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Warning Issued After Malware Is Found To Have Hijacked Bitcoin Blockchain

Bitcoin’s blockchain has been hijacked by a new strain of the Glupteba malware that uses the network to resist attacks, cyber security researchers have warned.

The malware uses the bitcoin blockchain to update, meaning it can continue running even if a device’s antivirus software blocks its connection to servers run by the hackers, security intelligence blog Trend Micro reported this week.

The Glupteba malware, first discovered in December 2018, is distributed through advertising designed to spread viruses through script and can steal an infected devices’ browsing history, website cookies, and account names and passwords with this particular variant found to be targeting file-sharing websites.

However, according to researchers, the new version of the malware can also mine the privacy-specialized monero cryptocurrency and threaten the security of Instagram users’ accounts.

The malware uses the Electrum bitcoin wallet to send bitcoin transactions that the attackers use to gain access to systems.

“This technique makes it more convenient for the threat actor to replace command and control servers,” Trend Micro researchers wrote. A command and control server is the centralized computer that issues commands to an infected network of devices.

The Glupteba malware, first discovered in December 2018, is distributed through advertising designed to spread viruses through script and can steal an infected devices’ browsing history, website cookies, and account names and passwords with this particular variant found to be targeting file-sharing websites.

However, according to researchers, the new version of the malware can also mine the privacy-specialized monero cryptocurrency and threaten the security of Instagram users’ accounts.

The malware uses the Electrum bitcoin wallet to send bitcoin transactions that the attackers use to gain access to systems.

“This technique makes it more convenient for the threat actor to replace command and control servers,” Trend Micro researchers wrote. A command and control server is the centralized computer that issues commands to an infected network of devices.

“If they lose control of a command and control server for any reason, they simply need to add a new bitcoin script and the infected machines obtain a new command and control server by decrypting the script data and reconnecting.”

It’s not the first time the bitcoin blockchain has been taken advantage of by criminals, with German researchers last year discovering child abuse imagery shared via the decentralized network.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: Warning Issued After Malware Is Found To Have Hijacked Bitcoin Blockchain

by Christian Karam & Vitaly Kamluk The blockchain is the public ledger stacking all bitcoin/altcoins transactions. It is constantly growing as “completed” blocks are automatically added to it with a new set of records. The blocks are added to the blockchain in a linear and chronological order. The blockchain has complete information about the addresses and their balances right from the genesis block to the most recently completed block through the mining process. Depending on the crypto-currency and the implementation of its protocols, there would be a fixed open space, where data can be stored, referenced or hosted on the blockchain within encrypted transactions and their records. This very versatile nature of the blockchain offers great opportunities for future innovation especially in decentralized systems. The research focus revolves around the threat of embedding decentralized chunks of malware on the blockchain by either hosting it or referencing it with cascaded pointers. Transactions and data are encrypted throughout the blockchain networks using different versions of public/private key encryption. Could malware survive eternally inside crypto-transactions? A proof of concept will be explained highlighting the concerns revolving around the “abuse and bloating” of the blockchain while comparing it to previous malware hosting and deployment models. In this talk, INTERPOL will frame the scope of this future threat and provide potential solutions for a threat surrounding the blockchain technology.

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Guide To Different Methods Of Cryptocurrency Mining | UseTheBitcoin

For years, mining cryptocurrencies has proven to be a fairly successful business venture, even with the large number of people who currently engage in some form of the mining activity. Many of them made a fortune, but experts and experienced miners warn us that those times are behind us, especially when it comes to the well-known crypto coins such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, etc.

In this guide, we will discuss the main aspects you need to keep in mind when deciding whether mining crypto coins should be your next business venture. We shall also go through the required steps and explore a couple of cool, mining-related facts.

What is Cryptocurrency Mining?

Unlike traditional, fiat currencies, most cryptocurrencies are not issued nor controlled by a central authority. Furthermore, there are no middleman checking and approving/rejecting crypto transactions.

By contrast, transactions are performed directly between two parties, the sender and receiver, on a blockchain-powered network. If you want to send your friend 1 Bitcoin, for example, all you need is her Bitcoin address, a Bitcoin wallet where your bitcoins are stored, and an internet connection.

As soon as you initiate the transfer, it will be registered on the bitcoin network. Before your friend can receive 1 Bitcoin, nodes on the network that run it need to verify your transaction.

After three verifications, your friend will be able to use Bitcoin that you sent her.

This process is known as crypto mining.

Is Mining Digital Currencies Still Worth It?

“Why would I want to participate in mining cryptocurrencies?” you might ask. If you opt to mine Bitcoin, and you are the first one to verify a block of data (block = bundle of transactions on the network), you will be rewarded with 12.5 bitcoins. As of the mid-May, 2019, that amounts to around $91,500.

Isn’t this amount more than worth it? The answer to this question is complex because there are numerous factors that play a role in determining the profitability of mining.

If you plan to mine as a hobby without investing in expensive hardware equipment or renting high-powered cloud mining services, then it could be a fun experience but with little to no profitability.

To put things better into perspective, you will need to consider the type of mining protocol your desired currency is using and type of mining machine to utilize. Not every currency can be mined with a specific type of mining machine.

Mining Machines

There are three main sorts of mining machines – CPU, GPU, and ASIC. We have sorted them according to their availability and price.

CPU Mining

CPU (Central Processing Unit) is basically a regular, home computer designed for ordinary use. Because of its weak processing power (compared to other machines we will discuss in this section), it is possible to successfully mine with it less known or new crypto coins where competition is not stiff.

If you wish to use this type of machine, check first whether the desired cryptocurrency uses CryptoNight or Scrypt mining algorithm. If it doesn’t, you are not going to be able to mine it.

Some of the top cryptocurrencies using these algorithms include Monero, Dogecoin, and Litecoin. Note, however, that you need to buy a serious CPU computer if you want to earn some profits when it comes to these currencies.

The thing is, you are competing against hundreds of thousands of other miners, most of which use exceptionally equipped machines, so you need to follow suit.

GPU Mining

Another way to join the mining business is to get a GPU-based mining machine. As you can probably guess, just like with the gaming, the best GPU options here are Nvidia and AMD Radeon cards.

So what can you mine with GPU? A lot of currencies that can be mined with CPU can also be mined with GPU. More precisely, you will earn more if you utilize the latter. But first, you need to ensure that cryptos you consider to mine use Scrypt, X11, or Dagger algorithm, among others.

Some of the most popular currencies you can mine with these devices are Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, both being among the top 20 cryptos.

ASIC Mining

In the beginning, you were able to mine Bitcoin with regular, CPU computer. It didn’t take long before Bitcoin community decided to switch to GPU, and then to special machines built for mining only (unlike GPUs that could be still utilized for gaming, for example).

Nowadays, if you want to mine Bitcoin, you will need to invest at least around $1,000 into buying the latest mining machine called ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit). Note, however, that even in this case, you cannot expect significant profits unless you join a mining pool.

Antminer S17 Pro-53 TH/s by Bitmain, currently one of the best ASIC miners in the world. It costs $2,030. Image Source: Bitmain

Simply said, a mining pool is a place where miners from all over the world join forces (mining machines) in order to stand a better chance at mining the next Bitcoin block, for example. If they are successful, they will split rewards in accordance with the contributed hash power (essentially, the mining power of a mining machine).

In any case, the most popular use of ASIC is, unsurprisingly, SHA-256 algorithm that BItcoin and Bitcoin Cash are based on.

How Profitable is Cryptocurrency Mining Nowadays?

We will be honest here — significant profit only appears when a significant amount of money is invested in the business. Research has shown that an investment of roughly $5,000 in hardware equipment is required to break even and earn a daily profit.

Yet, as we already outlined, this alone isn’t guaranteed to help you earn a lot, since other factors apart from the competition, like electricity cost, hardware efficiency and quality, and taxes play an important role in determining the potential ROI.

Therefore, it is important to create reasonable expectations regarding what you want to do with your mining gig. Everyone has heard stories of Bitcoin miners becoming millionaires, but those people made the right investments at the right time.

Long gone are the days when Bitcoin was worth less than $100 and when the mining difficulty allowed earning more than 1 BTC on a daily basis.

Just like trading or holding digital currencies, mining is a venture that’s prone to volatility, expressed in the shifting value of coins, hardware equipment, and electricity. For many, taking the capital and investing it in trading or holding digital currencies is a much safer bet.

Choosing Your Mining Method

At this time, there are two most popular methods of mining cryptocurrencies.

Cloud Mining

This is certainly the easiest way to get started, granted that the process entails users to set-up an account with a cloud mining company in order to rent mining hardware. In exchange for the firm’s processing power, you’ll be paying for equipment maintenance, electricity, and a commission, yet all of the coins that have been mined using your portion of the hash power belong to you.

Cloud mining companies usually offer mining packages with a set amount of hash power, so look through the offers to figure out what you can afford.

This method is appreciated in the industry because it is not time-consuming, does not require users to be tech-savvy, and offers added flexibility bonuses. You’ll find that there are numerous cloud mining firms, so make sure to do your due diligence to learn as much as possible about each of them, their services, commissions, and terms.

We should warn you, however, that cloud mining could be tricky business. You need to be careful when picking a company and study its terms and condition, especially the part explaining funds withdrawal policy.

Note that there were incidents in the past when companies refused to pay their users when Bitcoin’s price suddenly collapsed. Therefore, you need to be aware of the general crypto market as well, and closely follow social media channels and posts by your chosen company.

Hardware Mining

Hardware mining means that you have purchased and maintain your own mining hardware at home. It’s for people who are rather tech-savvy or have access to cheap electricity.

Before anything else, it is important to mention that the investment needed to break even and earn a profit is significantly higher for hardware mining when compared to cloud mining. The time investment is also bound to be bigger, so keep this in mind. You also need access to cheap, reliable electricity, otherwise, the costs could skyrocket.

If you decide to go through with hardware mining and mine a crypto coin with clogged mining network, you will need to purchase an ASIC miner that we mentioned above, or at least a solid GPU device.

At this time, the market is filled with offers from different companies, so make sure you study each option carefully before buying any machines. ASICs, for example, are pretty much expensive, so you want to be sure you’ve made the right choice.

When carrying out your research, keep in mind the hash power you’ll be mining with, and use mining profitability calculators to get a better idea of your expected profits. Depending on your country of residence and electricity costs, with one ASIC miner, you could earn between $10-$30 daily should you opt for mining Bitcoin.

Once your machine has been ordered and set up, you’ll need to download the blockchain associated with the coin you’re mining and install the required software.

Just like with the cloud mining, you have the option of either mining for yourself or joining a mining pool. Solo mining is only bound to be profitable if your machine is powerful enough to mine blocks on its own (which is, as we already noted, quite a difficult feat for the well-known cryptocurrencies).

This is the primary reason why so many hardware miners eventually decide to join a pool to increase their ROI.

Transaction Fee Mining

We should mention another, less popular way of mining cryptocurrencies, which does not involve mining machines nor cloud leasing. In fact, it does not involve anything on your side.

Well established crypto exchanges take a small fee when you buy or sell cryptocurrencies on their platforms. This is how they make money. However, some exchanges will reimburse these fees by offering you their own tokens as a reward and invitation to continue doing your business on their services.

This practice is considered dubious, to say the least, and could even land you in hot water in some countries. Our advice is to stay away from such places, especially if you are not an experienced trader or miner.

Cryptocurrency Mining Conclusion

Based on everything that has been outlined so far, it is safe to say that mining cryptocurrencies could still be a great way to earn some profit if you can overcome the initial high costs.

Getting involved in this industry represents a great service to the market of whichever coin you’re mining, granted that mining is essential for verifying and bundling up transactions in blocks, but also for minting new coins.

Lastly, a higher number of miners results in larger decentralization, which is an essential feature of modern cryptocurrencies.

That said, not only will you potentially earn a passive income, but you would also contribute to the overall cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Many thanks for the good people at SaaSicorn for helping with this post.
Image Source: Avesta.io

Source: Guide To Different Methods Of Cryptocurrency Mining | UseTheBitcoin

The Technology That Brings BitBase To Its Booming Grade of Mining In United Kingdom

Image result for bitbase

The Internet of Things, robotics and plasma are transforming mining into a safer and more productive industry. BitBase Mining-technology.com picks ten technologies with the potential to transform mining.

Mining is painstaking, expensive, and only sporadically rewarding. Nonetheless, mining has a magnetic draw for many investors interested in cryptocurrency. This may be because entrepreneurial types see mining as pennies from heaven, like California gold prospectors in 1849. And if you are technologically inclined, why not do it?

In addition to lining the pockets of BitBase miners, mining serves a second and vital purpose: It is the only way to release new cryptocurrency into circulation. In other words, BitBase miners are basically “minting” currency. For example, in February of 2019, there were a little over 17.5 million Bitcoin in circulation. Aside from the coins minted via the genesis block (the very first block created by Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto himself), every single one of those Bitcoin came into being because of miners. In the absence of miners, Bitcoin would still exist and be usable, but there would never be any additional Bitcoin.

Aside from the short-term Bitcoin payoff, being a BitBase miner can give you “voting” power when changes are proposed in the Bitcoin protocol. In other words, a successful miner has an influence on the decision-making process on such matters.

BitBase does cloud mining through its mining farms with advance technology and hashing algorithms and also allows free mining with the earning rate of 0.00000100BTC/min. There are premium plans for faster and better mining. Starting with BitBase requires a bitcoin address where we can send your earned btc. By adding your BTC address in the start mining box & you automatically start mining with free GHS.Withdrawing is easy just you need to have 0.00500000BTC to qualify. Yes, there is maintenance fee for only free miners all premium miners can withdraw anytime.

As name suggest maintenance fee is used to maintain the Data centers, Hash Ring, machines as well as improvements in support and security. It’s only applicable to free miners and does not deduct from mined BTC. Minimum withdrawals threshold is 0.005btc for every users joining as a free miners. Premium users can withdraw any amount.

Alternately, you can always leverage the “pickaxe strategy.” This is based on the old saw that during the 1849 California gold rush, the smart investment was not to pan for gold, but rather to make the pickaxes used for mining at BitBase..

Source: The Technology That Brings BitBase To Its Booming Grade of Mining In United Kingdom

Bitminer The Ultimate Bitcoin Mining Panel

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Bitminer Next generation profitability switching uses both real-time multi-pool statistics and coin statistics to automatically switch between multiple pools, algorithms and mining software to always ensure highest possible profitability. The profitability switching can be used for both GPU and ASIC miners. Bitminer can also display information, exchange rates and do profitability calculations for Bitcoin, Litecoin and all other popular coins.Bitminer can show Desktop Notifications on the Windows desktop and send e-mail messages to alert about mining issues. With a Cloud Services subscription, the notifications can also be delivered via SMS or via the Telegram app……..

 

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