Number of Data Breaches Increased by 1.8% in 2016

 

Despite the number of data breaches still going up, there are some positive news as well. New research indicates the average cost per data breach is going down, which is a positive development. Unfortunately, this change can mainly be attributed to the US Dollar surging in value, rather than companies getting better at protecting their data. There is still a lot of work to be done, but it is good to see some form of a silver lining at least.

data-breach-myth-1

DATA BREACH COSTS ARE DOWN, ATTACKS ARE UP

Every type of research associated with online security is a mixed bag these days. On the positive side, the average costs of data breaches have decreased by 11.4% in 2016. This is good news for companies suffering from data breaches, even though the average cost still hovers around $3.6m. The bad news is how the number of data breaches increased by 1.8% in the same year.

All of these numbers tell us two different things. First of all, companies are getting worse at keeping sensitive information safe. It was already quite bad in the years prior, but with more attacks taking place, it is evident there is little focus on improving countermeasures. That situation will need to be addressed sooner rather than later. The last thing we need is more successful data breaches, yet companies remain unwilling to do much about it for now.

Second, it goes to show companies continue to underestimate the financial repercussions caused by a data breach. If the US Dollar wouldn’t have been on a strong run last year, the average cost would not have gone down either. Even so, suffering $3.6m in losses for a data breach is still a lot of money. It seems corporations are more than willing to make this financial hit and move on with their business. That is quite a troubling development, as no one should feel even remotely comfortable paying $3.6m for something they could have easily prevented.

Source: Number of Data Breaches Increased by 1.8% in 2016

Which Bitcoin Debit Card Should I Choose?

THE GAME OF BITCOIN DEBIT CARDS

TheMerkle_Bitcoin Debit Card

Anonymity is an appealing factor in the world of Bitcoin debit cards, although it can be much harder to come by than most people assume. Cryptocompare has put together a comprehensive list of which card offers what, and it appears CoinsBank – formerly Bit-x – is the clear market leader with their Anon Card. It is interesting to note this card is available in EUR, USD, and GBP, and will cost 24.90 in the respective currency.  Top-ups will take place instantly, which is an bonus.

Xapo, one of the most well-known companies in the Bitcoin debit card sector, offers Medium anonymity. Their cards are available in the three aforementioned fiat currencies as well and are slightly cheaper with a US$18 price tag. Fees are also slightly lower – based on the CryptoCompare information – and makes for an attractive solution for people looking to spend digital currency more conveniently.

WageCan is a company which recently entered the Bitcoin debit card, and they offer the same level of anonymity as Xapo. However, these cards have no monthly fee, albeit the cost per card is US$30. Moreover, this card can only be obtained denominated in USD, which means international users will have to worry about conversion fees as well.

Source: Which Bitcoin Debit Card Should I Choose?

Brave’s BAT Pre-Sale ICO May Have Comprised the Sale of Unregistered Securities

A discussion pertaining to the legality of ICOs is overdue. With a flood of new projects entering the markets recently, developers are seemingly printing money out of thin air in the form of cryptographic tokens on a weekly basis, which are then passed onto greedy investors seeking to find the next big crypto. With ICOs raising almost half a billion USD in the last 2 years, it is unsurprising to see the SEC taking an interest in the current ICO landscape.

A recent article posted on Medium has sought to argue that Brave’s BAT pre-sale ICO and others like it may comprise the sale of unregistered securities, and are thus illegal.

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Also Read:

SEC may be Looking for Ways to Regulate the Cryptocurrency ICO Market

Legality of Basic Attention Token and Other ICOs Called Into Question

$150 Million: Tim Draper-Backed Bancor Completes Largest-Ever ICO – CoinDesk

An initial coin offering (ICO) for a blockchain project called Bancor has set a new industry record, raising approximately $153m in ether, the native currency on the ethereum blockchain, as part of a crowdsale that concluded today.

Data shows a smart contract connected to the sale had collected more than 390,000 ether by the time it ended at 18:00 UTC, an amount worth $152.3m at current prices. As such, the figure is higher than even the funding raised by The DAO, the notorious failed fundraising project that made headlines last year when it lost the millions of the $152m in investor funds it raised in a similar sale.

Overall, 79,323,978 Bancor network tokens (BNTs) were created as part of the ICO, with the top token holders now possessing 83.96% of the tokens, or 66,601,702 BNT. Fifty percent of the total tokens, or 39,661,989 BNT, were sold to the public, while the remaining 50% were allocated for future use.

The ICO attracted 10,885 buyers, according to available data, with more than 15,000 transactions sent to the address for purchases during the sale. One buyer went so far as to purchase 6.9m BNT, or roughly $27m, in the sale.

Launched in 2017, Bancor, overseen by the Bprotocol Foundation, has been pitched as a platform designed to make it easier for users to launch their own blockchain tokens.

Of the remaining funds, a blog post by the company states token capital will be directed toward partnerships, community grants, public bounties and project advisors.

Issues with the sale

As with past sales of this kind, the ICO was accompanied by reports that the ethereum network faced significant transaction loads, resulting in delays for buyers.

However, the project itself was adversely affected by long wait times on ethereum.

According to the Bancor website, an initial funding target was set at 250,000 ether, though this figure was not hard-coded into the smart contract deployed. As a result, a transaction sent on the ethereum blockchain in an effort to change the contract and limit the crowdsale in length did not work as desired.

Due to network disruption and delays holding up this transaction, the company said the crowdsale ended up continuing longer than initially desired. Overall, it lasted an two additional hours as a result of the delay.

Posts on social media further suggest that at least some users saw transaction issues during the sale. One thread on Reddit drew complaints about transactions being dropped as long as 35 minutes after they were sent to the ICO address.

Some participants who spoke to CoinDesk also said that they had experienced delays in transacting, including one who had issues moving their ethers off an exchange for the purposes of participating in the ICO.

One exchange operator went so far as to argue that the ICO had increased transaction congestion, colorfully remarking that larger ether buyers were disrupting the sale.

Source: $150 Million: Tim Draper-Backed Bancor Completes Largest-Ever ICO – CoinDesk

Rivetz.com offers built-in Hardware Security

rivetz_logo_wordmark_horiz_750Rivetz.com is a company that I have been following very closely for several years now.

Rivetz believes that online services are significantly enhanced when a device can be trusted to be what it says it is and to execute instructions exactly as asked. Building upon a decade of industry investment in trusted computing, Rivetz is offering a platform that delivers on this goal.

A service provider generally has confidence in its servers. They are under administrative control and usually protected physically. However, nearly all services are delivered to users through devices the service provider knows very little about and over which it rarely exerts any control.

Rivetz changes this. Through the use of Trusted Execution technology we are able to provide a service provider with an oasis of trust in the unknown world of consumer devices. Basic capabilities such as “sign this”, or “decrypt this” are executed outside the murky world of the main OS. Keys can be generated and applied without ever being exposed in memory and can be attested to through a chain of endorsements traced back to the device manufacturer.

When you can trust a device not to lie or leak secrets, you can form a much more reliable and simpler relationship with the device. It makes life easier and safer for the user and service provider alike.

What Can I Do with Rivetz?

Rivetz is all about trust in devices. We believe that a reliable relationship with a device can make for a much safer, easier and stronger relationship with an end user.

To achieve this, first and foremost you need to know with confidence that a device is the same device it was before. You also need to be sure that a device won’t leak its secrets when asked to do something sensitive, like a decryption or signing.

Our device code runs in the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) available in many modern devices. The TEE is a hardware environment that runs small applets outside the main OS. This protects sensitive code and data from malware or snooping with purpose-built hardware governed by an ecosystem of endorsements, beginning with the device manufacturer.

Rivetz enrolls a device and equips it with a service provider’s keys. Our API’s enable secure execution of a number of sensitive device-side transactions, including:

  • Get a reliable and anonymous device id – On request, Rivetz will generate a signing key for a device. The public key is hashed into a string that can be used to identify and communicate with a device. The private key remains locked in the hardware and can only be applied on behalf of the SP that requested the ID.
  • Get a device to sign something – The private key of the device identity can be used to sign things proving that this device was involved. The signing ceremony is executed in secure hardware such that the key is never exposed to normal processing environment of the device.
  • Get a device to encrypt something – An encryption key can be generated on request and applied to any blob of data. Encryption/Decryption is triggered locally and takes place within the secure execution environment so as to protect the key.
  • Create a Bitcoin account – The device can be asked to generate a new Bitcoin account using the RNG built into the Trusted Execution Environment.
  • Sign a Bitcoin transaction – The device can apply it’s private Bitcoin account key to sign a transaction and then return it to the service provider
  • Secure Confirmation – (coming soon) Newer TEE environments support trusted display and input in addition to trusted execution. Trusted display enables a simple confirmation message, such as “confirm transaction amount”, to be presented to an end user.
  • Join Devices to share and backup identities – Most users have a couple of devices. Rivetz allows those devices to be bound into a ring so they can interchangeably present themselves to a service provider on behalf of the user.

Rivetz is a toolbox for riveting the online world to the hardware we use to get online. By providing this basic set of features we hope services across the web from wallets to content apps can provide a simpler and safer experience.

How does it work?

A Service Provider calls Rivetz to create hardware keys in a device. Different types of keys are available depending on the purpose, such as for crypto-coins or data encryption.

Riveted keys are governed by simple usage rules established during creation. For example, a key may require that usage requests are signed by the Service Provider that created the key, or that the user confirms access through the Trusted User Interface.

A Rivet will only respond to an instruction from a Service Provider that has been “paired” with the device. Rivetz.net conducts the pairing ceremony as it is able to confirm the integrity and identity of both device and service provider. When a device is paired it acquires the public key of the service provider, while the service provider gets a uniquely generated identity and public key for the device.

While Rivetz supports local calls, ideally all instructions are signed by the Service Provider. This protects a device key from being applied by a rogue application. The _Rivetz Library is used by all components to prepare and sign device instructions and interpret instruction results.

Trusted Execution Environment

There is a class of apps that benefit greatly from strong assurance of their origin and opaque separation from the execution of other apps. This is known as a Trusted Execution Environment or TEE.

Unlike an app running on the primary OS and memory stack, an app running in a TEE has access to cryptographic primitives that can be exercised without snooping by the OS. On certain platforms, it also has direct access to user input and display to ensure a private interaction with the operator of the device.

While the technology has been pursued for well over a decade, it is only recently that devices with support for a TEE have become available. Intel began delivery of commercial solutions in 2011 and Trustonic, an ARM joint venture, launched in 2013.

Deploying an applet into a TEE is akin to delivering a dedicated hardware device. Execution and data are cryptographically isolated from any other function of the host.

Rivetz and the TEE

While most applications of Trusted Execution technology have been concerned with enterprise security or DRM, Rivetz instead provides an applet that is focused on the needs of common web services. Crypto currencies such as Bitcoin have highlighted the need for consumer key security.

As Bitcoin’s Price Rises Security Shouldn’t Be Taken for Granted – Bitcoin News

bitcoinsecurityRecently there have been numerous reports of people losing their bitcoins to hackers and malware as bitcoin’s price continues to grow in value. It is safe to assume that organizations and individuals trying to steal people’s bitcoin reserves will persistently increase because the decentralized cryptocurrency becomes more valuable to thieves.

Also read: Rising Network Fees Are Causing Changes Within the Bitcoin Economy

‘Faster and More Lucrative Than Robbing a Suburban Bank’

As Bitcoin's Price Rises Security Shouldn't Be Taken for GrantedAt the time of writing one bitcoin is worth roughly $2900 as it has become a treasured digital asset. While bitcoin’s value has increased the number of people losing money to malware attacks and hackers cracking bitcoin accounts usually follows the price rise in unison. Just recently Cody Brown, founder of the virtual reality community Roomscale.org, lost $8000 worth of bitcoin held on Coinbase.

Brown’s attack vector was through Verizon where the hacker easily took over his cell phone number with a some “simple billing information.” After his phone was compromised the attacker swiped his Coinbase funds in less than fifteen minutes. Brown does detail that he did not use two-factor authentication with his email account, but feels that it shouldn’t be so easy to access Verizon information. He also believes that he may have been targeted after tweeting about bitcoin a week prior.

Source: As Bitcoin’s Price Rises Security Shouldn’t Be Taken for Granted – Bitcoin News

How Ethereum became the platform of choice for ICO’d digital assets

For most of the history of blockchain-based currencies and assets, the story has been all about Bitcoin. At a market capitalization of around $40 billion, it remains the most valuable cryptocurrency.

But with the rise of a new ‘chain on the — ahem — block, namely Ethereum, and new ways to fund the development of new crypto-platforms with ICOs, the narrative is shifting somewhat to the entire cryptographic asset class.

Today, let’s take a more in-depth look at some of the historical trends in the digital currency space, paying close attention to Ethereum and its role as the platform of choice for new cryptographic assets.

The number of new digital assets is on the rise

In roughly the past 12 months, the number of cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap.com, a main reference site for digital asset developers and speculators alike, has increased significantly.

Below is a chart compiled from the count of cryptocurrencies listed on historic snapshots of the site’s main table starting with the first snapshot on April 28, 2013 (featuring a whopping seven cryptocurrencies) and the most recent snapshot from June 4, 2017.

Source: How Ethereum became the platform of choice for ICO’d digital assets

Blockchain, Crypto ICO Funding Gains Popularity Amongst Investors

Initial Coin Offering (ICO) funding, a means of raising funds from the crowd for a new cryptocurrency or blockchain venture, grew quickly throughout 2016 and Q1’17, while traditional venture funding to blockchain companies fell progressively over the same period.

28% of total early-stage blockchain funding came from ICOs over the past four quarters, a figure that’s continuing to grow, according to CB Insights. In Q1’17, 37% of all blockchain funding came through ICOs.

ICO activity significantly picked up in 2016 with US$78 million being raised by cryptocurrency and blockchain startups that year (excluding Q2’16’s US$150 million failed ICO by The DAO). Notable ICOs in 2016 include ICONOMI (US$10 million), SingularDTV (US$7.5 million) and Waves (US$15.5 million).

ICOs VC Funding 2016 2017

Source: Blockchain, Crypto ICO Funding Gains Popularity Amongst Investors

Faith in Bitcoin Remains Despite Block Size Debacle – Bitcoin News

Among the hullabaloo and escalating fear about a potential hard fork, the price of bitcoin swelled to $1212 on April 10, according to Bitcoin.com’s price index. People still have faith in digital gold. 

Also read: Mexico’s New Bill Could Be a Game Changer for Bitcoin

Nonetheless, this seems like an unprecedented rise in price. The community is still immersed in the tumultuous challenge of finding a solution to the block size dilemma. Some would think the resultant FUD would have caused investors to dump their holdings, inspiring a downward trend in price.

Faith in Bitcoin Remains Despite Block Size Debacle
The price of Bitcoin, a week ago.

The reverse is true, though: there has been healthy bitcoin trading on the market at the onset of April. A Crypto-Time article pointed out that the growth of Bitcoin this month coincided with marked “profits” in the Bitcoin space, which garnered attention of more speculators and investors.

This would make sense from a nontechnical perspective. Some investors may not understand all intricacies of Bitcoin. They might take risks without having full mechanical acumen of the cryptocurrency.

Everyone still trading, still hoarding; Bitcoin ATM’s

With that said, market actors with knowledge of Bitcoin are still trading, keeping, or hoarding the currency. If they would have thrown in the towel, the price would have started a downward spiral. This means that people still have faith the block size problem can be resolved without incident.

In addition, the price hike also comes on the heels of the downward trend spurred by SEC refusal to list a bitcoin exchange-traded fund, meaning that market actors aren’t concerned about political action either.

There is also other good news in the Bitcoin space. Even though the scaling debacle has caused some people to shake in their boots, there is more evidence that faith remains in Bitcoin.

On March 2, Razor-Forex.com penned an article that suggested Bitcoin ATM installations are still on the rise, and that coinatmradar.com reported that 53 new ATM machines were installed in a variety of different countries in March. However, Razor-Forex added:

Source: Faith in Bitcoin Remains Despite Block Size Debacle – Bitcoin News

Markets Update: Bulls Test the Psychological $1200 Price Range – Bitcoin News

This week in bitcoin-land has been pretty dramatic and entertaining, to say the least. As far as price is concerned bitcoin has had an incredible week escalating into new price territories. At press time the current price per BTC is $1188 taking a slight dip after yesterday’s $1202 high across global exchanges. Currently, there is heavy resistance in the psychological $1200 range as there are quite a bit of sell walls throughout exchange order books looking at depth charts. There has been plenty of plays for day traders looking for breaks and scalps if positions were played right.

Markets Update: Bulls Test the Psychological $1200 Price RangeTechnical indicators show bitcoin’s price is still a buyer’s market with the price still ascending upwards early morning on April 7. The 100 Simple Moving Average (SMA) shows the same patterns as the past two weeks trending higher than the 200 SMA trendlines. Future markets and throughout various trading forums show many traders are still betting “long” as opposed to trying to short the market. However, others believe technical indicators show the price may be in overbought territory. At the present time, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) indicates sellers may consolidate in the near future, but there seems to be a significant floor around the $1150 mark.

Markets Update: Bulls Test the Psychological $1200 Price Range
Trading View trader “Zippy1day’ BTC weekend outlook is “long.”

Cryptocurrency Markets Weekly View

Markets Update: Bulls Test the Psychological $1200 Price RangeOverall cryptocurrency market capitalizations have now reached $27.3 billion with 860 million in daily trade volume. Bitcoin’s market share dominance is close to 70 percent at the time of writing among the 693 cryptocurrency capitalizations. Currently, throughout the top ten forerunning digital assets most altcoins on the list have dipped in price. Ethereum’s price has dropped to a low of $43 per ether and captures close to a $4 billion market cap. Ripple’s (XRP) price had an exciting ride this past week reaching an all time high of 6 cents per XRP. However, the same day Ripple’s price also took a 50 percent cut and now sits at 3 cents a token.

The number four highest valued altcoin Dash has seen better days. Currently, the price per Dash has hit a low of $66 per token as many traders seem to be shorting the market. Litecoin’s (LTC) market value has had a stellar week reaching a high of 11.50 per LTC, but the price has since dipped to $9. Just as we said last week, the price rise seems to be attributed to Segwit activation as the digital currency’s network seems close to implementing the protocol.

The rest of the top ten cryptocurrencies Monero, Ethereum Classic, NEM, Augur, and Maidsafe coin are experiencing dips between 7 to 3 percent. Altcoins such as Golem, Zcash, and Tether have been steadily trying to enter the top ten race.

Source: Markets Update: Bulls Test the Psychological $1200 Price Range – Bitcoin News