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Archive for the ‘bitcoin’ category

Sep 16, 2019

Was SHA-256 cracked? Don’t buy into retraction!

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, encryption, government, hacking, internet, mathematics, military, privacy, security, software

SHA-256 is a one way hashing algorithm. Cracking it would have tectonic implications for consumers, business and all aspects of government including the military.

It’s not the purpose of this post to explain encryption, AES or SHA-256, but here is a brief description of SHA-256. Normally, I place reference links in-line or at the end of a post. But let’s get this out of the way up front:

One day after Treadwell Stanton DuPont claimed that a secret project cracked SHA-256 more than one year ago, they back-tracked. Rescinding the original claim, they announced that an equipment flaw caused them to incorrectly conclude that they had algorithmically cracked SHA-256.

All sectors can still sleep quietly tonight,” said CEO Mike Wallace. “Preliminary results in this cryptanalytic research led us to believe we were successful, but this flaw finally proved otherwise.

Continue reading “Was SHA-256 cracked? Don’t buy into retraction!” »

Sep 14, 2019

You Can Now Prove a Whole Blockchain With One Math Problem – Really

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, mathematics

The Electric Coin Company (ECC) says it discovered a new way to scale blockchains with “recursive proof composition,” a proof to verify the entirety of a blockchain in one function. For the ECC and zcash, the new project, Halo, may hold the key to privacy at scale.

A privacy coin based on zero-knowledge proofs, referred to as zk-SNARKs, zcash’s current underlying protocol relies on “trusted setups.” These mathematical parameters were used twice in zcash’s short history: upon its launch in 2016 and first large protocol change, Sapling, in 2018.

Zcash masks transations through zk-SNARKs but the creation of initial parameters remains an issue. By not destroying a transaction’s mathematical foundation – the trusted setup – the holder can produce forged zcash.

Sep 13, 2019

Researchers Have Issued A Serious Bitcoin Security Warning

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, security

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption has failed to live up to expectations over recent years and fears around scams, fraud, and theft have not helped.

The bitcoin price, after its epic 2017 bull run, slumped last year– though has rebounded in 2019, climbing back above $10,000 per bitcoin.

Now, researchers have warned a staggering four out of the first five results returned when asking Google for a “bitcoin qr generator” led to scam websites–potentially furthering negative public perception around bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

Sep 8, 2019

U.S. City Beats Greedy Cyberattackers, Saves $5.3m Ransomware Payment

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, bitcoin, government

After what has been a summer of “crippling ransomware attacks,” there has now been some respite courtesy of the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts, which has proven that the playing field can be levelled. The city was hit back in July, with its data held hostage, ransomed for more than $5 million in bitcoin. But as the attackers waited for their payment, the city’s law enforcement agencies and technology teams had other ideas.

No types of organisations are immune from these types of attacks these days,” Mayor Jon Mitchell told reporters. The city government, he said, had been taking steps to strengthen our defences—but any network is only one keyword click away from an attack. Thankfully, he acknowledged, “the attack could have been much worse.” It hit on the July 4 holiday when many systems were shut down.

“The attack was a variant of the RYUK virus,” Mitchell confirmed. “The victim needs to make a ransom payment to acquire the decryption key from the attacker.” The attack did not affect all systems or disrupt all services, and on the return to work on July 5, the city kept systems turned off as they isolated the attack.

Sep 8, 2019

Warning Issued After Malware Is Found To Have Hijacked Bitcoin Blockchain

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cybercrime/malcode

Bitcoin’s blockchain has been hijacked by a new strain of the Glupteba malware that uses the network to resist attacks, cyber security researchers have warned.

The malware uses the bitcoin blockchain to update, meaning it can continue running even if a device’s antivirus software blocks its connection to servers run by the hackers, security intelligence blog Trend Micro reported this week.

The Glupteba malware, first discovered in December 2018, is distributed through advertising designed to spread viruses through script and can steal an infected devices’ browsing history, website cookies, and account names and passwords with this particular variant found to be targeting file-sharing websites.

Sep 6, 2019

Can Bitcoin Transactions be Made Private?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, privacy

The blockchain is public, yet a Bitcoin wallet can be created anonymously. So are Bitcoin transactions anonymous? Not at all…

Each transaction into and out of a wallet is a bread crumb. Following the trail is trivial. Every day, an army of armchair sleuths help the FBI. That’s how Silk Road was brought down.

The problem is that some of that money eventually interacts with the real world (a dentist is paid, a package shipped or a candy is purchased at a gas station). Even if the real-world transaction is 4 hops before or after hitting the “anonymous” wallet, it creates a forensic focal point. Next comes a tax man, an ex-spouse or a goon.

The first article linked below addresses the state of tumblers (aka “mixers”). They anonymize an open network by obfuscating the trail of bread crumbs.

Continue reading “Can Bitcoin Transactions be Made Private?” »

Sep 6, 2019

Something Very Strange Is Going On With Bitcoin And BTC Google Searches

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices are well known to be closely tied to media and general public interest –-though that could be changing.

The bitcoin price has been climbing so far this year, rising some 200% since January, though has recently plateaued at around $10,000 per bitcoin after peaking at more than $12,000 in June.

Now, it appears Google searches for bitcoin and BTC, the name used by traders for the bitcoin digital token, could be being manipulated–-possibly in order to move the bitcoin price.

Sep 5, 2019

Former NASA Engineer and Virgin Galactic Instructor Says World Needs Global Tools Like Bitcoin

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, space travel

Former NASA engineer and Bitcoin advocate Beth Moses says she got a birds-eye view of humanity from outer space when she became the world’s first woman commercial astronaut earlier this year. Part of a three-person flight team, Moses soared 55.87 miles (89.9 kilometers) into orbit as a “test passenger” aboard Virgin Galactic’s second spaceflight on February 22.

An early proponent of Bitcoin, she began mining BTC after she read Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper in 2013. As Virgin Galactic’s chief astronaut instructor and interiors program manager, Moses believes global tools can solve critical problems.

Says Moses, in a recent report by Forbes.

Sep 4, 2019

The Race to Own One Bitcoin

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, finance

Owning one full bitcoin is becoming a recognized attainment goal. And thereby hangs a tale.

Is it just a numbers game? Isn’t the unit a bit arbitrary and meaningless?…

The logistics and the math are compelling. I recognized the importance of reaching this personal milestone more than 8 years ago. But I was a nobody. No one cared. Then, in April 2019, we started to see articles in legitimate venues about this concept—and articulated in exactly this way. I borrowed the title of this post from this article in Medium.

Who Says So?

Continue reading “The Race to Own One Bitcoin” »

Sep 1, 2019

Blockchain Apogee

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, space

The astronaut training billionaire Richard Branson to be the first passenger on Virgin Galactic has seen the Earth from 56 miles away. Now, the long-time bitcoin advocate wants to share what she saw: how blockchain and other technologies are enabling a borderless world.

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