Facebook messenger malware FacexWorm targets crypto platforms

Facebook messenger malware FacexWorm targets crypto platforms

FacexWorm, a malicious Google Chrome extension, has been targeting cryptocurrency trading platforms via Facebook Messenger, according to a Trend Micro report.

This was not the first time FacexWorm has targeted unsuspecting users. The malware was first uncovered last year in August by Kaspersky labs researcher David Jacoby. At the time, it was unclear how it operated and the purpose for its creation. Eight months later,Trend Micro noticed on April 8 activities that resembled the malware. At the time of discovery, there were already reports of FacexWorm attack in countries like Tunisia, Germany, Spain, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.

The new version of FacexWorm works similarly like the old version with few new adjustments. In addition to sending socially engineered links to friends from an affected Facebook Messenger account, it can steal users account and credential details. FacexWorm also causes cryptocurrency fraud, puts malicious cryptocurrency mining codes on a website and redirects users to attackers’ referral link for cryptocurrency related programs. It can also hijack cryptocurrency transactions and steal money from platforms, such as Poloniex, HitBTC, Bitfinex, Ethfinex, and Binance, and wallets like Blockchain.info.

According to the report, users who opened the link were redirected to a fake YouTube page, where they will be asked to install a codec extension—FacexWorm—to play the video. Finally, users will get a request for “privilege to access,” and change data on the opened website. Once granted access,FacexWorm will download malicious codes to help in executing its operations.

The malware has only been able to affect a small group of people, according to the Trend Micro team, which has so far been able to identify one BTC transaction that was affected by FacexWorm. They were, however, not able to determine how many BTC coins have been earned from the malicious malware

Chrome has taken measures to remove and prevent attackers from uploading FacexWorm in their system.Facebook Messenger has also put measures to detect and prevent FacexWorm uploads by attackers. Trend Micro urges users to be careful while sharing information with friends.

Last year, Amazon had a malware attack that was uploaded to their Amazon Web Services servers. The malware executed BTC mining command that allowed mining using the company’s large process power to facilitate the process.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
'Blockchain will belong to us': Putin calls dibs on blockchain

‘Blockchain will belong to us’: Putin calls dibs on blockchain

The Russian president is reigniting a decades-old rivalry saying the US has the Internet, but blockchain technology will be Russia’s.

Both start-up companies and established industry giants are scurrying to cut a piece of the market as blockchain technology ushers in a lot of possibilities and drives several existing practices into obsolescence. But private companies are not the only ones who are going in on the blockchain race. Several governments are also working on their own projects in their bid to be on the front line of the industry, or at least to keep from falling behind.

As early as now, Vladimir Putin is eager to plant the Russian flag on the technology, even if only through a verbal claim (for now). As if it were another Moon race, the Russian president was quick to reignite a decades-old rivalry.

“Look, the Internet belongs to the Americans,” Putin says, “but blockchain will belong to us.”

Putin has been openly interested in and actively endorsing blockchain technology. In June last year, he met with Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin. Just a few months ago, he met with Herman Gref, the president of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, and endorsed the technology, saying the country needs further progress—beyond what they already have. Below is a rough translation of his statement:

“Other colleagues and citizens of the country may ask: Why do we need all this? If we have everything—we have oil, gas, coal, metals of all kinds…gold, platinum, diamonds—everything.”

“But we need to advance further—this is what we need. And we have to work for this,” he added. “One of our colleagues, the former oil minister of an Arab country said: ‘the Stone Age has not ended due to the lack of stones, but because new technologies have appeared. And new technologies are appearing in the world now.”

He added that those who are “late in the race” will quickly become dependent on those who were in the lead.

And despite Russia’s alleged involvement in the US elections, the nation was actually quick to tap on blockchain technology to curb corruption and provide better transparency in voting. Early this year, they started a pilot run for a blockchain-based e-voting system called Active Citizen, although the application was limited to non-political decisions like speed limits and bus routes.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Edit wars prompt Bitcoin Cash Wiki page lockdown

Edit wars prompt Bitcoin Cash Wiki page lockdown

The debate over the identity of Bitcoin has intensified in recent weeks, with BTC Core supporters resorting to trolling Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on Wikipedia in their latest attempts to claim exclusive ownership of the Bitcoin name.

As a result, Wikipedia have locked the page, preventing further malicious edits to the Bitcoin BCH entry. This often occurs around controversial topics, or when Wikipedia editors dispute the neutrality of a post, resulting in Wikipedia’s internal dispute resolution process.

At the moment, the page displays a notification about its status: “The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met.” The last edit to page was made on May 2, 2018.

Following through to the talk page reveals more about the reasons behind the temporary lock, which states:

“There have been attempts to recruit editors of specific viewpoints to this article. If you’ve come here in response to such recruitment, please review the relevant Wikipedia policy on recruitment of editors, as well as the neutral point of view policy. Disputes on Wikipedia are resolved by consensus, not by majority vote.”

Even Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Séchet noticed the lockdown on the Bitcoin Cash Wiki page due to repeated vandalism, commenting on Twitter that “‘Cypherpunks do Orwellian shit’ is the new ‘Cypherpunk Write Code.’

Further inspection shows that the majority of recent suggested edits have been attempting to include references to ‘Bcash’, a term considered inappropriate by those in the BCH community. Some have even suggested this is an intentional attempt to confuse or deceive, by introducing confusing alternative names for Bitcoin BCH.

Referencing user FoxyJim, who tried to change the name to ‘Bcash,’ Wiki editor Toomuchtalk was keen to set the record straight: “Foxyjim obviously doesn’t understand what Wikipedia is — Just because a disagreeing faction created a derogatory name in an effort to obscure the truthful Bitcoin history and are upset that they are using the name Bitcoin does not make the use of Bcash a legitimate historical fact.”

These are just the latest front for attacks from the BTC Core community, with others taking to the Wiki page to dispute sources, the events surrounding the fork, and the Segregated Witness protocol.

The central dispute between Bitcoin BCH and BTC reflects conflicting interpretations of Satoshi’s original vision, with SegWit now straying further from the cryptocurrency concept as envisaged.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
University of Basel becomes first Swiss university to issue blockchain-based diplomas

University of Basel becomes first Swiss university to issue blockchain-based diplomas

Start-up Proxeus is connecting blockchain technology with traditional companies.

Last year, MIT issued 111 digital diplomas that were recorded on a blockchain in a pilot run conducted through an application called BlockCerts. This gives graduates easy access to their certificates as well as control over who gets to see them.

And it looks like blockchain-based diplomas may very well turn into a norm as more are following in on the trend.

Speeding up processes is also one of the biggest benefits of blockchain technology, and blockchain innovator Proxeus—with the help of its partners, is maximizing this value. The company partnered up with the University of Basel’s Center for Innovative Finance (CIF) in creating a prototype that would allow the institution to issue course certificates and register them on a blockchain. This drastically reduced the processing time for the documents, and has placed the University of Basel as the first in Switzerland to issue blockchain-based diplomas.

Proxeus co-founder and CEO Antoine Verdon (left), and Fabian Schär, Director of the Center for Innovative Finance at the University of Basel (right).

And because they are on the blockchain, certificates are easily verifiable and tamper-proof, therefore cracking down on the possibility of fraud. Dr. Fabian Schär, Managing Director at the CIF, says the project can help solve authenticity issues for academic credentials, a burden for both graduates and employers.

“Fraud is a problem in academia just as it is in any field,” Schär said. “By securing credentials on the Blockchain, we provide an extra layer of security for graduates and potential employers. These credentials can’t be faked, and can be easily verified online. It will introduce a new paradigm of security and offer value to all parties – employers don’t lose time checking credentials, graduates have an edge, and the institutions themselves reduce their reputational risk and a significant administrative burden.”

Proxeus has been actively working on similar solutions for different applications. Proxues, in partnership with IBM and other companies, are also working on speeding up legal registry of Swiss businesses—they were able to cut processing down from four to six weeks to less than three hours. In fact, they say that in their test run, they were able to pull it off in only one hour and 37 minutes. Unsurprisingly, they nabbed the 2018 Swiss Fintech Award as the Early Stage Start-up of the Year.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Bitcoin Cash prepares for upgrade: nChain on 32MB blocks

Bitcoin Cash prepares for upgrade: nChain on 32MB blocks, OP_Code resurrection for smart contracts

nChain likes big blocks and they cannot lie.

May 15 is a big day for Bitcoin Cash supporters as the community prepares for the first of a series of big upgrades for the blockchain. The upcoming hard fork will trigger the following upgrades:
• Increasing the size of blocks on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain from 8MB to 32MB;
• Restoring certain OP_Codes for advanced functionality; and
• Increasing OP_Return data carrier limit to 223 bytes.

The 32Mb increase in block size will supposedly enable a capacity of 100 transactions per second, or 8.64 million transactions per day. This is a precursor to the Terab project’s long-term goal of scaling to 1 terabyte blocks—which would theoretically bring in 7 million transactions per second, or a whopping 604.8 billion transactions per day.

In a press release, Jimmy Nguyen, CEO of leading blockchain R&D company, nChain, comments:

“Increasing the Bitcoin Cash block size from 8MB to 32MB begins to ignite the true power of the BCH network, significantly increasing throughput capacity, in terms of the number of transactions that can fit into each block.It will also keep transaction fees very low – and thus ensure the BCH network has capacity to operate efficiently as usage continues to increase as the global peer-to-peer electronic cash. After this May 2018 upgrade, expect more steps toward massive on-chain scaling of the Bitcoin Cash network. We envision a future with massive block of 1 gigabyte (1000 MBs), and even 1 terabyte (1 million MBs), to achieve a powerful BCH data network that will re-invent how global business is done.”

Reinstating previously deactivated OP_Codes from the original code of Bitcoin, according to Nguyen, has huge implications for Bitcoin Cash as it unleashes smart contract and tokenisation capabilities that would bring Bitcoin Cash on the forefront of the industry.

“The second key upgrade is restoring certain OP_codes that had been deactivated in the Bitcoin script language.  These OP_codes are being brought back to Bitcoin Cash to enable the ability for tokenisation and smart contract execution on the BCH network.  This will be a game-changer in the cryptocurrency space because it makes Bitcoin Cash the clear leader, with the ability to do all in one coin-efficient payments and advanced technical functions such as tokenisation and smart contracts – what many other coins and blockchains separately claim to do.  We at nChain and other groups have already been working on new tokenisation solutions to implement on Bitcoin Cash.”

The press release also states that the upgrades will enable Bitcoin Cash to do what Ethereum does.

“The restoring of certain OP_codes in the Bitcoin scripting language will bring advanced technical functionality to the Bitcoin Cash network. In computing, operating codes are the section of automated language which dictates what operation must be performed. The restored OP_codes will enable tokenisation and smart contracts to be executed on the BCH blockchain.  More advanced functions will be possible with future upgrades to the Bitcoin Cash network.

Tokenisation – of financial instruments, assets, rewards, or for Initial Coin Offering (ICO) purposes – and the ability to make use of smart contracts, means that Bitcoin Cash can be used to do anything that other blockchains such as Ethereum, can do. Bitcoin Cash is already a superior payment system, because it is fast, low-fee and allows borderless transactions to anywhere in the world. With these additional technical capabilities, Bitcoin Cash can be the all-in-one coin.”

Given these improvements, Nguyen says it’s a win overall. “These changes will make BCH faster, stronger and more powerful. Win, win, win,” Nguyen says. Using a bit of wordplay, he adds: “Bigger blocks are the only way to make Bitcoin a viable payment option for daily transacting. That is why, here at nChain, we like big blocks and we cannot lie!”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Bitgrail Hack Victims File Petition in Court

Bitgrail clients want Italian court to declare exchange bankrupt

Victims of the BitGrail hack in February has filed a petition asking an Italian court to declare the cryptocurrency exchange bankrupt.

BitGrail reportedly fell victim to a hack early this year, resulting in the loss of 14 million Nano coins worth $187 million at the time. The hack was reported on February 8, but BitGrail owner Francesco Firano told CoinTelegraph that the theft happened on January 19.

Last week, Italian law firm BonelliErede filed a bankruptcy petition on behalf of BitGrail creditor Espen Enger, who allegedly was in contact with more than 300 claimants. According to a Medium post, most of the alleged BitGrail victims were concerned that their assets will be depleted further, which was why they “prefer an immediate accounting of BitGrail’s assets in bankruptcy.”

Nano developers previously claimed Firano had asked for the altcoin’s ledger to be modified “so as to cover his losses” and allegedly “misleading” the community regarding the exchange solvency. In his defense, Firano claimed the fault did not lay with the exchange, but originated with Nano’s “totally unreliable” protocol leading to timestamp inconsistencies on the Nanode block explorer.

BitGrail vowed to refund the victims. In mid-March, the cryptocurrency exchange proposed to issue a newly-minted BitGrail Shares (BGS) token, which it said would cover 80% of the losses. The remaining 20% would be covered in XRB, according to BitGrail. However, victims would need to sign an agreement to forgo any legal action against the exchange.

This is the second lawsuit filed against BitGrail. In April, U.S. law firm Silver Miller filed a lawsuit on behalf of Alex Brola, an investor who sunk $50,000 into the Nano currency in 2017. In its lawsuit, Silver sought to have the altcoin conduct a hard fork that could “reset” its amount to where it was before the theft took place.

In response to the lawsuit, the Nano Foundation announced it would sponsor a legal fund to provide all BitGrail victims with legal representation.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
UNICEF turns mining malware into good—donate computing power instead of cash

UNICEF turns mining malware into good—donate computing power instead of cash

In a funny twist, the mechanism commonly used as a mining malware is now being used for a good cause: UNICEF now allows you to donate some of your computing power instead of cash.

Since last year, several organizations—including government websites—have been plagued by a series of pestilent attacks based on several hacking tools leaked from the NSA. One of these tools gave birth to the CoinHive, a malware that had gained notoriety after discreetly being slipped into users’ computers through some usability plug-ins and secretly mined Monero for the hackers.

Now, Unicef is using a similar mechanism in order to generate funds without requiring donors to shell out their own cash. According to ZDNet, UNICEF’s donation platform is powered by the same Monero mining program. But unlike the Monero miner, the website—named theHopePage.org, clearly asks users for confirmation before using anybody’s system to mine for UNICEF Australia. Users can also adjust how much computing power they are willing to donate, and can simply keep the browser tab open to keep contributing. This gives people an opportunity to “give hope, just by being here,” as their website says.

“The longer you stay on the page and the more processor power you donate, the more algorithms get solved, which earns cryptocurrency,” they wrote in their website. “Mining is perfectly safe for your computer. If you’re ever worried about power consumption, turn down the amount of processing power you’re donating.”

Upon agreeing, the website then proceeds to use the viewer’s computing power to mine cryptocurrencies, the proceeds of which go directly to the fund, the organizations says.

“The cryptocurrency is automatically donated to UNICEF Australia and is turned into real funds that reach children through life-saving supplies like safe water, therapeutic food and vaccines. Turn the Hopepage into your homepage to give every day.”

As of last check, over 1,600 people were donating to the website.

This is not the first time UNICEF turned to cryptocurrency mining to solicit computing power donations. In February, they also appealed to online gamers, who are likely to have powerful graphics cards perfect for crypto mining. The website, Game Chaingers, would allow gamers to donate their computing power to help Syrian children, although attention to the website has died down since its launch.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Alcohol company Madison Group pours $60M into crypto miner Diginex

Alcohol company Madison Group pours $60M into crypto miner Diginex

The cryptocurrency and blockchain space appears to be getting crowded of late with several multinational companies and other large entities looking to pounce on what is proving to be a considerable investment opportunity, even amid the negative press that the market has had over the last few months.

The latest news in the acquisitions and sales market comes from Hong Kong. Diginex, a multinational crypto-asset investment services firm, announced that it has sold 51% of the company’s stake in the cryptocurrency and mining field to another Hong Kong-based firm, Madison Group Holdings.

Diginex is heavily invested in blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT), and it is slightly curious that they should sell their stake to a company who is better known for the retail of alcoholic beverages. The price for a 51% stake in the company was around $60 million. Undoubtedly Madison Group see a considerable potential in the cryptocurrency mining business, which has taken the world by storm of late. In fact only last week, multinational companies Samsung and AMD have reported record turnover and profits from their mining-related operations, largely through the sale of semiconductor chips.

The Memorandum of Agreement signed by the two companies listed other synergies, including the leverage of Diginex’s proprietary platform DigiAssets, which can also be used for cryptocurrency owners to purchase wines of high value as well as other assets. Madison’s investment will allow Diginex to continue rolling out their GPU mining operations in Western Europe in partnership with several hardware suppliers, as well as power and security providers—with a goal of building efficient mining and high-performance computing (HPC) data centers for cryptocurrencies.

In a statement, Diginex CEO Miles Pelham said Madison Group’s cash injection will allow the company “to expedite our steps towards becoming the global provider of Distributed Ledger Technologies. We will continue to build out our mining operations in Sweden and Switzerland, but also focus on helping corporates and governments across the world to implement transformative DLT applications.”

Privately-owned Diginex described itself as a full services provider for distributed ledger technologies, operating out of Hong Kong, Switzerland, Germany, and Japan. The company offers all DLT ecosystem services with mining and HPC operations in Asia, Switzerland and Sweden, as well as blockchain consulting, ICO advisory, smart contract design and provision together with cryptocurrency payments and crypto-asset investment services.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
What's the second Bitcoin Cash capacity upgrade all about?

What’s the second Bitcoin Cash capacity upgrade all about?

Another major upgrade for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is scheduled to take place on May 15. This update is a substantial step forward for the cryptocurrency, and will introduce features that are designed to make the BCH blockchain more robust and help the network process more transactions than BTC.

The hard fork was first announced in November. It will raise BCH’s block size from 8MB to 32MB, greatly increasing the number of transactions allowable per block. It will also increase the “OP_RETURN” field from 80 to 220 bytes, allowing users to store data on the blockchain. This function paves way for use cases like time-stamping, rights management or asset creation.

In addition to introducing new features, some old ones will be making a comeback. Some types of smart contracts, removed previously over concerns that they could allow the blockchain to be hacked, will be reintroduced. Steve Shadders, a developer for nChain, said in a blog post, “Essentially out of an abundance of caution and lack of time to fully explore and fix the edge cases that needed to be addressed, the decision was taken to simply disable any opcodes around which there were doubts or even hints of doubts.”

It would appear that BTC developer Johnson Lau recommended the same types of smart contracts for the BTC network in February. BCH has now beaten BTC to the punch, and the inclusion of these features will make BCH much more versatile than BTC. BCH will only introduce a few of the smart contract types that were previously removed, as some still have the potential to be a weak link in the blockchain.

These are just a few items in the list of changes included in the network upgrade, which have been accepted by virtually the entire BCH community, making it an almost completely agreed upon upgrade. But the May capacity upgrade is only one of several that have potentially been slated for this year. The community will see another one in November that would introduce even more features.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Strong demand for crypto mining chips boosts Samsung Q1 profit

Strong demand for crypto mining chips boosts Samsung Q1 profit

South Korean electronics giant Samsung has gone big in the cryptocurrency market focusing on mining, where it appeared rich pickings were to be had.

On Thursday, the electronics company reported an impressive first quarter 2018 performance with revenues and profits in record territory for the fourth quarter in a row. The catalyst, according to Samsung, was the huge demand for semiconductors used in cryptocurrency mining, which offset the continued weak demand in the smartphone market.

The figures made for an outstanding reading. Samsung posted operating profit of KRW15.64 trillion ($14.45 billion) with an excess of KRW60.56 trillion ($60 billion) in revenue. The latter was chiefly fueled by the rise in Samsung’s memory chip sales, which the company said continued to grow at a rapid pace.

Speaking during an earnings call, Robert M Yi, executive vice president for investor relations at Samsung, explained that the boom in turnover and profits was chiefly due to extremely favourable market conditions in the industry.

“In the semiconductor business, earnings increased significantly year-over-year thanks to favorable memory market conditions driven by a strong demand for server and graphic memory as well as earnings improvements in both System LSI and foundry businesses led by increasing demand for chips used in flagship smartphones and cryptocurrency mining,” he said.

However, Samsung continues to face increasing competition from other manufacturers of semiconductors as new players enter the cryptocurrency mining industry. Additionally, continuing weak demand for smart phones continues to negatively affect the company and the next quarter might not be as positive where results are concerned.

Meanwhile, AMD also reported strong performance in the first quarter of 2018, thanks to the continued demand for cryptocurrency mining.

First-quarter revenue for the chipmaker came in at $1.65 billion, while operating income and net income amounted to $120 million and $81 million, respectively. The first quarter’s “outstanding start to 2018” marked a 40% year-over-year revenue growth for AMD, according to President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.