Latest Cryptocurrency Exchange Hack Highlights Need for Better Security Protocols

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Latest Exchange Hack Warns of Cryptocurrency Dangers

It comes with the territory that digital currency will be susceptible to digital threats. Hacking and theft have almost grown up side by side with things like Bitcoin, and, as the popularity and value of the digital currency rises, its attraction to thieves also grows.

The most recent major hack has seen one of the top five biggest Bitcoin and Ethereum exchanges, Bithumb in South Korea, fall prey to hackers. The hack was confirmed July 5 when information, as well as hundreds of millions of South Korean won, were been made off with in an attack with a difference.

Most exchanges know they are susceptible to network intrusion via their internal systems, but the entry point in this instance was through the personal computer of one of the exchange’s employees. Thus it was not the standard network compromise, rather a more sophisticated phishing attack that led to the information heist.

It was personal information, such as names, email address and phone numbers of clients that were predominantly taken — luckily no passwords — but this was enough for the hackers to target customers and drain their accounts of their cryptocurrency.

Since the highly publicized Mt. Gox hack in 2014, in which 800,000 bitcoins were stolen, exchanges have boosted their security astronomically. Mt. Gox almost spelled the end of Bitcoin as people lost a lot of faith — as well as a lot of money — in the security systems of cryptocurrencies.

While security has been boosted in recent times, and thievery and hacking is far less common, it is still a threat that is ongoing and sometimes hidden.

In fact, Bithumb customers had forwarded complaints on a Korean social media site about threats of attacks, yet not much extra was done on the part of the exchange to try and quell these worries or protect clients.

The exact figure stolen is still unknown as Bithumb is trying to play it off as less of a hack and more of a phishing attack for information. However, despite what they are trying to convey, Bithumb has to admit that the 30,000 customers whose information was compromised were victims of a dangerous cryptocurrency attack.

The Korean exchange has come forward and said it will be compensating those whose data was compromised. Even those customers who would have lost nothing other than data will be getting paid 100,000 Korean Won, which is equivalent to around $86.50 USD for the inconvenience. The hope for Bithumb is that they will be able to retain some of these clients who surely will be feeling much more vulnerable and less trusting.

Bithumb’s transactions with bitcoin make up almost 3 percent of the entire market, but it is its share of ether transactions that’s its major claim to fame: 13.5 percent of the total ether market goes through Bithumb’s exchange.

It is a major blow for a big player in the exchange game, and it is a blow that will be felt in the global digital currency sphere. Trust has slowly been rebuilt for those who have lived through the teething stages of Bitcoin security, and, as the door opens on new and mainstream markets, hacks like this can cause adopters to have second thoughts.

However, one aspect of digital security that has changed since bitcoin has been accepted by a much wider audience is that governmental agencies are taking it under their wing.

There are differing stages of regulation for digital currencies, but these arguably bring with them added security. In the case of Bithumb, Korea’s Internet and Security Agency has plans to initiate a probe into this cyber attack with a full investigation to follow.

The post Latest Cryptocurrency Exchange Hack Highlights Need for Better Security Protocols appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Nine Inch Nails’ latest video taps into gaming legend

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Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor’s current interest in video games goes beyond remastering the Quake soundtrack for vinyl and using Kinect on tour. The video for NIN’s new single "Less Than" uses the retro PlayStation VR game Polybius as its main attraction. The on-screen action ramps up in time with the music, lyrics flying toward the viewer, building to a crescendo at the two-minute mark where all hell breaks loose.

Before the Tempest-like game was released on PlayStation 4 and PSVR it was part of an urban legend. The story goes that that the government was using the arcade shooter for data mining. Given the direction of the video, the song’s lyrics and the eerie concept-like nature of NIN’s latest work (a series of three EPs about… who knows what) that backstory could’ve served as inspiration here.

In related news, the new NIN album Add Violence will be released July 21st. You can sign up right now for an alert when the vinyl edition is ready for pre-order, and if you want to pre-purchase the digital version you’ll pick up a download for "Less Than" in the process.

For a deeper look inside Trent Reznor’s mind, check out this interview Joystiq did with the musician back in 2009 where he goes on at length about his love for arcades.

"The first time I saw Tempest, for example, I was like, ‘What the fuck is this?’" he recalled at the time. "It looked like some sort of 2001 thing, it had weird, abstract graphics and sounded cool. I realize times have changed, but I miss having those three minutes where it’s you versus that machine, sweating like crazy in this finite countdown to death scenario."

Source: Nine Inch Nails (YouTube)

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I installed an Amazon Echo Dot in a car and it was the best infotainment system I’ve ever used

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Echo Dot in a car

When Amazon put the Echo Dots on sale for $35 during Prime Day, my reaction was probably like a lot of others: "Should I buy another Echo, and if I do, where would I put it?"

Then, with a little help from a funny moment involving my six-year-old daughter, it hit me  — Why not put an Echo Dot in my car!

Sure enough, I ordered another Dot, installed it in my car, and so far it has turned out to be the best $35 I have spent in a long time.

Below I will walk you through how I installed it (it’s easy), what I use it for (just about everything), and why it is the best car infotainment system I have ever used (it turned out to be better than I imagined it would).

Our family already had 3 Echos — a regular Echo in the living room and Dots in the office and master bedroom — which we used for music, controlling various Hue lights and Nest thermostats, maintaining shopping and to-do lists, re-ordering Amazon items, and other general goofiness. In other words, we were already tight with "Alexa," the Echo digital assistant.

So when Amazon dropped the price of the Echo Dot on Prime Day, it was tempting to order another. But where would we use it? (sorry, kids, you’re not ready for an Alexa in your room).

Then I recalled a funny moment in the car when our six-year-old tried to ask the radio to play her favorite song. Nothing happened and we laughed. But while staring at the $35 price tag on the Echo Dot it hit me, "Why couldn’t we put one in a car and use it as a media device where everybody would have easy access?"

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The most technologically advanced bike at the Tour de France is made by a German company that’s coming to America and sells direct online only — and it could give veterans Trek and Specialized a run for their money

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Kristoff Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc Tour de France 2017

BELFORT, France — The most technologically advanced bike at the Tour de France, the world’s biggest cycling race, is Alexander Kristoff’s Canyon Aeroad CF SLX with disc brakes, SRAM eTap, and ZIPP 454 NSW wheels.

Canyon is a German consumer-direct brand that manufactures a variety of bicycles and is well known in the sport for its high-end road bikes. It sells online directly to customers and is coming to the US later this year, according to the trade publication Bicycle Retailer.

Several industry insiders Business Insider spoke with at the Tour said they expected Canyon to make a considerable impact on the high-end road-bike market in the US and give the big veterans Trek, Specialized, and Giant a run for their money.

Canyon USA had 20 employees as June, and it’s hired several people from rival Specialized, including Keith Hnatiuk as its director of operations and Frank Aldorf as its chief brand officer.

Canyon has good exposure in the sport as it sponsors one of the most successful teams, Movistar, led by Colombian star Nairo Quintana. Trek owns a WorldTour team outright, and Specialized sponsors two teams in the Tour, those of sprint ace Marcel Kittel and double world champion Peter Sagan. Meanwhile at the Tour, Trek rolled out its new lightweight Émonda SLR 9 and Specialized its newly redesigned Tarmac.

"The demand for Canyon bikes in the U.S. is already very high. But we also want to deliver an exceptional Canyon customer experience, on par with the quality of our products," Roman Arnold, founder and CEO of Canyon, said last year, according to Bicycle Retailer. It also reported that Canyon had seen revenue grow 30% year-over-year for the past six years. Canyon said it had generated revenues of 160 million euros in 2015.

Trek is already a $1 billion company while Specialized is one of the leading race brands.

Canyon says US customers who order online can expect delivery of a nearly fully assembled bike to their home in two to six weeks. Customers who buy a Trek online must pick up their bikes at an authorized Trek retailer, which handles final assembly. Specialized does not sell bikes online at all; customers have to buy bikes in a shop.

Business Insider got a close-up look at Kristoff’s machine during the Tour’s first week. See the photos below, and check back for a test-ride review of the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX.

SRAM Red eTap HRD is one of three standout features on Kristoff’s bike. The electronic-shifting system is different from rivals Shimano Di2 and Campagnolo EPS in that it has no wires. Instead, the shifters wirelessly transmit a signal to the derailleurs. Tapping the right lever, seen here, makes it harder to pedal (upshifting), and tapping the left lever makes it easier (downshifting). Tapping both levers shifts the front derailleur.

Another standout feature are the disc brakes. Discs on high-end road bikes are becoming more popular, and we saw a handful of bikes at the Tour equipped with them. They allow for shorter stopping distances and perform better in wet conditions than rim brakes. The downside: They add up to a pound to a bike.

Another high-tech spec is the ZIPP 454 NSW wheelset, which Team Katusha is riding at the Tour. SRAM says the unique rim shapes, which resemble fins, reduce aero drag as well as side forces. (Kristoff opts for Continental Competition Pro Ltd ALX tires.)

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Radiohead album hides an app that only runs on an ’80s computer

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In the age of the hipster, dust-covered and irrelevant mediums like the vinyl and cassette tape have slowly been given a new lease of life. Now, thanks to Radiohead, it looks like popular British computer the ZX Spectrum might be the next 80s relic to come back into fashion. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band’s genre-bending opus– OK Computer –Radiohead has released a £100 commemorative special edition of the album, entitled OKNOTOK.

As well as containing a beautiful looking art book, a collection of Thom Yorke’s notes and the expected limited edition vinyl of the album, the package also comes with a classic C90 cassette. While the vast majority of the 90-minute tape houses a collection of rare demos from the band, the last two minutes treat listeners to a bizarre high-pitched frequency. Quickly identified by Redditors as the grating greeting of the ZX Spectrum, one passionate YouTuber has cleverly EQ’d those digital squawks and squeaks to perfectly match the aging computer’s audio language.

Running those EQ’d files through a ZX Spectrum emulator, the software pops up with the names of all the band members, dating the software back to the 19th December 1996. After the introduction, all that hard work is finally rewarded with some scrolling text and a seemingly random arrangement of bloops and bleeps. It’s a bizarre but very cool little Easter egg, and thanks to YouTuber OooSLAJEREKooO you can save yourself some time and check out a video of the whole thing below.

This isn’t the first time that Radiohead have experimented with unusual mediums. For the release of 2013s King of Limbs, the genre-bending band brought out a companion iOS app called Polyfauna, with singer Thom Yorke even releasing a solo album directly onto BitTorrent. Radiohead isn’t alone in toying with retro ways to release its art, with artist Batch Totem recently cramming his entire album onto a floppy disk.

If the strange arrangement on Radiohead’s Spectrum tape wasn’t enough musical mystery for you, there’s also a suitably silly hidden message concealed in the program’s black-on-black squares. "Congratulations….you’ve found the secret message syd lives hmmmm. We should get out more." Is what the message reads. Are they referring to the late Pink Floyd guitarist Syd Barret? Who knows.

Given what we’ve just seen though, getting out more sounds like some pretty solid advice guys.

Source: Ars Technica

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EVE Online starts putting players to work finding exoplanets

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EVE Online has finally launched the Project Discovery mini-game it announced earlier this year, and you know what that means? You can now defend all the hours you spend in the game by telling your mom or SO that you’re helping the scientific community find exoplanets. EVE has uploaded real astronomical data from the CoRoT space observatory that you can analyze within the mini-game as a pilot — once enough players reach the same conclusion on the data’s classification, that piece of info will be sent to the University of Geneva for a deeper look.

The space sim’s developers teamed up with Massively Multiplayer Online Science (MMOS), Reykjavik University and University of Geneva professor Michel Mayor for this particular project. However, it’s far from the their first time to crowdsource a scientific endeavor. Back in 2015, they also asked their users for help analyzing images for the Human Protein Atlas. The new Project Discovery effort is more connected to the game’s theme, though, so you may want to take a peek and see if you’re willing to put in a few hours for this one.

Source: EVE Online

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Here’s what happens inside Amazon when its massive AWS hosting service goes down (AMZN)

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werner vogels amazon cto aws web services cloud

In late February 2017, a number of large websites across the internet abruptly went down.

Community-question-site Quora crashed, as did product management tool Trello, and Amazon’s artificial intelligence assistant Alexa also struggled.

The outage lasted several hours — and Amazon was to blame. This is because all the affected sites made use of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud web hosting service from the Seattle-based technology giant that now underpins vast swathes of the modern web and hit $12 billion (£9.3 billion) in revenue last year.

The outage lasted several hours, and highlighted the unique vulnerabilities of our digital world: A handful of companies are responsible for maintaining huge swathes of the internet — and when there’s a problem with one of them, thousands of businesses and millions of people can be left unable to work.

So what happens inside Amazon when there’s a tech failure of this magnitude? Business Insider sat down with Werner Vogels, the chief technology officer of AWS at the AWS Summit in London in late June to discuss how the company handles it.

"We are so, so aware of the fact for many businesses their livelihoods are dependent on Amazon operating, on AWS really operating well, and that’s a heavy responsibility," he said. "We’re happy to take it."

Step 1: Find the problem — and console the customers

"[The] first thing that happens is a load of alarms start going off even before your customers are experiencing something," the Dutch-born executive explained.

The Amazon Web Services team then has two urgent tasks: Triage the problem and figure out just what’s going on, while trying to calm the freaking-out customers whose businesses have just gone offline.

"You see the symptoms, but you do not necessarily see the root cause of it … you immediately fire off a team whose task is to actually communicate with the customers … making sure that everyone is aware of exactly what is happening."

Meanwhile, "internal teams of course immediately start going off and trying to find what’s the root cause of this is, and whether we can repair or restore it, or what other kinds of actions we can start taking."

Vogels then dropped in a sly humble-brag: AWS goes down so rarely that when it does, it can be difficult to work out what’s going on because there’s little frame of reference. "Remember, this is a service that has not gone down in 12 years, so it’s not that … we could rely on some sort of previous experience on this."

The time of day shouldn’t make a difference to repair efforts: AWS teams work "round the sun," and there are always demanding customers expecting uptime, whether it’s late-night gaming in Seattle or early-morning financial services firms in Zurich.

If there’s a major outage, though, Vogels said "of course" he would expect to be woken up immediately, and the senior management team will continuously track developments.

Step 2: Fix it

The issue behind the fault in February? Human error. The short version is that an engineer typed the wrong number — causing a chain reaction that ultimately led to a major failure.

Once diagnosed, Amazon’s engineers have to go about fixing the problem, while also ensuring other systems do not also buckle under the sudden strain. "You have to sort of start protecting customers, start protecting system, because what happens is so many customers are still using this system, can’t get access to the system, and while you’re trying to repair this you’re still overwhelmed with customers that are still retrying and retrying and retrying.

"And so you then start to block the traffic to make sure the system can come back online and become healthy again before you can stat accepting traffic again."

jeff bezos amazon ceoThroughout all of this, you have anxious customers seeking guidance. "Customers don’t like advice that says ‘sit still, don’t do anything.’ No, that’s not what they want, and for that you need to give them really good information, make them understand what’s happening, given an expectation of when the service will be coming back online if you have such information."

Some of AWS’ big customers have systems and failsafes in place to try and anticipate these kind of failures and prepare for them. Netflix has a system called ChaosMonkey, for example: "A whole set of tools to sort of simulate these extreme failures … they take away a whole availability zone or a whole region and see what happens, and things like that."

But why a monkey? As Netflix previously explained: "The name comes from the idea of unleashing a wild monkey with a weapon in your data center (or cloud region) to randomly shoot down instances and chew through cables—all the while we continue serving our customers without interruption."

Step 3: Learn from it

Vogels places the blame not on the engineer directly responsible, but Amazon itself, for not having failsafes that could have protected its systems or prevented the incorrect input. "I think we can blame ourselves, in terms of not having turned this into sort of a procedure or something that was automated, where we could’ve had total good control over what the number could be."

This is a key point for Vogels: As you grow and develop, introducing too many points that require human intervention result in points of possible failure. Where possible, automate.

"Internally it triggers a whole set of new operational procedures. The minimum thing you have to do from this is learn from it understand really what are the things … realising there may be still organically growing operational procedures where there is too much human decision-making in the path which could be automated, and so you then go do a review of your overall business to see if there are other places in your organisation … where there might be operational vulnerabilities."

Servers server data centre

Because of what’s at stake, the stakes are far higher for AWS and other cloud providers — Microsoft, Google, IBM, and so on — than ordinary businesses, and the tolerance for major failure is much lower.

"I will never be satisfied until our services are what I call ‘indistinguishable from perfect,’" Vogels said. "Even though stuff happens and in this case it’s human, other things can happen, major natural disasters can happen, things like that. So we see we’re prepared for most of these kind of things and we help customers build architectures that can protect themselves from this as well."

P.S. Here’s precisely what caused the February outage

In the aftermath of the outage in February, Amazon Web Service published a public postmortem explaining what went wrong, and some of the changes it was making as a result of it. You can read the full thing here, and an extract is below:

"We’d like to give you some additional information about the service disruption that occurred in the Northern Virginia (US-EAST-1) Region on the morning of February 28th. The Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) team was debugging an issue causing the S3 billing system to progress more slowly than expected. At 9:37AM PST, an authorized S3 team member using an established playbook executed a command which was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 subsystems that is used by the S3 billing process. Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended. The servers that were inadvertently removed supported two other S3 subsystems. One of these subsystems, the index subsystem, manages the metadata and location information of all S3 objects in the region. This subsystem is necessary to serve all GET, LIST, PUT, and DELETE requests. The second subsystem, the placement subsystem, manages allocation of new storage and requires the index subsystem to be functioning properly to correctly operate. The placement subsystem is used during PUT requests to allocate storage for new objects. Removing a significant portion of the capacity caused each of these systems to require a full restart. While these subsystems were being restarted, S3 was unable to service requests. Other AWS services in the US-EAST-1 Region that rely on S3 for storage, including the S3 console, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) new instance launches, Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes (when data was needed from a S3 snapshot), and AWS Lambda were also impacted while the S3 APIs were unavailable."

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NASA releases close-up photos of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

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Anybody who’s taken a look at images of Jupiter has seen its Great Red Spot, the planet’s massive storm that’s been raging for the past 350 years. This is the first time we’re seeing it this close, though, and it’s all thanks to NASA’s Juno spacecraft. The probe flew 5,600 miles above the spot on Monday, the closest it’s even been to the planet’s iconic feature, while all eight of its instruments collected data. Now, NASA has released the first batch of close-up images taken by JunoCam, showing the ancient storm in greater detail than we’ve ever seen before.

The agency has uploaded raw images featuring the spot and the area around it on the JunoCam website. They’re unprocessed, but people have begun editing them to look like the sharper, prettier images of space we’re used to, such as the photo above. NASA is hoping to figure out the inner workings of the storm and the turbulence surrounding it using the info Juno collected. It’s expected to release an analysis of the images coupled with the data gathered by the probe’s other instruments in the near future. For now, you can check out the red spot’s close-up photos right here.

Via: Wired

Source: Junocam

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