Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 10, 2021

Ransomware: Stop Blaming Russia And Tackle The Real Villains - Cryptocurrencies

Ransomware attacks continue to disrupt many businesses. Earlier this month an attack through Kaseya VSA, a remote managing software, disabled several managed service provider and some 1,500 of their customers. Their data was encrypted and will only be restored if they pay the demanded ransom.

Such attacks are increasing because they are easy to do and carry little risk. The basic platforms for specific attacks can simply be rented from underground providers:

"I think what most people think about when they think of a stereotypical hacker is somebody that's in-depth into coding," the officer said. "It has changed now in that it used to be that you had to be very technically adept to be a hacker, but the way the cyber market or cyber underground has evolved is a lot of those things have become services now."

The industry has diversified, he said.

"Those network attackers, instead of profiting themselves, are now renting out their services and their expertise to others and that's where we see this amplification," the officer said. "It's others renting out the services now. It unlocks another class of folks that can be opportunistic and take advantage of bad cyber hygiene."

Some of the rentable ransomware services, like REvil, are run by Russian speaking groups. But that does not mean that the people who use it are from Russia or that the attacks take place from Russian grounds. The last big bust that hit the command and control severs of the alleged 'Russian' Emotet cyber crime service took place in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. While those criminals spoke Russian they neither were Russians nor was Russia involved at all.

Despite that U.S. media blame all recent attacks on Russia and use them to incite the Biden administration to respond by attacking the Russian nation.

Setting the tone in this is the New York Times and its warmongering White House and national security correspondent David Sanger. On Wednesday he wrote Biden Weighs a Response to Ransomware Attacks which he topped by Friday with Biden Warns Putin to Act Against Ransomware Groups, or U.S. Will Strike Back.

Those headlines and pieces are misleading in that they set expectations which the Biden administration is for good reasons unwilling or unable to deliver on.

The first piece, for example, says:

Mr. Biden is under growing pressure to take some kind of visible action — perhaps a strike on the Russian servers or banks that keep them running — after delivering several stark warnings to Moscow that he would respond to cyberattacks on the United States with what he has called “in-kind” action against Russia.

The 'growing pressure' are Sanger's writeups all by themselves. The piece then quotes a number of anti-Russian hawks who suggest some very unreasonable 'retaliation options':

Dmitri Alperovitch, a founder of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, and now the founder of the Silverado Policy Accelerator think tank, has argued that until Mr. Biden moves to cut significantly into Russia’s oil revenue, he will not get Mr. Putin’s attention.
...
In recent days, however, a growing number of experts have argued that the United States is now facing such a barrage of attacks that it needs to strike back more forcefully, even if it cannot control the response.

“You don’t want escalation to get out of control, but we can’t be so afraid of that that we bind our own hands,” Mr. Painter said.

William Evanina, who recently left a top counterintelligence post in the U.S. government and now advises companies, said he would advise Mr. Biden “to be bold.”
...
If Moscow wanted to stop Russia’s cybercriminals from hacking American targets, experts say, it would. That is why, some Russia experts argue, the United States needs take aim at Russia’s kleptocracy, either by leaking details of Mr. Putin’s financials or by freezing oligarchs’ bank accounts.

“The only language that Putin understands is power, and his power is his money,” said Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess grandmaster and a Putin critic. “It’s not about tanks; it’s about banks. The U.S. should wipe out oligarchs’ accounts, one by one, until the message is delivered.”

Sure, lets blow up the international banking system by manipulating accounts of private Russian people even though we do not even know if the criminal cyberattacks are run by Russians or from Russia.

The lede to Sanger's most recent piece is likewise dripping with belligerence:

President Biden warned President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Friday that time was running out for him to rein in the ransomware groups striking the United States, telegraphing that this could be Mr. Putin’s final chance to take action on Russia’s harboring of cybercriminals before the United States moved to dismantle the threat.

In Mr. Biden’s starkest warning yet, he conveyed in a phone call to Mr. Putin that the attacks would no longer be treated only as criminal acts, but as national security threats — and thus may provoke a far more severe response, administration officials said. It is a rationale that has echoes of the legal justification used by the United States and other nations when they cross inside another country’s borders to rout terrorist groups or drug cartels.

Sure, U.S. special forces will parachute into Moscow to nab some cybercriminals who may or may not be there.

The warning that Sanger implies Biden allegedly made was never given. Biden himself is quoted in the next paragraph (emph. add.):

“I made it very clear to him that the United States expects, when a ransomware operation is coming from his soil, even though it’s not sponsored by the state, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is,” Mr. Biden told reporters.

There is the crucial point. The U.S. does not know who made those attacks or where they were actually controlled from. It has not given Russia any names or evidence that Russia could act on. The Kremlin readout of Biden's call with Putin explicitly makes that point:

In the context of recent reports on a series of cyberattacks ostensibly made from Russian territory, Vladimir Putin noted that despite Russia’s willingness to curb criminal manifestations in the information space through a concerted effort, no inquiries on these issues have been received from US agencies in the last month. At the same time, considering the scale and seriousness of the challenges in this area, Russia and the US must maintain permanent, professional and non-politicised cooperation. This must be conducted through specialised information exchange channels between the authorised government agencies, through bilateral judicial mechanisms and while observing the provisions of international law.

The leaders emphasised the need for detailed and constructive cooperation in cybersecurity and for the continuation of such contacts.

Russia has long suggested to set up deeper talks and a treaty about cybersecurity issues. In a short interlude with the media President Biden said that meetings about these will now take place:

Q: Sir, what are the consequences for Putin if he does not step up against cyberattacks?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we set up a committee — joint committee. They’re meeting on, I think, the 16th. And I believe we’re going to get some cooperation. Thank you.

Q: Mr. President, what do you expect President Putin (inaudible) — what do you expect him to do? What are those actions?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s not appropriate for me to say what I expect him to do now. But we’ll see.

Those responses seemsfar from the belligerence the NYT's Sanger tries to convey.

The problem of crippling ransomware attacks will only increase and blaming Russia for them will not change that fact. The most basic tool that enables such criminal cyberattacks is the exchange medium through which ransom payments are made:

Let me paint a picture of a bleak future, that seems to be racing towards us much faster than the public may know about. It’s a future in which ransomware and mass data theft are so ubiquitous they’ve worked their way into our daily lives.
...
[W]hat is new is that the level of these attacks has gone parabolic in the last few years because of one simple fact. With the addition of bitcoin to the problem it’s insanely profitable, low-risk, and almost the perfect crime. It’s also a very real economic tool that nation states can use to disrupt each other’s infrastructure.

The singular reason why these attacks are even possible is due entirely to rise of cryptocurrency. Consider the same situation on top of the existing international banking system. Go to your local bank branch and try to wire transfer $200,000 to an anonymous stranger in Russia and see how that works out. Modern ransomware could not exist without Bitcoin, it has poured gasoline on a fire we may not be able to put out.

It is not only bitcoin but also a number of other cryptocurrencies which have no real justification to exist. But there are transition points from real money to cryptocurrencies and back where the problem can be tackled:

Cryptocurrency exchanges are the channel by which all the illicit funds in this epidemic flow. And it is the one channel that the US government has complete power to rein in and regulate. The free flow of money from US banks to cryptocurrency exchanges is the root cause of this pandemic and needs to halt. Through sanctions, control of the SWIFT network, and our allies in NATO the federal government has all the tools to put a stop to these illicit flows. Nothing of value would be lost by shutting off the spigot of dark money and darknet trade. Cryptocurrencies are almost entirely used for illicit activity, gambling and investment frauds, and on the whole have no upside for society at large while also having unbounded downside and massive negative externalities.

A shut down of cryptocurrencies would disable the safe payment media that criminal ransomware attackers currently use. All other payment methods require some physical interaction or in person verification. Using those would increase the risk for cyberattackers immensely.

The good news is that the Biden administration has caught on to this. Last week the Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger remarked on it:

Neuberger described the Administration’s ransomware strategy which includes several lines of effort: disruption of ransomware infrastructure and actors by working closely with the private sector; international cooperation to hold countries who harbor ransom actors accountable; expanding cryptocurrency analysis to find and pursue criminal transactions; and the federal government’s review to build a cohesive and consistent approach towards ransom payments.

A background briefing about yesterday's Biden-Putin call also touched on this:

This is more than just a conversation that’s taking place between the two leaders, President Biden and President Putin. This is really about our own resilience, as a nation, in the face of these attacks, and strengthening that. That’s what the cybersecurity executive order was largely about.

It’s about addressing the challenges posed by cryptocurrency, which provides fuel for these sorts of transactions.

A ransomware attacker may sit in Kyrgyzstan, use a Swiss proxy network to access rented servers in Canada from which a ransomware cyberattack is launched by using tools that were developed in Estonia but are managed from Spain. There are ways and means to hide such routes and to fake the involved nationalities. To then blame Russia or any other country for such attacks or to threaten a response against nation state assets is warmongering nonsense.

The Kaseya VSA attack shut down 800 local food shop of the Swedish chain Coop for over a week. Millions of people were affected by that in their daily life. With more and more information technology involved in our daily lives we no longer have the ability to avoid ransomware attacks and their consequences.

What can be done is to disable the cryptocurrency payment channel that is used by attackers with little to no risk. While this may not completely solve the problem of widespread ransomware attacks it will at least make it more manageable.

Posted by b on July 10, 2021 at 16:54 UTC | Permalink

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Yet another argument that banning cryptocurrencies will somehow prevent ransomware.
I vehemently disagree.
I previously wrote that check kiting still exists: there is absolutely nothing preventing traditional money laundering services from being used by ransomware gangs.
Furthermore, the cryptocurrency ban argument is only 1 step removed from the original "Never pay ransoms" tripe and 2 steps removed from the subsequent "terrorist financing" tripe.
Let me be clear:
we are talking about business continuity interruption value in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars.
As I wrote back in 2016 - it would only be a matter of time before attackers starting realizing just how much value they were holding hostage.
If a business is doing $100M a year in revenue - a major ransomware attack takes at least 1 week to recover and usually longer.
And no, backups make zero difference to this figure.
Restoring large databases, complex systems and/or customer facing portals takes at least that long - and this excludes the work needed to verify if persistence (i.e. leave behind back doors or what not) exists.
Then there's the work of understanding how the attack began, how it proliferated, etc etc.
$100M revenue vs. 2 weeks of BCI - the loss is $4M plus the security review/forensics analysis. The latter is going to cost at least 6 digits and could easily go into the 7 digits, if done by a top tier professional firm.
Now compare this to a $100K ransom.
Now consider: would the lack of cryptocurrency really matter?
Yes, it would drive operating costs up by 25% to 35% on the money laundering (mule) side, but so what? Charge $150K instead.
This doesn't even take into account the "mitigation" firm angle: at least 1 outfit has already been caught doing almost nothing but negotiating directly with the ransomware attacker for the decode.
The way to reduce ransomware attacks is to drive up the risk factor - not attempt (and fail) to drive down the profitability.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 10 2021 17:22 utc | 1

Cryptocurrency isn't the problem. The argument in favor of banning it (whatever immensely draconian measures that would entail) is an argument in favor of inverted totalitarianism with government or private spy agencies and mitary/police forces doing the enforcement.

It's also an argument in favor of SWIFT and similar systems in service to the financial and corporate elites.Many of whom are in fact adding crypto to their portfolios and accepting payments.

Think of it this way. The only reason these hackers (using NSA tools) don't just ask for a cash drop of various currencies of unmarked non-sequintial bills a remote place is that the USA, UK and Five Eyes can police any ransom payments. Same with SWIFT. The majority of them have no Russian ties.

Ban the NSA.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Coll8ns | Jul 10 2021 17:26 utc | 2

ransomware - along with stuxnet - is the main reason i started reverse engineering. it's just as easy to install as any other malware since most payloads get dropped due to PICNICs. i actually recall seeing one that was almost entirely javascript and operated from RAM. one click in a browser without script protection and that's it.

apple and microsoft (and to a degree android) have succeeded in dumbing down the average user and no amount of "compliance meetings" will fix that any time soon.

as for crypto, it appeals to the segment of the population with too much money and is worse than useless for those with too little. it's just like the VC idiots who have reaped the benefits of QE (and ridiculous overvaluations) and use their ill-gotten gains to keep garbage like uber on life support.

they shit their pants at the thought of paying $0.00000001 in taxes but will flush $40,000 down the toilet on "NFTs" and imaginary digital monopoly money. assholes.

Posted by: the pair | Jul 10 2021 18:07 utc | 3

@ c1ue 1 -- "And no, backups make zero difference to this figure."

I don't pretend to understand the intricacies of this, but why wouldn't it be possible to have two servers (or server banks) set up with identical data, then if one of them is attacked (illegally encrypted and locked out), IT personnel could migrate access to the data in the second server and wipe the first one? Seems simple enough.

Posted by: norecovery | Jul 10 2021 18:12 utc | 4

Posted by: the pair | Jul 10 2021 18:07 utc | 3

😂👌
you must have read my mind the pair, i agree 100%.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Jul 10 2021 18:25 utc | 5

i usually ignore other comments but the above is a bit annoying and i've seen this "argument" from many otherwise smart people (e.g. greenwald).

Cryptocurrency isn't the problem. The argument in favor of banning it (whatever immensely draconian measures that would entail) is an argument in favor of inverted totalitarianism

1. yes it is a problem. nothing is "the" problem unless you want to get down to the philosophical bones of capitalism and such.

2. "banning" it might not be practical (we've had bans on child porn for quite a while and it still exists...and is usually paid for with crypto). but banning the mining of it will de facto take it down a few pegs.

3. let's drop the "derp imma freedom fighter cuz i has dogecoin" crap. the people with the most ability to buy and manipulate coin are the people with the least reason to tamper even slightly with the "system". but then some people (usually soulless white yuppie guys) act like musk is a "genius" so i guess making him and other cointards out to be digital che guevaras wouldn't be a huge leap.

4. we already live under "inverted totalitarianism". and it smells a bit of ayn rand's verbal feces to equate "i can't have 100% freedom all the time with my vapor money" with "derp here come the stalins!" maybe try to think about something immaterial for 5 seconds a day.

5. crypto is the BLM of currency. it looks all freedomy and changey but will eventually be co-opted and absorbed into the blob. or have goldman and the other parasitic "masters of the universe" suddenly embraced competition?

6. it's also the "free range beef" of currency. just as that dumb fuck yuppie marketing campaign ignores the vast amount of land it takes to feed the cows, crypto lovers have yet to explain how something that already uses as much electricity as goddamn EGYPT can be scaled out to cover everyday use by billions (or even millions) of people.

Posted by: the pair | Jul 10 2021 18:29 utc | 6

Cryptocurrencies are almost entirely used for illicit activity, gambling and investment frauds, and on the whole have no upside for society at large while also having unbounded downside and massive negative externalities

Bah Humbug. Lots of normal people with some excess cash use crypto, trade crypto, and pay their taxes. Almost everything blamed on crypro can be blamed on the USD as well.

It is another avenue that can be used for illicit activities. These exploits against these systems would go on without crypto albeit at a lesser extent. Organizations will learn to harden their weak systems and move on with life.

I work with people who have mad some damm good clean money playing crypto. They talked me into dabbling with some spare cash and I have done quite well. If I lose its on me and no one else. I do not need the Empires bureaucrats breathing hot air down my neck on this one.

Posted by: circumspect | Jul 10 2021 18:43 utc | 7

Klaus Schwab and his friends at the WEF are currently running Cyber Polygon which simulates a cyber pandemic (electricity grids shutdown, banking systems, hospitals etc) due to cyber attacks which will disrupt and impact society worse than anything Covid did.

A cyber-attack with COVID-like characteristics?

Giving the welcoming remarks at Cyber Polygon for the second year in a row, Schwab spoke at length about the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) desire to tackle cybersecurity by bringing together a closer merger of corporations, small businesses, and governments.

Last year, Schwab warned, “We all know, but still pay insufficient attention to, the frightening scenario of a comprehensive cyber attack, which would bring a complete halt to the power supply, transportation, hospital services, our society as a whole.”

‘Lack of cybersecurity has become a clear & immediate danger to our society’: Klaus Schwab, Cyber Polygon 2021


Posted by: Down South | Jul 10 2021 18:43 utc | 8

A ransomware attacker may sit in Tel Aviv.... I'm convinced that the Zionists are involved in this. As for the American's sabre-rattling, that's just empty nonsense. The NATO gang has been deploying cyber attacks on Russian infrastructure for a long time, to no avail.

Posted by: Steve | Jul 10 2021 18:47 utc | 9

Let's make it safe for FedCoin and the Banksters by eliminating all non-sanctioned non-governmental cryptos, as well as cash.
Only programable, traceable, instantly confiscatable "money" issued by the Central Banks and Governments will be allowed.
Take it straight from the Bank for International Settlements General Manager Agustín Carstens in October 2020, telling you exactly where the central bankers intend to go."In cash we don’t know for example who’s using a 100 bill today, we don’t know who’s using a 1000 peso bill today, a key difference with the CBDC is that a central bank will have absolute control on the rules and regulations that will determine the use of that expression of central bank liability and also we will have the technology to enforce that. Makes a huge difference to what cash is."

Posted by: Perimetr | Jul 10 2021 19:07 utc | 10

OK, attack corporations for crypto or cash. What is next is that attacks could be extended to attacks on Nations and infrastructure. ie. The Iranian transport system has just been hacked. (The supreme Leaders telephone number apppeared on all the railway Bulletin boards.).
Not forgetting all the other Styxnets etc.

This may be one thing on which the Biden/US and the Putin/Russians could agree to cooperate. Self protection is a valid motive.

****
Crypto? The Banks won't let it go.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jul 10 2021 19:18 utc | 11

Cryptocurrency exchanges are the channel by which all the illicit funds in this epidemic flow. And it is the one channel that the US government has complete power to rein in and regulate. The free flow of money from US banks to cryptocurrency exchanges is the root cause of this pandemic and needs to halt.

I'm sorry but this is absolute nonsense. Any American (or European or Japanese or anyone else) is required to submit to various KYC protocols (Know Your Customer) in the same manner as setting up a bank account at a bank that participates in the SWIFT system. A government ID (which can be faked, more on that in a bit) is required to set up an account on any of the exchanges that the US government has the power to regulate in traditional ways (i.e., not by simply shutting down the internet or seizing domains like they did to Iranian and Houthi media). Money flowing from US banks to exchanges and back the other way is not the problem, sorry. In fact I'd be willing to bet that the money easily recovered by the FBI from the Colonial ransomware attack must have been transferred in this manner, hence the ease with which it was recouped.

As far as a fake identity, one would have to obtain or generate a fake government ID, a fake social security number (or the equivalent in EU, Japan, Korea, etc.), establish a bank account with this fake identity and only then could they use the system in the manner that Diehl presupposes. Is this a possibility for a very small number of racketeers and extortionists? Sure, but it doesn't make crytocurrencies somehow unique for this type of criminal to operate.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Jul 10 2021 19:26 utc | 12

Posted by: the pair | Jul 10 2021 18:29 utc | 5

I almost decided to address your strange and ignorant responses until you felt the compulsion to make a comparison between cryptocurrencies and BLM. WTF?!

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Jul 10 2021 19:29 utc | 13

if they can disable crypto, they can disable stuff that's a whole lot worse than crypto.

people do recognize at times than we can solve problems simply by not doing certain things.

Isn't the Western banking system heavily invested in global criminality, and didn't this state of affairs exist before the arrival of crypto? why would the USG change now, since crypto creates the need for more policing and surveillance, whose manipulation nurtures another excuse to blame the Rooskies?

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Jul 10 2021 19:30 utc | 14

It's the cia. They're in need because they're losing the Afgan Poppie $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Posted by: jo6pac | Jul 10 2021 19:37 utc | 15

as for crypto, it appeals to the segment of the population with too much money and is worse than useless for those with too little. it's just like the VC idiots who have reaped the benefits of QE (and ridiculous overvaluations) and use their ill-gotten gains to keep garbage like uber on life support.

they shit their pants at the thought of paying $0.00000001 in taxes but will flush $40,000 down the toilet on "NFTs" and imaginary digital monopoly money. assholes.

Posted by: the pair | Jul 10 2021 18:07 utc | 3

You're talking about Bitcoin. Not all cryptocurrency. And your list of silly comparison points in the next post is beyond ridiculous (if a little bit funny). And yes, of course the class of investors with large amounts of crypto freak out at the notion of paying a few cents of taxes. Same as any in the "investor class."

I agree with the part about NFTs and *some* crypto currencies being only appealing to those with too much money. Clearly that's why the likes of C(sh)iti and Goldman Suchs are trying to get in on the action. To co-opt it (which they will fail to do minus help from the big bad government you seem to love so much), and to cash in on the volatility of the markets which currently make Wall Street look like a steady linear progression from nothing to riches. You're making a blanket argument against a vast field of differing technologies and uses and it doesn't hold up under scrutiny. Freedumz frum duh guvmint isn't my point with regard to the matter. My point was that in order to rein in cryptocurrencies in the manner that b alludes to would require a radical and far-reaching project that will affect the way the Internet itself works and is used. And it would obviously be the those corporate/banking interests that have co-opted the government along with the government(s) doing it, hence my reference to inverted totalitarianism which anyone who's been paying attention of course already knows is the current system in the West.

As far as the usefulness of crypto to some people who aren't rich, I'll point you to projects like IOHK and Africa. I won't bother providing links because you've made up your mind and you wouldn't follow them anyway. But at least stop putting words in my mouth and thoughts in my head. That's projection on your part and it's obvious you haven't done very much research on the subject.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Jul 10 2021 19:38 utc | 16

Crytpos are new securities that invest in technologies that will run the new world. Some technologies are foundational and some are fads. Buyer beware.

911 was a psychological warfare operation. Russia-gate is a psy-war operation. Pandemic 2020 the same. And so too is this latest fear mongering BS about cyber-security. All of it in service to ever-increasing compliance and control for 1984 2.0.

To believe what you're told is folly.

Posted by: gottlieb | Jul 10 2021 19:40 utc | 17

Sorry, I really should have addressed this before, but it was implied when I said you were clearly only (minimally) knowledgeable about one crypto: Bitcoin.

2. "banning" it might not be practical (we've had bans on child porn for quite a while and it still exists...and is usually paid for with crypto). but banning the mining of it will de facto take it down a few pegs.

Bitcoin mining is primarily done in China (or was prior to the recent crackdown). Modern, useful cryptocurrencies are not "mined" but "minted" in an efficient and rapid manner. But I encourage you to expound on how banning the mining of one single crypto, which is basically already 'mined out' for all practical purposes, would take the whole world of crypto currencies down a peg. I'm interested to hear about it.

On a tangential note, I've mentioned that Citi, Goldman (and Tesla, various grocery store chains, banks, etc.) have entered into the cryptocurrency markets. Do you think *any* of those firms are actually mining it? If so, do you have any sources for your information?

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Jul 10 2021 19:43 utc | 18

What evidence is there that this even happened at all? Seems like the same as the poisoning events, just empty claims and refusal to provide evidence neither to Russian authorities nor the public. A bunch of nonsense.

Posted by: jsanprox | Jul 10 2021 19:57 utc | 19

I feel the same way about cocaine use and the American dollar, lol. Years ago researchers reported that most US $100 bills had cocaine residue on them.
Also, check out during the 2008 crash that the big drug cartels bailed out EU banks to the tune of approximately $900 million US. Nothing to see here, move along now.

Posted by: Osa Kim | Jul 10 2021 20:01 utc | 20

Wow! What a chasm between Biden's quite reasonable and measured comments, that even hint at increasing, not decreasing cooperation between himself and Putin...and the literal mouthfoaming of the New York Slimes!

Appreciate this really informative article! Some years back I decided to buy one bitcoin for the price of 500 Euros. I found a guy [don't recall how, maybe by want ads in local paper] who met me at a McDonalds and I gave him the cash in hand, while I checked on my laptop to see the bitcoin deposited.

Somehow, I misplaced that silly password or wallet or whatever, and that bitcoin is gone in the coin fountain forever, lol! Kind of stings a little to see these things going now for something like 50 k, lol!

I had never heard of these crypto-markets, where I guess you can just buy them online in some way. I suppose they didn't exist back when I wanted to buy one?

Posted by: Gordog | Jul 10 2021 20:07 utc | 21

b regularly rags on crypto. Like many, he just doesn't get it.

"The gulf between what the press and many regular people believe Bitcoin is, and what a growing critical mass of technologists believe Bitcoin is, remains enormous." - Marc Andreessen

Technologists and those who follow their lead (Venture Capitalists, angel investors, etc) are often wayyyy ahead of the curve, and as such, become mega-rich from their financial bets on new technologies

Posted by: CryptoMan | Jul 10 2021 20:15 utc | 22

... why wouldn't it be possible to have two servers (or server banks) set up with identical data, then if one of them is attacked (illegally encrypted and locked out), IT personnel could migrate access to the data in the second server and wipe the first one? Seems simple enough.

Posted by: norecovery | Jul 10 2021 18:12 utc | 4

Data replication is a standard tool for massive data bases, but they require high throughput communication channel. So what you want is a system that can only receive and store, with no processing whatsoever -- without an authorized user physically present. Otherwise the remote rider of the mother side can instruct the mirror to encrypt the content in the same way as the mother site.

That may be a simplification but you probably need an operating system for the mirror that lacks any of the garbage invented and planted in operating system in the last 30 years. No way to run java etc. Totally against the current software "philosophy".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 10 2021 20:23 utc | 23

Next time you read a Sanger piece (so I don't have to), notice that comments are not enabled. He is immune to criticism from the reading public.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jul 10 2021 20:34 utc | 24

Sanger is one of the Time's veteran war whores as well as being a favored propagandist for the "intelligence" cosa nostra and their frequent disinformation campaigns that originate at his ol' grey bag.

I just picked up the rights to the domain: "TheRussiansDidIt.com ..seeing that no matter who what or where any kind of real or perceived cyber attack occurs.....within milliseconds, "propornot" rags like the Times screeches as loud as their typeset allows: the Russians did it...with of course a mandatory inclusion that Vlad the Evil Impaler is the ultimate " mastermind" behind it all.

Posted by: thewokendead | Jul 10 2021 20:35 utc | 25

The escalating warmongering by David Sanger is the real danger here followed by the lack of an international Cyber-Security Treaty, which is something the Outlaw US Empire doesn't at all want because it would apply reigns to its unilateralism and continual breaking of the UN Charter. Putin and Russia have asked for such negotiations for over a decade with zilch response from NATO/Outlaw US Empire. Think of all the attempts to provide a casus belli since Putin became president/PM that are completely devoid of any evidence, then add all Sanger's crap to that list as it's no different. He's being paid by a faction that wants war with Russia regardless the cost, but he doesn't give a damn about all that since he writes lies for a living while also living a lie.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 10 2021 20:36 utc | 26

All Bitcoin transactions are public, traceable, and permanently stored in the Bitcoin network. Since users usually have to reveal their identity in order to receive services or goods, Bitcoin addresses cannot remain fully anonymous.

Posted by: 10 to 1 | Jul 10 2021 20:38 utc | 27

“The only language that Putin understands is power, and his power is his money,” said Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess grandmaster and a Putin critic. “It’s not about tanks; it’s about banks. The U.S. should wipe out oligarchs’ accounts, one by one, until the message is delivered.”

For the sake of the argument, let's assume Kasparov's assessment of Russia is true (that's already a big "if").

Then, we have two possibilities:

1) the USA is not an oligarchy, and has a system that is superior to an oligarchy, i.e. a system that is worth spreading around Russia and is capable of crushing the Russian system;

2) the USA is an oligarchy, but a better oligarchy than Russia's.

We can discard #1 outright, as it is notorious and self-evident fact that the USA is an oligarchy. Even Bernie Sanders has just stated that, it's already common knowledge.

So, we have #2 left to analyze.

Taking #2 as the premise of the real world, and also going from the premise Garry Kasparov is not a complete idiot or crazy (Plato's presupposition for a political debate to take place), then we can only conclude Mr. Kasparov is openly asking the help of the American oligarchy to crush the Russian oligarchy. Putting in another way, he's asking oligarchy to defeat oligarchy.

The problem here is that using an oligarchy to crush another oligarchy would not result in the extinction of oligarchy, but, on the contrary, in the strengthening of the oligarchy. In this concrete example, the Russian Federation would just be governed by the American oligarchy, in the same system, but much harder to defeat than before.

Garry Kasparov, therefore, is a pro-oligarchy militant. A Russian far-rightist could even demagogically claim he's anti-Russia.

There's an idealist scenario where you could argue abstractly #1 could be held true: that the Russian Federation is a "kleptocracy", i.e. an oligarchy where the State dominates the bourgeoisie. In that case, the USA would not be an oligarchy because the bourgeoisie uses the politicians to their own end, and not the inverse. That is, it is an oligarchy only when the politicians dominate the capitalists, but not the inverse - the inverse would be (liberal) democracy.

But that's a liberal fantasy. Either Putin is all-powerful or he isn't - he can't be both at the same time. If Putin dominates the oligarchs, then the oligarchs are not oligarchs - they're mere shells of Putin's (and, therefore, the Russian State) power and wealth. If Putin is dominated by the oligarchs, then, by liberal standards, Russia is not an oligarchy either, just a traditional liberal democracy.

Posted by: vk | Jul 10 2021 20:48 utc | 28

“The only language that Putin understands is power, and his power is his money,” said Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess grandmaster and a Putin critic. “It’s not about tanks; it’s about banks. The U.S. should wipe out oligarchs’ accounts, one by one, until the message is delivered.”

For the sake of the argument, let's assume Kasparov's assessment of Russia is true (that's already a big "if").

Then, we have two possibilities:

1) the USA is not an oligarchy, and has a system that is superior to an oligarchy, i.e. a system that is worth spreading around Russia and is capable of crushing the Russian system;

2) the USA is an oligarchy, but a better oligarchy than Russia's.

We can discard #1 outright, as it is notorious and self-evident fact that the USA is an oligarchy. Even Bernie Sanders has just stated that, it's already common knowledge.

So, we have #2 left to analyze.

Taking #2 as the premise of the real world, and also going from the premise Garry Kasparov is not a complete idiot or crazy (Plato's presupposition for a political debate to take place), then we can only conclude Mr. Kasparov is openly asking the help of the American oligarchy to crush the Russian oligarchy. Putting in another way, he's asking oligarchy to defeat oligarchy.

The problem here is that using an oligarchy to crush another oligarchy would not result in the extinction of oligarchy, but, on the contrary, in the strengthening of the oligarchy. In this concrete example, the Russian Federation would just be governed by the American oligarchy, in the same system, but much harder to defeat than before.

Garry Kasparov, therefore, is a pro-oligarchy militant. A Russian far-rightist could even demagogically claim he's anti-Russia.

There's an idealist scenario where you could argue abstractly #1 could be held true: that the Russian Federation is a "kleptocracy", i.e. an oligarchy where the State dominates the bourgeoisie. In that case, the USA would not be an oligarchy because the bourgeoisie uses the politicians to their own end, and not the inverse. That is, it is an oligarchy only when the politicians dominate the capitalists, but not the inverse - the inverse would be (liberal) democracy.

But that's a liberal fantasy. Either Putin is all-powerful or he isn't - he can't be both at the same time. If Putin dominates the oligarchs, then the oligarchs are not oligarchs - they're mere shells of Putin's (and, therefore, the Russian State) power and wealth. If Putin is dominated by the oligarchs, then, by liberal standards, Russia is not an oligarchy either, just a traditional liberal democracy.

Posted by: vk | Jul 10 2021 20:49 utc | 29

Posted by: the pair | Jul 10 2021 18:07 utc | 3

In all of these ransomware attacks the one factor that is NEVER discussed is that the vast majority of them occur on Microsoft Windows. When will people learn to start using a real operating system.

Posted by: One Too Many | Jul 10 2021 20:51 utc | 30

Cryptoman says:

Technologists and those who follow their lead (Venture Capitalists, angel investors, etc) are often wayyyy ahead of the curve, and as such, become mega-rich from their financial bets on new technologies

OR:

They are the 21'st century snake-oil salesmen---endlessly touting some zoomy, spiffy technology whose 'greatness' the proles are just too dumb to comprehend, lol!

And in 99.999 percent, it all turns out to be VAPOR! But the sheeple's fleece that is collected is very very real, and comes from your wallet, lol!

PS: just had a look at this supersmart-looking Andreeson fellow. And his striking sister.

Posted by: Gordog | Jul 10 2021 20:56 utc | 31

I should think the real villains involved in a lot of these ransomware attacks attributed to Russia are the SBU and their CIA bosses in Kiev. (The SBU and the CIA share the same offices.) The Ukrainian security services, and the people they use or contract work to, most likely also have the tools to attach faked Russian-language metadata to their hacking activities.

Add also the possibility that these Nazi crazies in Kiev are working with Israeli-affiliated agents or agencies with cyber-hacking experience and knowledge in getting access to major networks and we have one Hell of a global problem indeed.

No doubt the SBU and the CIA are using crypto to finance their activities. Even Bellingcat uses crypto to pay for information hacked from private mobile phone databases. Of course the sooner crypto currencies can be regulated properly, the better. But banning them outright cannot be the solution; the activities crypto helps to drive will migrate to another source of funding.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 10 2021 21:14 utc | 32

Is it easy to cash out cryptocurrencies? One can’t fool all the people all the time.

Currencies are constantly MONITORED
Reality is in details and deeds. Please list all the cash out steps for cryptocurrencies. Do you know the payment space? Usually within the U$A and other regions, deposits and withdrawals worth $5,000-10,000 are monitored for tax evasion and money laundering. Try to cash out $25,000 from your bank account. Majority (98+%) of money is fully monitored and traceable. What % of the US$ are in the physical form? How much cash does a typical bank branch carry? Cryptocurrencies are not the problem as they are constantly monitored. How does one buy a bitcoin or cash out a bitcoin?

Which intelligence agencies are driving this DECEPTION?
It is currently harder for those looking to cash out cryptocurrencies while not being watched by the eyes of tax collectors, administrations and intelligence agencies. So which Orcs are DRIVING this ransomware attacks? It looks like some intelligence agencies group is leading this ploy of attacks. Why? They want to protect the existing payment and financial system? Create FUD about their competitive digital currencies? Launch attacks worldwide to DISRUPT operations as they’re losing, cyber proxy wars? Someone is using these ploys to carry out attacks and create a mist to hide their future malicious crimes.

Ransomware services can be easily STOPPED
Why are administrations letting rentable ransomware services, like REvil, operate? This is like letting mafia operate. Why let web services companies rent them their services? If AWS suspends Parler, then web services can do the same thing to ransomware services which are a criminal operation. Similarly, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies can be asked to prevent these transactions. Remember, all these cryptocurrency companies operate under a CORPORATE CHARTER. Who controls the corporate charter? Governments have enough tools to prevent these crimes. Why aren’t they pursuing it proactively and stopping it? Who BENEFITS?

Russia isn’t making a strong stand. Why?
On the tenth day of the Cuban missile crisis, the U$A UN ambassador Stevenson dressed down Valerian Zorin, the Soviet ambassador, in a UN Security Council meeting as Americans watched on television. Stevenson went for the jugular: “I want to say to you, Mr. Zorin, that I do not have your talent for obfuscation, for distortion, for confusing language, and for doubletalk. And I must confess to you that I am glad that I do not!” Stevenson went on to denounce the Soviets for lying, treating Zorin in a way that the Soviet ambassador likened to an American prosecutor browbeating a defendant.

Why isn’t Russia raising the issue of these false accusations and provocations regarding manifestations in the information space at the UN? Where are Russia’s ambassadors? Why be a wimpy?

Posted by: Max | Jul 10 2021 21:23 utc | 33

Posted by Steve @ 9
Who observed:
'A ransomware attacker may sit in Tel Aviv.... I'm convinced that the Zionists are involved in this. As for the American's sabre-rattling, that's just empty nonsense. The NATO gang has been deploying cyber attacks on Russian infrastructure for a long time, to no avail.'

I agree.

I recommend the book Murdochs Pirates, currently 'unavailable' at the detestable Amazon [wonder why?] but now available at Australian online bookseller Booktopia.Here is a brief and sanitised review of the book from Amazon:

"The inside story of the skullduggery at the heart of one the Murdoch empire's subsidiaries, NDS.

What happens when one of the biggest media groups in the world sets up its own private security force? What happens when part of this operation goes rogue?

News of the World is not the first Murdoch company to be accused of skullduggery. Murdoch's Pirates is about the dark deeds of a secret division of News Corp, based in Jerusalem, operating in a combustible world of ambitious ex Scotland Yard men and former French and Israeli secret service agents, who have one thing in common - they have all left their previous employment under controversial circumstances.

Reading like a thriller, Murdoch's Pirates is set in the arcane world of hackers and pirates. There are mysterious deaths, break-ins and wild chases. Some of the individuals involved may well be amongst the brightest minds on the planet, but sometimes their rivalry can get out of hand and their impulsive behaviour can defy logic.

Neil Chenoweth recounts this clandestine war with his customary lucidity, drollery and brio."

My synopsis of the allegations in the book: The Murdoch empire created a clandestine beyond the law cyber unit, based in Jerusalem, using , among others, skilled Israeli hackers, to hack and pirate the codes of rival satellite TV companies. The hacked codes were then used to manufacture millions of 'cloned cards' which were distributed world wide. Children were selling these cards in schools. This gave the holders of the 'cloned' cards free access to various satellite TV channels, but not Murdoch owned channels. Why pay a subscription for satellite TV access when you can buy 'cloned' cards for a few dollars? Various rival TV channels then went broke. This left Fox and Sky to pick up the customers. The Murdoch empire, allegedly, knocked out the competition.

So much for copyright law. Take note Kim Dot Com, awaiting extradition from NZ to the US for his, alleged, 'file sharing' antics.

The Murdoch empire, allegedly, is very litigious and, allegedly, has deep pockets.

Posted by: Paul | Jul 10 2021 21:44 utc | 34

Why not just put everyone in jail and call it a day? All crime will stop, I promise.

The whole point of cryptocurrencies is to combat authoritarianism. I know it's hard for an old mindset to realize what it means, but more than half of today's population were raised with Internet. They no longer accept authoritarianism like those from the 20th century.

Bitcoin and the like are here to stay. And grow. Governments can hinder their progress, but they cannot stop it.

Posted by: A | Jul 10 2021 21:57 utc | 35

These American accusations about Russian ransomware and cyberwarfare are part of the USA's broader Hybrid War against Russia.

Namely, America accuses Russia of what "Leader of the Free World" is massively guilty of so as to extract concessions from Russia on other unconnected concerns.

This is an umpteenth example of how Goebbelsian psychological projection is fundamental to the American national character.

It's long overdue that Russia and other nations like China and Iran, who are the targets of US smear campaigns, give the Americans a taste of their own medicine and demand that the United States cease and desist its cyberterrorism and attacks on other nations.

We can start with Edward Snowden's revelations of the American NSA spying on and hacking civilian institutions and leaders of other nations.

Then move on to the joint American-Israeli creation of the Stuxnet Virus deployed against Iran and even North Korea.

Add on the Wikileaks Vault 7 leaks exposing how the American CIA and its UMBRAGE unit stage *false-flag* cyber attacks, which the USA will blame on other nations.

And then demand that America terminate its 60,000-member strong covert (cyber) army called Signature Reduction.

After that, tell the USA that its Echelon "Five Eyes" global spy network must be completely and irrevocably be destroyed.

Or Else.

This list is by no means comprehensive but only a very abridged version of what should be called American cyberterrorism.

U.S. Operating 60,000-Troop Strong Secret Army, Claims Newsweek report
https://www.greanvillepost.com/2021/05/18/u-s-operating-60000-troop-strong-secret-army-claims-newsweek-report/

Did the Israeli-American Stuxnet Virus Launch a Cyber World War?
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-did-stuxnet-launch-a-cyber-world-war-1.5410099

Outposts of the U.S. Surveillance Empire: Denmark and Beyond
https://covertactionmagazine.com/2020/12/10/outposts-of-the-u-s-surveillance-empire-denmark-and-beyond/

Wikileaks Vault7: CIA Umbrage team, the factory of false flag ops
https://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/56983/intelligence/wikileaks-vault7-cia-umbrage-team.html

WIKILEAKS: CIA HACKING PHONES, TVS, CARS, AND USING FALSE FLAG ATTACKS
https://shadowproof.com/2017/03/08/wikileaks-reveals-cia-hacking-iphones-tvs-using-false-flag-attacks/

Posted by: ak74 | Jul 10 2021 22:01 utc | 36

So when are you moving to China?

Posted by: Jezabeel | Jul 10 2021 22:04 utc | 37

I am following some parties that really do crypto in dirty deeds and/or really *really* want to stay off the governments radar, and I have to say none of them is using bitcoin as they know it is traceable with little work. So, no real hacker pirate would ever ask for ransom in bitcoin.

So, seems these recent ransom ware "attacks" are orchestrated by parties:

1. not afraid to get traced by US government (cause.. they won't bother them?)
2. conveniently not worried by the facts these acts will serve as 100% reason to ban crypto currencies themselves

Hm, which organizations/groups of people/3 letter agencies match these two criteria...

Posted by: Abe | Jul 10 2021 22:15 utc | 38

The close reading of Biden alone was worth the price of admission to this post. The whole affair is reminiscent of the invasion of Afghanistan when Taliban offered to send OBL upon receiving evidence, which was never provided (and probably didn't exist). I'd rate the conclusions as reasonably well established. Worthy of sending to all my friends who hate Russia. Considering the nature of the oligopolus that rules the world and that crypto is as useful to them as anyone in evading taxes and accountability, I wouldn't expect any changes. However I'd like to hear about each case cracked open, which is hard to find in the NYTimes.

Posted by: Charles Peter Peters | Jul 10 2021 22:19 utc | 39

Speaking of always blaming Russia regardless the facts, it's now revealed that OPCW sent its team to Germany before Navalny made it to the hospital in Omsk:

"‘How is it even possible?’ Russia asks OPCW after report claims team was sent to Germany the same day Navalny fell ill in Siberia"!!!!

"[T]he OPCW states [Link at Original] that its secretariat 'deployed a team to perform a technical assistance visit' related to the suspected poisoning of a 'Russian citizen' at Germany’s request on August 20. The problem is that on that day, Navalny was only flying from the Russian Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow. It was on that flight that he first felt ill and was then rushed to a hospital in another Siberian city, Omsk, following the plane’s emergency landing." [My Emphasis]

OOPS!!!! Someone must have put the Brits in charge. It will be very interesting to see how this gaff is spun.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 10 2021 23:29 utc | 41

Not sure why my post isn't showing, I was replying to #8 post regarding a current cyber attack on Iran's transport network, just do a search..

Posted by: Lozion | Jul 10 2021 23:35 utc | 42

Title:"Stop blaming Russia and stop blaming bitcoin" there fixed it for you B.

Just how did all those drug dealers, extortion rackets etc. hide their billions before cryptocurrencies???!!!!

Roger

Posted by: Roger | Jul 10 2021 23:56 utc | 43


>>>If Moscow wanted to stop Russia’s cybercriminals from hacking American targets, experts say, it would.<<<

Who are these experts, how would Putin do that, why is it easier for Putin to do this than any ... us?
The attacks are taking place on our IT networks. It is funny that these 'experts' are so insistent that Putin can control all of the LANs in Russia but we can't.

I want these experts to explain how this works.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jul 11 2021 0:25 utc | 44

I am not up on crypto or the innards of ransonware except it was released to the world in Vault 7 I believe. But there is a pattern by US private and public so called cyber experts. When an attack or breach happens, the US knows exactly who did it and even the language they speak. However, these super duper experts and their organizations are powerless to stop the (Russian!!) hackers armed with the most detailed facts. With the private companies of course for a hefty price they can (maybe) protect you. More than anything these events show how utter incompetent the US is in cyber protection and avoidance at both the government and corporate levels.

My personal cyber security software installation on my PC for pennies a day offers ransomware protection and has for several years.

Posted by: erelis | Jul 11 2021 0:32 utc | 45

The step does not work like this and has a problem:
1) Especially in the case of attacks that are blamed on Russia, one must see that the perpetrators are located in Ukraine and neighboring countries and are paid and operated by their intelligence services.

The now occurring increase of the accusation against Russia must be seen simultaneously with the current NATO exercise in the Black Sea. The warmongers are looking for a reason (or Russia's mistake) that will give them the position of the defender in the eyes of the Western public and thus a legitimate right for military action. We are there 5 minutes before a war with NATO, which is fiercely demanded by Ukraine, among others.

2) Interfering with SWIFT would be a declaration of war for Russia, as it is impossible to ensure that legitimate Russian transactions are not affected.

3) The only solution, besides a real cooperation between the USA and Russia, is to close all non-supervisable "exchange offices" and at the same time to monitor - as with cash - every transaction of these offices, i.e. the same as is already being done for money laundering (but even there not consistently).

How little this works, however, when one or more of these states undermine governments themselves, can be seen in the financing of terrorism. Those who shout "Stop thief" the loudest are those who finance their "friends", who are the "good" terrorists.

So: All wishful thinking, far from the reality of the hypocrisy of the services. The only protection is the companies' own. If they are too stingy to invest in security, which reduces profits, they have to pay. If you leave your car with the engine running and the key in the ignition and walk away, you are to blame if your car is stolen.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Posted by: wp007 | Jul 11 2021 1:03 utc | 46

I should remind barflies that Trump floated the idea of nuking Russia in response to a cyber attack. Do see my comment on the rocket thread linking to Martyanov's blog.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 11 2021 1:04 utc | 47

The Pair @ 6 NAILS IT!

Tip 'o the hat, sir!

Posted by: Gordog | Jul 11 2021 1:12 utc | 48

Don't understand why so many people here are defending the private cyptocurrencies. They're not and never will be money. The libertarian utopia where there are no banks and everybody will be paying directly with crypto is impossible, will never happen.

Posted by: vk | Jul 11 2021 1:21 utc | 49

According to Klaus Schwab(World Economic Forum/Davos) the next big crisis the world will have to face is a Cyber pandemic. And judging by the scale he is talking about they got some great crisis for us in store.

Klaus Schwab: “We all know, but still pay insufficient attention to, the frightening scenario of a comprehensive cyber attack, which would bring a complete halt to the power supply, transportation, hospital services, our society as a whole.
The COVID-19 crisis would be seen in this respect as a small disturbance in comparison to a major cyber attack, he added.”

source: https://sociable.co/technology/supply-chain-events-pandemic-prophecies-great-reset/

Posted by: GoverntheMente | Jul 11 2021 1:40 utc | 50

Perimetr @ 10 =>Only programmable, traceable, instantly confiscatable "money" issued by the Central Banks and Governments will be allowed. <= this is the last thing Americans want to see, the elimination of non traceable cash.. so the USA will do its best to make it happen..


by: Stonebird @ 11 Crypto? The Banks won't let it go. <=neither will anyone governed by a nation that allows its private monopoly powered corporations to spy on the population and to use the government itself as an agency which facilitates corporate private exploitation against those the government governs.
Conflict seems to be developing between the governments and those the
governments govern?
Its about trust. Global humanity no longer trust any one in government,
for any reason or at any time. Everyone has learned the private corporate
powers used by corporations to exploit the governed, were given to the
corporations by the governments; and everyone has seen the exploitation
government imposed on humanity will soon destroy it.


Tom_Q_Collins @ 12 identifies the following statement as absolute nonsense. "Cryptocurrency exchanges are the channel by which all the illicit funds in this epidemic flow. And it is the one channel that the US government has complete power to rein in and regulate. The free flow of money from US banks to cryptocurrency exchanges is the root cause of this pandemic and needs to halt.
I'm sorry but this is absolute nonsense. " <= I agree completely,
Governments are the mother of illicit funds; the issue that has the governments and their monopoly powered corporations so upset, is competition to their private party land.

<= Corporations want the corrupt governments, the corporations control, to
outlaw competition so the protected corporations can control everything?
Good luck..

<= Eight billion people sorted into 256 different government governed cages, have lost faith in the integrity of those who run the governments.

<= I believe, something different, more human oriented is coming to the world. Cryptcurrency is interesting to watch because it inverts the foundation into a root top.


by: circumspect @ 7 says: "I work with people who have mad some damm good
clean money playing crypto. They talked me into dabbling with some spare
cash and I have done quite well. If I lose its on me and no one else.
I do not need the Empires bureaucrats breathing hot air down my neck
on this one. <=exactly..

Down South @ 8 says
‘Lack of cybersecurity has become a clear & immediate danger to our society’: Klaus Schwab, Cyber Polygon 2021 <=bull shit.

posted by rjb1.5 @ 14 ..
"Isn't the Western banking system heavily invested in global criminality, and didn't this state of affairs exist before the arrival of crypto? why would the USG change now, since crypto creates the need for more policing and surveillance, whose manipulation nurtures another excuse to blame the Rooskies? <=exactly..


Abe @ 35 =>which organizations/groups of people/3 letter agencies match these two criteria...<= CIA comes to mind..

Posted by: snake | Jul 11 2021 2:12 utc | 51

Osa Kim @20: "Years ago researchers reported that most US $100 bills had cocaine residue on them."

Yes, "92% of the bills were positive for cocaine"

But it should also be noted that most Americans have never even seen a "benjamin" (a $100 dollar bill) before. Common Iraqis or Colombians are much more likely than a regular American to have seen a US $100 bill. Isn't that weird?

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 11 2021 2:14 utc | 52

It's Russian military doctrine and policy to launch all nuclear weapons in the case of cyber operations attack interfering with Russian Nuclear Forces computer infrastructure- message is launch straight away, should be a hoot and a bang. These people are insane Sanger and co. The courts should jail them for life, for proffering advice that leads to the total destruction of Earths biosphere. (incl, Humans)

Posted by: col from OZ | Jul 11 2021 2:21 utc | 53

b, your beef is not with crypto currency, but cryptography for one cannot ban crypto currency without crippling cryptography.
This was tried in the US. But the downside of weakening cryptography is that it weakens the entire financial system and put every financial transaction at greater risk.

Why not simply ban insurance against cyber crime? At least then, companies would take security seriously enough for the current environment.

Kudos to you and all here for your insights!

Posted by: bobzibub | Jul 11 2021 2:59 utc | 54

Martin Armstrong just posted a piece about crypto where a BIS official talks about how it will be used to ultimately control every transaction by them and their ilk. They will tell you what you can and cannot spend your money on.

Just like the internet it was let to run free but crypto, the internet, smartphones and Starlink will ultimately control every person on the planet. Internet passports in in their hoped for plans as well. We do not like you we kick you off. You cannot give money to those people becasue we do not like them.

Enjoy it while you can; I know I will. They will ultimately gain total control over it. Proof of stake may be the next step.
Cryptocurrency – 100% Control of the Great Unwashed

Posted by: circumspect | Jul 11 2021 3:25 utc | 55

While I am not fully convinced that a crypto crackdown will terminate ransomware attacks (but might help to reduce) just a sidenote:

Some of the rentable ransomware services, like REvil, are run by Russian speaking groups.

Funny name, but immediately Guccifer2.0 and his "Russian breadcrumbs" jump in my mind. So these guys are "Russian speaking", more exactly, writing, ok. But the pun "REvil" is definitely an English, more exactly American English pun. No Russian, German, French, or Chinese speaker without a background in spoken/written American English would have that idea in the first place.

Posted by: aquadraht | Jul 11 2021 4:12 utc | 56

@ circumspect (#51),

The administration already has information of over at least 90+% of (> $1,000) transactions and 99+% on big (> $50,000) transactions. Digital currencies are good for international trade!

What % of your transactions are in cash? What % of your amount spent is in cash? Even if you pay your cellphone, broadband, electricity,... bills in cash, they are reported. What information is collected by the credit scoring companies? If you’re using a smartphone they know your favorite places, work location, visited places... How to prevent the ABUSE of data?

Most individuals are sleeping. What % of people are awakened? What % have integrity? Interesting world.

Posted by: Max | Jul 11 2021 4:23 utc | 57

Not only do I view cryptocurrency's rise as a relief-valve to placate the masses and "shoo" them away from precious metals (read: sound money), but also along the same lines as a 401k. When the SHTF, you won't be able to hold it, so you won't own it. 1s and 0s are not physical and therefore entirely speculative (the stuff of vapor). You can only feel its breath on you when the game is afoot. When the music stops, it is gone.

What is Russia and China doing? They are buying pms. When the greenback dies its inglorious death, cryptos will be abadoned and forgotten faster than you can say "Sears."

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jul 11 2021 4:27 utc | 58

@ GoverntheMente | Jul 11 2021 1:40 utc | 46 with the reminder of the potential for Intertube outage...thanks

I agree that loss of the Intertubes for a day would be tragic for the Plato's Cave Display worshipers but some of us remember life without technology coming out your ass as nice....I was on-call for over 20 years...

What this social control effort does though is make the sale for money that is only soft and not hard much more difficult. It will remind the proles that electricity does not come out of the ground and maybe it would be good to have coinage or paper backed by thing(s) to give it intrinsic value.

Given the ignorance I am reading lets review a bit about money.

Hard Money is money that has intrinsic value. It could be represented by coinage, paper or a permissioned block chain cryptocurrency. How that Hard Money establishes and maintains its relationship to the value of things is a separate subject but needs to be recognized as an event and ongoing process. The relationship that Hard Money has to value is different than the relationship that Soft Money has to value.

Soft Money is any form of money that has no intrinsic value but is currently given a faith based relationship to value of things. In 1971, when Nixon took the US dollar, as Hard Money Reserve Currency, off the gold conversion standard it became Soft Money, or more clearly, a measure of debt passed around to others of faith in its ongoing value. Cryptocurrenies are other examples of Soft Money but the concept is not new. For decades there have been ongoing local "currency" programs all over the world (the Hours program) but marketing has now used block chain technology to help birth sexy digital "currencies".

Lets digress at this point and discuss what money is for....used for medium of exchange and as a store of value if available as such. In those roles there is the assumption of the established/maintained relationship to value over time.

What kids of things get this value relationship? Labor, raw materials, FOOD, property, finished goods and services, etc.

How is this value relationship established and maintained? That is where this get tricky. In the past that responsibility was executed by the governments or religions of the day. Over the past few hundred years in the West that responsibility has been held by what could be considered a religion, the God of Mammon religion. That said the bottom line is that the resource allocation and risk management decisions that come with that authority are and have been decided by a historically elite cult of humans that have brought humanity to this level of environment and human abuse. That control is being challenged by the China/Russia axis and the totally sovereign PBOC.

The shit show continues until it doesn't and ransomeware is a sideshow

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 11 2021 4:50 utc | 59

Hm... Could this be the new opium market? CIA has to have a means of off-the-books financing of their black ops...

Posted by: Seer | Jul 11 2021 6:56 utc | 60

"" What can be done is to disable the cryptocurrency payment channel that is used by attackers with little to no risk. While this may not completely solve the problem of widespread ransomware attacks it will at least make it more manageable."" The only effective way to do the above is to stut down the entire internet. There are many other ways that Ransom can be made via the dark web which do not involve crypto.

Posted by: KamNam | Jul 11 2021 7:08 utc | 61

Crypto 'currencies' aren't currencies, they are the most stupid objects of speculation ever invented.
You don't have to ban them, just make shure they can't be traded in or exchanged for real money.

(If you want to know whether something is a currency or not, there's only one simple question you need to ask: can you use it to pay your taxes? If the answer is 'no', it's not a currency.)

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Jul 11 2021 7:25 utc | 62

The blockchain is an accounting of all transactions. Every single Crypto/Bitcoin transaction is public. Not only to the merchant and the customer, but to the world.
Let's assume you buy something with Crypto. Then I see the sender and can look in the database, where he has paid. So if the Cops/CIA/NSA see that you bought drugs on Darknet, but they don't know who you are, then they just have to go through all the other payments from the same sender until they find someone they know, let's say a Pizza service or something, and then seize the files there, and there's your delivery address in there.


Posted by: Mat | Jul 11 2021 7:25 utc | 63

Some CIA shill: ..."the attacks would no longer be treated only as criminal acts, but as national security threats"...

Even thought these are clearly criminal acts.

Yeah, OK, and if my neighbor calls me names then I will treat that as a deadly threat against my life, and create accordingly.

Where does this "logic" take Sanger?

Can the USA react with force when some foreign company uses bribery to win a contract?
Can the USA kill people because they have copied something that is under a copyright?
Can the USA let loose the dogs of war when some overseas distributor dumps stuff below cost?

I mean, honestly, have the Americans really thought this through?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 11 2021 7:40 utc | 64

@One Too Many | Jul 10 2021 20:51 utc | 30

In all of these ransomware attacks the one factor that is NEVER discussed is that the vast majority of them occur on Microsoft Windows. When will people learn to start using a real operating system.

While ransomware attacks are not just a function of the operating system (stupidity on the receiving end is also a factor), I absolutely agree that people should start using a proper operating system like Linux. Personally, I use Linux Kubuntu https://kubuntu.org/ which is very user friendly and with KDE it looks familiar to Windows users. Underneath it is exactly the same operating system as the well known Ubuntu, it is just a different GUI desktop.

It is very easy to install a system like Kubuntu, in fact easier to install than Windows. But most people never install the operating system they use, so they don't know. So the answer to your question is they will start to use a real operating system when it is available pre-installed on machines they buy. Obviously, companies like M$ will do their part to prevent that happening to any significant degree.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 11 2021 7:44 utc | 65

I've been following the ransomware actions throufgh Ars Technica for a while now and for some time it has seemed to me to be obvious that if amerikan intelligence needs untraceable cash, which may be doubtful since the cocaine/crack running occured at a particular time in the 80's where following Carter and a dem congress' bill preventing tax revenue from being used to destabilise Nicaragua and reagan still having a dem congress determined to hold that position, the CIA in particular decided coke dealing was seen as an obvious work around.
As far as I know there are few if any controls on what CIA, defense intelligence and NSA chooses to spend money on currently, the Church committee after effects have long passed, but if they truly need black money gathered in a manner that is essentially untraceable because the poachers are also the game keepers, then ransomware would be a much tidier and more profitable option than dope dealing.

This is particularly the case when one considers that Monero is the cryptocurrency of choice for many ransomware payouts.

While bitcoin leaves a visible trail of transactions on its underlying blockchain, the niche “privacy coin” monero was designed to obscure the sender and receiver, as well as the amount exchanged.

As a result, it has become an increasingly sought-after tool for criminals such as ransomware gangs, posing new problems for law enforcement.

The primary benefits for intelligence are 1) the seeming russian connection plays into the hands of the cold war resurrection nonsense which forms the basis for amerikan intelligence's empire building and 2) the same intelligence agencies can select corporations to be 'taxed' on the basis of which corporations haven't been cooperative with agency beat ups about Russian copyright 'theft' or have whined about particular sanctions etc.

These ransomware attacks are major projects requiring all sorts of social hacking as well as digital hacking to obtain access. I cannot imagine any band of arseholes better equipped & trained for social hacking than the CIA or one better placed for digital hacks than the NSA.
That said if these types can't access crypto currencies it is naive to imagine thay will just down tools & give the game away. An alternative payment route will be adopted.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jul 11 2021 7:52 utc | 66

@A | Jul 10 2021 21:57 utc | 35

The whole point of cryptocurrencies is to combat authoritarianism. I know it's hard for an old mindset to realize what it means, but more than half of today's population were raised with Internet. They no longer accept authoritarianism like those from the 20th century.

I would like to say you are right (and I do hope you are), but it looks to me that the population raised with Internet are extremely susceptible to accept authoritarianism of the 21st century variant, and it is frightening.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 11 2021 8:02 utc | 67

@erelis | Jul 11 2021 0:32 utc | 45

My personal cyber security software installation on my PC for pennies a day offers ransomware protection and has for several years.

Does that mean they offer to protect you from ransom as long as you pay them money?

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 11 2021 8:08 utc | 68

Likely yet another Israeli false flag attacks, they know the system, they built and maintain it so hacking them is pie.

Posted by: Smith | Jul 11 2021 8:08 utc | 69

@Jörgen Hassler | Jul 11 2021 7:25 utc | 62

Crypto 'currencies' aren't currencies, they are the most stupid objects of speculation ever invented.
You don't have to ban them, just make shure they can't be traded in or exchanged for real money.

This sounds like the same idea that the west has with Russia: Sanction it so it cannot trade with you. Obviously, the result is that it becomes more independent and starts trading with someone else. It might continue until the west starts to feel isolated. Your idea could have the same effect on USD, even if it is a way to go before you get there. But eventually, you will.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 11 2021 8:17 utc | 70

I use whatever currency my government says is legal tender.

Cryptocurrencies are interestimg, but I would only start using them if I thought they had some sort of military willing to fight for their worth. Otherwise, they could become worthless overnight.

Perhaps I would feel differently if I understood computer languages and secure banking systems better, but for the time being it is much easier for me to lose all of my bitcoin than all of the legal tender I have stored in a bank.

Crypto does seem like a very profitable way to speculate on currency if you are in to that.

Posted by: Rutherford82 | Jul 11 2021 8:37 utc | 71

One of the unstated results of digitalisation at the expense of common sense, including backup. This is one of many reasons I have consistently refused to digitalise my practice.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Jul 11 2021 8:47 utc | 72

"One of the unstated results of digitalisation at the expense of common sense, including backup. This is one of many reasons I have consistently refused to digitalise my practice."

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Jul 11 2021 8:47 utc | 72

Yes. It was always stupid to put everything on the internet. They did it like sheep because it was cheap and they thought it help would help screw the public and their own employees. If you want to avoid being hacked, don't put anything worth hacking on the internet. Job done. Not only that, when you improve internet herd immunity.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 11 2021 9:16 utc | 73

@Bemildred | Jul 11 2021 9:16 utc | 73

Yes. It was always stupid to put everything on the internet.

There is soon no difference between fiat currencies and crypto currencies in this regard. Over here, they used "covid" to fraudulently eliminate physical cash. If it hasn't come to you yet, it will.

Both kinds of money can go "poof" in an instant.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 11 2021 9:27 utc | 74

This all about setting the stage for some huge false flag Cyber attacks , to be blamed on Russia or some other chump. The US, Israel, the Brits and others from the West are working with WEF- PAC in order to continue their One World Order Agendas. Whether its financial, infrastructure or sabotage - it's all being done by the same evil cabal.

Posted by: GMC | Jul 11 2021 11:44 utc | 75

I find it very troublesome that israel is leading Israel Moves to Seize Bitcoin to attack the resistant and any live support send to Gaza.
Counter Terror Financing today issued a seizure order against 84 crypto addresses believed to be controlled by Hamas.
The bankers dont need proof, just a honest economic terrorist:
I, Christopher Janczewski, a Special Agent with the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal
Investigations, declare under penalty of perjury, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746, that the foregoing
Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem is based upon reports and information known to me
and/or furnished to me by other law enforcement representatives and that everything represented
herein is true and correct.

Posted by: gary | Jul 11 2021 12:02 utc | 76

Norwegian @70:

If you can't trade them in real money, where are you gonna go? I'm not just talking about USD, I'm talking about money.

If the actually are currency, they will stand on their own. Don't hold your breath...


Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Jul 11 2021 12:35 utc | 77

Both kinds of money can go "poof" in an instant.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 11 2021 9:27 utc | 74

I call them "faith-based currencies". I retain faith in the US $$ mainly in that it will pay off my mortgage (legal tender). I remember when we at least pretended to have real money here, about 50 years. Now it is all based on the notion the government will make you take it.

Crypto-currencies look like a great racket. I read Cryptonomicon back in the day, and I can see the anti-authoritarian point of it, but you still are trusting the purveyor, unless you have recourse when the "money" fails to perform.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 11 2021 12:42 utc | 78

My thoughts on crypto currencies:

I find it strange when people dismiss crypto currencies as a fad, a scam or pyramid scheme just because it is purely digital.

One should realize the US Federal Reserve notes are almost completely digital. The amount of physical coins and paper currency is only a fraction of total money supply.

Look into M0, M1, M2 money supplies and the monetary base to verify this yourself.

Whenever you have your income direct deposited, pay with a credit card and pay bills online, that is all digital currency.

Why people that transact with digital US dollars all day, every day have such a problem with any other digital currency boggles my mind.

Posted by: Mar man | Jul 11 2021 13:07 utc | 79

Mar man @79:

The problem isn't that they are digital. I haven't used paper or metal for over a decade.

The problem is that these currencies aren't currencies at all.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Jul 11 2021 13:15 utc | 80

Bemildred @78:

You're right. I made a strong case in the past that BTC is a ponzi. But given all the falsehoods peddled by their backers, cryptos really are more of a scam.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Jul 11 2021 13:19 utc | 81

Jörgen Hassler @80

Ok, that brings into the question of currency definitions.

From a quick google search one finds this: "Currency is a medium of exchange for goods and services. In short, it's money, in the form of paper or coins, usually issued by a government and generally accepted at its face value as a method of payment."

Now, currency issued by government is usually called "fiat" currency. It has no intrinsic value and only derives value as a medium of exchange by law.

Why is that the only acceptable form? Are people not free to design, create and use their own private decentralized medium of exchange?

If so, and this private currency becomes widespread and readily acceptable, is it not a legitimate medium of exchange.

The question really becomes whether people should have the freedom to use whatever medium of exchange to barter they choose without any government interference.

I say yes.

Posted by: Mar man | Jul 11 2021 13:30 utc | 82

Mar man @82:

Well, yes. Don't know where you found that definition, but I find it ahistorical and shallow.

All functional currencies have always been tied to states. Actually, money was created thousands of years ago so that you could pay your taxes. (In the form of land rent, to the palace or temple.) https://michael-hudson.com/2018/04/palatial-credit-origins-of-money-and-interest/

The reason you have 'fiat' in the USD (I guess you are from the US) is because you know you can use them to pay tax. And if you don't, you go to jail.

So all currencies are ultimately based on violence; the unquestioned state monopoly.

That's why I gave the question 'can you use it to pay your taxes' as a litmus test to whether something is a currency or not.

The text you quoted sounds much like something taught to children in school, to spare them an uncomfortable truth.

Could we imaging that there was a currency that was not controlled by a state? Yes, if the state doesn't have a monopoly on violence. We call that 'civil war'. Historical example of that are abundant. The latest being ISIS issuing their own, I think.

Violence is a natural monopoly. We want it to be a state one; some states (not least the US) might not use it very wisely, but all alternatives are worse.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Jul 11 2021 14:29 utc | 83

@ Posted by: Mar man | Jul 11 2021 13:07 utc | 79

Currency is not synonymous with money. They're completely different things. You don't even need currency to exchange products (barter).

In capitalism, in order for something (anything, digital or not, being digital is immaterial to Economics in this case) to be money, it has to have three functions at the same time: 1) means of payment, 2) unit of accountancy and 3) reserve of value.

Cryptocurrency serves only as #1, never serves as #2 (you only know you how much you really have and is paying by observing its price in USDs in the stock exchange market) and doesn't really serve as #3 (just look at its volatility) even though many insist that it does, but ok, its doable in favorable environment.

The thing is: even when crypto can do the function of #3, it cannot do the rest. When, e.g. Bitcoin goes to the roof (and you can only know that in USD terms), some rich speculators hoard it and, because it is not fiat, circulation diminishes. That means it sees a proportional lowering of its function as #1. That means that, even in a good day, cryptocurrency can never serve as both reserve of value and as means of payment at the same time: hoarded Bitcoin is the same as hoarded gold.

But what astonishes me is the volatility: even the best crypto (Bitcoin) is as volatile as any other dubious financial asset available in New York. It is a complete myth it is a safe/promising investment, on par with gold. It walks like a financial asset, smells like a financial asset and looks like a financial asset, and some people simply choose to ignore the data and keep claiming it is the future of financial security and stability.

Posted by: vk | Jul 11 2021 15:19 utc | 84

After reading about the problems at Kaseya, at least in that case the problem is negligence in regards to software quality and perhap even bad corporate security. A group of insiders well familiar with their security flaws might have pulled that off.

Posted by: aqualech | Jul 11 2021 15:25 utc | 85

thanks b... a fascinating and polarizing topic! i like @ 3 the pair's post... i have only skimmed the comments...

Posted by: james | Jul 11 2021 15:55 utc | 86

VK @84:

"But what astonishes me is the volatility: even the best crypto (Bitcoin) is as volatile as any other dubious financial asset available in New York."

It's a lot worse than other assets, just look at the last few weeks. Last time we had this discussion some bar flies told us BTC would never crash. Now the crash has clearly happened. BTC's still the best, though.

The reason it's so volatile is that it's nothing. Literally. Even the worst object of speculation in NY is backed by some kind of real asset, how ever far back in the chain of instruments. Heck, even when the tulip bulb market crashed in Holland in 1637 you could still use the darned things to grow beautiful flowers. That's not just an asset, that's a real value!

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Jul 11 2021 16:25 utc | 87

Crypto is like a wet dream for criminals and libertarians (and speculators). Eventually, they will have to awaken to the real world.

Posted by: Rob | Jul 11 2021 17:01 utc | 88

Usually near the center of your 'modern' computer's motherboard (and presumably in your smartphone) there is a relatively large square component called the 'CPU package', which is the thing that does the computing. It contains one or more 'CPU cores' on a 'silicon wafer'. Unknown to most of us, it also contains a small 'MiniMe' 'management engine' core that runs half as fast, but has the final say in everything that goes on in the rest of the package. It starts up its own operating system before any it allows the big cores to start and load the user's operating system, and it talks to the Internet, although we don't know who it talks to. It can listen to everything that happens inside the package, and report it back to someone. Maybe this has something to do with cryptocurrencies. Just a wild guess.

Posted by: blues | Jul 11 2021 19:05 utc | 89

gary | Jul 11 2021 12:02 utc | 76

Thanks for being one of the very few people who mention, or even know about the situation in Gaza.

**
Israel has also seized $180 million in tax revenues (per year) that it calculates are paid to families of "militants" killed by themselves. ie. generally those that are left with no other resources. Then Israel will destroy their houses as well, leaving kids and complete families to sleep in the streets.

That is pure monetary theft with brutality added.

Continue with the fact that it is estimated it will cost nearly half a billion to rebuild Gaza (and there are no longer any supporters as this is the fourth time this has happened, about $486+millions). Again the rebuilding and it's access to finance is controlled by Israel.

91% of Gazan children suffer from PTSD, from the latest killings.
****

However your second link seems to be about US civil forfeiture from a scam based in Turkey selling masks. They do use Bitcoin. The link to ISIS is tenuous at best, but habitually "civil forfeiture" goes to pay for luxury item for US law-"makers".

****

Note that the ongoing genocide-ethnic cleaning, which is covered up by the MSM, has reached a stage where long lasting physical effects due to starvation, deprivation, resulting in life-long sequels (rachitism etc) and despair, are war crimes. If there is a war. Which is why a hidden genocide is conveniently based on accusing Hamas or any other group. Without Hamas as cover, the real aggression would be plain to see.

The continuous accent on "arresting" children as young as seven, is terrorism of the weakest.

****

The seizure of 84 sites (?) is not just about bitcoin, but is a massive clampdown on any means of describing the conditions in Gaza today, by eliminating news outlets (censorship) and actual access to Gaza...... and using "Bitcoin" as the excuse.

So Hamas has managed to get a few millions by using cryptos? They don't have much choice.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jul 11 2021 19:15 utc | 90

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 11 2021 7:44 utc | 65

You're speaking to the choir. I'm been using Ubuntu on all my machines since Breezy, which was released in 2005. I tried other distros, but always came back to Ubuntu due to packages. There are ALWAYS packages available for Ubuntu.

Posted by: One Too Many | Jul 11 2021 22:48 utc | 91

@norecovery #4
The problem with "mirrored" servers - i.e. fully parallel systems - is that you have to pass data back and forth.
The more you pass this data, the more visible the mirror is to anyone in the system.
The state of the art in ransomware attacks - the very first thing the attacker does is look for hardware backups, software backup programs and cloud backups. And then poison them.
This isn't just talk: I had a customer, a mid-size accounting firm that did exactly that - 2 fully parallel systems which they switched on/off every few days. The attacker took down the other system just as it was rotating out/offline, then took down the online one.
Keep in mind - as much time as it takes to decrypt - so too is the attacker taking the time to encrypt. A ransomware attack doesn't happen in minutes or even hours - it occurs over days, weeks and sometimes months.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 11 2021 23:12 utc | 92

@the pair #6
Let's examine your arguments one by one:

You said:

1. yes it is a problem. nothing is "the" problem unless you want to get down to the philosophical bones of capitalism and such.

no, it isn't the problem. Should we ban online bank accounts because they are used for money laundering (which they are)?
Should we ban credit cards because they're used for crime (which they are)?

This is a risible argument based on the idea that a magical ban on cryptocurrency would stop ransomware.

It. Would. Not.

You said:

2. "banning" it might not be practical (we've had bans on child porn for quite a while and it still exists...and is usually paid for with crypto). but banning the mining of it will de facto take it down a few pegs.

No it wouldn't. Mining doesn't need to happen in the US. Unless you have a global China-style internet control bureaucracy - you cannot stop mining.

You said:

3. let's drop the "derp imma freedom fighter cuz i has dogecoin" crap. the people with the most ability to buy and manipulate coin are the people with the least reason to tamper even slightly with the "system". but then some people (usually soulless white yuppie guys) act like musk is a "genius" so i guess making him and other cointards out to be digital che guevaras wouldn't be a huge leap.

I have no idea what you're trying to say here. Dogecoin is a joke coin that has been used by Lone Skum to literally pump and dump. But then again, this guy has done the same to actual companies, so what?

You said:

4. we already live under "inverted totalitarianism". and it smells a bit of ayn rand's verbal feces to equate "i can't have 100% freedom all the time with my vapor money" with "derp here come the stalins!" maybe try to think about something immaterial for 5 seconds a day.

Again, no idea how this is relevant to cryptocurrency. You do understand that the 2nd most common criminal currency are gift cards, right? We should ban those too?

You said:

5. crypto is the BLM of currency. it looks all freedomy and changey but will eventually be co-opted and absorbed into the blob. or have goldman and the other parasitic "masters of the universe" suddenly embraced competition?

Cryptocurrency is not money. It is not value. It provides no real benefits. But then again, neither does art or 99.9% of philosophy degrees.

So what?

You said:

6. it's also the "free range beef" of currency. just as that dumb fuck yuppie marketing campaign ignores the vast amount of land it takes to feed the cows, crypto lovers have yet to explain how something that already uses as much electricity as goddamn EGYPT can be scaled out to cover everyday use by billions (or even millions) of people.

I've noted the electricity consumption of bitcoin is a problem going back for many years.
But so what? Does anyone care about the carbon footprint of the NYSE? This is a stupid and irrelevant argument.

A more relevant argument would be: bitcoin and other mined currencies are actually far more fiat than fiat currencies. The percentage of total value they give away to miners in order to get mining done is enormous compared to fiat currencies - but is invisible because they're being given away from "stock" and not from supply. What happens when the stock ends, as is architected in Bitcoin and really isn't so far away?

In any case, you have focused overmuch on the libertarian idiots pushing cryptocurrencies. Those are irrelevant.

The reality is that rich people are buying it. US and European and Japanese banks are CUSIP holding crypto for wealthy clients.

It ain't going away and any talk about doing so is deluded.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 11 2021 23:22 utc | 93

@Tom_Q_Collins #12
KYC and AML are starting to get implemented in 1st world exchanges, but this is irrelevant.
Criminals have had no problems turning drug/sanction proceeds into cash - why would cyber crime be different?

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 11 2021 23:26 utc | 94

@gottlieb #17
Nope.
Cryptocurrencies have no real use except to hold value, evade currency controls and get paid for .

I have been watching the space for over a decade now, including hundreds of startups. Not a single for profit use case could not be done trivially some other way.
There are a few use cases for institutions, but anyone who thinks crypto is going to democratize anything is seriously deluded.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 11 2021 23:29 utc | 95

@10 to 1 #27
Untrue. Only if a user connect a wallet with the real world in some way: buying a physical product, converting to fiat, etc is the chain traceable.
However, the error is that the virtual wallets are literally unlimited.
The further down the chain the "bad" crypto is - the more uncertain who actually controls it and/or benefited from it.
A simple example: a ransomware attacker gets paid 5 bitcoin.
Those 5 bitcoin weren't created - they came from somewhere. Rarely, they are newly mined but usually there's a terrorist wallet, a thief wallet, a legit owner etc in the chain already.
So who is the legit owner after the 5 bitcoin get split into 20 wallets and then proceed downstream from there?
There is nothing but software required to take the 5 bitcoin and process through 50,000 wallets in 20-long chains - yes, you can trace all you desire but just how accurate do you think the results are?
Thus the "transparency" is a lie just like those radio and TV stations who are open to anyone looking at who pays for ads...if they go in person and dig through the deliberately obfuscatory paper trail. And not always even then.
The software companies that say they can handle this: they lie. What they are actually doing is taking known datapoints from participatory exchanges and using that to ascertain beneficial ownership and/or control - but this in turn makes all manner of assumptions which will certainly not hold up well in court vs. a knowledgeable other side.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 11 2021 23:46 utc | 96

@One Too Many #30
Idiotic.
The main reason ransomware attacks occur on windows machines is because the majority of compute used by companies are on windows machines.
If a modern Mac laptop or computer is encrypted - you are literally SOL. The OS, if security precautions are set up, is literally tied to the physical CPU. It is only a matter of time before someone figures out how to hose that check routine - at which point ransoming masses of Macs will be on the table.
Nor is Linux any better. Encryption performance in Linux is so much faster that it would actually be harder to stop, once in.
Ultimately the green field nature of IT today is such that the criminals go for the easy stuff first.
As Windows improves, that changes the equation which Linux and Mac users have been counting on.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 11 2021 23:49 utc | 97

@Jen #32
Possible but not likely.
The reality is that the Ukraine has been a haven for cyber criminals - independent of the present or past governments - for a long time.
1 of the 4 guys behind the first dark web stolen credit card forum escaped to Ukraine; the Darth Vader political candidate - he founded/funded that party.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 11 2021 23:55 utc | 98

@Max #33
Wrong.
Here's a very common cashout method:
1) exchange crypto for Apple gift cards on Paxful
2) Buy iPhone with gift card.
3) Sell iPhone for up to 40% off retail prices in most countries that have import taxes

Try and stop that.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 11 2021 23:57 utc | 99

@Abe #38
Do these people use cell phones? If so, then they're penny wise and pound foolish.
It doesn't matter what cryptocurrency you use, if you're accessing it via a cell phone or American ISP. With legal or illegal access to the telco operator - they ain't hiding diddly.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 11 2021 23:59 utc | 100

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