Weekly News Digest #73

Romance scams resulted in $1.3B losses for last 5 years in the USA

Romance scams are becoming in the modern digital scape. Dating apps are the most popular channels for fraudulence. For example, only in the USA romance scams caused $547M damage to victims in 2021. In 2021, the volume of romance scams and the associated damage increased by 80% compared to 2020. The average victim lost $2.4K due to romance scams.

The romance scams involving cryptocurrency are rising in popularity. Malicious actors can speak for a long time with the potential victims to establish very trustful relationships. Then they offer a very attractive investment opportunity whereby a victim needs to invest money in a particular crypto project to get very high returns. However, instead of sending money to legitimate addresses, a cybercriminal lures victims to transfer assets to their own wallets or the wallets controlled by malicious groups. As a result, victims lose their money. 

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Couple trying to launder billions in stolen bitcoins charged by FED

At the time bitcoins were stolen, they were valued at $71M. Now they value $3.6B. On Tuesday, 2 people were arrested by the Justice Department. They are accused of being involved in the 2016 hack of the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. It is the largest seizure in the history of the Justice Department. 

This arrest confirms that law enforcement bodies will not allow malicious actors to use cryptocurrency as a safe haven. Arrested are Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife Heather Morgan, 31. In 2016, the malicious actors breached the system of Bitfinex exchange and initiated more than 2K unauthorized transactions resulting in stealing 120K Bitcoins.

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Meter Passport bridge losses $4.4M as a result of the exploit

As a result of the smart contract hack, the project Meter Passport lost $4.4M while causing $3.3M damage to Hundred Finance through under-collateralized loans. The attack affected the Moonriver side of the Meter Passport bridge. The malicious actors exploited the “wrong trust assumption” in the code to mint $4.4M in Binance coin (BNB) and wETH. The arbitrary amount of Ether was deposited to Meter that was later used to mint tokens.

The received BNBs were sold by the attacker on SushiSwap leading to a 77% decrease in the price of BNB on Moonriver at the time. The Meter team has committed to reimburse its community and Hundred Finance the losses they received as a result of the hack.

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QiDao losses $20M in Superfluid Smart Contract Code exploit

The users’ assets remained in safety. Hackers have stolen the project’s funds. The exploit was attributable only to Superfluid. Bridging was suspended. Malicious actors attacked Superfluid’s vesting smart contract framework on Ethereum for QiDAO. 

Superfluid is offering a $1M bounty to the hacker for returning funds. The project has advised users to unwrap all SuperTokens since attackers may actively target users will significant balances. 

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DDoS attacks hit all-time high

The total number of DDoS attacks recorded in Q4 2021 was 4.65 times higher compared to the same period in 2020. Compared to Q3 2021, the number increased by 52%. Several new botnets emerged in Q4 2021 such as zombie network Abcbot. The list of main targets of DDoS attacks included the USA, China, Hong Kong, Germany, and France.

Although Q4 is traditionally a peak period in terms of DDoS attacks frequency, in 2021 such as radical growth was not expected. The possible reason behind a huge increase in the number of recorded attacks was the unstable situation in the cryptocurrency market. The company Kaspersky does not expect a visible decrease in the frequency of DDoS attacks in Q1 2022. 

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