Month: April 2015

Cryptocurrency Market in Shambles: Bitcoin Loosing Sheen

What is bitcoin (BTC) You have heard of bitcoins. They are a form of cryptocurrency. For the starters, a cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange just like a physical currency such as Dollars, Pounds and Euros. However, these currencies are designed specifically for digital information exchange through complex algorithms, based on the principles of cryptography. These complex algorithms are used for creation of new coins and secure transactions. Bitcoin was the first such currency created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto (most probably a pseudonym). Bitcoin uses SHA-256 hash functions which were designed by NSA. With time, the cryptocurrency market boomed to create hundreds of virtual currencies commonly known as Altcoins or Bitcoin alternatives. Cryptocurrency Market View After 2009, the cryptocurrency market has become huge and at present there are 557 such coins as per the data from CoinMarketCap. These currencies have a market capitalization of $3.5 billion as of current date. Bitcoin alone has a market capitalization of $3 billion. Clearly bitcoin commands over 85% of the cryptocurrency market. At present bitcoin is trading at $218.68 with an available circulation of over 14 million coins in the market. Where is the market for Bitcoin? Bitcoin is treated as a legal currency in most countries apart from Iceland and Vietnam. China has also banned financial institutions from trading bitcoins and Russia, made it illegal to purchase goods with any currency...

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Security Researcher Tweets about Hacking Skills; Debarred from Boarding United Airlines Flight

To keep the security of the flight intact, United Airlines recently blocked the founder of security intelligence firm One World Labs – Chris Robert – from boarding a California-bound flight. The decision by  the airlines followed a social media post by the security researcher. In the post Robert tweeted about his ability to hack the airplane’s network to deploy the emergency oxygen mask. Chris Robert was going to board the United Airlines flight from Colorado to San Francisco to speak at a major security conference; but he wasn’t allowed to carry on with his schedule as he was stopped by the airline’s corporate security at the gate. It is interesting to note that the company that he founded, One World Labs, works on discovering security risks in technologies and companies before they are exploited. Here’s the tweet by Robert that actually resulted in his flight ban and FBI detainment – “Find myself on a 737/800, lets see Box-IFE-ICE-SATCOM,? Shall we start playing with EICAS messages? ‘PASS OXYGEN ON’ Anyone?:)”. Taking this short and joking statement by the researcher seriously, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) immediately detained Chris Robert and confiscated all his electronic devices that he was carrying along. Talking on the step taken by the United Airlines, the spokesman of the airline, Rahsaan Johnson said, “Given Mr. Roberts’ claims regarding manipulating aircraft systems, we’ve decided it’s...

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Chinese hackers spying on Southeast Asia, India, etc. to gather intelligence, reports FireEye

After months of research, cyber security giant FireEye recently disclosed that the hackers, supported by the Chinese government, have been spying on governments, companies, and journalists in Southeast Asia, India and other countries for a decade. As per the released report of 65 pages by FireEye, the motive behind the decade-long cyber attacks were to gather intelligence from classified government networks on two major issues – political and military, such as disputes over the South China Sea. Talking in regard to the reports released, Internet Security Company, FireEye, said, “The cyber espionage dated back to at least 2005 and ‘focused on targets- government and commercial – who hold key political, economic and military information about the region.” Adding further, the report’s author said, “Such as sustained planned development effort coupled with the (hacking) group’s regional targets and mission, lead us to believe that this activity is state-sponsored – most likely Chinese government.” For the Internet Security firm FireEye, conducting an investigation into decade-long cyber-attack plans became a little easier as the attacks by Chinese hackers as reported were still in their active mode and the servers used by them were still operational. Open servers and the ongoing attacks actually helped the security firm in discovering the real-facet of the scary ongoing plan. Bryce Boland, Chief Technology Officer for Asia Pacific at FireEye and co-author of the report said, “The...

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Tax Scam Frauds are Faking as the IRS with Arrest Warrants

With the onset of tax filing season this year, tax scam artists are active once again. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has circulated warnings to stay alert of sham phone calls or emails posing as the IRS. These tax scam fraudsters are issuing mails to taxpayers’ names and asking them to file tax returns. Tax scams conducted via phone have already made a profit of about 15 million across the United States, according to the IRS. That’s why IRS has increased their efforts to curtail these phony tax return phone calls and email baits. They are applying a filter procedure to scan and detect people who are filing multiple tax returns from a single computer. But, there are several types of IRS scam attempts tax fraudsters are employing that are difficult to detect in this filtering process. To help prevent taxpayers falling for those scam attacks, IRS cautions of common ploys being played by these scam artists currently and how they can identify these tax fraud attempts. Fraudsters are calling as the IRS agents       IRS has put on an alert on how tax scam artists are faking as real agents and calling taxpayers by their names. IRS issued a fraud alert message this week which stated that these IRS imposters “use fake names, provide bogus IRS badge numbers and alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the...

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