Lots of Data in Cambridge University’s First ‘Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study’ – Bitcoin News

Selwyn_College_Old_Court_Panorama_from_North-West_cornerSponsored by Visa, the research is conducted by Cambridge University Judge Business School’s Centre for Alternative Finance. Even though there are over 300 academic articles published on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies over the past few years, the report claims that they “tend to take a narrow focus.” This study is the center’s “inaugural research focused on alternative payment systems and digital assets,” the report reads. “It is the first study of its kind to holistically examine the burgeoning global cryptocurrency industry and its key constituents, which include exchanges, wallets, payments and mining.”

The research is based on non-public data from 114 cryptocurrency organizations and individual miners in 38 countries globally. Four surveys were conducted online, from September 2016 to January 2017. Report authors, Dr. Garrick Hileman and Michael Rauchs, wrote:

We estimate that our benchmarking study captured more than 75% of the four cryptocurrency industry sectors covered in this report.

Below are just some highlights of the report’s findings.

Source: Lots of Data in Cambridge University’s First ‘Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study’ – Bitcoin News

The Digital Currency Council

The DCC is here to support the development of best-in-class professional practices in the digital currency economy through training, certification, as well as connectivity with peers and prospective clients. Our members are leading professionals from a variety of fields, including Finance, Attorneys, and Accountants. At the DCC we are committed to providing independent, objective, clear, practical, efficient and impactful education on the rapidly emerging digital currency economy, including Bitcoin and the Blockchain. Trainings are designed to help professionals meet and exceed the high standards set by the DCC Certification Exam, as well as to advance the knowledge that will drive the students’ careers. The DCC Certification is administered by the DCC Director of Curriculum in consultation with the DCC Curriculum Committee and with the input of experts across the globe. To become DCC Certfied, candidates must pass a rigorous 100-question exam. Exams are reviewed and results provided within one month of each examination. To maintain certification, individuals must participate in pre-approved continuing education programs to demonstrate their commitment to maintaining a high standard of competency in the continuously evolving digital currency economy.

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Invisible Internet – Bitcoin News

If you are into cryptocurrency and are tech savvy, you probably have heard of the Deep Web by now. Most people don’t know that through traditional search engines like Google or Yahoo they only see so much of the worldwide web. Basically, these common applications are similar to traveling with tunnel vision and being able to view only what the browser allows. The Deep Web or the ‘Invisible Web‘ as it’s called is not indexed by these particular browsers and needs to be seen through alternative methods.   

Also read: Open Letters to Ross Ulbricht: Reflections 

“UNLESS THIS CLEAR DISTINCTION BETWEEN VICES AND CRIMES BE MADE AND RECOGNIZED BY THE LAWS, THERE CAN BE ON EARTH NO SUCH THING AS INDIVIDUAL RIGHT, LIBERTY, OR PROPERTY” — LYSANDER SPOONER, VICES ARE NOT CRIMES, 1875

Illegal items are not the only thing to see within these websites. As droves of bloggers, artists, gamers, developers, and basically anyone can occupy the space. If one was to choose to visit the Dark Net Markets (DNMs) they can with ease. With a little technical background with computers, that’s especially focused energy on privacy, and encryption a user can travel through the shadow economy. There is much to explore on the Deep Web, and there are thousands of others you may meet on the way. The building of this section of the Internet is growing at exponential rates and those that help its growth are showing a new way of doing things.

Items You’ll Need For The Trip

the-deep-webThis day in age with the ever looming surveillance state it’s a good idea to stay private. Surfing the Deep Web is not illegal however its roads can lead to various Dark Net Markets throughout your travels. There are many steps you can take to ensure your identity remains safe and you must decide the degree of security you are comfortable with. You can visit these spaces with many scaled variations of pseudo-anonymous tactics to keep yourself protected. Using methods that anonymize your identity, IP address, and proxies are probably the best way to protect yourself from snooping agents meddling in your private affairs.

VPNIf you are thinking about using the Deep Web for any kind of e-commerce transaction then you probably should purchase some Bitcoins. Cryptocurrencies are used by close to 90% of the users on the hidden net for pseudo-anonymous privacy and settlement speed. Now nothing is 100% anonymous in the world of online computing, but there are some applications that make it pretty damn close. One application that will guide you through this operation almost worry free is the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN). This service enables users to surf the public web within a private network. The system creates a point to point connection within a set of dedicated nodes that tunnel protocol and also use traffic encryption methods. VPNs are a great way to ensure privacy not just on the Deep Web but also across public venues such as messaging services and others.

The use of VPNs is not a necessary tool for you to use while surfing this region of the Internet. What you do need is a browser that can index .Onion websites and other addresses that reside on the hidden network. The Tor browser is the most recommended engine that can examine this space. I2Peer, Freenet, and other protocols act as full browsers that work in a similar fashion. Using an application like this is a must when trying to access these websites as popular services will not provide this experience. When using a VPN crossed with Tor the level of anonymity is higher and one can feel safer surfing the hidden net or even make a purchase on the DNM’s using Bitcoin. Searching for an IP address or a vulnerability is far more difficult because using a VPN secures your connection. It puts a level of protection on all data sent and received while surfing and keeps these messages encrypted and out of sight. A private network is a boost in security for places online you don’t usually travel so why not protect yourself?

 

Source: The Hitchhikers Guide To The Invisible Internet – Bitcoin News

Ripple Streamlines International Banking Transfers.

I’ve been getting an increased amount of clients wishing to pay for my services in Bitcoin which I do accept however converting the Bitcoin into USD’s then transferring the funds from my Bitcoin exchange to my US checking accounts has been a major, and I mean major pain in the ass. I’ve been accused of money laundering, had funds frozen and what should be 1 day bank wires taking weeks to process. Not my client’s problem since I agreed to accept Bitcoin. None of my subcontractors that I use to complete the work for the clients will accept them so I’m stuck in the middle with all this Bitcoin I can’t touch. Well I found this company today which, if true to their promise, will mak my life much easier.

More information here

From malware to cyber-spies, the 15 biggest threats online, ranked | ZDNet

Europe’s computer security agency has set out a list of the top threats in the online world, warning that hacking for profit is one of the biggest trends.

The hackers that never went away: Brace for more state-backed attacks, leaks and copycats this year

The hackers that never went away: Brace for more state-backed attacks, leaks and copycats this year

Attacks on the US presidential election might just be the beginning; expect more hacking and leaking this year across the globe.

“Undoubtedly, optimization of cyber-crime turnover was THE trend observed in 2016. And, as with many of the negative aspects in cyber-space, this trend is here to stay. The development and optimization of badware towards profit will remain the main parameter for attack methods, tools and tactics,” warned the report from the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA).

It said criminals had been using unsecured Internet of Things (IoT) devices to launch giant distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and have launched extortion attacks against commercial organisations that have “achieved very high levels of ransom and high rates of paying victims”, and demonstrated the ability to affect the outcome of democratic processes like the US presidential elections.

Executive director of ENISA Udo Helmbrecht said: “As we speak, the cyber-threat landscape is receiving significant high-level attention: it is on the agenda of politicians in the biggest industrial countries. This is a direct consequence of ‘cyber’ becoming mainstream, in affecting people’s opinions and influencing the political environment of modern societies.”

Malware tops ENISA’s lists, with over 600 million samples identified per quarter, and mobile malware, ransomware, and information stealers the main areas of criminal malware innovation.

“Equally impressive was the fact that state-sponsored threat actors have launched malware that has had high efficiency by exploiting quite a few zero-day vulnerabilities,” the report said.

It noted that the average lifespan of malware hashes — the unique identification of a malware variant used by malware detection tools — has shrunk so much that a specific malware variant might exist for just one hour.

Source: From malware to cyber-spies, the 15 biggest threats online, ranked | ZDNet

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TV Manufacturer Vizio Spies On Customers Using Advanced Big Data Analytics

US TV manufacturer Vizio’s underhanded Big Data dealing may have just cost it $2.2 million but I think it is something we can unfortunately expect to see a lot more of.

The FTC this week announced that viewing data of individual households was monitored through a built-in spy device which used image recognition technology. Once every second, software in the Vizio TVs would read pixel data from a segment of the screen. This was sent home and compared against a database of film, television and advertising content to determine what was being watched.

The FTC has revealed that Vizio went further than this – matching data on what was being watched with IP addresses, and selling it, along with third party demographic data, to businesses and organizations with a need for audience measurement.

This week we heard that Vizio paid $2.2 million to settle the FTC complaint, agreed to stop collecting viewing data in this way, and to delete the data it had already collected from its servers. That might seem like a comparatively low figure, but this may be, as Vizio point out in their statement, because personally identifiable information wasn’t transmitted.

Source: Shocking: Smart TV Manufacturer Vizio Spies On Customers Using Advanced Big Data Analytics

In the Next Cyber Wars, Bitcoin Blockchain Is a More Reliable Defense Than Central Systems

Cybersecurity has become one of the largest security threats to the United States, European Union, Russia, China and pretty much any other nation. Properly executed large-scale cyber attacks can simultaneously disrupt communication, ground military jets, or attack civil infrastructures such as hospitals, power plants and major cities’ communication.

Adeolu Fadele, President and Founder Cryptography Development Initiative of Nigeria (CDIN), says:

“It is now generally believed that the next wars will be fought online, that is why nation-state attacks are now common. For a nation to become or retain world power status in the digital age of today, such nations have to possess exceptional sophistication in cyber defense and attack.”

Perimeter security is unreliable

Existing cybersecurity systems have been vulnerable. In October 2016, A massive Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack took several high-profile websites such as Twitter, Amazon, the New York Times, offline. This attack didn’t target any of these companies directly, but rather Dyn, the company that provides DNS services for each of those sites.

Fadele tells Cointelegraph that the inherent vulnerabilities in our present day systems are the major reason why perimeter defense has become a standard practice. Now that the traditional perimeter fences can no longer hold the fire posed by the Advance Persistent Threat (APT) type of attacks, the need for an attack resistant distributed ledger technology like Bitcoin Blockchain has become inevitable.

Better chances to survive

According to Grant Blaisdell of Coinfirm Blockchain Lab, Blockchain technologies could greatly decrease potential damage due to the simple fact that attackers would have to attack an entire mesh of systems instead of a central point. Moreover, there is a big chance that even if attacked the majority of infrastructure will be unaffected.

“When it comes to IT “perimeter security” is not the best strategy as it leaves targets vulnerable and isolated during cyber attacks. A distributed network with Blockchain-based decisions within it provide better communication and ability to counteract threats,” says Blaisdell.

Governments afraid of losing control

Considering why governments may be reluctant towards embracing the disruptive technology, Blaisdell says that such could be due to the irrational fear of losing control. For decades (or even centuries) all governments and public administrations centralize decision-making and crucial infrastructures but such a strategy is being proven inefficient and insecure with thousands of incidents like email leaks or data thefts. A Blockchain-based unified system for administration, security and even the military would drastically decrease the risk of attack and potential damage.

Source: In the Next Cyber Wars, Bitcoin Blockchain Is a More Reliable Defense Than Central Systems

Experts predict 2017’s biggest cybersecurity threats – TechRepublic

If 2016 was the year hacking went mainstream, 2017 will be the year hackers innovate, said Adam Meyer, chief security strategist at SurfWatch Labs. Meyer analyzes large and diverse piles of data to help companies identify emerging cyber-threat trends. “2017 will be the year of increasingly creative [hacks],” he said. In the past, cybersecurity was considered the realm of IT departments, Meyer explained, but no longer. As smart companies systematically integrate security into their systems, the culture hackers too will evolve.

“Cybercriminals follow the money trail,” Meyer said, and smart companies should adopt proactive policies. Ransomware attacks grew quickly, he said, because the attacks are “cheap to operate, and many organizations are not yet applying the proper analysis and decision-making to appropriately defend against this threat.”

Source: Experts predict 2017’s biggest cybersecurity threats – TechRepublic

Yahoo is expected to confirm massive data breach, impacting hundreds of millions of users

yahooYahoo is poised to confirm a massive data breach of its service, according to several sources close to the situation, hacking that has exposed several hundred million user accounts. While sources were unspecific about the extent of the incursion, since there is the likelihood of government investigations and legal action related to the breach, they noted that it is widespread and serious.

Earlier this summer, Yahoo said it was investigating a data breach in which hackers claimed to have access to 200 million user accounts and was selling them online. “It’s as bad as that,” said one source. “Worse, really.”

The announcement, which is expected to come this week, also possible larger implications on the $4.8 billion sale of Yahoo’s core business — which is at the core of this hack — to Verizon. The scale of the liability could be large and bring untold headaches to the new owners. Shareholders are likely to worry that it could lead to an adjustment in the price of the transaction.That deal is now moving to completion, but the companies cannot be integrated until it is approved by a number of regulatory agencies, as well as Yahoo shareholders. But representatives of Verizon and Yahoo have started meeting recently to review the Yahoo business, so that the acquisition will run smoothly once complete.

But there’s nothing smooth about this hack, said sources, which became known in August when an infamous cybercriminal named “Peace” said on a website that he was selling credentials of 200 million Yahoo users from 2012 on the dark web for just over $1,800. The data allegedly included user names, easily decrypted passwords, personal information like birth dates and other email addresses.

Continue Reading: Yahoo is expected to confirm massive data breach, impacting hundreds of millions of users

The Cyber Short: Cybersecurity Implications and Considerations for M&A

Abbott Laboratories (ABT), a global manufacturer of healthcare product, announced the acquisition of St. Jude Medical (STJ) in April 2016. The $25 billion deal is now in peril after a recently-released cybersecurity report alleged that STJ’s pacemakers and defibrillators – part of a category that represents 50% of STJ’s revenues – were vulnerable to wireless cyberattack by hackers, jeopardizing the safety of thousands of device recipients.

The author of the security report, MedSec Holdings, fed their findings to Muddy Waters Research, an investment research firm that subsequently shorted STJ stock. This arrangement financially benefited Muddy Waters and Medsec when the damaging report was made public and the STJ’s stock price dropped more than 10%. As a result of the report, more shares of STJ were traded on the date of the cybersecurity report release than on the day the acquisition was announced in April.  Muddy Waters and other short-sellers stand to profit even more if the deal falls through because of these cybersecurity lapse disclosures.

Public scrutiny around acquisitions has heightened for both companies involved in a deal. Senior leadership, including the Board of Directors, must ensure that cybersecurity due diligence is conducted as faithfully as any other diligence area.  In a 2016 NYSE Governance survey, three-quarters of respondents said that a high profile data breach at an acquisition target would have serious implications on a pending acquisition.  Moreover, more than half of the respondents said that a high profile cyber breach would diminish an acquisition target’s value.   Cybersecurity risk can be viewed and managed as a risk amplifier of other categories like financial, operational and strategic risk. Though cybersecurity issues sometimes surface during the early diligence phase, it is more often the case that issues don’t become apparent until after the deal closes – during the integration phase – leading to integration delays, cost overruns, and, worse case, a breach.

Source: The Cyber Short: Cybersecurity Implications and Considerations for M&A