Researchers warn 3 apps have been stealing crypto undetected for a year

Cyber security researchers have discovered a year-long malware operation that has targeted cryptocurrency users with the creation of a number of fake apps.

Security firm Intezer Labs warned that ever increasing crypto prices have created heightened activity among hackers and malicious actors seeking financial gains. The malware has been disseminated over the past year, but was only discovered in December 2020.

The new remote access trojan (RAT), dubbed ElectroRAT, has been used to empty the cryptocurrency wallets of thousands of Windows, macOS, and Linux users, the report added.

Three cryptocurrency-related apps deployed in the attack — Jamm, eTrade/Kintum, and DaoPoker — were all hosted on their own websites. The first two are bogus crypto trading apps while the third is gambling based.

The ElectroRAT malware hidden inside these apps is extremely intrusive according to the researchers;

“It has various capabilities such as keylogging, taking screenshots, uploading files from disk, downloading files, and executing commands on the victim’s console.”

After being launched on a victim’s computer, the apps show a foreground user interface designed to divert attention from the malicious background processes. The apps were promoted using social media platforms Twitter and Telegram in addition to cryptocurrency based forums such as Bitcointalk.

Intezer Labs estimated that the campaign has already infected “thousands of victims” who have had their crypto wallets emptied. It added that there was evidence that some victims who were compromised by the apps were using popular crypto wallets such as MetaMask.

The malware has been written in a multi-platform programming language called Golang which makes it harder to detect. The security firm stated that it was uncommon to see a RAT designed to steal personal information from cryptocurrency users that was written from scratch, adding;

“It is even rarer to see such a wide-ranging and targeted campaign that includes various components such as fake apps and websites, and marketing/promotional efforts via relevant forums and social media.”

There have been a number of cases in 2020 where fake versions of legitimate apps and browser extensions such as MetaMask or Ledger have made their way onto victims computers. This may be related to Ledger’s massive data breach in mid-December.

In September 2020, Coinbase users were among the victims of new Android-based malware disseminated through Google Play Store.


Tagged : / / / /

At @TheBlock__ , a pro-ethereum (and impartial) News/research Crew, Ryan, Larry & Mika are in $YFI, but pay attention to John & Steven’s $rook investment… & perhaps Mika’s $PERP & $NEAR investments. These boyz are researchers after all, ‘ey.

At @TheBlock__ , a pro-ethereum (and impartial) News/research Crew, Ryan, Larry & Mika are in $YFI, but pay attention to John & Steven’s $rook investment…

& perhaps Mika’s $PERP & $NEAR investments. These boyz are researchers after all, ‘ey.


Tagged : / / / / / / / / / / / /

How should investors value DeFi projects? A new paper might have some answers

A new paper released on Thursday from a team of crypto researchers hopes to add to a body of work that will eventually identify “the Black-Scholes of decentralized finance (DeFi)” — an equation that will allow investors and users to properly value DeFi projects and potential profit/loss metrics in popular DeFi verticals such as liquidity mining. 

Why is such an equation important? At first blush,  liquidity mining is simple enough to explain: in exchange for providing liquidity to automated market makers like Uniswap, users are rewarded with trading fees or governance tokens, often denominated in APY percentages.

However, users suffer “impermanent losses” related to fluctuations in demand for the trading pair, and a simple APY calculation on a user interface frontend isn’t sufficient to paint a full picture for what the gains might look like for liquidity providers. 

According to research from Tarun Chitra, founder and CEO of DeFi risk analysis firm Gauntlet.Network and one of the three co-authors of When does the tail wag the dog? Curvature and market making, liquidity mining is best thought of as a complex derivative.

“Most passive investment products often times have non-trivial derivatives-like exposure. For instance, the collapse of the ETF XIV in February 2018 (“volmageddon“) illustrated how some assets that are “passive” and “safe” have complex exposure,” Chitra explained to Cointelegraph. “Liquidity providing in AMMs is not so different, although it presents a new set of risks to holders. Liquidity providers are always balancing fees earned (positive income) with large price moves losses (negative, impermanent loss).”

These complexities have led to the failure of many liquidity mining projects due to overincentivization (“1e9% APY isn’t sustainable, too many LPs and no traders”), or underincentivization from developers not offering enough rewards to counterbalance impermanent losses. Ultimately, users and developers “should think of farming as a complex derivatives analogue of maker-taker incentives on centralized exchanges.”

Additionally, this new conceptual model may allow for more sophisticated decision making from liquidity providers, as well as more robust architectural frameworks for AMM developers. 

“This paper provides a principled way for developers and designers to provide LP returns that make sense,” said Chitra. “APY only makes sense for fixed income assets (bonds), whereas derivative pricing makes MUCH more sense for something like liquidity provision. We hope this is the first in the line of many works that try to find the ‘Black-Scholes of DeFi.’”

According to Chitra, successfully identifying a DeFi-equivalent to the Black-Scholes model might also be the key to mass DeFi adoption. Developed in the 1980s to help investors find ways to properly price stock options, Black-Scholes led to a massive boom in derivatives trading. 

While it remains to be seen if a new model can cut so cleanly through DeFi’s complexities, this paper appears to be a promising first step.