According to one CEO, the lack of functionality in crypto apps is because of App Store guidelines that stifle cryptocurrency innovation.
Bryan Chaffin explains how Bitcoin faucets work and which faucets you can trust to pay. [Update: reformatted the guide, removed several defunct faucets, and updated all descriptions. – Bryan]
North Korean hacking group “Lazarus Group” has been targeting Macs with a bit of fake website used to promote an open source app that served as a trojan horse. The fake site was called JMT Trading, and was designed to look like a trading platform. To use the trading platform, you had to download an app from Github, but even though the app was open source, it contained malware for Macs, with the whole scheme being part of North Korea’s efforts to steal Bitcoin. Check out Forbes‘s report:
The hackers may then go a step further by contacting administrators and users of cryptocurrency exchanges, asking them to test and review their new app, Wardle told Forbes. If they get lucky, they get a bit of leverage in an official cryptocurrency vendor and start infecting targets.
Bitcoin remains the cryptocurrency of choice on the dark web, according to a report from TheNextWeb. That might be mostly a matter of inertia, however, as privacy-oriented cryptos are gaining steam. Cryptos like Monero and Dash, as well as others, have features baked into their underlying blockchain that can make it much harder to trace transactions. From TheNextWeb‘s coverage:
Bitcoin is still very much the dark web‘s favorite cryptocurrency, but those looking to cover their tracks are slowly learning to use privacy-focused alternatives. […] Authorities say there has been a more “pronounced shift” towards more privacy-orientated cryptocurrencies, and expects this trend to continue as criminals become more security aware.
Andrew Orr and Bryan Chaffin join host Kelly Guimont to discuss Tim Cook’s comments about Libra and the IMF’s statement on cryptocurrency.
Bryan Chaffin and Andrew Orr dig deep into the possibilities—for good and ill (mostly ill)—of Facebook’s new Libra cryptocurrency. They cover how it work, why Facebook went the cryptocurrency route, and what Facebook has to gain from the project. Spoiler, the answer is everything!
AT&T became the first major U.S. mobile carrier to accept payment in cryptocurrency, announcing users can pay bills via BitPay.
U.S. and international law enforcement agencies combined to bust an international cryptocurrency fraud cartel. In total, 20 people were charged, The Next Web reported. 16 of those came from outside the U.S., and 12 of them will be extradited. Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski said that “the defendants allegedly orchestrated a highly organized and sophisticated scheme to steal money from unsuspecting victims in America and then launder their funds using cryptocurrency.”
The criminal conspiracy had defrauded Americans by listing products – usually cars – on online auction websites like eBay and Craigslist, only the item being sold didn’t exist. To make this scam seem more believable, the fraudsters had help from people based in the US. After the victims were convinced to pay, money was sent to the US-based associates who then converted the money to cryptocurrency before sending it on to their predominantely Romanian-based counterparts.
Coinstar is planning to sell bitcoin through its machines found in places like grocery stores. It partnered with startup Coinme.
An American businessman who was kidnapped in Costa Rica remains missing, despite the payment of an approximately $950,000 ransom in Bitcoin. William Sean Creighton Kopko, who owns an online gambling platform, was taken in September. Three suspects were arrested in Zaragoza, Spain in November 2018, The Next Web reported. In total, 12 people suspected of involvement in the kidnapping have been arrested by police in Spain and Costa Rica.
After Kopko’s family paid the Bitcoin ransom, the kidnappers stopped communicating with them, went dark, and fled to Cuba. In early November 2018 three suspects returned to Spain which alerted the authorities. The three suspects were later arrested in Zaragoza, Spain after renting an apartment in the city.
eToro has begun the phased introduction of its multi-cryptocurrency wallet to iOS, starting with limited countries.
Mr. Albayrak filmed himself accessing certain accounts and tried to blackmail Apple
What happens if a country like China, Russia, or the United States sets its most powerful super (and quantum) computers on cryptocurrencies?
The Wall Street Journal has an excellent piece exploring the criminal side of cryptocurrency. Long-time readers know I’m a fan of cryptocurrency, but this piece offers excellent insight on the dark side of this technology. Here’s a snippet:
For many criminals, cryptocurrency is less cumbersome than cash. Hackers hold computer systems hostage and demand instant, anonymous payment in bitcoin. Drug dealers sell in dark corners of the internet, obscuring their names and locations. Narcotics traffickers move and launder their profits with clicks of a mouse. “The cases have exploded,” says Gabriel Bewley, a special agent in the virtual-currency initiative at the Drug Enforcement Administration.
I’ve read some really awful attacks on cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in the last few weeks, pieces that are devoid of logic, knowledge, and understanding. What I like about this piece is that it covers this real problem with facts and without hyperbole. If you’re looking for some understanding on this issue, this is a great article to read.
It’s an investment fund that puts its money in the cryptocurrencies supported by Coinbase, currently Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
The anecdote came up when Woz was speaking at The Economic Times of India’s Global Business Summit, and the scam involved a stolen credit card and a reversed transaction.
I had the pleasure of being on MacVoices 18067 with Chuck Joiner this week. He interviewed me about Bitcoin faucets and my take on the HomePod. We also had a rip-roaring argument on Throttlegate, and how it was a self-inflicted communication error on Apple’s part, but it’s cool because in the end Chuck admitted I was right. OK, he didn’t exactly do that, but it’s always good talking with Chuck. Check it out.
Chinese regulators announced plans to block access to foreign exchanges via the Great Firewall, and three major U.S. banks announced a halt to cryptocurrency purchases using their credit cards.
Rumor has it that Apple is going to release a new entry level 13″ MacBook. Bryan and Jeff discuss how it might fit in Apple’s Mac product line, and what they would like to see in such a device. They also talk about Bitcoin mining and why it uses so much electricity, as well as the roles cryptocurrencies could play in our lives.
The price of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency fell below $10,000 Tuesday afternoon, only to immediately rally back to $11,000 moments later.