Cryptocurrency-Related Bug Bounties Netted Hackers Nearly $1 Million in 2019

Francisco Memoria

Hackers have last year earned a total of $968,504 via bug bounty programs launched by cryptocurrency and blockchain firms via the HackerOne platform.

According to data shared with TheBlock, hackers have managed to earn the near $1 million figure thanks to bug bounties from major cryptocurrency businesses like Coinbase, Ripple, and Block.one. These pay hackers to find and address their security vulnerabilities, effectively helping them become safer platforms.

As CryptoGlobe reported, back in 2018 blockchain and cryptocurrency companies received over 3,000 vulnerability reports and rewarded hackers with a total of $878,000. The 10% year-on-year increase is small but notable, as in 2018 Block.one alone awarded hackers over $500,000, accounting for more than 60% of the bounties paid out.

It was followed by Coinbase, which awarded them with a total of $290,000, and by TRON, which awarded $76,200. Per TheBlock’s report, cryptocurrency and blockchain firms ranked fourth when it came to the highest bug bounties paid in 2019, falling behind internet services, computer software, and media.

The average bug bounty in the cryptocurrency space was the highest on the platform, at $6,124 per security vulnerability. Last year, the average bounty in the blockchain industry was of less than $1,500.

While the amount paid out to hackers may sound alarming at first, it’s worth noting that the program incentivizes those with skills to actually support the cryptocurrency space’s security by rewarding them for helping companies, instead of trying to steal from their wallets.

Despite its existence hackers still target the cryptocurrency space’s users. This month, a Ledger wallet user reportedly lost $16,000 to a malicious browser extension. North Korean hacking group Lazarus has also been found to be using Telegram to steal cryptocurrency.

Featured image via Pixabay.

Dark Web Marketplace Bans Vendors Selling Fake COVID-19 Vaccines for Bitcoin

Dark web marketplace Monopoly Market has reportedly taken a stance against those trying to profit off of the COVID-19 outbreak, banning any vendor trying to take advantage of the pandemic.

According to The Independent, various sites on the dark web have seen a surge in listing selling materials for bitcoin claiming to be able to protect people from the disease. Monopoly Market’s admins have warned users they won’t be allowing these listings.

The market, which is relatively now and has little over 100 active vendors selling drugs ranging from cannabis to steroids for BTC or XMR, made the warning after receiving an influx of coronavirus-related listings from scammers. A forum post reads:

Any vendor caught flogging goods as a ‘cure’ to coronavirus will not only be permanently removed from this market but should be avoided like the Spanish flu.

Monopoly Market is also barring users from selling items impacted by shortages, including face masks. The post adds users are not to “under any circumstances use COVID-19 as a marketing tool.” On dark net markets, fake coronavirus vaccines claiming to be “fully tested and confirmed” have been spotted in listings, going from $200 to $300 in BTC.

There are currently about 20 vaccines in development in labs throughout the world, but experts have warned it could take 18 months for one to meet regulatory tests and standards. The Independent notes these are unrelated to the listings, however, as one vaccine listed on the Agartha market, priced at $300 in bitcoin, contains a mix of nicotine, cocaine, and amphetamines.

Monopoly Market has also called on vendors to take precautions to avoid transmitting the virus to clients:

You should already be doing this but please wear a pair of gloves, old pair of reading glasses, and a face mask if available. Vendors in all conditions should be keeping a certain level of good hygiene.

This is notably not the first time darknet users voluntarily halt the sale of dangerous or dubious products. In 2018, major marketplaces banned the sale of fentanyl after it was linked to hundreds of accidental overdoses.

Scammers, as CryptoGlobe reported, have even been impersonating the World Health Organization to steal bitcoin meant to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Featured image via Pixabay.