Industry Report: Bitcoin Expansion, Ransomware, Dark Web Drudgery
A bitcoin market announces plans for expansion; a long-thought-dead form of ransomware makes another appearance, and it’s Silk Road all over again as Norway shuts down a dark web string. These are only some of the stories you might have missed in this week’s cryptocurrency news, so take a gander at the details below.
OPENBAZAAR ANNOUNCES FUTURE PLANS FOR BITCOIN MARKETPLACE
Bitcoin market OpenBazaar has announced future development plans. Among its present goals include the release of a mobile app and Tor support, and fans from around the world are showing their excitement.
The company laid out their mission via blog post:
“Today we’re releasing our high-level roadmap for OpenBazaar – our mission is to make trade free for everyone, everywhere. Our vision is for OpenBazaar to become Commerce 2.0: a permission-less and censorship-resistant protocol for global trade using Bitcoin.”
OpenBazaar’s other long-term plans include sales control center improvements and blockchain ID on-boarding. Things should take roughly 1-2 years to complete, and users are welcome to contribute ideas and comments via the company’s Slack platform.
Bucbi Ransomware is back, and this time, things have gotten “personal.” According to some sources, infections are not random, as the malware is targeting specific corporate networks through what’s known as RDP Brute, a force utility that allows attackers to gain access to company servers without difficulty.
The two-year-old, once dormant ransomware was first noticed by a group of security researchers. They were forced to pay a hefty fee of approximately five bitcoins to release some encrypted files following the malware’s attack on a specific Windows server. Presently, it is unclear who or what parties are behind the attacks.
As NPR host Ari Shapiro states, “Bitcoin gets a lot of attention because drug dealers sometimes use it to buy and sell drugs.” Those of us who love and advocate for bitcoin can’t help but agree to a certain extent. Arguably one of the biggest stories revolving around the digital currency was the saga of Ross Ulbricht and the dark web marketplace Silk Road. Now, it seems to be happening all over again, but this time, it’s in Norway, and the investigation surrounding the dark web has been dubbed “Marco Polo” (if only he was re-discovering America).
Norwegian Police Special Service Agency Kripos has arrested 15 individuals allegedly involved with dark web drug trafficking in an operation going back as far back as 2014. Among the suspects taken into custody are purportedly five of Norway’s biggest drug kingpins. Should further proof of these allegations arise, Kripos is likely to earn itself a gold star or two.
According to Chief Investigator Olav Roisli, bitcoin was the most commonly used currency among those involved. Many attempts were made to prevent tracking despite bitcoin’s lack of anonymity on the blockchain. At press time, the agency only seems to be interested in indicting sellers, although users are being warned not to get too comfortable just yet.
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Images courtesy of themerkle.com, removeallthreats.com & indicosys.com