The Daily: Twitter Blocks Bots Mimicking Musk, Coinvault Hackers Sentenced
In Friday’s edition of The Daily, Twitter has taken measures against crypto scammers imitating the profile of Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk and a Dutch court has sentenced the operators of the Coinvault ransomware. Also, crypto has been labeled as ‘junk’ by Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga, and Wirex has reported $2 million worth of XRP deposited to its crypto debit card after announcing support for ripple.
Twitter Blocking Bots Imitating Musk
Twitter is trying a new strategy to address the issue with the numerous crypto scammers on the social network. The microblogging platform is now automatically locking any unverified account that changes its display name to Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Spacex. Access to a blocked account can be restored only after passing a CAPTCHA test and providing a valid phone number, The Verge reported.
“As part of our continuing efforts to combat spam and malicious activity on our service, we’re testing new measures to challenge accounts that use terms commonly associated with spam campaigns. We are continually refining these detections based on changes in spammy activity,” a Twitter spokesperson commented. The company has declined to confirm if the policy is applied to other accounts.
The measure is meant to mainly combat the growing number of bots that are active on Twitter and imitate Musk’s profile to scam people by replying to his tweets. This means that once a user confirms the authenticity of their account according to the procedure, they can keep the display name as Elon Musk. Most scam bots operate by automatically replying to tweets from high profile figures, often promising giveaways or investment opportunities. Earlier this month, Elon Musk himself posted a comment showing that he is impressed with the skills of the scammers.
Coinvault Operators Sentenced to Community Service
A court in the Dutch city of Rotterdam has ordered 240 hours community service for two brothers responsible for spreading and operating the Coinvault ransomware. The pair have been accused of hacking into the personal computers of almost 1,300 victims in several countries including the Netherlands, the UK, France, and Germany.
The two men, who had clean criminal records prior to their arrest, were spared prison sentences after they agreed to cooperate with the police investigation. However, they will have to pay compensation to several victims in addition to the community service they must perform.
Coinvault is based on Microsoft’s .NET framework. It encrypts system files and then decrypts a single file before demanding ransomware payment in bitcoin (BTC). The malware was first discovered in 2014, when its operators demanded one bitcoin in return for a decryption key. At the time, 1 BTC was worth around €220. Investigators believe the two men have received about 20,000 euros from their victims.
Mastercard CEO Labels Crypto as ‘Junk’
An “anonymized” currency that can fluctuate wildly does not deserve to be considered as a medium of exchange, according to Mastercard President and CEO Ajay Banga, who called cryptocurrency “junk.” The head of the global payment processor is also concerned that 95 percent of the illegal transactions conducted on the dark web, including credit card and social security fraud, are paid for in cryptocurrency.
“I think cryptocurrency is junk. The idea of an anonymized currency produced by people who have to mine it, the value of which can fluctuate wildly – that to me is not the way that any medium of exchange deserves to be considered as a medium of exchange,” the India-born executive said, quoted by the Business Standard. He was responding to a question he was asked during a lecture organized by the Indian Consulate in New York together with the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).
Despite Banga’s comments, the credit card giant is believed to be keeping its crypto options open. It was reported earlier this year that the company would consider facilitating digital coins but only fully-regulated, central bank-issued, and non-anonymous. Mastercard has also applied for several crypto-related patents. In June, it became known that its filings include a patent for anonymous distributed ledger transactions via a third party processor. This month, it was announced that the payments behemoth has patented a method to manage cryptocurrency “fractional reserves.”
$2 Million Worth of XRP Deposited to Wirex Accounts
Wirex, the major provider of crypto debit cards in Europe which announced this month it is adding support for ripple (XRP), has already registered over $2 million worth of XRP deposited into the wallet which is connected to its Wirex Visa cards. The company has also reported having 1.5 million users and announced a transaction volume of approximately $1.7 billion USD.
Wirex cards, offered in both plastic and virtual variants, are available within the European Economic Area which is a huge potential market. The company was the first to reintroduce crypto debit cards in Europe after they were suspended by Visa last year. It started shipping its new plastic cards to customers in the UK and the EU in May this year.
The plastic cards offered by Wirex come with a chip and support also bitcoin (BTC), litecoin (LTC) and instant currency exchange with GBP, USD, and EUR. The virtual Visas provide for the opportunity to deposit and exchange over 50 digital coins through the Wirex wallet.
What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Michael Novogratz (Twitter).
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