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| February 17, 2019

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Turns Out Census Data Isn’t That Safe

February 17, 2019 |

An internal team at the Census Bureau found that basic personal information collected from more than 100 million Americans during the 2010 head count could be reconstructed from obscured data, but with lots of mistakes, a top agency official disclosed Saturday. The age, gender, location, race, and ethnicity for 138…
Newser

Data Shows Ethereum is the ‘Cryptocurrency of Choice for Scams’

February 5, 2019 |

Data Shows Ethereum is the 'Cryptocurrency of Choice for Scams'

Since the very early days, back when people learned how to create new cryptocurrencies or quickly build infrastructure models like digital asset trading platforms, many scams started to spawn frequently. According to the blockchain surveillance company Chainalysis, over the last two years fraud in the Ethereum ecosystem has run rampant and it’s been the “cryptocurrency of choice for scams for a variety of reasons,” the company’s latest Ethereum report highlights.

Also read: Cryptograffiti’s Latest ‘Running Bitcoin’ Portrait Sees Auction Bids of Over $ 30K

Scammers Flock to Ethereum Blockchain

The blockchain monitoring company Chainalysis has been releasing a series of reports concerning the recent “trends in crypto crime.” The firm’s report “Crypto Crime Series: Decoding Ethereum Scams” explains how ethereum (ETH) is the top choice for crypto-related scams throughout the ecosystem. In 2017, there was only $ 17 million worth of ETH stolen in scams but in 2018 roughly 0.01 percent of ETH was involved in swindles worth $ 36 million. “The number of scams declined through 2018, although those that remained were bigger, more sophisticated and vastly more lucrative,” the Chainalysis report details.

“From late 2016 through the end of 2018, Chainalysis has identified over 2,000 scam addresses on Ethereum that have received funds from nearly 40,000 unique users — Scam activity increased dramatically in 2018 with nearly 75% of scamming activity taking place that year,” the report explains.

Data Shows Ethereum is the 'Cryptocurrency of Choice for Scams'

There are four types of prevalent scams taking place within the Ethereum space – outright fraud, the ICO exit scam, a Ponzi product, and phishing attempts. Chainalysis also says the frequency and success rates of concepts like infection scams can change over time.

“Innovative criminals executed more complex Ponzi and ICO exit scams that generated millions of dollars in income — These more sophisticated schemes dominated the second half of the year,” the crime series report summarizes.

Data Shows Ethereum is the 'Cryptocurrency of Choice for Scams'
The transformation of scam types and growth throughout 2017 and 2018.

From Giveaways to Ponzis – Etherscam’s Database Shows 924 Scams Are Currently Active

Chainalysis is not the only group watching the Ethereum network for scam related incidents. In fact, the website Etherscamdb.info which showcases a plethora of ETH-related scams can be seen by the entire cryptocurrency community. The Etherscam database has recorded 6,378 scams and 924 are currently active. The records show 1,975 scam-related ethereum addresses and out of the 6,378, roughly 5,454 are inactive. What also should be taken into consideration is that this information is only what Etherscam’s database can trace and there are lots of fraudulent acts that go unnoticed.

Data Shows Ethereum is the 'Cryptocurrency of Choice for Scams'
The vast list of cryptocurrency scams using ethereum.

Etherscam collects data on fake My Ether Wallet (MEW) websites, Punycode lookalike domains, phony exchanges, fraudulent impersonation giveaways, and ICO exit scams. Then there are Ponzi games tied to the Ethereum ecosystem with multi-level pyramid applications like Fomo 3D and Powh 3D. These platforms only make money by bringing new users into the fold and use all kinds of tactics like pay-per-bid methods, and multi-level marketing techniques. Back in March, the founder of Dapp Radar, Skirmantas Januskas gave a great breakdown of the Powh 3D Ponzi game and called it the “biggest pyramid scheme on Ethereum so far.”

Even though there are many scams on the Ethereum network, there are various ways ETH users can protect themselves by not participating in blatant fraud. Veteran cryptocurrency participants will always illuminate the fact that holding your own keys, utilizing cold storage and multi-signature techniques are critical to keeping financial information safe. But there are many other methods that can be used like bookmarking official cryptocurrency websites, double-checking copy and pasted addresses, and not trusting “free giveaways” that will further help keep digital assets secure. As the Chainalysis crime series report details, blockchain criminals are executing petty crypto crimes far less than before, but the scams that still exist are becoming far more sophisticated.

What do you think about the number of scams attracted to the Ethereum network? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Ethereum logo, Pixabay, Brandon Arvanaghi, and Chainalysis.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH, and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com. 

The post Data Shows Ethereum is the ‘Cryptocurrency of Choice for Scams’ appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Major DNA testing company is sharing genetic data with the FBI

February 1, 2019 |

A decision by Family Tree DNA, a prominent consumer DNA-testing company, to share data with federal law enforcement means investigators have access to genetic information linked to hundreds of millions of people.

An early pioneer of the rapidly growing market for consumer genetic testing, Family…


L.A. Times – Business

The Cypherpunk Dream: Protecting Data and Dismantling the Dossier Society

January 25, 2019 |

AI specialist Dr. Rand Hindi conducted a presentation on cypherpunk history and data privacy in St. Moritz, Switzerland, at the Crypto Finance conference. At the beginning of the talk, he asked the audience to unlock their smartphones and pass them to their neighbors. The audience responded with a gasp. Someone in the crowd even vocalized their disdain for the idea. Naturally, people feel guarded when it comes to protecting their digital content and private data. This is why the cypherpunks believed protecting personal info was of paramount importance.

Also Read: Governmental Overreach in Developing Nations Will Hasten Hyperbitcoinization

The Cypherpunks, Data Privacy, and the Dossier Society

Protecting data is not only about preventing hackers and thieves from gaining access to personal credentials. According to the cypherpunks, it is also about denying governments access to large troves of information and surveilling the population. In this sense, data privacy represents the sine qua non of personal sovereignty in cyberspace.

The cypherpunk creator of digital cash David Chaum once lamented that internet technologies would create a dossier society. This dossier society means government would catalog information on each individual, and they would possess piecemeal documentation regarding people’s identity and history. They would also track every person and keep tabs on their comings and goings. In its final incarnation, the dossier society would equate to a horror show worse than the dystopia depicted in George Orwell’s 1984.

In a way, this has already transpired. The U.S. government in partnership with large companies like Google and AT&T constantly collects “metadata.” This metadata allows governments to piece together a picture of an individual, allowing the state to gain more accessibility to their private affairs. It’s essentially a Gestalt panopticon of digital control wound tightly around the neck of each person.

Curtailing the Dossier Society With Encrypted Protocols

In order to fight back, cypherpunks and white hat hackers have been developing and deploying encryption schemes to protect sensitive digital materials. One example is Phil Zimmermann‘s PGP or Pretty Good Privacy. Zimmerman created PGP in 1991 as a method to protect emails through public-private key encryption and symmetric-key cryptography.

This method allows people to secure their communication channels with cryptographic privacy. It keeps snoops and government agents from reading the contents of email information. Governments can still determine the header info on emails to collect metadata, but it at least provides a degree of privacy for any sensitive material contained inside the digital package. Its major flaw is it’s not easy to use, and it requires users to share a private key database.

Homomorphic Encryption

A more recent scheme for protecting credentials, including some header materials, involves the use of homomorphic encryption. In his presentation, Dr. Hindi said new developments in this field will allow users to protect data at entry points and even leverage homomorphically encrypted smart contracts. This type of encryption allows sophisticated computation on ciphertexts, or encrypted messages. However, homomorphic encryption has heretofore been too cumbersome and slow for users to reliably deploy on commercial platforms. Dr. Hindi mentioned it is about a trillion times slower than non-encrypted communications.

With that said, new developments emerge everyday and a new kind of homomorphic encryption is making headway. It’s called TFHE encryption. TFHE encryption leverages machine learning to help process the encryption scheme in real time. Nonetheless, Dr. Hindi pointed out that only one known company presently uses this type of encryption.

The Future of Cypherpunk Tools and Crypto Anarchism

The future is still bright for the cypherpunk movement. It is true the dossier society is in full, disturbing effect. However, cypherpunks work relentlessly to create, build and deploy all the necessary tools to protect individuals and their data. At its core, the cypherpunks are in a battle to undermine the dossier society. But they wish to take their mission a step further. The cypherpunks are crypto-anarchists. They would eventually like to see the abolition of government and all dominance-based power structures.

Many people in the cryptocurrency and technology spheres sometimes forget this original mission. The reason why encrypted protocols were more highly developed after the government initially spawned them was to fight back against the surveillance state. The cypherpunks realized if government gains full control of the internet, it will mean that people’s lives will be totally transparent to the bureaucrat and policeman. It will also mean that digital totalitarianism will reign supreme.

True Names

Timothy May, the creator of crypto-anarchism, compared this dystopian nightmare to a science fiction story written by Vernor Vinge called True Names. In this story, the protagonist hackers had to protect their actual identity, or “true names,” from the United States government. If government acquired their true names, the hackers would die at the hands of government in the form of a “true death.” The story illustrates the power of identity and the potency of digital privacy. It illustrates the deep reasoning behind why the cypherpunks expanded on encrypted protocols and consistently wrote about the horrors of government control.

Do you believe in the cypherpunk mission of protecting data? Can we prevent the dossier society from emerging and compromising our privacy? Could we build a crypto-anarchistic future? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.

The post The Cypherpunk Dream: Protecting Data and Dismantling the Dossier Society appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Chatter Report: Pacia Shows Avalanche Regtest Data, Powell Advocates Hardware Wallets

January 16, 2019 |

Pacia Showcases Avalanche Regtest Data, Powell and Zhao Express Different Opinions on Crypto Safety

In today’s chatter report, Chris Pacia reveals his BCH transaction using Avalanche on regtest finalized in just 185.822377 milliseconds. Also, Changpeng Zhao advocates storing crypto on reputable exchanges while Jesse Powell advises his followers to store crypto on hardware wallets. Lastly, Eric Wall proposes targeting children to spread crypto adoption. 

Also Read: Jason Cox Extends Open Invitation for Assistance With Development and Review of Bitcoin Cash Code

Avalanche Regtest Results

Recently, Openbazaar developer Chris Pacia was testing the pre-consensus implementation Avalanche on regtest. Pacia was optimistic when sharing his results, as his transaction finalized in just 185.822377 milliseconds.

Chris Pacia: 2019-01-14 18:20:01.776 [INF] AVAL: Starting avalanche for tx 46db02b656673509670b5a952215015bebd4a97155022132d6cb206c046c6178 2019-01-14 18:20:01.963 [INF] AVAL: Avalanche finalized transaction 46db02b656673509670b5a952215015bebd4a97155022132d6cb206c046c6178 in 185.822377ms from btc

In an attempt to lower expectations, lead developer of Bitcoin ABC Amaury Séchet explained that he does not believe that transactions will confirm at the same speed on mainnet, because a round trip around the earth via the internet typically takes 500-600 milliseconds.

When asked by Reddit user “CatatonicAdenosine” if Pacia thinks the numbers will stay this low, Pacia said he doesn’t expect transactions to take more than one to two seconds to finalize. Pacia also stated that he plans to run pre-consensus mechanism Avalanche on mainnet in a few weeks and begin logging data.

CZ’s Advice on Safe Crypto Storage Causes a Stir

In response to Cryptopia exchange being hacked, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao proposed three different options for storing cryptocurrency safely. Many users were critical of Zhao’s proposal to store coins on “reputable” exchanges and raised eyebrows when Zhao criticized the practice of storing coins in noncustodial wallets.

Zhao’s comments were in contrast to those of Kraken exchange CEO Jesse Powell, who advised users to store only the coins they plan to actively trade with, and no more, on exchanges. Powell also advised storing crypto on a Ledger or Trezor hardware wallet instead of an exchange.

Other cryptocurrency community members like developer David Shares also echoed Powell’s advice, advising users to store crypto in a wallet where they control their own private keys.

Targeting Children For Crypto Adoption

Cinnober cryptocurrency lead Eric Wall recently took to Twitter to argue that children should be a target for spreading future crypto adoption. While many in the cryptocurrency space believe that the future of crypto adoption lies with people living in emerging markets, Wall believes the focus should be on children, as they are an unbanked group that are more likely to adopt the technology.

The 17-strong tweet-storm contains some compelling arguments on why children will integrate well with the crypto ecosystem. Wall believes that kids are more sophisticated when it comes to using social media apps because they explore the full functionality of them. They also are better at online marketing as they direct message all their friends instead of just uploading content like adults do. Also, kids today understand virtual goods and in-app purchases because of things like Fortnite V-bucks and WoW gold. Creating crypto-based apps that directly target children, Wall believes, will help to spread adoption and introduce the next generation to cryptocurrencies

What do you think of Eric Wall’s hypothesis? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Chatter Report: Pacia Shows Avalanche Regtest Data, Powell Advocates Hardware Wallets appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

China exchanged data with NASA for its historic Moon landing

January 14, 2019 |

China exchanged data with NASA for its recent historic mission to land a probe on the far side of the Moon, officials said Monday.
FOX News

Cellphone carriers back away from selling location data as calls for investigation persist

January 12, 2019 |

Major cellphone carriers have been selling real-time data about their customers’ locations, and that information has been ending up in the wrong hands, a report said this week — leading lawmakers to sharply demand an investigation and several carriers to say they are distancing themselves from…


L.A. Times – Business

Flu taking toll in California, other states, but having milder impact nationwide, data show

January 12, 2019 |

While states such as California and North Carolina have seen significant numbers of flu-related deaths this season, U.S. health officials said Friday that the nationwide impact of influenza seems to be milder than last winter.
FOX News

L.A. is suing IBM for illegally gathering and selling user data through its Weather Channel app

January 5, 2019 |

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office alleges in a lawsuit that a subsidiary of IBM deceptively mined the private location data of users of the Weather Channel app and sold it to advertising and marketing companies.

When users download the app, a prompt asks them to grant access to their location…


L.A. Times – Business

Merkel, German Politicians Hit by Data Breach

January 4, 2019 |

Personal data and documents on hundreds of German politicians and others have been posted online, and German cyber-defense experts were trying to figure out Friday how the information was obtained, per the AP . The data breach hit politicians at all levels—including the European, German, and state parliaments as well…
Newser