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Boom! Crypto Hack Victim Wins Bombshell $75 Million Case

Boom! Crypto Hack Victim Wins Bombshell $75 Million Case

Boom! Crypto Hack Victim Wins Bombshell $75 Million CaseA US crypto investor won a judgment of more than $75 million after he suffered a devastating SIM swap hack. | Source: ShutterstockBy CCN: Crypto investor and entrepreneur Michael Terpin was awarded $75.8 million in California’s Supreme Court in a civil judgment against a man Terpin claims stole cryptocurrency assets from him. But Terpin has only just begun. The entrepreneur is also pursuing damages from AT&T and other members of the 21-year-old defendant’s gang.Crypto Crusader Unmasks Gang Member, Now He Wants To Nail AT&TMichael Terpin is an entrepreneur and cryptocurrency advocate.Nicolas Truglia, the defendant in the civil case, resides in New York and has been arrested for six other crimes. Investigations into the man and his gang’s alleged criminal activities are on-going.Terpin’s crusade isn’t over yet. Despite being awarded compensation for losses – which amounted to $23.8 million at the time – and punitive damages exceeding $50 million, the blockchain entrepreneur is also pursuing AT&T for $224 million.“We, of course, are still actively pursuing our federal court case against AT&T, whose gross negligence we contend allowed these crimes to occur,” Terpin said in a statement.SIM Swapping and Crypto SecurityTruglia is allegedly part of a criminal gang engaged in SIM swapping called “The Community.” SIM swapping is taking over a user’s phone number with a new SIM. It requires gathering enough data on the target and then getting a new SIM card issued in the target’s name and phone number. As Andrew Blaich of Lookout said:“There are many public cases of attackers social engineering their way through a cellular company’s representative to get a SIM card issued for an account the attacker doesn’t own or have access to. It appears to be easy to do as all you need is a willing/susceptible representative at any cellular phone store.”Ironically, AT&T has a SIM swapping prevention system in place that requires customers to give a passcode to an AT&T representative online or over the phone. SIM swapping generally targets a customer’s services that use SMS notifications, as the messages are not encrypted.Michael Terpin Was Afforded Special Protection… But Still Got Hacked TwiceThe case against Nicolas Truglia may have been won. But crypto crusader Michael Terpin has a war with AT&T still underway. | Source: ShutterstockMichael Terpin was, he alleged, placed in a high-risk protection category, in which a PIN number would be required to be given to an AT&T representative before his SIM could be changed. That number was known only to Michael Terpin and his wife.According to court documents filed by Terpin’s lawyers:“Even after AT&T had placed vaunted additional protection on his account after an earlier hacking incident, an imposter posing as Mr. Terpin was able to easily obtain Mr. Terpin’s telephone number from an insider cooperating with the hacker without the AT&T store employee requiring him to present valid identification or to give Mr. Terpin’s required password.”The case against Nicolas Truglia may have been won. But Michael Terpin has a war with AT&T still underway. He will likely need to prove AT&T’s contractual provisions stating they are not liable for customer losses were void once he was placed in the telco’s high-risk customer category list and still had his SIM swapped – and his crypto fortune swiped. About The AuthorPaul de HavillandPaul de Havilland is a fan of disruptive technologies, an active VC investor in promising startups (with exits exceeding $10M), and has experience covering both traditional and emerging asset classes. His passion is violin and opera – he is a long-time student of a protege of Placido Domingo.This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.
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Register Lecture: Hidden heroes of Alan Turing’s Enigma

Live code-breaking and beer A curse follows Enigma, the cryptography device deployed by Adolf Hitler’s military during the WWII to protect their Morse communications from the Allies. That curse? Invisibility. Alan Turing has – now – become intrinsically linked with cracking Enigma, a machine of fiendish complexity capable of 159 million, million, million (1.59×1020) settings…

Register Lecture: Hidden heroes of Alan Turing’s Enigma

Live code-breaking and beer

A curse follows Enigma, the cryptography device deployed by Adolf Hitler’s military during the WWII to protect their Morse communications from the Allies. That curse? Invisibility.

Alan Turing has – now – become intrinsically linked with cracking Enigma, a machine of fiendish complexity capable of 159 million, million, million (1.59×1020) settings that demanded the perfect marriage of mathematics and engineering to break. Turing’s work would blow open secrets that helped alter the war – for example, alerting the RAF to Luftwaffe raids during the Battle of Britain. And yet, Turing received little by way of the recognition he deserved for decades – quite the opposite, in fact.

But Turing is not the only one to have suffered Enigma’s curse of invisibility. Join The National Museum of Computing on June 26 for a special Register lecture journey back 80 years to the eve of the Second World War, to hear the stories of those behind Turing.

Hear about who provided a critical leg-up to the struggling English in cracking Enigma and who helped build the Bombe – the device to mechanise the mathematics of code breaking. Eight decades after the start of the War, TNMOC will go inside the pioneering work of the Polish General Staff Cipher Bureau in Warsaw and shine a light on the roles of Gordon Welchman and Doc Keen, the long-overlooked Bombe engineering team lead, at Bletchley. Together, they helped put code-breaking at Bletchley Park on an industrial footing.

Your guide for this crypto history trip will be Paul Kellar MBE, a leading member of the Bombe Rebuild project – based at TNMOC as a working tribute to those who contributed to breaking the Enigma.

Starring with Paul will be a working Enigma to help demonstrate “knowing your enemy” and illustrate how the Bombe could attack and break the Enigma on a daily basis. You will get the opportunity, too, to participate in a live code-cracking exercise with Checking Machine – the last stage in recovering the Key of the Day after the Bombe had found the crucial settings.

Join fellow Reg readers with the TNMOC crypto historians and their machines at the Rugby Tavern, 19 Great James St, London, WC1N 3ES. Doors open at 18:30 BST with Paul taking the mic at 19:00. An audience question-and-answer session will follow a break to re-charge mind and grey matter. Get your ticket here. ®

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Breaking Up Facebook ‘Won’t Be Enough,’ Says Morgan Stanley Boss. Here’s His Proposal.

Breaking Up Facebook ‘Won’t Be Enough,’ Says Morgan Stanley Boss. Here’s His Proposal.

New York City’s just-concluded “blockchain week” was palpably more subdued than it has been in years past. (Or maybe I was just not invited back to the parties after my 2018 travelogue.)
In any case, I took a brief break from the madness of the Fortune 500 issue close to drop by the Consensus conference, the week’s marquee event, where I moderated a security-themed panel on Monday. My panelists were Tom Glocer, the lead board director of Morgan Stanley and former chief executive of Thomson Reuters, and Nadav Zafrir, the CEO of startup foundry Team8 and former head of the Israeli Defense Forces’ Cyber Command and Unit 8200, Israel’s equivalent of the U.S.’s National Security Agency. (For a recording, see video No. 15 here.)

Below are some soundbites from our conversation. I asked Glocer about a post he had published in the fall on his excellent personal blog in which he pondered who, or what, should own people’s data. His response imagined a world in which people might own their own information and where they would, using individual digital wallets, license the rights to corporations.

Rather than the current situation where we just weren’t paying attention and Google and Facebook, etc., built up huge caches of our private information, you would have the choice to sell Google your search history in return for a micropayment. Or you would sell Apple your photos in return for a micropayment, etc. I think it’s an interesting way of turning the current model on its head. But we’re not going to get there without some very significant government intervention along the lines of the debate that’s been raging about Facebook. Tech alone won’t achieve this jiu-jitsu move.

Since he brought it up, I asked Glocer for his thoughts on breaking up Facebook.

Just breaking up Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp won’t be enough. Facebook has over 2.5 billion folks. If you really wanted to go after them, I think you would have to go deeper and essentially declare a date by which they’d have to erase all of the data they’ve achieved to date and start fresh with what I’d call an informed consent and maybe, yes, micropayments. There’s no intrinsic reason why it’s awful that [Facebook] owns Instagram and WhatsApp…. If Mark [Zuckerberg] came out and just declared that on June 30th of next year we’re going to wipe out our histories—here’s your chance to download your own, in case you want to keep it, and here are the new rules of the road that you get to explicitly opt into—I would leave all those companies in his world.

The audience tended to agree. When I asked them whether Facebook should get the Sherman Anti-Trust treatment, only about a third of the crowd raised their hands.

Facebook, through the malicious hijacking of its targeted marketing machinery, has greatly contributed to an erosion of faith in traditional institutions. Nadav Zafrir summed up the predicament well. When I asked him what is the most pressing, most frightening threat the world faces, he replied without hesitation.

In one word: Trust. We are now in a world where it’s very hard for us to trust the simple things that, as my generation grew up, we were accustomed to trusting—our democracies. Our voting systems…. The irony is that the blockchain has a great potential to offer that [trust], yet it has become synonymous almost with the opposite…. At the end of the day attackers are human. They’re ROI [return on investment]-driven. They’re not super-ninjas or super-humans. They have their limitations. They have their vulnerabilities…. It’s an asymmetric battle when the attackers only need to find one single point of failure in the whole system and it’s game over. Hence, if we take that single point of failure and distribute it in a way where attackers need to hack everybody simultaneously and get everybody’s consensus, we’re flipping the asymmetry and taking control of the situation.

Of course, retaking control of the situation is no simple task, even with the advent of blockchain technology. Zuckerberg is, for his part, exploring how he might reestablish the foundations of his media empire on the footing of blockchains, cryptography, and private messaging. With all the consumer backlash and heat from regulators, it will no doubt take expert jiu-jitsu to pull off.
May the groundwork commence.
A version of this article first appeared in Cyber Saturday, the weekend edition of Fortune’s tech newsletter Data Sheet. Sign up here.

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