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Hackers of Atlanta Government Computers Seek Ransom in the Form of Bitcoin

It is the turn of cryptocurrency as a form of ransom being sought by hackers. Though it could surprise some people due to high volatility in the digital currency sector, the hackers’ demand strengthened the argument that there was lack of identity in trading the instrument. The move would also provide enough tools for those who are opposing the virtual currency. The hacking incident in America comes on the heels of a Cryptocurrency exchange being hacked in Japan in January end that saw a loss of over half a billion American dollar.

US City

Hackers have managed to hack key computer systems in the American City, Atlanta, Georgia, cointelegraph reported. Fortune reported that they were demanding bitcoin worth $51,000 so that they could re-enable the affected computers. Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, told the media that officials could not estimate the extent of the attack. She also feigned ignorance whether any bank accounts or personal data was stolen in the hacking and said that every one of them was subject to the attack.

Hackers of Atlanta Government Computers Seek Ransom in the Form of Bitcoin

On March 22, Atlanta City discovered the attack first at 5 a.m. Some customers have found that there were some outages that affected their systems. These customers were trying to pay bills and access court-related information. A press note from the City of Atlanta indicated that its ATL_AIM team was working diligently to resolve this issue.

The hacking has forced the government officials to seek the help of the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and even Microsoft Corporation to find out the extent of the breach. They were also concerned as to how to resolve the outages. On Friday, officials sought the cooperation from its citizens to check their accounts and personal information and see whether anything was compromised in the hack. At the current rate of approximately $8,500 per bitcoin, the ransom demand is for six bitcoins.

The latest incident was not the first one in the recent past. There were previous incidences too that held back municipal computer systems as hostages in exchange of a digital currency. For instance, a hacker hacked the Regional Transit System in November 2017. The hacker sought a ransom of about one bitcoin. At that point in time, it was worth approximately $8,000.

Bitcoin Remains In Limelight

It is not clear why the hackers are going after the Bitcoin. However, there is no doubt that the virtual currency enjoys the biggest market capitalization. The price and the percentage of growth in 2017 were also astonishing making everyone to hold the digital currency just for prestige if not for value of it. This was evident when hackers seek a small fraction of bitcoins.

However, there was also one big ransom in Germany. A parcel bomber wanted Euro 10 million ransom to be paid in Bitcoin in December last year. The package had a QR code for depositing the virtual currency apart from explosive materials received from nails and fireworks though it failed to detonate. Before the latest incident, most of the big hackers appear to have happened in cryptocurrency exchanges.…

America Includes Bitcoin Hacker in Iranian Sanctions

The justice department of the United States has included Game of Thrones (GOT) bitcoin hacker, Behzad Mesri, on its sanctions list. The sanctions involved an Iranian firm and nine nationals from the country for their involvement in global hacking schemes against private companies, energy concerns, universities and government outlets.

Half-A-Dozen Hackers

The United States has named more than half-a-dozen hackers who were allegedly involved in perpetrating the Home Box Office (HBO) compromise formula. That also led to a bitcoin ransom. The HBO drama, Game of Thrones, which was more popular, was scooped up in 1.5 terabytes of stolen data. The hackers threatened with pre-season leaks and demanded millions of dollars through the digital currency. During the last summer, HBO disclosed that it was hacked by miscreants.

America Includes Bitcoin Hacker in Iranian Sanctions

In one of the biggest media hack of this kind, terabytes of data were stolen. That included Emmy-award winning fantasy drama, Game of Thrones. The Creator held it close to the unaired episodes. This reminded about the biggest media hack of the notorious Sony data compromise in 2014 as the latest is said to be seven times of that hacking, news.bitcoin.com reported. Once the partial leaks were allowed to make their way around, ransom demands increased to six million dollars, which should be by way of bitcoin. If the demand was not meant, there was a threat of the complete GOT season being allowed to go online.

The American authorities indicted Behzad Mesri in November last year for the GOT hacking. He was directly linked to the hacks of HBO as his relations with the Iranian government were termed as loose. There were rumors that he was part of the Revolutionary Guard as he was accused of engaging himself in the Iranian military’s Turk Black Hat Security division. Incidentally, the division was given particular importance on the cyber attack with a focus on Israel.

Despite these engagements, reports suggested that Mesri would unlikely to visit the United States in the near future. Therefore, the latest action of the Justice Department was termed as a campaign of name and shame. A poster of “Wanted” for Mesri was given and the lead agent disclosed in GOT as to how winter has come for the Iranian national.

Unaired HBO Shows

The American alleged that Mesri was preventing from stealing episodes of a number of unaired shows in the HBO. This included GOT scripts. As a result, he started teasing the firm with clunky messages like “Beware of heart attacks, “HBO is hacked..” and “Hi to all losers!”. The messages came as Skote Vahshat.

As the frustration level increased, his demand for ransom also grew. Initially, he demanded 5.5 million dollars of bitcoin as ransom. This was increased to over six million. HBO reacted to clarify that hackers were trying to release bits and pieces of stolen information aiming to turn the media attention. The company disclosed that it was not ready to play a game with the hacker. The current threat is that if Mesri owns any asset in the United States, it would be either frozen or confiscated.…

Cboe Dodges Sec, Recommends the Launch of Bitcoin Etf

CBOE Global Markets is unhappy with SEC interference in the launch of bitcoin ETF. It has urged the regulator to allow the launch of the ETF, as a regular marketable security. In a recent letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, CBOE President Chris Concannon addressed the regulator’s concerns, recommending them not to interfere in the development of the new fund.

CBOE’s rebuttal

Per the exchange operator, a bitcoin ETF will be similar to other ETFs in the market. An exchange-traded fund is designed as marketable security that tracks, bonds, a basket of assets, an index or a commodity. They have lower fees than mutual funds, and their liquidity remains higher than common stock.

In response to an SEC letter expressing concerns about liquidity and manipulation risks of the cryptocurrency market, Concannon wrote this letter asking the regular to avoid interfering in the process.

Cboe Dodges Sec, Recommends the Launch of Bitcoin Etf

Dalia Blass, Director of the Division of Investment Management, wrote in the letter, “Until the questions identified above can be addressed satisfactorily, we do not believe that it is appropriate for fund sponsors to initiate registration of funds that intend to invest substantially in cryptocurrency and related products.?

Concannon responded by saying, “As the volumes continue to grow, especially on regulated US markets, the overall spot Bitcoin market looks more and more like a traditional commodity market and CBOE continues to believe that the spot market is sufficiently liquid to support a Bitcoin ETP.?

He also talked about arbitrage opportunities in ETF, writing “CBOE believes that the arbitrage mechanism would function identically to other commodity-related ETPs… thereby keeping the price of the ETP in line with the price of Bitcoin and limiting the risk of manipulation shares of the ETP.?

While the SEC still isn’t convinced about the role of cryptocurrencies in traditional markets and their regulation, Concannon supported the statements made by regulatory experts in a recent congressional hearing. They stated that the current set of regulations are enough to manage some aspects of digital currencies.

He added, “While CBOE shares many of the concerns raised in the Staff Letter, we believe that the vast majority of these concerns can be addressed within the existing framework for commodity-related funds related to valuation, liquidity, custody, arbitrage, and manipulation.?

The SEC has launched dozens of probes into digital currency companies and issued subpoenas to several firms offering ICOs to investors. This week, the SEC has launched a fresh investigation into 100 hedge funds that have holdings in cryptocurrencies. The regulator wants to know whether the investors are aware that their money is being used in crypto markets or not. Financial advisors to private individuals and businesses could also come under the purview of this probe.

CBOE and its rival CME Group Inc. have already launched bitcoin futures contracts, overlooked by the CFTC. The SEC, however, has already denied dozens of proposals to start funds with bitcoin holdings or futures contracts. Four of these proposals were submitted by CBOE, including one for the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust.…