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A top Russian-language underground forum has been running a “contest” for the past month, calling on its community to submit “unorthodox” ways to conduct cryptocurrency attacks.

The forum’s administrator, in an announcement made on April 20, 2021, invited members to submit papers that assess the possibility of targeting cryptocurrency-related technology, including the theft of private keys and wallets, in addition to covering unusual cryptocurrency mining software, smart contracts, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The contest, which is likely to continue till September 1, will see a total prize money of $115,000 awarded to the best research.

“So far, the top candidates (according to forum member voting) include topics like generating a fake blockchain front-end website that captures sensitive information such as private keys and balances, creating a new cryptocurrency blockchain from scratch, increasing the hash rate speed of mining farms and botnets, and demonstrating a custom tool that parses logs for cryptocurrency artifacts from victim machines,” said Michael DeBolt, Intel 471’s Senior Vice President of Global Intelligence, in an email interview with The Hacker News.

Other entries looked at manipulating APIs from popular cryptocurrency-related services or decentralized-file technology to obtain private keys to cryptocurrency wallets as well as creating a phishing website that allowed criminals to harvest keys to cryptocurrency wallets and their seed phrases.

images from Hacker News