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Cryptojacking cases on rise; here’s everything you need to know

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Cryptojacking cases on rise; here’s everything you need to know

The year 2022 has been extremely challenging for the cryptocurrency market. The king coin along with its contemporaries has faced major bearish hurdles.

Despite declining prices of digital assets, cryptojacking has increased to record levels in the first half of 2022.

Global cryptojacking volumes have increased by $66.7 million. The rate of cryptojacking is 30% up as compared to Q1 and Q2 of 2021.

This is according to a mid-year update on cyber threats from American cybersecurity company SonicWall.

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In cryptojacking assaults, hackers employ malware to enter computer networks, and take advantage of that computational power to mine cryptocurrencies. However, the aforementioned process most often entails spending a lot of money on expensive, cutting-edge equipment, and using a lot of electricity.

According to SonicWall, the banking sector was subject to five times more cryptojacking attacks as compared to the retail section. As more financial institutions shift their apps to the cloud, hackers are infecting corporate computers and other devices with malware or breaking into networks using Wi-Fi.

Deciphering reasons

According to the survey, there are a few reasons for the general increase in cryptojacking.

To begin with, hackers are using the Log4j vulnerability to launch attacks in the cloud. A serious flaw in the Apache-managed Open Source Library that affects Java-based logging utilities was found in December 2021. It can be used by hackers to obtain remote access to a system.

Secondly, upon comparing cryptojacking with ransomware, the latter requires public dissemination to be successful. Cryptojacking, on the other hand, is a lower-risk attack. The victims of cryptojacking frequently aren’t aware that their networks or PCs have been hacked. The report also stated,

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“Unlike ransomware, which announces its presence and relies heavily on communication with victims, cryptojacking can succeed without the victim ever being aware of it. And for some cybercriminals feeling the heat, the lower risk is worth sacrificing a potentially higher payday.”

Are the numbers ever dropping?

SonicWall did observe some positive indicators. The second quarter saw the number of cryptojacking attacks witness a drop by more than 50% to 21.6 million from the previous three months.

According to the survey, this tendency does, however, follow a usual seasonal pattern, with attacks declining in the second and third quarters before increasing in the last three months of the year.

Aashna is a news editor with AMBCrypto and is particularly interested in the how and what of blockchain technology, along with its vast applications. A flair for the language and her inquisitive nature are factors that spike her interest in the cryptocurrency space.

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Chainalysis

Mixer usage reaches ATH as YTD volume doubles as compared to 2021: Chainanalysis report

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Mixer usage reaches ATH as YTD volume doubles as compared to 2021: Chainanalysis report

The use of cryptocurrency mixers has been at the helm of crypto investigators and compliance officials. This use of mixers has reached an unfortunate all-time high recently as per the latest reports. In fact, more than 10% of all funds sent from illicit addresses are sent to mixers!

According to a recent report by Chainalysis, mixer usage hit an all-time high in 2022. This is a growing concern in the crypto community with such mixers already attracting attention in recent high-profile attacks. The lack of KYC authentication makes the use of mixers very attractive to criminal activities.

Alarming highs!

The Lazarus group, based in North Korea, has often used mixing techniques to launder the stolen funds. As covered in an earlier report, the group was framed for the $100 million attack on the Harmony Bridge. The group has reportedly stolen funds totaling over $2 billion as per Elliptic’s analysis.

Chainalysis data affirms the growing threat of mixers in their latest report. The 30-day MA daily value received by mixers reached an ATH of $51.8 million as of 19 April. These figures have nearly doubled in their YTD volume from 2021.

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Source: Chainalysis

Despite the widespread usage in crime, mixers aren’t considered as illegal tools. Interestingly, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has claimed that these mixers are money transmitters under the Bank Secrecy Act. However, in 2021, the Department of Justice arrested and charged the operator of Bitcoin Fog on multiple counts. The charges included involvement in money laundering, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, and money transmission without a license.

The breakup of funds received by mixers from illicit addresses is suggestive of an unfortunate growing trend. Illicit addresses account for 23% of funds sent to mixers so far in 2022, up from 12% in 2021.

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Source: Chainalysis

What’s more concerning is the growing use of mixers by sanctioned addresses, especially in 2022. Russian based-entity, Hydra, leads in this category while accounting for over 50% of funds moving in mixers. Next comes the recently covered Lazarus Group with a share of over 30% of funds sent into mixers. Third, we have Blender.io which is another North Korean-based entity at 18.8%.

A word of safety

The report concluded that mixers pose a money laundering threat to the broader global markets with increasing use.

“We encourage stakeholders in both the private and public sectors to work together on how to address the risks associated with mixers…”

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Kanav is a journalist at AMBCrypto. He has a Masters in Media and International Conflict and is interested in areas of digital society, crypto developments in the political sphere and the socio-cultural impact of a crypto-society.

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Altcoins

Axie Infinity: Almost 20 days after the Ronin hack, are investors still wary of AXS

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Axie Infinity: Almost 20 days after the Ronin hack, are investors still wary of AXS

Earlier this month, Ronin, the Ethereum Sidechain that hosts the popular play-to-earn blockchain game Axie Infinity was hit by hackers. The hack was deemed to be one of the biggest hacks in crypto history totaling $622 million in crypto. Last week, Binance reported that it recovered $5.8m of the stolen $622 million. Similarly, the U.S Treasury included in its Sanctions List, the Ethereum Wallet belonging to the Lazarus Group (the attacker).

However, in the face of growing sanctions, the Lazarus Group continues to intensify efforts to launder the stolen funds. How has the Axie Infinity token, AXS fared in light of all this?

Are Gamers Still Playing?

Before the hit of 4 April, the AXS token recorded a high of $74.68 on 2 April. However following the hack, a bloodbath ensued causing a sharp decline in the value of the token. Price of the AXS Token fell from $63.49 on 4 April to $42.43 at the time of the writing. This represented a near 33% decline.

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Source: CoinMarketCap

Similarly, the coin have shed over 40% of its market capitalization. It market cap declined from  $4.55 billion recorded at the beginning of April to $2.57 billion noted on price charts at the time of this writing.

Further, a look at the MACD for the token presented increased distribution from 4 April. This represented an indication that gamers and investors alike exited their positions to take profit following the hack. This was confirmed by the RSI which stood at 31.54 at the time of this press. Recording a high of 62 as at 3 April, it has since been on a downward trend, maintaining a position below the neutral level.

Also, a look at the Money Flow Index (MFI) following the hack suggested increased outflow of money from the AXS Token. However after hitting a low of 14 on its MFI, it appeared to have taken on an uptrend.

The possibility for an upward movement presented by the Descending Triangle observed was eliminated as the price broke the triangle and continued downwards.

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Source: TradingView

A Look Away From Price Charts

A look at on-chain data showed a slight uptick in the that the Social Dominance of the token. It rose by a mere 2% from 0.121% recorded on 4 April to 0.124% at the time of this press. The Social Volume on the other hand adopted a fluctuating trend, recording a high on 19 April but currently it at a value one-tenth of its high.

Source: Santiment

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Development Activity for the token stood at 0.42 at the time of this press, a position which it touched on 4 April. Also, after recording a high daily Active Addresses of 795 on 2 April, it had lost over 65% at the time of this writing. Exchange Inflow and Outflow for the token also stood at 5292 and 7178 respectively at the time of this press.

Source: Santiment

Therefore this can be taken as a cautionary tale. As the industry continues to grow, stakeholders need to be more cautious as more scams and hacks continue to be perpetrated.

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Abiodun is a full-time journalist working with AMBCrypto. He is also a lawyer with over 2 years of experience. With a keen interest in blockchain technology and its limitless possibilities, Abiodun spends his time understanding the technology, building projects, and educating people about it.

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Analysis

Transparency or security: Report analyses reasons behind DeFi hacks

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Transparency or security: Report analyses reasons behind DeFi hacks

After a huge year in 2021, hackers are continuing to target Defi platforms in Q1 2022. Chainalysis reported in a recent study about the increasing trend of malicious activities in the current year.

The bounty was indeed not enough in 2021 when hackers managed to steal $3.2 billion in crypto. They have already managed to scam $1.3 billion in Q1 of 2022. While the money was stolen from exchanges, platforms, and private entities, “the victims are disproportionately in DeFi.”

Let’s talk numbers

Observing the data below, the developing trend is a worrying one for DeFi communities. The report states,

“Almost 97% of all cryptocurrency stolen in the first three months of 2022 has been taken from DeFi protocols, up from 72% in 2021 and just 30% in 2020.”

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Source: Chainalysis

The study also reflects on security breaches that allowed hackers to access victims’ private keys. The $615 million scam on the Ronin Network is one such example. The report confirms this pattern between 2020 and Q1 2022. During this period, 35% of all stolen crypto value is reported due to a security breach.

Source: Chainalysis

However, in DeFi protocols, most scams occur due to faulty coding. “Code exploits and flash loan attacks” account for most of the stolen money from such protocols.

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As per the report,

“Code exploits occur for a number of reasons. For one, in keeping with DeFi’s faith in decentralization and transparency, open-source development is a staple of DeFi applications.”

The “transparency” factor helps the hackers to plan exploits by scripting vulnerabilities from the code.

Flash loan attacks are caused because of DeFi reliance on price oracles. “Secure but slow oracles are vulnerable to arbitrage; fast but insecure oracles are vulnerable to price manipulation.” While there are solutions for such increasing attacks, it will take time to implement them and ensure safety.

US ties Ronin hack to North Korea group

The U.S has blamed the $615million hack on the Ronin Network on a North Korean hacker group.

“The United States is aware that the DPRK has increasingly relied on illicit activities — including cybercrime — to generate revenue for its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs as it tries to evade robust U.S. and U.N sanctions,” a Treasury Department spokesperson said.

The group, dubbed as Lazarus, was called out by the spokesperson on a post on the official Ronin blog. It also said  that the U.S Treasury Department has sanctioned the address that received the stolen funds.

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Kanav is a journalist at AMBCrypto. He has a Masters in Media and International Conflict and is interested in areas of digital society, crypto developments in the political sphere and the socio-cultural impact of a crypto-society.

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