Six German banks dealing in crypto, says BaFin

According to German finance ministry six banks in the country are already dealing in cryptocurrencies
05 June 2018   795

At least six financial institutions in Germany are dealing with cryptocurrency in one form or another, according to the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin). This surprising statement was made in response to the inquiry by the member of left-wing political party “The Left” Thomas Lutze.

While not naming the banks in question, BaFin went on to clarify that financial institutions are dealing in and/or possibly acquiring cryptocurrency. It's not surprising, considering the fact that German banks were fist to introduce their clients to Bitcoin several years ago, but the absence of clear government regulation regarding the cryptocurrencies has slowed down the adoption process considerably. Of course, it's quite possible, that the regulations would have put a damper on things and by now there wouldn't be any way for institutions to work with crypto.

Still, BaFin is closely watching the banks under its authority for money laundering, with or without crypto. But anything else, while being closely monitored, is not prohibited, for example, any financial institution with appropriate crypto licenses can place cryptocurrency ATMs in the country.

Ryuk Ransomware Team to Get 705 BTC

CrowdStrike and McAfee believes the program was created and supported by Russians
15 January 2019   97

In less than six months, hackers got 705 bitcoins through Ryuk ransomware, reports The Block.

Until recently, the group of hackers GRIM SPIDER behind Ryuk was supposed to be operating from North Korea. However, according to the companies CrowdStrike and McAfee, the program was created and supported by Russian hackers.

Ryuk is distributed via email-phishing, where the TrickBot Trojan is involved. The main objectives of the ransomware program are large companies and government organizations. Ryuk blocks the victims' hard drives until they pay the ransom. The amount of the latter often depends on the size and significance of the organization.

The program is "famous" for the impressive amounts of required buybacks:

To date, the lowest observed ransom was for 1.7 BTC and the highest was for 99 BTC. With 52 known transactions spread across 37 BTC addresses (as of this writing), GRIM SPIDER has made 705.80 BTC, which has a current value of $3.7 million. With the recent decline in BTC to USD value, it is likely GRIM SPIDER has netted more.
 

CrowdStrike

705 bitcoins at the current exchange rate is about $ 2.6 million.