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Bitcoin is a digital asset and a payment system invented by Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto introduced the idea on 31 October 2008 to a cryptography mailing list, and released it as open-source software in 2009. There have been several high profile claims to the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto; however, none of them have provided proof beyond doubt that back up their claims.

The system is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary. These transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger called the blockchain, which uses bitcoin as its unit of account. Since the system works without a central repository or single administrator, the U.S. Treasury categorizes bitcoin as a decentralized virtual currency. Bitcoin is often called the first cryptocurrency, although prior systems existed and it is more correctly described as the first decentralized digital currency. Bitcoin is the largest of its kind in terms of total market value.

Bitcoins are created as a reward for payment processing work in which users offer their computing power to verify and record payments into a public ledger. This activity is called mining and miners are rewarded with transaction fees and newly created bitcoins. Besides being obtained by mining, bitcoins can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. When sending bitcoins, users can pay an optional transaction fee to the miners.

In February 2015, the number of merchants accepting bitcoin for products and services passed 100,000. Instead of 2–3% typically imposed by credit card processors, merchants accepting bitcoins often pay fees in the range from 0% to less than 2%. Despite the fourfold increase in the number of merchants accepting bitcoin in 2014, the cryptocurrency did not have much momentum in retail transactions. The European Banking Authority and other sources have warned that bitcoin users are not protected by refund rights or chargebacks. The use of bitcoin by criminals has attracted the attention of financial regulators, legislative bodies, law enforcement, and media. Criminal activities are primarily centered around darknet markets and theft, though officials in countries such as the United States also recognize that bitcoin can provide legitimate financial services.

WannaCry: Ransomware Catastrophe or Failure?

Using Bitcoin payments as a measure, the WannaCry attack is not nearly as profitable as the headlines suggest.

But you should still patch your Windows systems and educate users.

WCry ransomware worm’s Bitcoin take tops $70k as its spread continues

Three wallets linked to the code take in over 250 payments so far.

WannaCry ransomware used in widespread attacks all over the world

Earlier today, our products detected and successfully blocked a large number of ransomware attacks around the world.
In these attacks, data is encrypted with the extension “.WCRYrdquo; added to the filenames. Our analysis indicates the attack, dubbed “WannaCryrdquo;, is initiated through an SMBv2 remote code execution in Microsoft Windows.

Unplug the Bitcoin miner and do us all a favour: Antminer...

‘Antbleed’ attack could crock 70 per cent of all mining.

Time to try another flavour? A new branded bug (sigh) has landed, specific to an ASIC-based Bitcoin miner: dubbed “Antbleed”, it allows remote shutdown of hardware sold by a company called "Bitmain".…

BrandPost: How To Prepare and Prevent Ransomware From Wreaking Havoc

By Bharath Vasudevan, Director of Product Management, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Software-defined and Cloud GroupRansomware is a malicious software virus that locks files or computer systems until a sum of money (usually in Bitcoin) is paid to the cyber criminals. With ransomware attacks increasing in quantity and ferocity seemingly by the day, it is no longer a matter of if an organization will be attacked by ransomware, but when.

According to the Ponemon Institute’s January 2016 report, Cost of Data Center Outages, 22% of unplanned IT outages are due to cyberattacks.

This represents a 167% increase since the initial 2010 report.
Stronger security and improved data protection and disaster recovery plans may be businesses’ only hopes to minimize the damage done by ransomware.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

XPan, I am your father

While we have previously written on the now infamous XPan ransomware family, some of it’s variants are still affecting users primarily located in Brazil.

This sample is what could be considered as the “father” of other XPan ransomware variants.

A considerable amount of indicators within the source code depict the early origins of this sample.

Profit with just one infection! Crook sells ransomware for $175

Nifty dashboard shows the bitcoin rolling in Cybercrooks have begun retailing a new easy-to-use ransomware strain that promises profit with only one successful infection.…

Evil ISPs could disrupt Bitcoin’s blockchain

Boffins say BGP is a threat to the crypto-currency Attacks on Bitcoin just keep coming: ETH Zurich boffins have worked with Aviv Zohar of The Hebrew University in Israel to show off how to attack the crypto-currency via the Internet's routing infrastructure.…

Angry Shadow Brokers release password for suspected NSA hacking tools

Annoyed with the U.S. missile strike last week on an airfield in Syria, among other things, hacker group Shadow Brokers resurfaced on Saturday and released what they said was the password to files containing suspected National Security Agency tools they had earlier tried to sell.“Is appearing you are abandoning ‘your base’, ‘the movement’, and the peoples who getting you elected,” the group wrote in broken English in a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump posted online on Saturday.[ 18 surprising tips for security pros. | Discover how to secure your systems with InfoWorld's Security Report newsletter. ]The hacker group, believed by some security experts to have Russian links, released in January an arsenal of tools that appeared designed to spy on Windows systems, after trying to to sell these and other supposedly Windows and Unix hacking tools for bitcoin.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

IBM Discovers Mirai IoT Botnet Deploying Bitcoin Mining Payload

IBM Security researchers have discovered that a variant of the Mirai IoT botnet was doing more than just performing DDoS attacks against targets.

Bitcoin rise fuels social media scams

The price of a single bitcoin passed that of an ounce of gold for the first time this month, and scammers were quick to get in on the action with Ponzi schemes and phishing sites spread via social media.Victims are lured in with fake bitcoin wallets, fake bitcoin search services, fake surveys about bitcoins, too-good-to-be-true money making offers, and classic pyramid scams now dressed up with bitcoins, according to a report released this week.[ 18 surprising tips for security pros. | Discover how to secure your systems with InfoWorld's Security Report newsletter. ]“The same characteristics that make bitcoin attractive to people who want to make money distributing ransomware make it attractive to scammers,” said Philip Tully, senior data scientist at security vendor ZeroFox, which published the report.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Bitcoin scams: Beware of crooks trying to steal your cryptocurrency with...

Cybercriminals are successfully taking advantage of social media and naivety to steal Bitcoin and distribute malware.