Malware Costing Just 160 Attempts Crypto Theft from 72000 Devices

Malware Costing Just $160 Attempts Crypto Theft from 72,000 Devices

                               

Researchers believe a malware botnet that costs just $160 has interacted with potentially 2,000 machines per week

in attempts at stealing crypto wallets and personal information. Prevailion, the U.S.-based cybersecurity management provider, posted an article on its blog detailing how MasterMana Botnet has likely been active since December 2018 and was still active as late as September 24. With the potential to hit 2,000 machines a week, the botnet may, therefore have interacted with more than 72,000 devices this year.

Cyber Bingo Full House

Authors Danny Adamitis and Matt Thompson described MasterMana Botnet as an "ongoing cyber-crime campaign that hits all of the cyber bingo buzzwords: business email compromise, backdoors, and cryptocurrency wallets". Once victims opened the phishing email it would reveal an infected document attachment. Opening this document would then release the bot designed to steal usernames, passwords, cookies, web history and cryptocurrency wallets. The authors underlined the irony of such a threat: malware that costs just $100, and launched over a $60 virtual private server (VPS) was sophisticated enough to avoid detection from security systems that are becoming ever-more expensive.

They added:

While most companies fear they may become compromised by advanced actors, this particular report highlights that actors do not have to rely on advanced tools or techniques to have a serious business impact.

Article Produced By
Neil Dennis

Neil is a veteran financial journalist, but a relative newcomer to the land of cryptocurrencies and blockchain and brings a critical, yet fascinated, eye to the digital asset market.

https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2019/10/malware-costing-just-160-attempts-crypto-theft-from-72000-devices/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Hacker Who Grabbed Top-Level Ethereum Domains Voluntarily Returns Them

Hacker Who Grabbed Top-Level Ethereum Domains Voluntarily Returns Them

                                

The hacker who managed to exploit an auction by the Ethereum Naming Service (ENS)

to grab top-level domains has voluntarily returned the domains he took. Since September 1 digital collectibles marketplace OpenSea has been having an Ethereum domain auction, where “.eth” domains are being auctioned to the highest bidder. These domains, unlike those working on the standard DNS domain, can’t be forcibly retrieved once allocated, as they’re on the Ethereum blockchain. Using an exploit in the auction software distributing the ENS domains to participants, the hacker managed to get a hold of top-level domains like “apple.eth”, “defi.eth,” and “wallet.eth” without being the highest bidder. Overall, the user took 17 domains.

OpenSea wrote in a blog post:

One user discovered an input validation vulnerability that allowed them to place bids on a name that actually issued a different name.

The auction suffered from other issues, as domains like “bitmex.eth” and “hodls.eth” had bids incorrectly processed. These weren’t, however, affected by the exploit. The affected domains were initially blacklisted by OpenSea, although the marketplace asked the hacker to return the domains so they can be re-auctioned. In return, it offered the hacker a reward of 25% of the final auction price, as well as the original bid. The offer seems to have worked as on Twitter, OpenSea revealed the domains were voluntarily returned.

Article Produced By
Francisco Memoria

Francisco is a cryptocurrency writer who's in love with technology and focuses on helping people see the value digital currencies have. His work has been published in numerous reputable industry publications. Francisco holds various cryptocurrencies

https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2019/10/hacker-who-grabbed-top-level-ethereum-domains-voluntarily-returns-them/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Crypto-Derivatives Could Become Illegal in the UK Next Year

Crypto-Derivatives Could Become Illegal in the UK Next Year

                             

Various governments around the world aren’t too sure how to tackle Bitcoin.

Numerous aspects of this particular industry need to be treated very differently from one another. Crypto-derivatives are getting some unfavorable attention in the United Kingdom. So much even that these vehicles may be considered illegal in the near future. 

Crypto-Derivatives are Appealing

Although a lot of people would love to speculate on the Bitcoin price, most of those traders have no intention of physically owning cryptocurrency. New solutions need to be found to cater to these people. The introduction of crypto-derivatives offers a remarkably viable solution. It allows traders to “gamble’ on the Bitcoin price movements without buying cryptocurrency directly. 

Service providers have noted there is a genuine demand for these vehicles. The fluctuations of Bitcoin are notorious. It is this price volatility that makes crypto-derivatives a gambling operation, to some extent. That particular aspect has now drawn a lot of criticism from some UK government officials. They want to see this market be deemed illegal once and for all. That could hinder the growth of cryptocurrency in the UK, although nothing has been decided as of yet. 

The Proposal

One has to keep in mind the crypto-derivatives industry is quite vast. It spans options, futures contracts, and other similarly oriented trading vehicles. As Bitcoin is not officially regulated in the UK at this time, it is only normal investors with an appetite for risk explore these options. That being said, these products do not adhere to strict derivatives guidelines present in this region, which creates a fair bit of friction. 

Under the current proposal, the Financial Conduct Authority seeks to introduce a blanket ban on crypto-derivatives sold to retail investors. This would make any Bitcoin-related trading vehicle – except for BTC itself – illegal in the United Kingdom. A bit of an odd choice as regulating this industry should have more beneficial long-term effects for all parties involved. A blanket ban is never the answer in any financial sector. For now, the proposal has yet to be voted upon. A decision is expected to be made public by Q2 2020 at the latest.

Bitcoin in the UK

It is not easy for cryptocurrencies to gain any form of mainstream traction. That situation is no different in the UK, despite it being a more open-minded region regarding such innovative tools. One does have to wonder if a blanket ban on crypto-derivatives would have real effects on the Bitcoin price. After all, appeasing retail investors has never been a high priority among the Bitcoin faithful. 

Article Produced By
JP Buntinx

JP Buntinx is a FinTech and Bitcoin enthusiast living in Belgium. His passion for finance and technology made him one of the world's leading freelance Bitcoin writers.

https://nulltx.com/crypto-derivatives-could-become-illegal-in-the-uk-next-year/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Zimbabwe Bans Mobile Money and Foreign Pricing

Zimbabwe Bans Mobile Money and Foreign Pricing

                                 

Numerous countries find themselves in major financial peril these days.

Zimbabwe is one of the many African countries in dire need of a change. Recent regulations imposed by the central bank continue to limit financial options for both companies and individuals alike. These new guidelines do not bode well for Bitcoin adoption in the country either, as the currency won’t be welcome, by the look of things. 

Zimbabwe Needs Help

To most people, African economies are of little concern. Everyone knows most of these regions are very poor and there is a severe lack of financial stability. Several countries have tried to remedy the situation through various means, but they often fall short. Even Zimbabwe‘s venture of introducing a domestic dollar has not seen great success whatsoever. The situation goes from bad to worse on a monthly basis, resulting in unfavorable regulatory measures.

More specifically, the largest industry of sending money in the country has now been banned. Consumers and corporations can no longer use mobile money in any shape or form. All operators of mobile money services have been shut down effective immediately. No one is allowed to pay out cash at this time, and it seems unlikely that the situation will change later this year. It is a stop-gap measure which will potentially do a lot more harm than good. 

FX Rates and Foreign Pricing

The crackdown on mobile payments is only part of the problem in Zimbabwe today. The reserve bank has also made it illegal for corporations to price goods and services in any foreign currency. While that decision could make sense in a twisted way, it will make the country less appealing to foreign investors. It is a very strange measure which has been in effect for several days now, albeit it is met with a fair bit of criticism.

Regarding the foreign exchange rates in the country, the reserve bank introduced an artificial spread ceiling. More specifically, dealers and bureaux de change can offer an exchange rate for the Zimbabwe dollar which deviates by up to 5%. This is down from the 7% spread which was introduced by the same institution just two weeks ago. This further confirms the Zimbabwe dollar is a failed effort to stabilize this economy under the current circumstances. Effectively making life more difficult for everyone is not a solution either, yet that will be the result of the current measures.

What About Bitcoin?

As the Zimbabwean central bank continues to clamp down on anything that isn’t domestic currency, it seems unlikely that Bitcoin will make any sort of impact in the future. In fact, it seems to be a matter of time until Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are officially banned in this country. Not the development enthusiasts have been looking for, but it is entirely to be expected. 

Article Produced By
JP Buntinx

JP Buntinx is a FinTech and Bitcoin enthusiast living in Belgium. His passion for finance and technology made him one of the world's leading freelance Bitcoin writers.

https://nulltx.com/zimbabwe-bans-mobile-money-and-foreign-pricing/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Quantum Computing Needs More QuBits to Take Down Bitcoin Says Encryption Expert

Quantum Computing Needs More QuBits to Take Down Bitcoin, Says Encryption Expert

                              

Google’s latest quantum computing developments theoretically put Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies at risk,

given the growing prospect of being able to use the technology to crack blockchains that rely heavily on cryptography. While the crypto community reacted to last week’s leaked report claiming Google has achieved a major milestone in quantum computing, analysts say Google is far away from breaking Bitcoin. According to Dragos Ilie, a quantum computing and encryption researcher at Imperial College London, Google would need more quantum bits (qubits) to crack Bitcoin, reports Forbes.

“Google’s supercomputer currently has 53 qubits.

In order to have any effect on bitcoin or most other financial systems, it would take at least about 1500 qubits and the system must allow for the entanglement of all of them.”Spelling out the difficulties of scaling quantum computers, Ilie adds, “Don’t dump your bitcoins yet.”

“As you add more qubits the system becomes more and more unstable … [though] researchers can try different approaches for solving these issues so maybe there are ways to mitigate these problems but right now we are quite far from breaking bitcoin.” Charles Hayter, chief executive of bitcoin and cryptocurrency data website, CryptoCompare, points out that cryptocurrencies are programmable, open to development, upgrades and even change to fight back. Says Hayter, “Cryptocurrencies can be updated with quantum resistant tech. This is just a continuation of the age old arms race between crackers and enciphers.”

Article Produced By
The Daily Hodl Staff

https://dailyhodl.com/2019/10/03/quantum-computing-needs-more-qubits-to-take-down-bitcoin-says-encryption-expert/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

World’s Largest Furniture Retailer Uses Programmable Cash on Ethereum to Settle Invoice

World’s Largest Furniture Retailer Uses Programmable Cash on Ethereum to Settle Invoice

                                

Retail giant IKEA has settled an invoice with a local retailer using an Ethereum-based token.

Supply chain payments platform Tradeshift transferred a digital version of the Icelandic króna that was created on Ethereum by fintech company Monerium. Ethereum, an open source, public blockchain, allows developers to create a number of financial tools to power the digital economy while stripping away middlemen. Through the use of smart contracts, which are executed once agreed upon terms are met on both sides of a deal, trust is established without the need for third-party intermediaries. Smart contracts effectively reduce burdensome paperwork and eliminate redundant verification procedures.

Stefán Árnason, chief financial officer of IKEA Iceland, says the platform, which connects the money and payments flow to the invoicing to the actual inventory, squashing “double dip financing fraud”, will alter business relationships. “A programmable financial supply chain, where trading partners can connect information flows to money flows through smart contracts, will transform how suppliers and customers interact.”

Gert Sylvest, co-founder of Tradeshift, says “smart invoices” allow merchants to represent future cash flow down to each dollar on the invoice. Payments can be programmed to settle on the actual due date, raising the bar on other services such as short-term credit to small and large companies that can be delivered automatically.

The Ethereum-based e-money differs from cryptocurrencies in that it represents fiat currency.

Says Sveinn Valfells, co-founder and CEO of Monerium, “Unlike cryptocurrency which is volatile, e-money is a proven digital alternative to cash, regulated and redeemable on demand. Using programmable e-money in smart contracts heralds a new category of payments.” The e-money movement is in line with IKEA’s efforts to streamline and conserve. The retail giant, founded in 1943, is responding to a changing world and the impact of e-commerce giant Amazon by taking a number of steps to modernize its business practices, reduce emissions and simplify manual procedures.

Article Produced By
The Daily Hodl Staff

https://dailyhodl.com/2019/10/03/worlds-largest-furniture-retailer-uses-programmable-cash-on-ethereum-to-settle-invoice/

 

 

 

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

SimpleFX adds Monero and Ethereum Classic accounts

SimpleFX adds Monero and Ethereum Classic accounts

                              

The award-winning global mobile-friendly trading platform now offers accounts in 22 different currencies

(including seven cryptocurrencies). SimpleFX has just released Monero and Ethereum Classic transfers. Just like other crypto accounts, they are available free of charge. Now SimpleFX traders can deposit and withdraw money using seven different cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, and Monero.

Broker for the new generation of traders

SimpleFX was one of the first CFD brokers that offered cryptocurrency accounts and has been supporting cryptocurrency projects for years.

SimpleFX wrote in a statement,

“Our mission is to make the most of the cryptocurrency and blockchain opportunities. We believe in the community and want to give the users a broad choice of transfer services. This is the cryptocurrency spirit we have always believed in.”

The fast-growing broker with over 200,000 active traders worldwide aims at being the go-to app for the new generation of mobile-first traders. SimpleFX launched a completely new version of the WebTrader application and since then has introduced several groundbreaking features focusing on social trading, financial education and services for their affiliate marketing partners.

Profitable trades for everyone

SimpleFX demo accounts are fully functional and the live accounts can be funded with any amount as there are no minimum deposits. Thanks to easy and secure payments that can be performed in both fiat money and cryptocurrencies, everyone can access and benefit from trading with low spreads. SimpleFX offers an attractive 1:500 leverage, which opens profit opportunities to the less affluent traders. At the same time, easy stop-loss feature and negative balance protection make SimpleFX a secure tool for both experienced and novice traders.

The Best Trading App 2019

SimpleFX WebTrader won the competition for the best trading app during the Finance World Expo Summit 2019 that took place in Switzerland. The experts appreciated SimpleFX WebTrader for:

  • Great usability on mobile devices
  • Remarkable speed and reliability
  • Responding to the user needs with new features
  • The strong and growing community of users.

SimpleFX growth accelerated at the end of 2018 despite the downtrend in cryptocurrency markets thanks to the enthusiastic reception of the SimpleFX WebTrader 2.0 and the partnership with Unilink.io affiliate marketing software.

Article Produced By
The Editorial Staff

https://www.investinblockchain.com/simplefx-adds-monero-and-ethereum-classic-accounts/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Mark Cuban: Bitcoin is at Best a Store of Value amp Has No Inherent Value

Mark Cuban: Bitcoin is at Best a Store of Value & Has No Inherent ValueBitcoin

               Billionaire Mark Cuban has long kept his eye on Bitcoin.

For a while now, the Dallas Mavericks owner has been discussing this market and getting involved, creating quite the buzz on Crypto Twitter at times. So unsurprisingly, when it came time for him to field questions from Twitter through WIRED Magazine’s “Tech Support” Youtube segment, people asked him about his latest thoughts on cryptocurrency.

With No Use Case, Bitcoin is Inherently Worthless: Cuban

When asked about cryptocurrencies during the segment, Cuban responded critically. Boiling it down to a single statement, Cuban argued that cryptocurrencies, “particularly Bitcoin”, is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. Then he elaborated, explaining how much like a baseball card or a piece of artwork, which are nice to look at and collect, Bitcoin does not have much of an underlying purpose.

Thus, its value is in the eye of the beholder. Thus, the business mogul equated Bitcoin to gold, explaining that they can both be defined as collectibles, are not alternative to fiat currencies, and are unlikely to succeed in a recession or if the traditional system crumbles. Cuban went on to underline issues in the cryptocurrency space at large, touching on how for “99% of the population”, using this new asset class is too complicated. “Should I put crypto on my device? Should I print out the key? Should I let someone host the cryptocurrency for me?”, he questioned as he tried to convey the relative difficulty of using an asset like Bitcoin over, say, a dollar. Cuban did, however, take some time to laud blockchain, arguing that there are many use cases for this technology class.

Is Cuban Right?

Cuban’s holistic stance on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is similar to that taken by other leading economists and investors. Legendary value investor Warren Buffett, for instance, has claimed on multiple occasions that he sees not much more value in Bitcoin than he sees in a seashell or suit button. The issue is, Bitcoin, unlike traditional assets, don’t generate cash flow, distribute a fixed yield to holders, create products, and so on and so forth.

Despite the status of the individuals backing this claim, some have argued that the assertion that Bitcoin has no value is false. Parker Lewis, a team member at blockchain financial services company Unchained Capital, recently released an extensive blog post outlining how Bitcoin actually isn’t backed by nothing. Instead, Lewis argues, Bitcoin is backed by “the only thing that backs any form of money: the credibility of its monetary properties.”

Honestly, the post is quite elaborate and can get complicated at times. But the bottom line that Lewis argues is this: Bitcoin, through its decentralized protocol and distributed network of nodes and miners, offers society an arguably better alternative to the traditional fiat, which is rapidly being inflated away as “central banks [realize they need] to expand the monetary base in order to sustain the legacy system.”

Indeed. As outlined in a previous Blockonomi post, Bitcoin is unconfiscatable, decentralized, non-sovereign, immutable, censorship-resistant, global, public, and even more scarce than gold. This, analysts have argued, makes it a prime candidate to succeed in a world where governments and central banks begin to impose unorthodox policies, like negative interest rates and Modern Monetary Theory, to help stave a recession or depression in the fiat system.

Article Produced By
Nick Chong

Since 2013, Nick has shown interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. He has since become involved in the industry as a full-time content creator, working for NewsBTC, Bitcoinist, LongHash, among other outlets. Aside from covering the news, Nick is a Creative at Taiwanese technology company HTC.

https://blockonomi.com/mark-cuban-bitcoin-no-inherent-value/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Ethereum 9: Ethereum amp Mimblewimble Meld Arises to Conceal Token Spends

Ethereum 9¾: Ethereum & Mimblewimble Meld Arises to Conceal Token Spends

If you consider technical innovations to be magical, then there is plenty of magic happening around Ethereum right now.

One of the newest of those innovations? Ethereum 9¾, a proof of concept system that uses powerful privacy techniques to conceal Ethereum token transactions. Named after the magical train platform from the Harry Potter series, Ethereum 9¾ specifically relies on Mimblewimble, zk-SNARKs tech, and more to build out its privacy protections.

Popularized by cryptocurrency projects like Grin and Beam, Mimblewimble itself is a an extremely efficient and private protocol that only lets transaction participants see transaction details. It is also titled from the Harry Potter canon, wherein a spell bearing the same name is used to block the speech of those who are affected by it. Introduced by software engineer Wanseob Lim over the weekend in the Ethereum Research forum, Ethereum 9¾ aims to make it so that ERC20 tokens don’t have to “speak” either and can thus be used anonymously. The system appears to be the first time or among the very first times the technology of Mimblewimble has been used in direct tandem with Ethereum. “Using both concepts of ZCash’s commitment-nullifier scheme and Mimblewimble protocol together on Ethereum, it hides the transaction details and the token flow while guaranteeing no money is printed out of thin air,” Lim said.

Takeaways? More DAOs and More Affordability Coming

Privacy developments around the Ethereum ecosystem have been picking up steam in 2019, and Ethereum 9¾ is among the latest threads to watch in that arena. So what might we expect from the system or other systems inspired by it going forward? In his announcement of the new construction, Lim concluded the tech could lead to new types of DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) and DeFi projects, as it allows token transactions to be aggregated and for the associated relayers to collect fees.

Lim explained:

“As a result, because the relayers can aggregate transactions and gather some fee, it is expected to see appearance of new DAO systems. For example, we can build a system where everyone can participate as relayers and decide their transaction fee or delegate stakes for the optimistic roll-up to receive a share of the fee revenue. De-Fi products can also use this model for their investment sources.”

Moreover, Lim added that even though an Ethereum 9¾ transaction costs more in gas than a transaction that does not require Mimblewimble, these costs should soon be cheaper. And the engineer pointed to more work being done in the future to

bring these costs lower yet:

“Accordingly, the next step should be finding a way of reducing call data size and constraints as possible as we can. However, Ethereum 9¾ is still promising, and the upcoming Istanbul [upgrade to Ethereum] is going to make it more affordable than a bare ERC20 transaction, even it is a private transaction. Therefore, the hope is to see a new daily-use ERC20 wallet that supports private transactions using Ethereum 9¾.”

The Privacy Possibilities Are Widening

Lots of new privacy solutions for Ethereum have materialized this year. One of the firsts back in February was Zether. Months later the banking powerhouse J. P. Morgan and “Big Four” accounting firm EY launched their own Ethereum privacy tools, Anonymous Zether and Nightfall respectively. On the mixers front, solutions like Heiswap and Tornado have been introduced. Somewhat relatedly, some of the decentralized oracle specialists with the Chainlink project as well as other experts published a paper on Mixicles, a tool that uses oracles and smart contracts to make financial instrument transactions private but auditable. So Ethereum 9¾ is just the latest oncomer to arrive, but it likely won’t be the latest for long as more similarly-inspired solutions hit the scene.

Article Produced By
William M. Peaster

William M. Peaster is an expert writer and editor who specializes in the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dai beats in the cryptoeconomy. Has appeared in Blockonomi, Binance Academy, Bitsonline, Bitcoinist, and more. Enjoys tracking smart contracts, DAOs, dApps, and the Lightning Network. Learning Solidity.

https://blockonomi.com/ethereum-mimblewimble-conceal-token-spends/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur