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International Operation Disrupts Ransomware Group Netwalker by Tracing Cryptos With the Help of Blockchain Analysis – Security Bitcoin News

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In collaboration with Bulgarian authorities, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) disrupted a well-known ransomware gang’s infrastructure. Law enforcement seized their servers and traced the illicit funds with the help of blockchain forensic analytics via Chainalysis.
US Authorities Seized Over $454,000 Worth of Cryptocurrencies
Per the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement, the coordinated action took down Netwalker, a highly active ransomware group over the last year, specifically targeting the health care sector.
The U.S. authorities also indicted a Canadian national, Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins, who allegedly obtained $27.6 million as a “Netwalker affiliate.”
The authorities seized a server that hosted their site on the dark web, where the gang redirected their victims to arrange the ransom negotiations. Moreover, the U.S. DOJ said that $454,530.19 in cryptocurrency from ransom payments were seized.
With the support of blockchain analysis, law enforcement took advantage of investigative tools of Chainalysis to trace Netwalker transactions. In fact, the blockchain firm had traced more than $46 million worth of funds in Netwalker ransoms since it first came on the scene in August 2019.
The U.S. authorities believe the ransomware gang targeted 205 victims from 27 different countries during its lifetime, including 203 in the U.S.
Speaking with news.Bitcoin.com, Brett Callow, threat analyst at malware lab Emsisoft, commented on the authorities’ action against Netwalker:
Ransomware groups have operated with almost complete impunity for a very long time, which means there’s very little deterrent. The rewards are enormous, while the risks are small. The action against Netwalker changes that. In addition to disrupting the group’s revenue stream, it also sends a clear message that cybercriminals are not beyond the reach of the law. Will that create a deterrent? No, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Netwalker ransomware works with an affiliate scheme, where external people could deploy the ransomware and share revenues with the gang. Chainalysis elaborates on what the blockchain analysis unveiled about the infrastructure:
Typically, there are four roles that receive proceeds from Netwalker attacks: the likely administrator or developer (8-10%), the affiliate (76-80%), and two commissioned roles (2.5%-5% each). An affiliate, like Vachon-Desjardins, is usually responsible for obtaining access to the victim network and deploying the malware. There are also cases when one wallet gets 100% of the payment, which we believe belongs to the Netwalker administrator and indicates that he or she may also be directly involved in some of the attacks.
The analytical firm says that there were fewer than 20 unique affiliates. Some of them rarely deployed the ransomware, while others moved on to other similar ransomware strains. That’s why a tool used by the authorities named Chainalysis Reactor traced payments received by the affiliates from other variants.
To confirm the fact that some affiliates moved to other strains, Chainalysis found out that Netwalker administrator published an advertisement on darknet forums. The admin was seeking new affiliates, as vacancies “had freed up.”

Tracing Suspected Netwalker Affiliate
On how the authorities traced Vachon-Desjardins’ activities, Chainalysis explained:
Blockchain analysis revealed at least 345 addresses associated with Vachon-Desjardins going back to February 2018 with transactions continuing to the date of this writing (January 27, 2021). He allegedly received more than $14 million worth of bitcoin at the time of receipt of the funds, ultimately possessing at least $27.6 million given its rising value.
Citing government partners, Chainalysis claims Vachon-Desjardins was involved in at least 91 attacks using Netwalker ransomware since April 2020, deploying the malware as an affiliate and receiving 80% of the ransom. The analytical firm also suspects the alleged Netwalker affiliate was involved in the deployment of other ransomware strains.
What do you think about this massive operation against the Netwalker ransomware gang? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Source: https://obligationfinance.com/2021/01/29/international-operation-disrupts-ransomware-group-netwalker-by-tracing-cryptos-with-the-help-of-blockchain-analysis-security-bitcoin-news/

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Infosys Introduces Blockchain Network In California’s Riverside County

Infosys Ltd (NYSE: INFY) subsidiary Infosys Public Services (IPS) completed the pilot of a blockchain solution designed to improve the …

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Anusuya Lahiri , Benzinga Staff Writer

July 20, 2021 1:17pm 131 Comments

Infosys Introduces Blockchain Network In California's Riverside County

  • Infosys Ltd (NYSE: INFY) subsidiary Infosys Public Services (IPS) completed the pilot of a blockchain solution designed to improve the efficiency, access, and security of vital recordkeeping in Riverside County, California.
  • The blockchain network enables county employees to manage data effectively and securely while easing access and lowering the cost of operations.
  • The pilot blockchain network, developed in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, Inc (AWS) using Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) Amazon Managed Blockchain, modernizes the once paper-centric operations of the Riverside County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Office.
  • Additionally, Infosys collaborated with Daimler AG (OTC: DMLRY) to launch its Automotive Digital Technology and Innovation Center in Stuttgart, Germany.
  • Price action: INFY shares traded higher by 1.38% at $20.93 on the last check Tuesday.

© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

  • Infosys Ltd (NYSE: INFY) subsidiary Infosys Public Services (IPS) completed the pilot of a blockchain solution designed to improve the efficiency, access, and security of vital recordkeeping in Riverside County, California.
  • Source: https://www.benzinga.com/news/21/07/22066257/infosys-introduces-blockchain-network-in-californias-riverside-county

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    Regulators Claim $70 Billion in Crypto Passed Through ‘Blockchain Island’ – Regulation Bitcoin News

    The island country of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea has been known to be friendly toward cryptocurrency solutions and blockchain technology for years now. According to a regional report, government sources say more than $70 billion moved through the country over past years while regulations were lax. Furthermore, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was …

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    The island country of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea has been known to be friendly toward cryptocurrency solutions and blockchain technology for years now. According to a regional report, government sources say more than $70 billion moved through the country over past years while regulations were lax. Furthermore, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was critical of Malta at a recent confidential meeting.

    Members of a Confidential FATF Meeting Critical of Malta

    “Sources privy to [a] confidential FATF meeting,” said that the financial regulator is concerned about Malta, according to a regional report published by timesofmalta.com. FATF held a confidential meeting and it’s been said that “some €60 billion in cryptocurrency” (over $70 billion) had passed through the island country of Malta’s borders, according to the report.

    The article’s sources are unknown but the FATF meeting attendees stressed that one of the biggest issues with Malta was that it allegedly “facilitated a large volume of cryptocurrency” and did so “without enough oversight.”

    Organizations and companies that have offices located in Malta include crypto firms like Okex, Coinvest, Decentralised Ventures, Yovo, Ledger Projects, Stasis, Bitmalta, and the Blockchain Malta Association. Crypto solutions and blockchain tech is so popular in Malta the country is dubbed the “Blockchain Island.”

    At the end of April, however, as regulations swept the Maltese nation, 70% of the crypto companies in the sector had not yet sought licensing. Meanwhile, 26 crypto companies applied but none of the firms were approved. Crypto regulations in Malta began surfacing in the country in the summer of 2018.

    The timesofmalta.com report said that unnamed crypto industry sources have insisted that Malta is now heavily regulated. Moreover, they denied the FATF’s crypto transaction estimates that allegedly stem from the island country. A report authored by Michael Morell, an ex-deputy director at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), explained that crypto exchanges have accessible data at their fingertips.

    Sources Do Not Disclose Exact Time Frame or How FATF Obtained the Transaction Data

    Furthermore, in 2019, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) appointed the blockchain surveillance firm Ciphertrace to help regulators combat non-compliance. Ciphertrace’s job is to monitor “transactions that pass through local crypto exchanges and digital wallets.”

    The timesofmalta.com study does not disclose how the FATF got its transaction estimates that ostensibly show billions of dollars in crypto flowing through Malta. The people familiar with the matter of the FATF meeting also did not give details on exactly when the funds passed through Malta, as far as exact time frames are concerned.

    “Speaking of the threat of money laundering, it has long been established that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which utilise a publicly-accessible ledger of transactions, are a highly effective crime fighting and intelligence gathering tool,” Morell’s report added.

    What do you think about the alleged $70 billion in crypto moving through Malta while regulations were less prominent? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

    Tags in this story

    $70 billion, €60 billion, Bitcoin, BTC, CIA, Ciphertrace, Crypto, fatf, FATF’s crypto transaction estimates, island country, malta, Malta Blockchain, Malta Crypto Transactions, MFSA, Michael Morell, timesofmalta.com, transactions

    Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

    Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

    Organizations and companies that have offices located in Malta include crypto firms like Okex, Coinvest, Decentralised Ventures, Yovo, Ledger Projects, Stasis, Bitmalta, and the Blockchain Malta Association. Crypto solutions and blockchain tech is so popular in Malta the country is dubbed the “Blockchain Island.”

    Source: https://otcpm24.com/2021/06/28/regulators-claim-70-billion-in-crypto-passed-through-blockchain-island-regulation-bitcoin-news/

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    CoinGeek Zurich: BSV blockchain redefines performance advertising, affiliate marketing

    BSV blockchain technology is redefining who can serve as a marketing partner, while making it easier for companies to connect

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    BSV blockchain technology is redefining who can serve as a marketing partner, while making it easier for companies to connect with influencers in a way that promises to dramatically overhaul this space.

    Last week’s CoinGeek Conference in Zurich featured a panel devoted to performance advertising and affiliate marketing, hosted by CoinGeek’s Lead Gaming Industry Reporter Becky Liggero Fontana. Joining her were Luke Rohenaz, co-founder and CEO of TonicPow; Frank Vertolli, co-founder and managing partner of Net Conversion; and Lee-Ann Johnstone, CEO and founder of AffiliateINSIDER.

    For the uninitiated, Rohenaz described TonicPow as a promotion marketplace where brands and influencers can shop for one another. TonicPow builds tools that allow both sides of these deals to avoid a one-size-fits-all template in favor of custom, mutually-beneficial agreements.

    For the past 14 years, Vertolli’s Net Conversion has specialized in paid media and comprehensive analytics, with a primary focus on travel and tourism as well as some other key verticals.

    Johnstone’s firm is an agency, training company and media content hub that help brands build successful affiliate marketing programs in a number of verticals, predominantly iGaming, while also operating in the retail space.

    The state of the nation

    Vertolli said the digital marketing duopoly of Google and Facebook continues to expand, which has its benefits in terms of scale but also invokes concerns regarding privacy, oversight and corporate self-interest. Advertising has become an incredibly noisy environment based on who can scream the loudest and make the biggest splash by buying the most impressions.

    Johnstone said the digital marketing ecosystem had been building on old systems and processes for so long that the current set-up involves multiple layers of solutions (tracking, reporting, ad-serving, etc.) across multiple platforms that ultimately cloud transparency, preventing you from having a clear linear link between brand and customer.

    As a former affiliate herself, Liggero Fontana said one of her main beefs was her end-of-the-month calculations to figure out how much money a partner company was making. Having all that data on a single platform would have not only simplified these calculations, it would also have allowed her to devote more time to performing other client-specific tasks.

    Vertolli said all companies, regardless of size, are drowning in data produced by different facets of their operations. There’s value in that data but the challenge is organizing it in a way that’s structured, open and readable to allow you to make practical business decisions and reach consumers in a more efficient and effective way.

    Rohenaz said blockchain was a natural fit for data interoperability in that it’s a neutral database accessible by many entities. Structuring data in the same way from one company to another allows easier reading and processing of that data.

    All aboard

    Johnstone observed that nowadays, with supercomputers in all our pockets, pretty much anyone can become an affiliate, and any influencer with a social media channel can create and monetize content. Johnstone said this segment grew 10% during COVID, twice the rate of growth in paid ad channels. Scaling this sector with increased transparency is paramount.

    Rohenaz noted that TonicPow records every payout and action, with payouts happening on the blockchain itself. TonicPow uses metadata with every transaction that describes the type of transaction and what campaign it was related to, but it doesn’t record anything that’s private or which could be personally identifying.

    The blockchain offers a public record that cannot be altered, to which everyone can refer back and piece together the whole story. Moreover, the information is there for anyone to read, allowing third parties to make independent analysis tools to understand the lay of the land without even having to sign up.

    Who do you trust?

    Blockchain tech could also help avoid the friction that tends to erupt when an affiliate’s tracking system tells one story of the traffic they’re driving to a client while the client’s own tracking solution data tells a different story.

    Vertolli repeated a phrase he heard earlier in the Conference, namely, the quest for a “single source of truth.” Reflecting on his past experience in the travel business, he recalled how any number of entities claimed the same traveler as their “client” as he/she/they transited through airlines, hotels, theme parks.

    Vertolli added that certain transactions (real estate, new cars, holidays, etc.) can be the result of days/weeks/months of research, making it hard to determine what the crucial factor was in closing the deal. In many cases, whatever happened immediately before the most-desired action gets the credit.

    Larger data sets offer more visibility into what happens along a consumer’s journey and how to compensate accordingly for attention, engagement and actual conversion. BSV can better spread the value across the whole influence chain but the current process remains heavily skewed toward this “last click” paradigm.

    Johnstone added that affiliate managers/digital marketers are responsible for ensuring their marketing budgets are optimally spent to ensure the best return on investment. Getting more transparency across all one’s customers in terms of their ‘hot touch’ points would reduce channeling marketing spend into dead ends.

    Pay to spray & pray

    Johnstone expressed hope that products such as TonicPow might enable companies to reach ‘micro-pocket’ audiences that traditional ‘spray and pray’ advertising can’t. TonicPow’s use of BSV, with its capacity for cost-effective micropayments, offers the means to deliver targeted, truly niche communications to the people you want to reach.

    Restating his company’s aversion to one-size-fits-all, Rohenaz said TonicPow was in the process of allowing companies to negotiate custom rates for the promoters they choose to partner with. Similarly, TonicPow provides greater clarity for advertisers to evaluate whether an existing deal is providing the valuable traffic they originally sought.

    There are certain protections in place, but Rohenaz noted that TonicPow advertisers/promoters who’ve attained a certain level receive instant payouts. The minute they get a click they’ll receive a notification on their phone or wallet (if neophyte customers lack wallets, TonicPow will even create one for you to hold your earnings).

    Johnstone said delayed payouts remain a major problem for affiliates and influencers who really get their audiences, along with the products they’re promoting and the accompanying messaging. Without instant payouts, affiliates who are on to something good may lack the capacity to reinvest their resources and scale their efforts to take proper advantage of this momentum.

    Johnstone said TonicPow provides scale, sitting somewhere between the old ‘refer a friend’ scheme and the more complex affiliate economy. Rohenaz said the goal was to continually add new advertisers and influencers alike, adding that this was a good time for both sides of this coin to dip their toes into TonicPow’s waters.

    Vertolli concluded by noting that this whole sector was all about reaching the right person with the right message at the right time. The introduction of BSV blockchain tech means companies don’t have to reach as many people as before because they can now target more qualified people who are more receptive to your message. The traditional channels in this space will continue to exist, but the blockchain-based affiliate/influencer channel will soon be punching well above its weight class.

    New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

    Johnstone’s firm is an agency, training company and media content hub that help brands build successful affiliate marketing programs in a number of verticals, predominantly iGaming, while also operating in the retail space.

    Source: https://coingraph.uno/2021/06/17/coingeek-zurich-bsv-blockchain-redefines-performance-advertising-affiliate-marketing/

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