Encrypted doesn’t mean hack proof, even for cryptocurrency – The American Genius

(TECH NEWS) There is no such thing as un-hackable, even in cryptocurrency. Yes, it can be hacked, BUT it can also be prevented.

WHAT IF CRYPTOCURRENCY… WASN’T?

Sounds like a terribly clever Black Mirror episode, I realize, but it’s a serious question that’s come up more and more in conversations about cryptocurrency: is it really safe? Security has always been the core offer of bitcoin, Ethereum and their digital kindred. It’s right there in the name. Cryptocurrency equals currency, encrypted. It’s supposed to be so good it can be bad, as in, the security is so tight bad people can do bad things and nobody knows about it.

But despite the rep for felon-worthy security, the plain fact is that blockchain isn’t invincible. When it comes to secure exchange of funds, blockchain-based cryptocurrency is still probably your best bet, but as with all things “best” does not equal “perfect.” Blockchain’s advantages over conventional cash are clear: there’s no hard currency to steal or lose, no middleman to get up to nefarious doings, and the records are cozy behind the apex of information security. That’s great, but it’s not everything.

HOW TO KEEP THE CRYPT PART OF CRYPTOCURRENCY

That being the case, in my self-appointed role as AG Crypto Guy (Pulitzers, call me) here follow several ways nefarious folks can eff with your fat digital stacks, and what you can do about them.

1. MALWARE

It’s a classic. Early on, cryptocurrency was spared the plague of Russian threats and Nigerian princes for the same reason as Linux: not enough there to steal. After Mt. Gox and other frankly spectacular bits of fraud (the word “trillion” occurs in the Mt. Gox story, and it’s not hyperbole) that is, to say the least, no longer the case. Bad folks are writing programs based on the same tricks they’d use to swipe normal cash – Trojans that skulk in the guts of your programs, scooping up secure data, phishing attempts to get you to hand that data over voluntarily – aimed at your digital dollars.

Solution: Operational security. Sounds fancy when I put it like that, but for our purposes “operational security” just means “stuff that you do” as distinct from “stuff your computer does.” If you keep a substantial portion of your value in cryptocurrency, protect it as tightly as you would anything else worth having. Have strong, single-use passwords for each service you use your coins of choice with. Keep offline backups of your cryptographic credentials. Use a good VPN. Think of it as the equivalent of keeping your bank password out of your Smart Lock list, and not putting your PIN on a Post-It.

More at: Encrypted doesn’t mean hack proof, even for cryptocurrency – The American Genius

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WhopperCoins, Scammers, and State-Backed Crypto – Barron’s

Reasons to sit out the first wave cryptocurrency craze.

Burger King recently launched its own crypto-currency WhopperCoin in Russia. It’s a glorified loyalty punch card, where every rouble spent on a burger translates into one coin. Amass 1,700 whoppercoins, and get a free Whopper.

This is just one more piece of evidence that cryptocurrency such as bitcoin and ethereum is in its Napster stage. Napster, for those who don’t remember, was an early music-sharing application created in the late 1990s that granted users access to a gargantuan library of music. Then came the LimeWires and Kazaas. It was free! It was cool and sometimes, downloaded files would come with a wicked computer virus.

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

To be sure, the promise of bitcoin is hard to ignore, especially when it keeps shooting the lights out. Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) is trading at a greater than 100% premium to its net asset value and charges a whopping 2% fee, but investors keep piling in. Last year to the day, GBTC had $94.5 million in assets. Today it has $772 million in assets.

It’s important for investors to keep in mind that it is still early days for cryptocurrency, which means there are a lot of duds and scammers in the mix. Despite the SEC’s protests, initial coin offerings just keep comingThe Atlantic reported that scammers are profiting from the digital coin rush, drawing the uninformed into Ponzi schemes. And the threat of getting hacked is forcing crypto issuers to turn to bank vaults. So maybe, its best to sit out the first wave craze.

More at: WhopperCoins, Scammers, and State-Backed Crypto – Barron’s

From Tech Titans To Blockchain Billionaires – Forbes Digital Money #NewTech

If the internet augured a world of frictionless information sharing, can blockchain augur a world of frictionless value transfer? A standards war – or better still a use case knife fight – is being waged among blockchain technology companies large and small, as well as a raft of consultants who are pitching every novel blockchain use case to anyone who will listen. The industry and world-changing outcomes that are promised are few and far between in the real world, with the exception of blockchain’s so-called “killer app,” Bitcoin and its digital currency brethren. And yet, however fleeting or threatening the prospect of a low-friction economy may seem to established players, blockchain is here to stay and its power to transform, augment and disrupt may very well surpass the internet’s.

More at: From Tech Titans To Blockchain Billionaires – Forbes Digital Money #NewTech

Blockchain can boost supply chain efficiency and cut costs – and resist cyber attack – The Loadstar

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have backed using blockchain systems in container shipping after tests led to improved efficiency and security.

The pilot scheme of Marine Transport International’s “Container Streams” system connected supplier, shipper, load point, customs and terminal on a shared blockchain ledger.

The technology is essentially an encrypted messaging system that allows supply chain partners to operate a shared ledger that records all the events in the processing and physical progress of a shipment, such as customs entries or bills of lading.

Karim Jabbar, of the university’s department of computer sciences, said the pilot demonstrated the great potential for blockchain to improve supply chain processes.

He added: “The logistics industry can expect better visibility, connectivity and cost savings as a result of distributed ledger adoption. Furthermore, the Container Streams system is unique in that it does not require the complete replacement of existing systems.”

Through use of an adapter programme, Mr Jabbar said MTI’s system provided “complete interoperability” with legacy infrastructure.

A white paper, co-authored by Mr Jabbar and chief executive of Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration Deanna MacDonald, says the system lowers barriers of entry to blockchain, which makes it easier for “smaller players” in the supply chain to become connected – thus completing the chain.

More at: Blockchain can boost supply chain efficiency and cut costs – and resist cyber attack – The Loadstar

Biometrics and blockchains: Why identity matters (part 1) – CSO Online

Identity matters because anonymity is no longer the online default.

This is the first of a three article series on identity and biometrics via blockchain technologies. In this first article, I’ll review the motivation behind using biometrics and blockchain for online identity management. In the second article, I’ll critique the capabilities and limitations of blockchain technologies. In the third and final article, I’ll discuss the requirements for a new idea – the Horcrux protocol – that will securely link your biometrics and online identity credentials via blockchain technologies.

More at: Biometrics and blockchains: Why identity matters (part 1) – CSO Online

Alibaba, EY, IBM And Microsoft Use The Blockchain To Create A Transparent Supply Chain – Forbes Business #BigBusiness

Global companies are looking to deploy blockchain technologies in their supply chains to give them greater transparency. Crucially, blockchain solutions have the potential to solve visibility issues that have dogged the supply chain for decades.

Yesterday, Microsoft launched its CoCo framework to provide governance support for enterprises building their own blockchain projects.

IBM recently announced that it is collaborating with key food producers and distributors to reduce contamination in the global food supply chain. They intend to use blockchain technologies to create a “trusted environment for transactions”.

More at: Alibaba, EY, IBM And Microsoft Use The Blockchain To Create A Transparent Supply Chain – Forbes Business #BigBusiness

EY To Use Blockchain For Ridesharing Industry – PYMNTS.com

Blockchain, the technology that makes cryptocurrency like bitcoin possible, is moving into the auto and ridesharing markets.

According to a news report in Reuters, EY, the consulting unit of Ernst & Young Global, announced Wednesday (Aug. 30) it is launching a blockchain system that will let companies and/or individuals share vehicle ownership more easily. EY said the system, dubbed Tesseract, will launch in the next quarter with a partner the firm did not disclose.

Source: EY To Use Blockchain For Ridesharing Industry – PYMNTS.com