CZ Warns: Don’t Download Files and Don’t Trust Your Friends!
The CEO of the largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), warned his Twitter followers that there is a relatively new type of user data theft aimed primarily at the crypto community and carried out by a “the threat actor [with] broad knowledge of the cryptocurrency industry.” It's about transferring files. In particular, about the "exchange fee comparision.xls" file, which is already actively distributed in the community. Moreover, the people who send this file may not guess anything, while their exchange accounts may already be compromised, and personal data stolen or “leaked” into the public domain. Therefore, the day before yesterday, a tweet appeared in the official CZ account: “Don’t download files!” As an argument, the crypto businessman referred to a Microsoft Security Threat Intelligence blog post published on Tuesday discussing targeted attacks on the cryptocurrency industry: “We are also seeing more complex attacks wherein the threat actor shows great knowledge and preparation, taking steps to gain their target’s trust before deploying payloads.” — Microsoft blog says. And then the malicious Excel file initiates the creation of a macro with a set of actions that can be recorded and performed as many times as necessary. In particular, mouse clicks and keystrokes are recorded. The macro then hides certain codes and gets some data, drags another Excel sheet to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft Media\ and performs actions on the background. It then downloads a PNG file containing three executables: a legitimate Windows executable, a malicious version of the executable, and an encoded backdoor. Thus, the attacker gains access to the victim's system.
In 2022, Coinbase Profit Will be Reduced by 2-3 Times
Speaking on Bloomberg TV, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong talked about how the crypto exchange earned approximately $7 billion and $4 billion in positive EBITDA last year, but “thanks” to the global market crash, this year the trading floor will bring double, and then three times less income. According to a shareholder letter published in February 2022, Coinbase posted a profit of approximately $7.84 billion in fiscal 2021 and said that its plans for the year include “ambitious headcount growth.” But just a few months later, Armstrong admitted that the company had initiated “over-hired,” after which, in preparation for a prolonged crypto winter, 1,100 employees had to be cut. Already in November, Coinbase said goodbye to another 60 employees, and the company's share price fell by 83.5% since the beginning of the year. At the same time, there was a noticeable decline in trading volume on the crypto exchange, as a result of which, for the third quarter of 2022, net revenue decreased by 28% to $576 million. In the end, Armstrong reiterated his claim that FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried was a bad actor and claimed that the exchange's user funds, which were mysteriously missing, were simply stolen. In particular, this is why the Coinbase CEO is counting on the crypto winter to end when the market becomes sufficiently regulated.
Steve Aoki & 3LAU Team Up with CryptoPunks for New Musical Project
DJ and NFT aficionado Steve Aoki teamed up with Justin "3LAU" Blau to create the music and art project PUNX, which is inspired by their redeemed NFTs from the popular CryptoPunk digital collection. According to a press release, the project will use CryptoPunks images in its visual graphics, working in combination with music to create a metaverse. Aoki and Blau claim this is the first such project using CryptoPunks. According to 3LAU, this initiative is not an NFT, although it may eventually use blockchain technology to varying degrees. In 2023, the duo intends to travel and officially release the musical materials of the project. Through their projects, Aoki and Blau have been a major influence in the fusion of NFT and music. In May 2021, Blau introduced the Royal Music Licensing Network after releasing a series of Ultraviolet NFT albums that brought in a record $11 million. Aoki in turn founded A0K1VERSE, an NFT community, and released many popular NFT collections such as Dream Catcher.