Hacked Facebook Accounts Were Being Sold For Cryptocurrency Via the Dark Web

  • Hacked Facebook accounts were on sale for cryptocurrency via the dark web.
  • The compromised social media accounts and sensitive user data obtained are valued in the range of $150 million to $600 million.

Recently hacked Facebook accounts were reportedly being sold via the dark web for only around $3 to $12, according to The Independent. Users looking to purchase these compromised social media accounts were able to pay for them with cryptocurrency.

This news has come shortly after a large-scale security breach (last month) during which the private information of about 50 million Facebook users was obtained. Hackers had reportedly been able to exploit a vulnerability that allowed them to gain access to and steal users’ “access tokens.”

These tokens are like digital keys that allow Facebook users to access their accounts as they help verify and authenticate login credentials. Additionally, these “access tokens” contain other sensitive user data.

Hacked Accounts On Sale For Cryptocurrency

At the time of the security breach, Facebook said there was no evidence that the compromised accounts had actually been used by the hackers. However, as mentioned, these accounts were being sold through a dark web marketplace called Dream Market, in exchange for bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), monero (XMR), among other cryptocurrencies.

The Dream Market has some of the same design features as mainstream internet retailers such as Amazon and eBay. For instance, it has a similar rating system and allows buyers to connect with a large pool of established sellers.

Although it now appears that the dark web seller has removed the listing, the value of Facebook’s large number of compromised accounts and sensitive data has been estimated to be between the range of $150 million to $600 million.

Commenting on the hack, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: 

We face constant attacks from people who want to take over accounts or steal information around the world… The reality is we need to continue developing new tools to prevent this from happening in the first place.

Mark Zuckerberg

Bitcoin ATM Malware, Leaked Hotel Data Records

As CryptoGlobe reported in August, a hacker described by cybersecurity firm Trend Micro as “an established and respected” dark web seller had developed a bitcoin ATM (BTM) malware program and had been selling it for $25,000 via secret online forums.

The seller’s listing noted that the BTM malware came with a ready-to-use card which had EMV support (short for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa). It also reportedly supported NFC transactions which allows users to make payments from their smartphones. By using the malware, users would have been able to steal up to 6,750 in British pounds (GBP), Euros, or USD - each time they used the exploitative program.

CryptoGlobe also reported in late August that 130 million leaked hotel data records were being sold for bitcoin (BTC) via China’s dark web. The hacker had managed to steal the large amount of private user data from the Huazhu Hotel Group, one of the largest Chinese hotel management companies.

Israeli Courts: Bitcoin Is a Taxable Financial Asset, Not a Currency

A central district court in Israel has reportedly ruled in favor of the nation’s tax collection department, which has categorized bitcoin (BTC) as a financial asset - but not a medium of exchange (MoE).

According to the court’s ruling, the Israeli tax department may impose and collect taxes on transactions involving bitcoin, the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency. The court’s decision on the matter was announced on Monday (May 20, 2019).

Bitcoin Is a Taxable Financial Asset

As confirmed by Israel’s central district court, bitcoin-related transactions are subject to a capital gains tax as the pseudonymous cryptocurrency is considered a financial asset by the country’s central bank.

Notably, the matter was brought before court Judge Shmuel Bornstein by the founder of a crypto startup that argued bitcoin should be treated as a currency, or medium of exchange. The entrepreneur said that transactions involving the cryptocurrency should not be taxed because it’s a currency, not a financial asset.

Bitcoin's Status Hasn't Yet Been Established

As noted by local news outlet Globes: 

The Central District Court in Lod accepted the tax authority’s interpretation, and held that bitcoin is an asset and not a currency, and that the transaction in question is therefore taxable.

Going on to mention that Israeli financial regulators have not yet established a comprehensive regulatory framework for cryptoassets, Judge Bornstein said that it was “hard to envisage a result whereby Bitcoin would be considered a currency for tax purposes in particular.”

According to Globes, the case involving bitcoin-related transactions could reach Israel’s Supreme Court.

Commenting on the status of Bitcoin, Itay Bracha, Managing Partner at Israel-based law firm Bracha & Co., remarked:

The ruling is a signal to all those who have yet to report cryptocurrency-related [capital gains] or based their actions on differing legal advice.

Building Decentralized Infrastructure for the Transportation Sector

Per the legal specialist, the recent ruling is “unequivocal” and that it is only a “judicial interpretation”, not a “new legalization.” Therefore, the current ruling on the status of bitcoin would only “apply retroactively.”

As noted by local sources, the latest BTC-related case involves Noam Copel, the founder of blockchain startup DAV. As stated on the crypto firm’s official website:

We’re building a decentralized infrastructure to revolutionize the transportation industry on the blockchain.

In 2011, Copel reportedly purchased BTC and sold it in 2013 for a profit of around $2.3 million. Arguing that his profits, or capital gains, were not taxable, the crypto entrepreneur stated (in court):

Bitcoin should be classified as a foreign currency, and that his profits should be seen as exchange rate differences received by an individual not in the course of a business, and therefore should not be taxed.

As explained, the Israeli courts ruled in favor of the nation’s central financial institution by categorizing Bitcoin as a financial asset - which is subject to taxes.