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That was the time when you had the option to snip your company’s server power and mine bitcoin for yourself.

British cyber security

During last week presentation, British cyber security professionals had some discussion to tell about the sneaky and illegal mining of the bitcoins. In January 2015, Darktrace considers a possible interference in Italian bank’s system.

The firm exposes that the data is diffuse from one of the bank’s server to the European crime association. Director of the Darktrace Dave Palmer declares in Al summit, “It was a fairly well known European criminal botnet.” He says “The data was not customer data; it turned out to be a fairly buggy implementation of bitcoin mining software.”

The hijacked Italian bank was revealed speedily. It was inactivated within half an hour of it beginning to mine bitcoin. Palmer says, “I don’t think they made very much money out of it.”

2014 was the prime time for the criminal bitcoin mining activities. Palmer says, “It was super fashionable to have coin mining going on alongside sending spam from botnets.” According to the Palmer, bank server case was rare in the history, because these activities’ victims are laptops or desktops mostly.

Darktrace didn’t have the complete data of the mining malware. But Palmer says, “felt like it was a daily occurrence.” In that case, the company perceived 24 such cases in last six months across 24,000 monitoring sites. He says, “It has really dropped off.”

 

Palmer’s Experience

Although, mature cyber criminals steal computing power for mining in that days. It was common among the employees calmly mining from corporate laptops. Palmer says, “We’ve seen normal employees running these services on their workstations overnight.” Accordingly, “No surprise; people do all sorts of things like peer-to-peer file sharing and hosting Tor nodes [infrastructure for the anonymized network that’s part of the dark web], so I bet there is a load of coin mining stories all over the place.”

In addition, Few employees took their digital currency passion a step too far. Darktrace has found the same server covered by company’s staff in data center mining bitcoin non-stop. The severs advantage from superior cooling systems and consistent power supply at data center. Palmer says, “We found employees had procured some servers, [and] had hidden them under the data center false flooring.” And, “They were ‘off-the-record’ servers that no one recognized, mining coins 24/7.”

Those days of secret Bitcoin mining is now over. In addition, too much computing power is needed to mine bitcoin. Now, thousands of the servers are stored in huge warehouses. In addition, processing power increased by 770-fold since 2014, leaving the little chance for cyber criminals. Palmer says, “I think we have seen the last of successful coin mining.”

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Bitcoin is Surging – Goes Above $2,500!

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Bitcoin is Surging

Bitcoin’s value boosts up on Thursday, going up 13.01% at $2,576/BTC. The leading cryptocurrency continues to rise as the traders eagerly await the August 1 decision anticipating whether or not the Bitcoin hard fork will occur.

Thursday’s surge in the value of Bitcoin took the currency up by around 40%. This was the day when Bitcoin’s splitting fear tumbled to 20%.

The head of technical department strategy at Goldman Sachs – Sheba Jafari stated that digital currency needs to make new records after holding support in the area of $1,856-$1,790.

Jafari wrote, “The minimum target for an eventual Vth wave from current levels is 2,988; an extended 5th could reach ~ $3,691.”

Story & image credit: BusinessInsider

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Why Is Bitcoin Gaining Worldwide Popularity?

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Bitcoin Gaining Worldwide Popularity

Bitcoin is a digital currency that first came in markets in 2009. The start was slow, but the whole business world moving to the internet has helped it gain worldwide recognition at a rapid speed. There are numerous reasons behind its growing popularity and all of them cannot be compiled in one post. Some of the primary reasons as to why Bitcoin is suddenly gaining worldwide recognition are discussed below.

Reasons Behind Bitcoin’s Popularity:

Bitcoin Is Stored on Virtual Wallet:

The bitcoin wallet serves the same purpose as a bank account for the traditional money. Once a user has successfully mined coins, they are stored in a virtual wallet – also known as Bitcoin wallet address. Each user is allocated a wallet to store coins. The wallet is then used to send or receive coins.

Bitcoins Are Becoming Mainstream:

During its early days, Bitcoin worldwide popularity was considered to be some kind of internet oddity. But this not the case anymore.

With several leading banks, business corporations and retail stores accepting it as a method of payment; the trend amongst the general public is shifting and the number of people buying/selling their favorite items is increasing each day.

Bitcoin Is Immune to Counterfeiting:

The currency is autonomous to third party influence and is created purely through cryptographic techniques. The code used in Bitcoin generation is impossible to replicate, which ultimately makes it immune to counterfeiting.

In addition to cryptographic features, gain Bitcoin gives its user complete anonymity. The anonymity, as a result, gives the users the freedom to transfer coins across the internet without regulators, censor or nosey authorities.

A network of Miners:

The backbone of this entire system is the network of miners. A miner is a high-end computer user who supplies the Bitcoin network with the processing power. The power is then used to maintain a tally of all transactions.

Maintaining a transparent tally is essential as it helps prevent fraud. The miners, in return, are awarded brand new bitcoins for their services.

Acceptance as A Form of Payment on Global Scale:

Bitcoin has often caused an argument over the reliability of its design. For years, the Cryptographers argued whether the digital currency is well-designed and can it be used to buy anything?

Luckily, Bitcoin is erasing all the doubts over its authenticity. Now you can buy a car, real estate, toys for your kids, yacht, and nearly everything using bitcoins.

Running a small/large business? Learn how to accept Bitcoin payments here.

Trades Through Bitcoin Are the Easiest and Cheapest:

Another reason as to why Bitcoin is gaining worldwide recognition is its simple and easy transfer. Whether you want to send coins to a friend next door or someone living in distant parts of the globe, all it takes is a few minutes to complete the transaction. And since the currency does not need to go through any clearing house (government, The central bank, Visa card, master card, etc.) the transactions are cheaper than those of traditional currency.

These are some of the reasons as to why Bitcoin is gaining popularity throughout the world. In conclusion, the currency is easy and cheaper in terms of making transactions, cannot be counterfeited and is accepted on a worldwide scale. Considering all these factors, Bitcoin is only going to hit the new heights in the future.

Read our guide on what are the best Bitcoin exchanges to safely transact the coins.

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What Is the Difference Between Bitcoin and Litecoin?

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Bitcoin was launched in 2009 by a programmer called Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin is world’s first cryptocurrency.  The code of Bitcoin is open source, which means it can be modified by anyone and freely used for other projects.

Since the launch of Bitcoin, numerous cryptocurrencies have been released with slight modifications in Bitcoin’s code, however, none has been able to dethrone Bitcoin from the top spot. One that comes the closest is Litecoin.

Litecoin was launched in 2011 with the objective of being the “silver” to Bitcoin’s ‘gold’. At the time of writing, Litecoin has the most noteworthy market value amongst other cryptocurrencies, only lagging behind the Bitcoin.

In this article, we put light on the essential differences between Bitcoin and Litecoin.

Major Differences Between Bitcoin and Litecoin:

  • The coin limit of bitcoin is 21 million while the Litecoin’s limit is 84 million.
  • The block reward of Bitcoin is halved every 210,000 blocks. On the other hand, Litecoin reward is halved every 840,000 blocks.
  • Initial reward: 50 BTC in Bitcoin, 50 LTC in Litecoin.
  • Mean block time: 10 minutes in Bitcoin, 2.5 minutes in Litecoin.
  • Difficulty target: 2016 blocks in Bitcoin, 2016 blocks in Litecoin.
  • Algorithm used: SHA-256 in Bitcoin, “Scrypt” in Litecoin.
  • Block explorer: “blockchain.info” for Bitcoin while “block-explorer.com” for Litecoin.
  • Creator: Satoshi Nakatomo (Bitcoin), and Charles Lee of Litecoin.
  • Bitcoin was created on January, 3rd, 2009 while the creation date of Litecoin is October 7th, 2011.
  • Market cap: $10,467,596,650.78 (Bitcoin) and $540,274,528.26 for Litecoin.

Mining Differences Between The Two Currencies:

Just like Bitcoin, Litecoin is also a cryptocurrency generated through a process called mining. However, mining for both the currencies is done in a different way. The major mining differences between Bitcoin and Litecoin are as follows:

  • A Litecoin block takes 2.5 minutes to generate while the same block in Bitcoin takes up to 10 minutes.
  • The algorithm used in Bitcoin is SHA-256, which helps accelerate calculations in parallel processing. Due to this characteristic, the race in ASIC technology has become extremely intense, which also results in the increased bitcoin difficulty levels. On the other hand, Litecoin uses the “Scrypt” algorithm. The calculations in this algorithm are much more serialized as compared to the calculations in SHA-256.
  • At the time of writing, the total hashing rate of Litecoin is just 95,642Terra Hashes per second, while the Bitcoin hashing is around 20,000 Mega Hashes per second.

Differences in Transaction:

The major difference between Bitcoin and Litecoin is the transaction time.

  • Bitcoin transaction confirmations are relatively slow, while Litecoin has the ability to handle a higher volume of transactions, thanks to its higher volume of blocks.
  • A downside of having a higher volume of blocks is that it increases the size of Litecoin’s Blockchain, which results in more orphaned blocks.
  • Faster Litecoin transactions mean reduced risk of double spending.
  • For two Litecoin confirmations, you will only need to sit tight for 5 minutes, while in Bitcoin, you are supposed to wait for 20 minutes for a similar number of confirmations.

A large number of people involved in Bitcoin often tout transaction and confirmation speed as moot points as the confirmations given by most merchants are zero for most purchases.

One thing to remember here is that all transactions are instant, it is just the network that takes the time to confirm it as it propagates.

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Bitcoin Transaction Stuck? Don’t Panic! Here’s what you need to do

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Bitcoin Transaction Stuck

 

The number of transactions on the Bitcoin network has rapidly increased over the past couple of years. With more blocks filling up, all the transactions cannot be included in the blockchain at once.

Transactions that pay the highest fees are usually included in the blocks first and transactions with comparatively lower fees are made to wait until they find a new block. These transactions remain in the mempool of miners until their turn is up.

This gets the user quite irritated as some low fees transactions may take around days or weeks to confirm. But here’s what you can do if you happen to have your bitcoin transaction stuck.

Before You Send The Request:

Most wallets had a fixed fee of 0.1 mBTC during the early years of Bitcoin. Back then, miners had spare space in their blocks due to which they were able to accommodate more transactions in the first block itself that they mined.

Although, because of the increased competition for block space right now, the 0.1 milli bitcoin transaction fee is insufficient to have a transaction included in the next block. So, transactions with higher fees are taken up.

If you want to have your transaction confirmed faster, the obvious advice is to increase your amount. You may be able to adjust your fees manually when you send your transaction.

Also, check to see if your wallet includes dynamic fees.

Recently, most wallets are said to support dynamic fees. According to Bitcoin network, these wallets automatically include a fee that is estimated to have a transaction included in the next block or maybe in the upcoming blocks.

Several wallets let you decide your fee priority, again, a higher fee lets your transaction confirm faster.

After You’ve Sent it:

After you’ve sent your transaction and it happens to be stuck, that transaction can be made to skip the queue. This can be made possible using an option called Opt-In Reference-by-Fee (Opt-In RBF). Using this method, you can re-send the same transaction, but with a higher fee. Usually, when you re-send the same transaction, Bitcoin nodes detect this new transaction a double spend and therefore reject it. Although, by sending it using Opt-In RBF, you are explaining to the network that you may re-send that same transaction later on but with a higher fee. As a result, most Bitcoin nodes now accept the new transaction; allowing the new transaction to jump or skip the queue.

But, do remember, not all miners support Opt-In RBF, so your new transaction does depend on the hands of the new miner that mines that next block.

Electrum and GreenAddress are two wallets currently supporting the Opt-In RBF option. You will need to enable Opt-In RBF in the settings menu of your wallet, before proceeding any further with the transaction.

If Opt-In RBF doesn’t do the trick, then another solution would be Child Pay for Parent, CPFP. By applying this method, miners don’t pick a transaction with a high fee, but a set of transactions that include most combined fees.

As a Receiver:

Lastly, a Bitcoin transaction can also get stuck on the receiving end of it. If your wallet allows you to spend Bitcoin unconfirmed transactions, this can be solved with CPFP as well. If the new fee is sufficient, the transaction is supposed to complete within a couple of blocks.

 

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ICO Promotion by John McAfee – How much will it cost?

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Do you know how much it cost to get a crypto influencer for your ICO promotion on social media platforms? Here’s the surprising answer!

ICO (Initial Coin Offering) operators don’t really like to disclose the amount they are spending on marketing, although promoters usually prefer to delay discussions related to prices ’til after they’ve had the chance to make a sales pitch as précised figures are hardly discussed in public. However, John McAfee (cybersecurity pioneer) has spent all his life resisting convention, and now he is operating an ICO marketing service, McAfee Crypto Team.

ico marketing service

Company’s Official Statement

According to the official site of the company, McAfee Crypto team is a full-service ICO promoter as it offers:

  • Whitepaper support
  • Web optimization
  • Marketing
  • Strategic advice

The cost for many of the services is not listed; however, clients will have to pay $105,000 to get McAfee tweet about their ICO, which will be sent to its 811,000 followers, at least few of them will be probably bots.

According to the website:

“John McAfee’s tweets are by far the most influential in the field of cryptocurrency. Few leaders in the Crypto community can come close to Mr McAfee’s reach into the heart of the cryptocurrency investor community.”

Dubious Claims by McAfee Crypto Team

Furthermore, the website makes suspicious claim that this is one of the most inexpensive ways of marketing a cryptocurrency project. The site also claims:

“Given Mr McAfee’s price of $105,000 per tweet, the cost per investor reached is the least costly of any marketing avenue in the Crypto world. Considering only his own followers, the cost per investor reached is $0.13. Considering his reach beyond his own followers, the cost per investor reached is frequently less than a penny. This is orders of magnitude less than any other approach.”

Even with the heavy price tag, the company still claims that so many projects are showing their interest that now the company has to establish a $750 registration fee to stop staff from being dazed with applications. While responding to opponents, McAfee refused to accept that he has sold out and stated:

“They say I sold out ’cause I use my tweets to promote, but the last 200 ICOs that lined up, we rejected 195 and chose 5.”

He added, he promotes only those projects that he believes in as he tweeted:

“I only promote what I believe.”

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