17.01.2021

German Police Seize Second Crypto-Fueled Cyberbunker

Police also raided locations in Netherlands, Poland and Luxembourg in connection with the bunker’s activities. The bunker held multiple dark web markets including the financial scam site “Wall Street Market,” drug portal “Cannabis Road” and “Orange Chemicals,” a market for synthesized drugs.

German police have raided and shut down Cyberbunker 2.0, a decommissioned NATO bunker that housed dark web market servers and child porn. The bunker, hidden in the Mosel River town of Traben-Trarbach, held multiple stories of servers as well as “$41 million worth of funds allegedly tied to these markets,” according to security researcher Brian Krebs.

“Incredibly, for at least two of the men accused in the scheme, this was their second bunker-based hosting business that was raided by cops and shut down for courting and supporting illegal activity online,” said Krebs.

Police believe the bunker belonged to Herman Johan Xennt and Sven Kamphuis, two hackers who originally ran a similar bunker in the Netherlands. After a fire caused by an explosion in an ecstasy lab, they had to shut down their original bunker and lost their ability to run their servers in the Netherlands. They moved into the new Cyberbunker in 2013.

“They’re known for hosting scammers, fraudsters, pedophiles, phishers, everyone,” said Guido Blaauw, director of Disaster-Proof Solutions, the company that sold the original bunker to the pair. “That’s something they’ve done for ages and they’re known for it.”

The whole operation was deeply secretive and connected to organized crime. Xennt himself was quite a character. The Irish Sunday World tracked him down in 2015 saying:

Xennt, who looks like a Bond villain, lives in the bunker. He is pasty, white-skinned and sports long blonde hair. He rarely shows his face in public, but when he does, it is to meet with his close friend [an organized crime figure] who has moved to an apartment in the town below.

German Startup Pitches Decentralized ID for Prescription Pickup During COVID-19

Berlin-based blockchain startup Spherity has developed a decentralized identity prototype that would help people get the medicines they need while maintaining proper social distance.

“We see a big opportunity when it comes to social distancing to get decentralized ID out the door,” said Spherity CEO Carsten Stocker. “Humans interact with smartphones, but governments and doctors’ offices interact with legacy infrastructure – so that means we need to bridge the gap.”

The “E-Rezept” prototype relies on self-sovereign identity (SSI), a way of managing the various attributes that comprise digital identity in a decentralized manner. Moving things away from password-based centralized architectures allows the real owners of sensitive personal data to control and share it without compromising their privacy.

Germany passed legislation last summer to help digitize pharmacies. Like many complex engineering transformations that would normally take months or years to complete, the coronavirus pandemic is kick-starting solutions for the coming weeks.

Spherity was one of some 40,000 participants that applied to take part in the WirVsVirus virtual hackathon organized by the German government. That number was whittled down to 2,000 actual participants, but the coronavirus-focused event still counts as “the biggest hackathon in Germany’s history,” according to German Chancellery Minister Helge Braun.

Stocker said the E-Rezept project was inspired by his mother, who didn’t want to go to an overcrowded doctor’s office just to renew a pharmaceutical prescription. A lack of faith in remote identity verification is the reason patients are required to renew prescriptions in person, he said.

The Spherity prototype requires patients to carry their digital fingerprints in wallets that can be accessed by doctors. Once these know-your-customer (KYC) credentials are matched with their records, an electronic prescription can be issued.

“We are using smartphone wallets, cloud agent infrastructure, in combination with the Ethereum blockchain. But it could also be combined with other SSI solutions such as Hyperledger Indy,” said Stocker.

The next digital step would be connecting the patient’s wallet to an online pharmacy. Given the risks of contagion and the need to reduce traffic on critical infrastructure, urgent social distancing is the spur to push forward e-medicine, Stöcker said.

“There is an opportunity to do a quick fix using existing decentralized identity technology,” he said.

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