Tag: Mining

A New Type of Cyberattack is on the Rise: Cryptojacking

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

As technology continues to advance, our lives are becoming more and more comfortable. Technology allows us to spend less time and energy doing basic tasks by automating them. Perhaps the most revolutionary invention of all time is the Internet, with many services being brought into the digital realm. It is now possible to buy products online from halfway around the world and do all of our banking from web-based apps and websites, tasks that a few decades ago might have taken hours to complete in the real world. Being able to do these tasks efficiently allows us to increase our productivity as we direct our scarce resources towards other ends. However, as more services are moved online and our use of the internet increases, so does the risk of cyberattacks and fraud. A new type of dangerous cyberattack is on the rise: Cryptojacking.

What is Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is the use of a device’s resources and equipment to mine cryptocurrency. Hackers install software on computers, network servers, and mobile devices that remain hidden from the user’s view and mines cryptocurrency in secret. In some cases, this hidden software is loaded onto computers just like much other malware through tactics used in traditional phishing attacks. First, Cryptojacking victims receive an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, containing a link to another website. The link runs code that installs the crypto-mining script on the computer. The script then runs in the background as the user operates the laptop during their day-to-day activities.

Hackers can also make use of a victim’s computers’ resources by injecting the code into a website or an ad that is displayed on several websites. Once the victim visits that website or the infected ad is displayed in their browser, the code automatically executes. No code is stored on the victims’ computers, meaning that crypto-mining only occurs while that website running or that ad is being displayed. In either of these methods, the code uses the victim’s computer to run the code that mines the cryptocurrency computers and sends the results back to the hacker. This malicious activity harms victims by severely slowing down computer speeds and using up hard drive space. Cryptojacking is usually detected when a victim notices a significant drop in battery life and processing speed on their device.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is decentralized blockchain money that exists only online, the most notable of which is Bitcoin. It was created as an alternative to traditional money, which is issued by governments and is trackable, as well as centralized. This technology gained popularity for its potential for growth and the anonymity it offers users. Users make transactions using cryptocurrency, while others use it to make investments, which they hope will earn them a sizeable payout. While Bitcoin was one of the first to be created, several others have been invented since. The word “cryptocurrency” comes from “cryptography” and “currency”.

Mining is a process by which new coins are found and added to a blockchain. Individuals or groups who use computers to solve complex mathematical problems to discover these new coins are called miners. The mining process is what makes cryptocurrencies decentralized, as anyone can use their computer to mine. These digital monetary units are popular for the security that they provide, which is ensured during the mining process. So how exactly does it work?

Transactions that take place on a specific coin’s network are collected and bundled into a block by the miner. If the miner attempts to submit a block to the system that contains an invalid transaction, the block will be rejected, thereby ensuring the security and reliability of the coin. An invalid transaction would be when a user sends an amount that they do not have.

Once the miner has verified that all transactions in the block are valid, they must compute a cryptographic hash, a set of complex mathematical problems. This prevents fraudulent blocks from being created and therefore secures the network. Computing a cryptographic is done using a computer, which makes it much more efficient but is a significant drain on battery as the calculations require a large amount of energy. Cryptojackers attempt to economize their mining by outsourcing their energy input to victims. The block is sent to the network after the cryptographic hash is complete so that it can be checked against the coin’s consensus rules. After it is verified that the block does not contain invalid transactions and meets the consensus rules it is accepted and the block is then added to the blockchain network. The miner is rewarded for their work with a set amount of the cryptocurrency, thereby adding new coins to the system.

How Can I Protect Myself?

The easiest way to protect against cryptojacking is to install a cryptojacking blocker browser extension. These extensions block a list of domains that have been found to be associated with cryptojacking. Popular miner blocking extensions include No Coin and MinerBlock. If you prefer a more comprehensive anti-malware and cryptojacking program, Malwarebytes and similar software block crypto mining in addition to general cybersecurity.

Further reading:

Malwarebytes: How does cryptojacking work?

Mycryptopedia: What is cryptocurrency mining?

Mycryptopedia: Blockchain Consensus Algorithms Explained

Fossbytes: 7 Easy Ways to Block Cryptocurrency Mining in Your Web Browser


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Kodak Raising Crypto Funds for Image Copyright Blockchain

Eli Ridder | @EliRidder

Kodak, famed for its photography products, is working with Wenn Digital in raising money for its blockchain image copyright system in a token offering for a partner cryptocurrency. 

On May 21, the Wenn-created KODAKCoin will be offered to the public with the aim of raising $50 million USD and to fund the KODAKOne blockchain that seeks to protect the copyright of image media registered on the platform.

Shares in Kodak bounced upwards to $13.25 in January when the Wenn deal was announced, before dropping to below half that when news of the blockchain’s rollout delay was announced due to regulatory issues.

“We really took a step back and decided that we would ensure that all Ts were crossed and Is dotted before we embark on a public sale,” Cam Chell, chairman and co-founder of KODAKOne, told Reuters news agency in an interview.

“I think $50 million is our sweet spot,” Mr. Chell said.

Blockchain is the digital system behind the likes of Bitcoin, and is a shared database of information that maintained and kept in check by a network of computers connected to the internet.

A similar strategy was utilized by Filecoin in the late summer and early Autumn of last year, and some $200 million was raised by the network that facilitates the storage, retrieval and transmission of data, reported Reuters.


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Bitcoin At $64,000 Next Year? Don’t Rule It Out.

By Nick Hamilton | United States

As we start to finally hit the middle of 2018, some are already making bold predictions for Bitcoin’s price in 2019. One of those, an investment firm called Fundstrat, predicts that it could reach as high as $64,000 by the end of 2019; over six times it’s current value. The New York based firm made these assertions in a report written up by Sam Doctor. Doctor is one of the firm’s Managing Director and Quanta-mental Strategists.

The report asserts that the expected price will be around $36,000 for one bitcoin. However, the expected range of the price will be from as low as $20,000 to as high as $64,000. Their reasoning, however, is different from many other predictions that we’ve seen this year.

The rationale has to do with mining, which is a computer solving mathematical equations and getting rewarded for it with cryptocurrency. In order for this to occur, the computer relies on something called “hash power,” or power to guess the solution. Fundstrat projects a 350% increase in this hash power. Thus, the price of Bitcoin will rise.

“We believe the current path of hash power growth supports a BTC price of about $36,000 by 2019 year end, with a $20,000-$64,000 range,” Doctor said in his report. “The primary net sellers, in our view, are bitcoin miners, and the rest are transactions between investors.”

Now, the real question is whether the currency will be able to sustain that number when it hits that mark. Bitcoin has proven to have some difficulties sustaining itself, dropping over $10,000 in just a few months. However, with this new innovation in hash power, Bitcoin could absolutely explode in the next couple of years.

As of Thursday, May 10th, the cryptocurrency has fallen 1.55% to $8,290.


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North Carolina Sends Cease and Desist Order to Cryptocurrency Mining Company

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

The state of North Carolina sent a cease and desist letter to cryptocurrency mining company Power Mining Pool (PMP) last week. It was found that PMP was in violation of multiple parts of the securities act:

The Securities Division found that PMP is violating the Securities Act by: a. offering unregistered securities in the form of ‘mining pool shares;’ b. offering securities while it is not registered to do so; and c. making material misstatements when offering securities.

 

PMP was told that they must not act as a securities dealer in any capacity unless registered with the state, according to Bitcoin.com.

PMP received a cease and desist letter on March 2, but made no effort to respond. On March 6, its website had gone down. The website itself is the only place of business, for there is no known physical location for PMP. The individuals running the organization are also unknown.

The company claims to be able to mine seven different cryptocurrencies, each of which it will mine less when the computer detects that it is not currently “profitable.”


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McAfee Out At MGT Capital

By Spencer Kellogg | USA

Another chapter in the long and winding road of cybertech pioneer John McAfee has come to an end. The founder of McAfee Antivirus and former Libertarian presidential candidate has stepped down from his leadership position at MGTI. His time at the forward-thinking Durham based tech startup was marred with controversy and later heralded by bold cryptocurrency ventures. Originally MGT Capital, McAfee and associates grabbed the former companies trading symbol on the NYSE and the penny stock rocketed behind his cult celebrity with the share price reaching almost $8 from a base of .25 cents. Showing incredible volatility, MGTI raised eyebrows across the stock market before being delisted amid scandal in February of 2017. McAfee argued in public with developers and his time with the company can be best summarized by his progressive ideas regarding Bitcoin, a culture of missed deadlines and a general atmosphere of crazy that seems to follow McAfee wherever he goes.

MGT stockholders greeted the news with excitement and cryptocurrency fans displayed typical juvenile backlash, poking fun at a man who possesses one of the most divisive and powerful voices in the space. Recently, McAfee has been best known not for MGTI, but for his “coin of the week” (which used to be “coin of the day” or “whichever coin will pay me”) cryptocurrency shills on his Twitter page. His open faced speculation of the cryptocurrency Verge (XVG) sent the privacy coin on a parabolic move into the Top 20 of the cryptocurrency marketcap with the bold suggestion that the coin could one day achieve a valuation of tens of billions of dollars. As throughout much of his career, McAfee has been lampooned by some as a scammer and championed by others as a rebel.

In response to the news from MGT, McAfee had the following to say:

I would like to thank Steve, Rob Laddand the entire board for giving me the opportunity to return to corporate life, but I am very happy with my decision. I am looking forward to toiling in obscurity as the world’s foremost authority of all things cyber and crypto! In all candor, the past two years have been action-packed and productive, and I want to thank all shareholders for their support.

During his time at MGT McAfee was dogged by claims of wrongdoing and misleading of his investors & employees. Eijah Anderson, the creator of the privacy tool Demonsaw, was once an integral part of the MGT roadmap and you can find beaming photos of the pair after they moved offices to North Carolina. Their relationship has long since soured and Anderson took the opportunity to attack McAfee on Wednesday when he tweeted:

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At first, MGT aimed to provide security to phone users. With McAfee came the top layer security protocol for telecommunication, Sentinal, and a big name to intrigue investors. There were conferences in China and to investors caught up in the whirlwind of his celebrity it seemed like MGTI could be an investors dream. But McAfee also brought with him an army of doubters that plagued forums and linked articles to McAfee’s shady business associates. Over the course of the next few months, there were botched phone conferences and maligned promises as the stock price began to dwindle.

Later, and under much scrutiny, McAfee and company hit a stroke of genius as they turned their eye away from security and towards Bitcoin. Partnering with a Washington state hydraulic plant, MGTI rigged up an army of Bitcoin miners that fed off water generated energy to mine the currency. For this McAfee deserves to be commended. When much of the market was still skeptical on Bitcoin’s feasibility or profitability, McAfee was utilizing natural energy sources to put his company firmly at the leading edge of American Bitcoin innovation. This is also one of the major reasons why McAfee’s opinion holds such weight in the Bitcoin community. Although he can often appear to be a greedy man with unscrupulous morals (and perhaps he is) Mcafee is also an unabashed truthteller willing to put his money where his mouth is.

By Friday morning $MGTI had dropped nearly 10% in value while analysts wondered whether this was good or bad for the burgeoning company. MGTI will continue mining Bitcoin and Ethereum with their main focus now invested primarily in the cryptocurrency field. As for Mcafee, this appears to be only another bizarre entry in the life and times of one of America’s greatest and strangest innovators.