The Justice Department said yesterday it had tracked down and seized most of the ransom a major US pipeline operator paid to a Russian hacking collective last month. The ransomware attack shut down the Colonial Pipeline for about a week, causing fuel shortages and price spikes, until the company paid the hacker over $4 million worth of Bitcoin. But federal officials say that a new FBI task force has recaptured most of the Bitcoins, in essence, by attacking hackers.
Bitcoin transactions are anonymous but not untraceable. The hackers moved the ransom through dozens of anonymous accounts, which can be tracked on the blockchain, the public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. Eventually, the money went to an account that a federal judge allowed the FBI to break into. According to court documents, the organizations involved obtained the account’s “private key,” a key password that gives the owner complete control over the funds inside.
Tom Robinson of blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, who has been tracking ransom payments, wrote in a blog post that the account taken over by the alliances appears to hold 85% of the ransom. about DarkSide’s client, the Russian “ransomware as a service” hacking group whose software was behind the attack. The remaining 15% is transferred through accounts presumably controlled by the DarkSide developers.
In a way, this could be good for cryptocurrencies. A major criticism of cryptocurrency is that its anonymity and ease of use make it well-suited to criminals, like ransomware attacks that, by some measures, strike every 8 minutes. The Justice Department did not disclose how it seized most of the colonial ransom, but its success suggests that it is able to incorporate blockchain and cracking into at least some accounts. That’s good for the traceability of cryptocurrencies used for crime – but also goes against the decentralized, privacy-focused, anti-establishment benefits that some see as assets. largest of cryptocurrencies.
Federal officials encourage companies to work with the FBI when hacked, as Colonial did, to help recover ransom payments, believed to run into the billions of dollars (and are legitimate and even tax deductible).
Today’s episode of “The Daily” podcast about recent ransomware attacks. In other crypto news, El Salvador president wants to legally bid for Bitcoin in the country and software company MicroStrategy is borrow 400 million dollars to buy more Bitcoins for its balance sheet.
THIS IS WHAT’S HAPPENING
Dive into the tax avoidance strategies of billionaires. ProPublica collected detailed IRS data on the tax returns of thousands of wealthy Americans — including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg — and how they minimized their tax bills. For example, Jeff Bezos paid no income tax in 2007 through an investment and deduction.
Regulators can block stock trading plans by company insiders. The chairman of the SEC, Gary Gensler, said the commission would amend the rules governing 10b5-1 agreements, in which executives schedule future stock sales. These plans are often used to protect against insider trading fees but do not necessarily prevent executives from trading on confidential information.
G7 officials work to ensure that their new tax pact includes Amazon. To counter worries that Amazon could evade the limits of the deal taxing profits above a 10% margin – a level the tech giants usually don’t meet – negotiators are likely to pursue deals. company’s sole proprietorship. Meanwhile, analysts at Goldman Sachs think the other pillar of the deal, the global minimum tax, will have a “small overall impact” on earnings for S&P 500 companies.
After all, the London Metal Exchange will reopen. Traders will return to the outcry exchange, known as the “Ring” in September, after its plans to shut it down permanently sparked a backlash. Instead, the exchange will use a combination of humans and electronic transactions to establish the opening and closing prices of each day.
A major Chinese port is the latest bottleneck to global trade. The partial closure of Yantian international container terminals in Shenzhen, amid an outbreak of the Covid-19 disease among shipbuilders, is straining already congested supply chains. Vessels have been in port for as long as five days.
The Big Money Behind a Controversial Alzheimer’s Drug
Yesterday, the FDA approved the first new drug in nearly two decades for Alzheimer’s disease, a drug from Biogen called aducanumab. That prompted a heated debate about whether the move was wise — and whether the billions of dollars in proceeds from the decision were warranted.
A new medical blockbuster? Approval of the drug will almost certainly lead to billions of dollars in profits for Biogen — the company plans to charge an average of $56,000 a year per patient, and its stock has jumped 38% by the end of the year. yesterday – and hundreds of clinics will administer this drug. More than six million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and would be eligible for treatment.
That could lead to higher premiums and increased costs for some people who already pay a lot to care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. Dr Joseph Ross, a pharmaceutical policy expert at Yale, told The Times: “This is really what keeps me up at night: A therapy this expensive would have huge implications for all of us. everybody.
However, it remains unclear whether the drug actually works. Aducanumab is the first drug to attack the biological underpinnings of Alzheimer’s disease rather than just treating its symptoms. But critics of the FDA’s decision say it’s unclear whether the treatment will actually help patients, while also bringing about potentially serious side effects. Bloomberg Opinion’s Max Nisen writes: “Science has stepped back.
Today in business
“There will be a clear change in the office career. It certainly won’t be the same again. This bodes well for us. “
– Mark Dixon, chief executive officer of IWG, a serviced office company, on a call with analysts. The company has noted “unprecedented demand” for flexible office space as businesses adopt hybrid work plans, but IWG has kept its call to provide a profit warning: The rebound in partnership interests didn’t translate into sales as quickly as expected, so the company’s 2021 earnings could end up “much lower” than the previous year.
Apple doubles privacy
Apple’s push for more privacy across its devices has led some to be seen as surface-level, in part because it has put Chinese customers’ data at risk by supporting efforts government censorship there. But new privacy features announced at Apple’s annual developer conference yesterday suggest it plans to use privacy as a key selling point for its products. These include:
A report that tells people what data apps are collecting about them, such as information gathered from photo albums, contacts, or microphones. Google announced a similar feature for Android devices last month.
A feature in the Mail app will block marketers’ ability to track whether a person opens an email.
A service that hides users’ internet traffic from internet providers, similar to a virtual private network or VPN (This feature won’t be available in China, Apple said, for legal reasons.)
Not everyone likes Apple’s privacy policies. In response to a feature the company released in April that lets people decide if they want to be tracked, Facebook, which relies on targeted ads, launched a campaign implies that such a feature would affect small businesses’ ability to find customers. .
Apple also announced features that are not directly related to privacy. It is working to move government identification cards such as driver’s licenses into its devices and replace physical keys with digital keys. It will also extend FaceTime to web browsers, meaning people without Apple devices will be able to join FaceTime chats.
The company board is still predominantly white and male
The latest news on boardroom diversity is hardly new: Despite public pressure to increase the representation of women and people of color in the ranks of directors, progress among Fortune 500 companies are still sluggish. According to a new report by the Alliance for Board Diversity and Deloitte, at the current rate of change, it will take decades to decorate the boardrooms of large companies to match the demographics of the US population.
The big picture isn’t pretty, but there are a few bright spots, Report Newsletter Print Her Words. Another study looking at more recent data shows an increase in newly appointed Black executives at S&P 500 companies over the past year. And California’s 2018 law requiring companies to add at least one woman to their boards has proven effective.
An extensive inside look at how Credit Suisse lost billions of dollars on Archegos. (WSJ)
Apparently, the airport security company, having filed a public application, is betting on a resurgence of the air travel industry. (CNBC)
Blackstone has agreed to buy data center operator QTS Realty Trust for $10 billion, days after entering a $30 billion clubbing deal for Medline. (Reuters)
Politics and policy
Some governors have moved to end enhanced unemployment benefits, saying the payments prevent people from finding work, having personal relationships with businesses that benefit from the change. (WaPo)
Federal prosecutors say they have subpoenaed documents related to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent memoir in New York as they investigate his handling of the Covid-19 death in a nursing home. old man. (WSJ)
“Offshore wind farm shows what Biden’s climate plan is up to” (NYT)
Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart is reportedly in talks to raise at least $3 billion from investors like SoftBank and sovereign wealth funds. (Bloomberg)
A longtime Tesla veteran who recently oversaw the company’s heavy-duty trucking efforts has suddenly passed away. (WSJ)
The $22.5 million sale of a penthouse in Miami Beach is the largest property transaction made in crypto. (Insiders)
The best rest
“The Real Value of Middle Managers” (HBR)
Levi’s CEO says that a quarter of customers are wearing a new size of pants since the pandemic. (AP)
The Yale star dispute Attorney Amy Chua is more complicated than it first appears. (NYT)
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