10 Feb 2021

Wallstreetbets’ Denial of Hedge-Funding Hack Could Slow DeFi Boom

Last month’s market anarchy, where two-million-plus (at the time), day-trading individual investors unleashed the peer-to-peer power of social media to crush some of Wall Street’s top hedge funds, may indicate a coming use of existing legislative and regulatory methods to not only mitigate the ability of small investors to disrupt market, but, according to our research, spell increased regulations for the world of decentralized finance (DeFi).

The ‘wallstreetbets’ forums on Reddit and Discord allegedly sparked the madness as mostly young investors pumped share prices in companies hedge funds has shorted (like video game retailer GameStop) over 1,625% last month. Market mania swept online message boards, as GenY and Z traders piled into online brokerages like Robinhood and TD Ameritrade en masse to squeeze institutional short sellers like a vice.

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20 Jan 2021

Is Digital Advertising the ‘Mother of All Money Laundries?’

Online ad fraud cost global brands and media companies $42 billion in 2019. Losses are projected to approach $100 billion worldwide by 2023, according to UK-based consultants Juniper Research. The integrity of the digital advertising industry has never been more in doubt. Just as the U.S. Treasury singled out fraud as the leading predicate crime for money laundering in its 2018 National Money Laundering Risk Assessment, proceeds from ad fraud are also reintegrated and rinsed via non-transparent, $336-billion digital media supply chains.

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15 Dec 2020

Can Hacker SIGINT Help Buy-Side Firms Generate Alpha?

As buy-side firms increasingly consume alternative data to glean the next trading edge, options strategies that accurately predict the cyber-risk of investment targets could unleash a wave of alpha for short sellers, threat-intelligence experts say.

Short sellers, or investors that place bets on the price of an asset declining, trade by purchasing ‘put’ options or borrowing securities to sell ‘calls’ on margin. 

But while over a dozen studies have been conducted to examine the impact of cyber-events on corporate share prices, research into how investors might position themselves to profit from the anticipated disclosure of enterprise breaches is virtually non-existent on the surface web.

“…the data we uncover in very dark corners of the internet can be used as a tactical advantage by hedge funds and others.”

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05 Nov 2020

Cardless ATMs Introduce New Account Takeover Fraud and Money Laundering Risks, FBI Says

A Federal Bureau of Investigation liaison information report exposed in the Blue Leaks hack of sensitive law-enforcement data last July warned the financial services sector about scammers using cardless banking apps to commit account takeover (ATO) fraud and launder money. This also causes new concerns for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) efforts. 

Authored last May, the report was authored by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division and its Office of the Private Sector. The FBI issued the report to “inform the financial services sector about criminals using ‘cardless’ automated teller machine (ATM) access code vulnerabilities to commit fraud and evade financial institution policy restrictions,” according to the document.

Citing three cases, the FBI report explains how cybercriminals have exploited “existing mobile device ID security vulnerabilities” in cardless ATM technology “to conduct account takeover and place illicit proceeds into the U.S. banking system.” 

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16 Oct 2020

Sinaloa Cartel-Linked “Freelancers” Introduce ESG-Friendly Meth recipe to Netherlands, EncroChat Probe Reveals

Sinaloa cartel-linked freelancers have brought their sustainable meth-cooking recipe to the Netherlands according to new evidence uncovered in the EncroChat encrypted crime-network probe. This is especially troubling given other reports of record numbers of meth labs being seized in the Netherlands this year, with more in the region producing far more meth than the local market can consume.

This research dives deeper into these disturbing trends and the “so what?” for international drug cartels and those that seek to thwart them.

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