to flee. South and Schwartz, meanwhile, were able to flee, but were captured by Major Crimes Unit detectives in Chicago and extradited.

Lastly, a fifth suspect, Justin Ellison of Illinois, was arrested on May 11 following an interview conducted by Illinois detectives in connection to the investigation.

The foiled conspiracy should serve as a reminder to all: keep not only your private keys hidden, but also keep the contents of said wallets on a need-to-know basis, for safety’s sake.