12-30-2017: CoinHive Monero Mining Malware Affecting Thousands

The Poland central bank has appeared to sponsor a national campaign discouraging citizens from using cryptocurrencies, telling them they are “not money.” A dedicated website, which translates as ‘beware of cryptocurrencies,’ features multiple sections warning users about perceived dangers of non-fiat-based financial instruments. The contact details of the site’s publishers refer users to the Polish central bank, suggesting a concerted official effort on behalf of lawmakers to present Bitcoin and altcoins as being in a legal gray area.

An instance of the CoinHive software has been found within a popular application used by thousands of Tumblr users. It’s been secretly mining Monero for an unknown hacker. According to a post on Bleeping Computer, a Google Chrome extension that streamlines the reblogging process for Tumblr users is the latest software to become compromised. IBTimes report that as many as 105,000 users of the software have been discovered to be secretly mining the privacy-focused digital currency, Monero.

Pavel Lerner, the managing director of the cryptocurrency exchange EXMO kidnapped in Kiev on December 27th, was released today after paying a $1 mln ransom in Bitcoin, The Financial Times (FT) reports. Lerner was abducted in Kiev on Wednesday leaving his office. FT reports they were informed of the ransom payment by Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister. Gerashchenko told FT: “He was kidnapped by an armed gang for the purpose of extorting Bitcoins. We have operative information that he paid more than $1 mln worth of Bitcoins.”

The “big four” Australian banks including Commonwealth Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac Banking Corporation have halted exchange transfers and frozen accounts, according to bitcoin users. Popular regional crypto exchange, Coinspot, announced a temporary hold on fiat deposits from the country in response to friction with banks. The exchange alerted “We assure you we are just as unhappy with the situation as you, but unfortunately Australian banks have been so far unwilling to work with the digital currency industry which leads to frequent account closures and strict limits on accounts whilst they remain operational, in effect debanking our industry.” And lastly, BitMex has just liquidated and distributed their Bitcoin Cash in the form of Bitcoin to their customers. This may be one reason to the drop in price of BCH as BitMex has done $1.5 billion worth of btc trading, compared to bitfinex at ~700 million and GDAX at 350 million.

NOTE: This is an emergent and evolving highly technical space. You should understand how involvement in this space impacts you and acknowledge all risks before participating or implementing any recommendations.

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