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Baltimore Ransomware Siege Enters Second Week of Bitcoin Extortion Attack

Baltimore Ransomware Siege Enters Second Week of Bitcoin Extortion Attack

Baltimore Ransomware Siege Enters Second Week of Bitcoin Extortion AttackThe city of Baltimore is being crippled by a ransomware attack with the culprits demanding bitcoin. | Source: ShutterstockBy CCN: Most of the Baltimore City’s government systems have been locked down since May 7th as a result of the “Robbinhood” ransomware attack.The successful crypto locking has forced the city to go “manual” in most aspects of its daily business and has affected several areas of life. For example, people are unable to buy and sell real estate within the city right now because the records cannot be accessed or filed.Baltimore Refuses to Negotiate with HackersIncoming mayor Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young, who replaces disgraced Catherine Pugh, insists the city will not pay the roughly 13 bitcoins demanded by the attackers. Some cities end up spending a lot more money by not paying the ransom, and in the case of Baltimore, a major metropolitan city with over 600,000 residents, the cost is amplified.Everything from the city’s police systems to its online property tax portal is down.Of course, governments operated long before computer systems. City departments are finding ways to work while the systems are down.Fortunately, unlike the attack Baltimore suffered last year, the 911 and associated dispatching systems are still operational. Emergency services are of particular importance in Baltimore, whose opiate crisis is well-documented.Speaking of which, a system the city developed to alert people to high-overdose areas is currently non-operational. Additionally, crime statistics and other public information aren’t being updated on the city’s open data website.One of the Most Extensive Ransomware Attacks EverOvershadowed by other major business news, such as trade war tensions with China and a mighty performance of cryptocurrencies, the attack has been underreported in the crypto press. Nevertheless, it is one of the most extensive attacks in history, affecting nearly every important aspect of city life.Baltimore City’s budget for 2019 included $2 million for upgrading the city’s “storage systems.” Now those systems have suffered irreparable harm, and without sufficient back-up systems in place, a great deal of data could be lost.The ransomware attack has shut down systems essential for completing home sales, halting property deals in Baltimore during one of the busiest times of the year. https://t.co/znfzgXyJvJ— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) May 14, 2019The anonymous hackers who infected Baltimore’s systems are using one of the latest Ransomware breeds, called Robbinhood. Apparently the cost to unlock the network will increase every ten days.Unclear OriginsNo one is sure how Robbinhood came into the system. Reportedly, the attackers have taken to Twitter to release some of the usernames and passwords uncovered during their strike. The unknown hackers, who are being investigated by the FBI, wrote in their ransom note:“We’ve watching you for days and we’ve worked on your systems to gain full access to your company and bypass all of your protections.”Ransomware may be making a comeback with Robbinhood, which cleanly shuts down the majority of Windows’ services and then proceeds to encrypt the entire system. The Boston Public Defenders Agency were compromised earlier this year, and similarly decided not to pay since they had back-ups – which took weeks to restore. About The AuthorP. H. MadoreP. H. Madore has written for CCN since 2014 and is currently Head of Crypto. Please send breaking news tips or requests for investigation to [email protected] His website is http://phm.linkThis article was edited by Samburaj Das.
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Bitcoin Beats Other Cryptos in ‘Smarter’ Bull Market, Says Billionaire Investor

Bitcoin Beats Other Cryptos in ‘Smarter’ Bull Market, Says Billionaire Investor

Bitcoin Beats Other Cryptos in ‘Smarter’ Bull Market, Says Billionaire InvestorBitcoin’s dominance will only be more pronounced in this bull market and that’ll show in its value, according to Mike Novogratz. | Source: ShutterstockBy CCN: Mike Novogratz, the billionaire CEO of Galaxy Capital and a former hedge fund manager at Fortress Investment Group, believes alternative cryptocurrencies, or altcoins, will be outperformed by bitcoin in the bull market.Not this time. Market getting smarter. $btc will outperform.— Michael Novogratz (@novogratz) May 19, 2019The statement of Novogratz comes after the bitcoin price risen by more than 115 percent year-to-date against the U.S. dollar, leading the crypto market to add $124 billion to its valuation.Will bitcoin continue to outperform altcoins?Historically, altcoins have relied on the price trend of bitcoin and have rarely demonstrated independent price movements in extended time frames.Altcoins typically surge in value when the bitcoin price shows stability at a tight price range, leaving investors to take high-risk and high-return options over the dominant cryptocurrency.The optimism towards bitcoin, despite the emergence of sophisticated altcoins, is well founded due to the involvement of major financial institutions in the likes of Fidelity and TD Ameritrade building infrastructure on top of bitcoin.Fidelity and ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, are initially launching custodial services for bitcoin, targeting institutional investors.According to TD Ameritrade’s executive vice president Steven Quirk, tens of thousands of clients at the brokerage already trade crypto assets in some capacity.But, traders suggest that if the sentiment around the crypto market remains overwhelmingly positive, investors will eventually explore alternative opportunities for high-return trades, which then may fuel a rally for altcoins.One cryptocurrency trader said that bitcoin is likely to climb further throughout 2019, triggering a healthy market for altcoins:The rest of this year will be characterized by rapid BTC advances, healthy corrections and periods of sideways price action, when altcoins will fly. Put that nonsense rhetoric about waiting for capitulation and still not making our bear market lows away. Wrong cycle.Full on degen altcoin season still on track for June. Next few weeks, as BTC finds a range, we’ll continue to see the popular altcoins bounce back 1st. In June, all altcoins across the board will bounce back hard. More disbelief on its way.The concern of some investors like Novogratz on the prospect of a booming market for altcoins is that many retail investors were hurt in the 2017 bull market taking high-risk trades, trading against stable assets like bitcoin.As the market matures and as investors in the market become smarter, Novogratz indicated that the appetite for altcoins could decline.The crypto market has added more than $100 billion to its valuation year-to-date (source: coinmarketcap.com)Similarly, Jeff Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, said in November 2018:Somehow bitcoin has lived in a swamp and survived. There are thousands of other tokens that you could argue are better but yet bitcoin continues to survive, thrive and attract attention.At the time, Sprecher emphasized that Bakkt, a futures market operator created by NYSE’s parent company ICE, will focus on building a regulated infrastructure for bitcoin first ahead of other assets.Sentiment is generally positiveOn May 17, as CCN reported, the bitcoin price plummeted by 18 percent within hours following an unexpected 5,000 BTC sell order on Bitstamp that led prices of bitcoin and ethereum to crash on BitMEX.The market absorbed the abrupt decline in the bitcoin price fairly well, indicating that the confidence in the near-term price trend of crypto assets remains strong.While investors have cautioned that bitcoin has shown oversold conditions in recent weeks as it surpassed key resistance levels, the momentum of the asset could prevent it facing a large correction some expect would occur in the near-term. About The AuthorJoseph YoungHong Kong-Based Finance and Cryptocurrency Analyst. Contributing regularly to CCN and Hacked. Providing unique insights into the crypto and fintech space since 2012.This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
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Bitcoin’s price has pumped beyond its ‘intrinsic value,’ JPMorgan says

Bitcoin’s price has pumped beyond its ‘intrinsic value,’ JPMorgan says

Banking behemoth JP Morgan Chase & Co. has taken another shot at Bitcoin, BTC claiming the cryptocurrency‘s latest rally has pushed its price beyond its “intrinsic value.”
“Over the past few days, the actual price has moved sharply over marginal cost,” JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note obtained by Bloomberg. “This divergence between actual and intrinsic values carries some echoes of the spike higher in late 2017, and at the time this divergence was resolved mostly by a reduction in actual prices.”

To come to this conclusion, the JP Morgan team treated Bitcoin as a commodity, calculating its “cost of production” based on a number of factors, including estimated computational power, electricity expense, and hardware energy efficiency.
“Defining an intrinsic or fair value for any cryptocurrency is clearly challenging,” the analysts continued. “Indeed, views range from some researchers arguing that it has no fundamental value, to others estimating fair values well in excess of current prices.”

Bitcoin‘s price briefly dropped from almost $8,000 to $7,050 on May 17, after $250 million of long positions got liquidated on BitMEX. Since then, BTC has surged back to $7,893 at the time of writing.
By now, JP Morgan has made a habit out of thrashing Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Back in 2017, CEO Jamie Dimon called the currency a “fraud” – a statement he later softened, suggesting he simply doesn’t care about Bitcoin. Since then, JP Morgan launched its own blockchain-based “digital currency,” which was neither a cryptocurrency, nor a stablecoin.

Published May 20, 2019 — 11:54 UTC

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