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USB Stick Saves World’s Largest Bank, ICBC, In Cyber Crisis

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  • ICBC, the world’s largest bank, experienced a significant cyberattack, disrupting its ability to clear U.S. Treasury trades and forcing it to use a USB stick for critical data transfer.
  • The attack, suspected to be from the ransomware group Lockbit with Russian ties, caused widespread disruption in financial markets, prompting urgent security reviews and responses.

The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC) was the victim of a recent cyberattack. This isn’t just any disturbance; it’s a major setback for the world’s largest bank. 

According to Bloomberg, the attack rendered the bank’s ability to clear US Treasury deals inoperable, resulting in an unusual situation in which important financial data was transferred across Manhattan on a USB stick. While unorthodox, this strategy emphasizes the severity of the attack and the lengths to which the bank had to go to limit the impact.

The ICBC hack had rapid consequences, causing substantial disruptions in the financial industry. Brokerages, banks, and market makers were forced to hustle to reroute deals, with no idea when normal operations would return. 

Lockbit, a well-known criminal gang with Russian ties, is suspected of being behind this upheaval. This gang is no new to high-profile strikes, having previously targeted Boeing and the Royal Mail of the United Kingdom.

Read Also: Hackers Force ICBC To Rely on USB Stick to Settle Trades

Cybersecurity Concerns Heightened

The ICBC incident highlighted the financial industry’s rising worry about cybersecurity. The prospect of a cyberattack damaging a vital component of the financial system is a nightmare scenario for bank executives and government regulators around the world. 

Marcus Murray, the founder of the Swedish cybersecurity firm Truesec, stressed the tsunami this incident has sent through the financial community, encouraging banks worldwide to swiftly beef up their defenses.

As a result of the incident, ICBC’s Beijing headquarters had urgent talks with its US division and notified regulators. They are even considering enlisting the assistance of China’s Ministry of State Security. 

The bank confirmed the ransomware attack in a statement and guaranteed that the impacted systems had been isolated. The unit targeted by the attack, ICBC Financial Services, is a major player in the financial market, with $23.5 billion in assets as of the end of 2022.

This event is part of a troubling trend of increased ransomware attacks in the financial industry. According to Sophos, a cybersecurity organization, such attacks have increased significantly in recent years, notably in financial industries. In 2023, 64% of financial institutions will encounter ransomware attacks, a significant increase from prior years. 

Read Also: China’s Largest Bank’s US Branch Suffers Ransomware LockBit Attack

Attacks in the sector grew from 55% in the 2022 report to 64% in this year’s study, nearly doubling the 34% reported in the 2021 report. Despite the increased attack rate, it remained lower than the sector average of 66%. 

According to the cybersecurity firm, several financial institutions are expanding their efforts to reduce cyber threats.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Bitcoinworld.co.in holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.



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Cryptocurrency Market Update: Bitcoin Slips Below $70,000 Amidst High Liquidation

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In a swift turn of events, Bitcoin (BTC), the pioneering cryptocurrency, dropped below the $70,000 threshold early on Wednesday following a wave of investor sell-offs. Just a day prior, Bitcoin had crossed the $71,000 mark, but market sentiment swiftly shifted, dragging other major altcoins—including Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ripple (XRP), Solana (SOL), and Litecoin (LTC)—into the red zone.

According to CoinMarketCap data, the overall Market Fear & Greed Index stood at 75 (Greed) out of 100, indicating a mix of optimism and apprehension among traders. Notably, the Bittensor (TAO) token emerged as the top gainer with a remarkable 24-hour surge of over 7 percent, while dogwifhat (WIF) experienced the largest loss, plummeting nearly 16 percent.

Bitcoin (BTC) Price Update Bitcoin’s price tumbled to $69,089.01, marking a 24-hour dip of 3.05 percent, as reported by CoinMarketCap. On the Indian exchange WazirX, BTC was priced at Rs 60.93 lakh.

Other Major Cryptocurrencies Ethereum (ETH) saw a 24-hour loss of 4.81 percent, trading at $3,508.86, while Dogecoin (DOGE) registered a dip of 5.59 percent, currently priced at $0.1879. Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP) also experienced losses, with Solana (SOL) marking a 24-hour loss of 3.44 percent.

Top Gainers and Losers Bittensor (TAO) led the pack of gainers with a 7.30 percent surge, while dogwifhat (WIF) suffered the most significant loss, dropping by 15.58 percent.

Market Analysis and Expert Insights Experts weighed in on the market scenario, attributing Bitcoin’s downturn to heightened liquidations and cautious sentiment ahead of the upcoming US CPI data release. While Bitcoin’s immediate support rests at $67,700, resistance is expected at $70,400. Ethereum proponents face challenges amid hopes for an ETF approval, with the SEC providing limited updates on the matter.

Final Thoughts The cryptocurrency market remains highly dynamic, with prices fluctuating rapidly and investor sentiment playing a pivotal role. As the market navigates through volatility, it’s essential for investors to stay informed, exercise caution, and seek expert advice before making any investment decisions.

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Cryptocurrency: A Scapegoat for Foreign Policy Failures?

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Cryptocurrency has once again found itself at the center of a heated debate, this time regarding its alleged role in facilitating illicit activities and circumventing sanctions imposed by the United States. The Biden administration, in particular, has come under scrutiny for its handling of the issue, with some accusing it of using digital assets as a convenient scapegoat for broader foreign policy shortcomings.

In a recent hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo raised concerns about the misuse of cryptocurrencies by foreign adversaries such as Iran, Russia, North Korea, and militant groups like Hamas. Adeyemo’s remarks underscored a growing unease within the U.S. government regarding the potential national security implications of unregulated digital currencies.

However, voices from within the cryptocurrency industry and Congress have pushed back against the administration’s narrative. Faryar Shirzad, Chief Policy Officer at Coinbase, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, pointed out that the prevalence of illicit activity in the crypto space is relatively low compared to traditional finance. Instead of demonizing cryptocurrencies, Shirzad argued, the focus should be on targeting bad actors operating offshore.

Senator Tim Scott, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, echoed these sentiments, accusing the Biden administration of using digital assets as a distraction from its failure to effectively combat financial flows to sanctioned entities. Scott’s criticism reflects broader skepticism among some lawmakers about the government’s approach to regulating cryptocurrencies.

One area of potential agreement between the Biden administration and the cryptocurrency industry is the need for clearer regulations governing stablecoins, a type of digital asset pegged to a fiat currency like the U.S. dollar. Both sides recognize the importance of addressing the potential risks associated with stablecoin issuance and usage, particularly in the context of national security and financial stability.

The debate over stablecoins has intensified following reports of their alleged role in facilitating illicit transactions, including those linked to Russia’s war effort in Ukraine. The Treasury Department has called for increased oversight of stablecoin issuers and transactions, while also advocating for legislation that would subject them to stricter regulatory standards.

Despite the contentious nature of the discussion, there are signs of bipartisan cooperation on certain aspects of cryptocurrency regulation. A bipartisan bill addressing stablecoin regulation passed the House Financial Services Committee last year, signaling a potential path forward for legislative action in this area.

As the debate over cryptocurrency regulation continues to unfold, it is clear that finding the right balance between innovation and security will be paramount. While concerns about illicit activity and national security must be addressed, policymakers must also recognize the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies in fostering financial inclusion and technological advancement.

Ultimately, the resolution of these issues will require thoughtful collaboration between government officials, industry stakeholders, and lawmakers to develop a regulatory framework that promotes innovation while safeguarding against misuse. Only through constructive dialogue and cooperation can we ensure that cryptocurrencies fulfill their potential as a force for positive change in the global economy.

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Bitcoin Resurgence: Why Wall Street Is Embracing the Crypto Revolution

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Andrew Pratt of Wiser Wealth Management in Marietta, Ga., finds little resistance as he proposes Bitcoin investments to his firm’s committee. With Bitcoin surging 140% in the past year and backed by giants like BlackRock, skepticism has waned. Pratt sees the potential to allocate a modest 1% of client portfolios to Bitcoin, acknowledging the limited downside risk compared to potential gains.

The debate over Bitcoin’s intrinsic value seems to have lost its relevance amidst its soaring market performance. Once dismissed, Bitcoin now boasts a market value of $1.3 trillion, driving the total crypto market to $2.5 trillion. Wall Street, once wary, now views cryptocurrency as an opportunity for profit rather than a speculative venture.

Despite lingering doubts about Bitcoin’s utility beyond speculation, Wall Street executives are increasingly supportive. BlackRock’s CEO, Larry Fink, notably reversed his stance, endorsing Bitcoin’s long-term prospects and championing the iShares Bitcoin Trust, now one of the largest Bitcoin ETFs with nearly $18 billion in assets.

While skepticism persists about Bitcoin’s status as a real asset or currency, its growing acceptance on Wall Street underscores the evolving landscape of finance. As institutions embrace cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin’s journey from pariah to portfolio asset highlights the transformative power of digital assets in reshaping traditional investment strategies.

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