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Bitcoin Scams

Chinese Student Held At Ransom For 80 Bitcoin In Australia

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Chinese student is held at ransom as kidnappers took him and are now demanding over 80 bitcoins for his release. In the coming altcoin news, we read more about this shocking news.

The Chinese student was kidnapped in Australia where he is studying and according to the Southern Metropolis Daily, the father of the student was contacted by the kidnappers back on August 24th. The kidnappers demanded more than 80 bitcoin in less than 24 hours and at the current price, this is more than about $AU1.2 million or $810,000 USD. Besides the Bitcoin demand, the kidnappers are also threatening to hurt the student if the funds are not sent:

 “We have your son, if you don’t want him to have an accident, if you want him to return soon, then meet our demands.”

The kidnappers did not provide a bitcoin wallet address as they indicated that they would only reveal it once the father was ready to pay the ransom. One day before the alleged message from the kidnappers, Jingwang had talked to his father via SMS asking for his email address because he wanted to send him some documents from the University of Technology in Sydney where he is a freshman. The attempts by his father to inquire about how he was faring were not answered to. Alongside the threatening message, the kidnappers also linked a video of the Chinese student laying blindfolded with parts of his face looking bloody. The father was unable to raise the demanded ransom and is currently looking for a visa to travel to Australia. The suspicion is now high that this could also be fake kidnapping.

Cases of fake kidnappings have involved many students across the world and have been on the rise and even the Australian Federal Police was warning about it in 2018. Allegedly, the fake kidnapping scams mostly target international students in the country who are forced into participating in the scam and the victims are later informed by the scammers who pose as the Chinese government officials that they have been implicated in serious crimes back in China and will face severe consequences unless they cooperate. The scammers also force victims by giving them fake evidence that they have been kidnapped and this includes filming videos and pictures or they simply ask the victims to stay offline completely and hide as we read about it in other reports in some of the best cryptocurrency news sites.

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Bitcoin Scams

Bitcoin Thieves From Canada Steal $4K From BTC ATM

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Bitcoin Thieves from Canada robbed a Canadian grocery store and stole $4,000 from a nearby BTC ATM  but forgot to check the other one close by which had more than $50,000 inside. In today’s bitcoin news, discuss more it.According to a local news media report published two days ago, the Bitcoin Thieves robbed the place at around 4 a.m on November 19 at the ‘’Simply Delicious Food Market’’ in British Columbia. The police arrived at the scene only 15 minutes after the store’s security systems were initiated and the two men escaped in time and still remain at large. The interview with the store owner serves as a reminder that there is a lot of evidence that was captured:
"Our security camera caught at least one of their cars drive away, which was a grey Nissan Sentra. The police were also able to catch their license plate too."
While the local media report didn’t provide much context on why the small grocery store decided to install a  Bitcoin ATM, the small town of Vernon has a population of just over 40,000 and the shaken owner said that he will now remove the machine. The impact of the small heists is becoming more iconic given the thieves’ own success and the local reporters revealed that:
 “The thieves made off with $4,000, but left $50,000 still in the machine in a canister they didn’t check.”
Back in 2018 as reported, the Indian authorities made a controversial arrest of the developers of the country’s first Bitcoin ATM. The story became popular in light of the two suspects who were co-founders of the first crypto exchange Unocoin, during the celebration by the local industry as being among the first and brightest tech pioneers.  The arrests were opposed amid the foggy regulatory uncertainty and the case’s intersection with the government’s stance towards the entire sector at that time.Earlier this week, the number of BTC ATMs installed worldwide reached a new milestone and surpassed 6,000. The United States Internal Revenue Service also announced that they will be looking into potential taxation caused by cryptocurrency ATMs and kiosks.
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Bitcoin Scams

Hacker Offers $100,000 In BTC As Halliburton Hack Bounty

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An anonymous hacker named Phineas Fisher will pay around $100,000 in cryptocurrency to hackers who will leak damaging information about global high profile firms. The hacker offers $100k in BTC as a bounty for the "Hacktivist Bug Hunting Program" which was published on November 15 - targeting big companies including the Israeli spyware vendor NSO Group and the American oil company Halliburton.According to reports from Vice which went viral in the Bitcoin scam news, the idea of the new bounty is to pay other hackers who carry out politically motivated hacks against other firms. This would lead to the disclosure of documents in the public interest. There are other targets too, including the mining and livestock companies in South America.As the hacker offers the $100,000 in BTC, other hackers seem motivated. Phineas Fisher published the manifesto on Friday and said that he will pay hackers in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin (BTC) or the privacy-oriented coin Monero (XMR).The hacker offers the bounty but has not been identified yet. Some say that there may be a group behind all this. In the published document, the hacker noted:
"Hacking to obtain and leak documents with public interest is one of the best ways for hackers to use their abilities to benefit society [...] I’m not trying to make anyone rich. I’m just trying to provide enough funds so that hackers can make a decent living doing a good job.”
As Vice further reported, the identity of Phineas Fisher has never been made public, even after an investigation in the famous Hacking Team hack. However, what we know so far is that in 2015, Phineas was in the cryptonews for taking over the servers of the Hacking Team - an Italian firm providing hacking and surveillance software for police and corporations. His main intent was to expose all of the company's secrets in a 400-gigabyte torrent file which contained internal emails, files and source code.The hacker offers a bounty now and is known as one of the most dangerous hackers out there. Even with his "hacktivism" approach, he definitely raises a lot of eyebrows in the crypto community.
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Bitcoin Scams

US Arrests SIM Swappers After Major Crypto Thefts

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The Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) has arrested two Massachusetts residents this Thursday, both of which were trying to steal cryptocurrency and hijack social media accounts from individuals with the technique of swapping their SIM cards on their phones. The official press release shows that US arrests the SIM swappers following these claims.In fact, the US Department of Justice has charged Eric Meiggs (21) and Declan Harrington (20) on counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, computer fraud, abuse and identity theft as they tried to target cryptocurrency company executives and other individuals “who likely had significant amounts of cryptocurrency,” as well as people "who had high value or ‘OG’ (slang for ‘Original Gangster’) social media account names.”The two of them sought to steal more than $550,000 in cryptocurrency from 10 different individuals. They apparently secured access to two social media accounts as well. The victims were not identified at the time, but the indictment briefly described several of their connections to the crypto space.The latest Bitcoin scam shows that one victim "owned a Bitcoin teller machine" and the other one "ran a blockchain based business."Meanwhile, SIM swapping is not a new technique to steal identities. As US arrests SIM swappers, everyone should know how the technique works and protect themselves. Basically, the attackers pose as the owners of a cell phone number, convincing the cellular service providers to give them access to the victims' accounts.By taking control of a cell phone number, the attackers are able to log into social media (and sometimes other accounts including crypto exchange accounts) which gives them access to the users' crypto holdings and other information.Similar issues were reported by Messari, VideoCoin and Coin Center in the recent weeks. According to Michael Terpin who is a prominent investor in the cryptocurrency space, the US arrests SIM swappers but needs to focus on lawsuits, too. In his own case against AT&T, he won $75 million against the Manhattan resident Nicholas Truglia (21).As the press release shared on Thursday shows, the US arrests SIM swappers led by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service along with its Criminal Investigations units which are continuing to investigate cases like these.
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Bitcoin Scams

BTC Extortionists Demand 560 BTC From Mexican Oil Giant Pemex

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BTC extortionists attacked the oil giant Pemex in Mexico and demanded more than 560 bitcoins in a ransomware attack in order to provide the decryption software. Let’s read further in the bitcoin news now.Pemex now has to pay the Bitcoin ransom in less than two weeks or wait and pay double after. More than five percent of the computers were affected by the doppelpaymer software and the billing system of the company is the most heavily impacted and could even lead to delays in paying the salaries to its employees.The BTC extortionists who hit Mexico’s oil giant Pemex are demanding about 560 bitcoins to provide the decryption software. According to Bleeping Computer, the ransomware attacked targeted the Fortune 500 company by the DoppelPaymer malware. Pemex wrote a tweet stating that the supply and distribution of petroleum and other products will remain unaffected.According to the ransom note, the hackers pegged the price of their decryption at 565 and at current bitcoin prices this amounts to $4,928,455 but they even promised a discount if contracted in less than 48 hours. Failure to make contact with the BTC Extortionists within two weeks will see the ransom increase to 1130 bitcoin. Additionally, the hackers have threatened to disclose the company’s private sensitive data if Pemex decides not to pay the ransom.According to the cybersecurity company CrowrdStrike, the malware came to the public first in June but there are a few other builds of the ransomware dating back to April. By July, the cybersecurity company estimated that three victims of the ransomware attack paid up to 142 bitcoin. This was worth about $1.5 million at the prices at that time.DoppelPaymer can spread very fast owing to the threaded-file encryption mechanism and the ransomware uses the communication TOR browser for payments. DopplePaymer is considered to be a fork of the BitPaymer ransomware which usually targets medium to large organizations such as corporations and local governments. Another one of the malware’s features is that the recovery of the backups is basically impossible. This is mainly because it encrypts and deletes the backup data. DoppelPaymer has the capacity to format backup disks as well.
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