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FCC orders shut down of bitcoin mining rig due to “harmful interference”

The FCC notified a bitcoin miner that he has to stop his mining operations as it is disrupting T-mobile’s signals in the vicinity. The FCC’s “direction finding techniques” revealed the cause of this interference to be an Antminer S5 mining rig.

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A New York resident has been issued a first-of-its-kind notice from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Dated February 15th, the official notice was titled “Notification of Harmful Interference”. It states that the resident is causing interference with T-Mobile’s broadband network through his bitcoin mining rig.

The FCC detailed that they had been receiving complaints from T-Mobile regarding interference with its network in Brooklyn. The agency’s “direction finding techniques” finally revealed the cause of this interference to be the an Antminer S5 mining rig. Apparently, it was releasing emissions on the same frequency as that of T-Mobile’s 700MHz LTE network.

The notice strictly orders the resident named Victor Rosario to switch off his device. His mining activities were declared illegal under the federal law, as they cause “harmful interference”. The warning stated that noncompliance would subject the miner to penalties like a monetary fine or even imprisonment.

However, this does not mean that every Antminer S5 user needs to shut down their device.  The FCC clarifies that the warning does not necessarily imply that anyone operating an Antminer S5 is actually breaking the law.

They clearly stated that the notification is not meant for the device’s “brand or model”, but only for that one specific unit. The notice did not reveal why exactly Rosario’s rig is the only one to cause disruption. It is possible that it was tampered with to change frequency settings in order to increase mining speed.

The FCC has also asked Rosario to provide information regarding the manufacturer and seller of his device. He has been given 20 days to respond to the warning and provide the mentioned information. The notice added that mining operations must not resume until the condition resulting in this harmful disruption is fixed.

Bitcoin mining is a way to earn bitcoins by solving complex mathematical problems for the network, in order to facilitate transaction confirmation processes. Mining also shields the network against “double spending” attempts. There are companies especially dedicated to manufacturing ASIC miners, which are indispensable to bitcoin miners. The Antminer S5 was first released in 2014 by Bitmain.

Although this FCC warning is the first of its kind, it is not the first time mining has created problems. Bitcoin mining requires massive amounts of electrical energy. Just last month, the electrical infrastructure of a small county in Washington state got overloaded due to extensive cryptocurrency mining operations. Miners had flocked there to take advantage of the state’s cheap electricity.

ICO Rating Websites Publish Fraudulent Scores Yet Again

HarelAug 7, 2018

You may have come across Xsearch’s ICO recently. With such a large percentage of the population using the internet for our daily tasks, many are concerned about how much personal data they are giving to advertisers and others online entities. Xsearch, a blockchain-based research system, promised to disrupt the online advertising industry via a decentralized network where sellers and users can interact directly. With Xsearch’s system, consumers are able to choose which pieces of information they reveal to advertisers when they search online. In return, consumers are rewarded with Xsearch Tokens when they view promotions from advertisers that are targeting their specific demographic.

If you research Xsearch, you’ll notice that the ICO has received promising reviews and analysis from numerous websites. WiserICO, FoxICO, ICO Bazaar, ICOholder and an additional three smaller rating sites gave Xsearch high scores. Below are just a few of these ratings.wiserICO rating

ICO holder

ICObazaar

foxICO

CryptoTotem

You may think this is just another case of the crypto community supporting a promising new ICO. In fact, this is a complete and utter disgrace.

The Truth About Xsearch

The truth about Xsearch is that it is a scam ICO.

When we researched Xsearch, it became almost immediately clear that this ICO is fraudulent. Xsearch is scamming the crypto community by trying to get people to invest in their fake project. Our research team was in disbelief when they learned of how many websites gave this ICO a high score! How could this possibly happen when even the most cursory research reveals the truth about Xsearch!?

We discovered only one rating website which retracted their review and score of Xsearch. TrackICO posted a review and gave this scam ICO a high score only to later delete the page.

When researching an ICO, potential investors must look at the ICO’s team. With Xsearch, we didn’t have to look far to find that the team presented by the ICO did not seem to be actually connected to Xsearch. The images and profiles Xsearch listed for team members did not list Xsearch as a project they worked on.

One example of this is Valnea Skansi. Xsearch alleges that Valnea Skansi is the ICO’s business owner. Skansi has a different opinion. In the screenshot below you can see that she has made a proclamation on her LinkedIn page to clearly state that she does not have, and has never had, any affiliation to Xsearch.io.  

Valenea Skansi

Lucas Schweiger, whom Xsearch claims to be the former co-founder of the company, has publicly stated that he has no connection to the ICO whatsoever. He took to Xsearch’s Telegram group to warn the public about this scam ICO, attesting to the fact that Xsearch illegitimately used his name and profile.

Lucas scam note

Following this announcement, Xsearch changed the members on their team. This change, however, did not reveal the true team behind the project. Their current team is no better. Not one of the team members listed by Xsearch shows any connection to the ICO on their LinkedIn profiles or anywhere else.

The below image from the Bitcointalk forum is posted by forum member Donacal. This person joins their voice to the chorus of others in fighting back against Xsearch wrongfully using their names and profiles to say that they are part of the ICO’s team.

bitcointalk post

How many lies can one ICO tell?

If the fact that Xsearch lied about their team wasn’t enough to persuade you that this ICO is a scam, there are other red flags that are present. While the entire team is alleged to be located in both Croatia and Luxembourg, the ICO lists a Norwegian phone number.

Moreover, Xsearch is lying to the public regarding how many of their XSE tokens have been sold. On their website, Xsearch shows a graphic illustrating how much capital was raised through token sales. When we visited the site, we saw that the figure was at 5,423,000 XSE tokens. Our disbelief led us to look for the true figure  via their address tracker. Here, we saw that only 0.3 ETH is shown. This equates to less than 400 XSE, if you are to make a generous conversion.

Beware of ICO and Rating Site Scams

With Xsearch’s ICO continuing for about another week, we are troubled to think of how many investors may have been swindled by both Xsearch’s scam and by the rating sites which wrongfully gave high scores to this ICO.

At Cointelligence, we saw this problem long ago and felt the lack of trust in the crypto community. We dedicated ourselves to restoring that trust through honest and accurate analysis and ratings of ICOs, as well as providing useful tools and guides to the entire community. We have publicly called for all rating websites to stop giving false ratings and thoroughly research ICOs before rating them. We’ve also called for an end of the practice of buying ratings.

 

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blockchaining logistics

Blockchaining Logistics

Bogomil AlexandrovJul 25, 2018

International trade and logistics together are one of the largest economic sectors in the world, accounting for over USD 30 trillion annually1. 90% of the world cargo is transported by sea. The significance of the logistics industry and moreover sea freight is very significant with a 10.3 billion tons2 per annum in 2016. The logistics sector is one of the real, physical world areas where blockchain technology can be applied to improve efficiency and optimize operations. Logistics is a perfect fit for the blockchain technologies, because logistics is essentially a supply chain of merchandise, where we have irreversible steps in the supply chain that are required to progress on to the next step. Furthermore, the blockchain provides the much needed transparency, security and most importantly trust to all parties involved in the chain – something that is currently being carried by banks, industry associations and organizations, etc.

International trade and logistics are very complex nowadays although all processes are still being carried out the way they were 300 years ago, i.e. on paper. The title of ownership (Bill of Lading) in the shipping industry is still being printed on paper and still being sent by courier to the receiving party. The payments are still being carried out via banks transfers and letters of credit, all proved to be slow, expensive and take time to clear. New regulations impose additional checks by US intermediary banks cause further delays. Bank payment transactions often take 3 to 5 days. All these factors cause losses to the shipping industry and international trade. Cargoes are delayed, pending for original documents to be delivered and payments to be received. Each idling day of a ship could cost as little as USD 10,000 USD and up to USD 150,000 in expenses, including salaries, port charges, running expenses. Cargo delivery delay penalties cost millions of dollars per single shipment. Empirical research shows that 17% of its lifespan cargo ships are idling, waiting for clearance of financial matters, including financial hold of cargo, freight payment, cargo related documents or other trade and ship related document. Considering that the global value of sea freight itself accounts for USD 380 billion per year the delays generated losses are a billion-dollar figure. That cost is passed on to the clients and to the end users, all of us.

Optimizing the international trade, logistics and sea freight industries will affect all of us in one way or another.

Blockchain technology allows us to introduce smart contracts that will replace paper documents, provide instant delivery of documents, eliminate the expensive letters of credit and replace them with blockchain escrow payments.

These 4 points only will reduce delays to under 10% leading to freight optimization and less cargo delay penalties. Further improvements such as customs clearance are to be implemented by blockchaining.  Pilot customs services project by blockchain has already started in South Korea.

Other than the delays that account for huge losses each year, there are number of other problems in the international logistics, that could also be solved through blockchaining logistics, such as:

  • Reducing fraud – replacing paper documents with smart contracts that cannot be forged will improve trust and accountability of the document flow.
  • Lowering costs & Increasing trust – using an established blockchain protocol, such as Ethereum and escrow payments rather than bank letters of credit will significantly reduce the costs of cargo and freight payments, while at the same time providing for even higher trust and secure payments.
  • Securing information – encryption ensures high security of the documentation flow, which is otherwise exposed to various parties, such as bank’s employees, agents, brokers, etc. With a blockchain solution, each party would have access only to the information that is relevant to them and will greatly decrease industry scouting for information.
  • Safe archiving – paper documents fade over time, get lost, burned, flood and humidity greatly affect them. With blockchain smart contracts the documents will always be in perfect shape, ready to review and reference and will not be prone to destruction.
  • Tracking – tracking cargo shipments is a crucial aspect, especially if the shipment is split in several parts or is being transported by different modes of transport throughout the cycle. Furthermore, tracking is crucial in the supply chain of food, where batches need to be traced back to their origins.

Global transportation platforms, such as CargoCoin are essential for the implementation of the 21st century technologies such as the blockchain and smart contracts in global trade and logistics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Bogomil Alexandrov, Cargo Technologies Ltd. https://thecargocoin.com/

1 – CIA – The world fact book – https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html

2 – UNCTAD – Review of Maritime Transport – http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/rmt2017_en.pdf

 

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Brandshield Yoav Keren

Brandshield’s Five Principles for a Successful Anti-Phishing Solution

Yoav KerenJul 23, 2018

Phishing has become a very real danger to cryptocurrency firms. More than $1.1 billion worth of cryptocurrency was stolen in the first half of 2018. Another $1 billion has been stolen in ICO scams, with Ernst & Young estimating that over 10% of funds raised through initial coin offerings end up lost or stolen. It’s gotten so bad that one study found that a full 80% of all ICO’s are fake.

Fraud, unfortunately, is alive and well in the cryptocurrency space. As a result, your company’s reputation is more important than ever before.

Phishing attacks hijack your company’s credibility. They masquerade as your website in emails, websites, and on social media. They use the very trust you’ve so painstakingly built to convince your customers to hand over their personal information and wallet IDs. And when these con artists vanish, who do you see about recovering your good name?

The truth is, when it comes to phishing, your best remedy is both active, vigilant prevention and uncompromising takedown actions. Here are five principles your company can employ to make that happen:

1. Monitor Websites, Social Media, and Advertising

Phishing attacks start with stealing your corporate identity. They establish websites that look identical to your own, place nearly identical ads in your name, and create near carbon-copy social media accounts that are complete with pages and posts. They’ll send e-mails that duplicate your logo and letterhead, or tweets from a Twitter handle that changes only one inconspicuous letter from your own. Some scammers have even been found impersonating CEO’s and other members of a company’s leadership team.

Their goal is simple: To free-ride off your corporate reputation. A phisher wants to mimic a website so trustworthy that users won’t think twice before plugging in their financial information. Arguably that trust is, in fact, the first thing they steal.

The good news is that you know what to look for. Constantly monitor your online environment both inside the firewall (within your network) and outside of it (on the internet at large). Use tools that search the web for your logo and other copyrights, as well as find social media accounts using names similar to yours. Have your e-mail server check for any inbound messages containing your branded content. Phishers depend on this material to duplicate your company’s look and feel, and the right tools can help you spot it even on the deep web.

Let scammers know that no matter how many fake websites they put up and no matter how many social media channels they hijack, you will take them down as soon as they are published. Soon enough they’ll give up, realizing that it isn’t worth the cost to phish someone as aware and dedicated to fighting scams as you are.

2. Guard Your Data

Sometimes security starts at home.

Your company stores a wealth of data that could be used to compromise its followers. From email addresses to personal information and financial records, your servers hold everything a phisher needs to make the scam look real.

Protect your community by protecting yourself. Establish well-known methods of communication, whether via e-mail, social media, or even snail mail. Make sure everyone in touch with your company knows exactly how they’ll hear from you. Never deviate from this process and let everyone know that non-compliant communication should be treated as illegitimate.

It is important to then secure that point of contact. Protect your network with strong, preferably two-factor, authentication. You might have your financial records under lock and key, but how secure is your e-mail server? Does your social media team understand the need to protect their Twitter and Facebook credentials? Exactly how many people can post on your Slack?

The same thing goes for personal data. People often use proprietary e-mail addresses or high-privacy accounts when it comes to financial contacts, such as blockchain firms. For them, the mere fact that a scammer knows how to reach them will give the attack legitimacy.

Double check all of these details and educate your team on security. After all, the only thing worse than a scammer creating fake accounts is one who can use the real thing.

3. Respond Quickly

There are a number of things you need to do after discovering that scammers have launched a phishing attack in your name, and all of them have to happen immediately.

Reach out to your community so that they know what is happening. While it’s true that no one wants to publicize an ongoing security issue, it will be far worse if the world reads about it in the press. Leave no ambiguity about the nature of the threat and be clear about how you will follow up. Then, ensure that you do follow up.

Identify all relevant hosts, domain registrars, and e-mail services, along with all social media channels. Contact them to try and get the malicious content blocked or taken down. Proactively reach out to all social media channels, even ones where you haven’t identified a threat. Phishing is cross-platform. Just because you haven’t found a threat on Telegram or LinkedIn doesn’t mean it’s not there.

4. Communicate and Educate

Your customers can be your first and best line of defense against phishers.

Staying engaged with your community isn’t just good business sense, it can also help you catch problems in their infancy. Establish forums, whether through your own website or through social media channels, and get actively engaged in them. Build a reputation for responding promptly to comments, e-mails, and other inquiries.

Consider setting a dedicated contact for security issues, and establish regular communication about these matters. Alert your community when you find a phishing site and invite them to do the same in return. Use your web presence to publicize evolving threats, including the growing reach of scams outside traditional social media and into Medium, Google Docs, Telegram, and other platforms previously thought fairly safe.

A culture of engagement and education will give your customers the opportunity to help you learn about suspicious behavior out on the web. If it ends with someone forwarding you a suspicious message or asking about an unusual URL, all that effort will be worth it.

5. Enforce, Enforce, Then Enforce Some More

You can’t do this alone.

Enforcement will play a crucial role in your response to a phishing attack because, make no mistake, even if the scammers haven’t targeted anyone inside your firewall you are under attack. Respond accordingly.

Ensure in advance that your company’s legal counsel has the capacity and institutional expertise necessary to respond quickly in case of a digital threat. Discuss with them the risk that phishing poses and emphasize the importance of a quick response to any phishing site or posts detected. When you identify a phishing attack, have them immediately contact relevant 3rd party companies such as domain registrars, advertisers and social media platforms.

Attorneys will be crucial to getting offending content removed. While some platforms will work with your firm in good faith, some may not. Others may simply require the paperwork of a takedown letter or subpoena in order to process your request. As part of this process you should make sure that all corporate content is properly protected through appropriate copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property registration. Often a court order or third party compliance will require proof of protected content, so be sure you have that paperwork ready in advance.

When good faith efforts aren’t enough, consider contacting law enforcement. Many criminals launch their phishing attacks from third party jurisdictions and bulletproof servers. Government agencies may have the reach and authority to intervene when lawyers and domestic courts can’t.

When it comes to phishing attacks don’t pull your punches. Responding with every tool at your disposal and the full force of the law sends a message to future attackers that yours is a company they can’t afford to mess with.

 

Yoav Keren is the Founder and CEO of BrandShield and MyShield with 21 years of experience in financial management and business development. Keren is a current member of the INTA anti-counterfeiting committee. His prior experience includes membership in the ICANN GNSO Council and a position as a Senior Advisor to Minister Haim Ramon, at the Israeli Prime Minister’s office. Keren also served as Head of the Technology branch for the Israeli military’s Information Security Department.

Keren holds an MBA jointly issued by Northwestern University’s Kellogg Business School and the Recanati Business School at Tel-Aviv University. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in economics and physics from Tel-Aviv University.

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