News Posts matching "Cryptocurrency"

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Web Cryptocurrency Mining Evolves: Now Keeps Running After Closing Browser

Well, after users think they've closed their browsers, more specifically. Researchers form anti-malware provider Malwarebytes have discovered a new form of web-based cryptocurrency mining that has a stealth-like approach to running mining code, which might cause less attentive users' machines to keep mining even after their web browsers have been closed. This is done via an utterly simple method, really: upon opening a malicious web page that has been coded to make users' machines mine cryptocurrency, the web page opens a pop-up window that is minimized behind the Windows Taskbar's clock. It's ingeniously simple - but could be surprisingly hard to detect, and could mean that the mining process will actually keep on using CPU cycles and mining crypto indefinitely until the next system reboot.

We Need a Lost Cryptocurrency Crawler: 4 Million Bitcoins Lost in the Ether

Cryptocurrencies as they currently are implemented are one of the most divisive subjects among the tech and economic communities in recent years. No, really; it's reached a kind of "Hayek vs Keynes" level of argument in the later. But one thing can't be denied: some early adopters of the technology have cashed in thoroughly and profoundly on the leading cryptocurrencies. The fact that Bitcoin has appreciated some 340% in the last six months (around $7,300 value increase in a single coin of the cryptocurrency) means many people more will see unbelievable surges in their net worth. Today, a single Bitcoin is trading for around $9,530 - and this is a cryptocurrency that, in its infancy, was being used to trade at rates of thousands of Bitcoin per pizza.

However, as with every currency, there's inevitable losses; paper money has seen its fair share of that, and galleons and caravels filled with gold up to the mast used to sink in oceans all around the world. But cryptocurrency is a digital currency; it's impossible for it to deteriorate away, to be lost with your wallet, or any other exceedingly sad case of lost value. Right? Well, not so; it's encryption algorithm ensures that for users to be able to access the contents of their digital wallets, they have to know the password. And many passwords have been lost and forgotten. Some users have even thrown away HDDs with wallets containing thousands of Bitcoin, and some have even lost their hardware wallets.

Amazon Registers Three New Domains Related to Cryptocurrency

Reports are coming in that Amazon registered three new domains on Tuesday. Normally, this wouldn't raise any eyebrows at all. However, the domain names are quite unique as they're related to cryptocurrency apparently. The domains are amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, and amazoncryptocurrencies.com. According to the registration information taken from the Whois database, all three are registered to Amazon Technologies, Inc., which we all know is a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc.

At the moment of this article, we're not sure what is the reasoning behind Amazon's move. Speculations are saying that maybe the tech giant is finally getting into the cryptocurrency business. Or perhaps it's simply a marketing strategy to protect the Amazon brand similar to when the company registered amazonbitcoin.com back in 2013, which redirects users to the Amazon front page. Some are considering it an indication that Amazon might start accepting cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin despite Amazon Pay's VP Patrick Gauthier telling CNBC last month that there were no immediate plans to accept cryptocurrency.

AMD Stock Plunges Due to Forecast of Slowing Cryptocurrency, Console Markets

AMD's stock on Monday took a relatively steep dive in value, following a report by Morgan Stanley that pegs cryptocurrency-fueled graphics shipments to decline by 50% next year (a $250 million decline in revenue). "We believe that AMD's graphics surge has been caused by a sharp increase in sales of graphics chips to cryptocurrency miners. We expect this to meaningfully decelerate next year," Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore said. At the same time, the report expects video game console demand to decline by 5.5% in 2018, which led Moore towards lowering his price target for AMD shares to $8 from $11, a 32% decline from Friday's close.

As a consequence of the report, Morgan Stanley reduced its rating on AMD shares from equal-weight to underweight, which reduced confidence in the market, and triggered a sell-off - and following the mechanism of availability and demand, a descent in stock pricing was already painted on the wall. A 9% fall isn't something to scoff at - especially when the economics surrounding it are attributed to a single - as of yet - report. AMD stock fluctuations aren't new; the company's stock has been particularly volatile in recent times - especially when compared to its peers (and competitors) Intel and NVIDIA.

Graphics Cards Vendors Increase Orders in Wake of Expected Mining Sales Increase

DigiTimes is reporting that graphics cards vendors and AIB (add-in board partners) to both AMD and NVIDIA are increasing their orders for GPUs. Citing sources from the upstream supply chain, the report says that the reason for this is an expected increase in sales due to higher demand for cryptocurrency mining workloads. Most cryptocurrencies are mined on GPUs today, and there are miners that leverage both AMD and NVIDIA's architectures for increased mining performance. Whereas before mining was somewhat of a strictly AMD business, NVIDIA's architectures have also been developed for in most recent cryptocurrency mining efforts, which means that no one manufacturer is the sole source of mining GPUs.

As such, and counting on continued economic support for current cryptocurrency pricing (or even increase), Asustek, Gigabyte Technology, Micro-Star International (MSI), TUL, Colorful and Galaxy Microsystems have increased their orders from respective manufacturing partners. Since graphics cards pricing has stabilized and even decreased somewhat in recent weeks from their selling points just some months ago, this might mean that we'll finally see some graphics card models from both AMD and NVIDIA finally being retailed for their MSRP again. However, demand for mining-efficient GPUs is expected to increase alongside cryptocurrency value, so don't take this increased supply for granted - demand could spike at any moment, and with little warning.

Source: DigiTimes

Weekend Reading 101: On Ransomware's Chains and Carbon Black's Report

Carbon Black, a cybersecurity company that's been founded by former members of the U.S. government's elite team of offensive security hackers, has released a report detailing the continued rise of ransomware's impact, which served as the fire-starter for this piece. Carbon Black's Threat Analysis Unit (TAU) has found that ransomware is an increasingly prolific economical entity, bolstered by a 2,502% increase in sales in the dark web. As with every activity, legal or illegal, the economic footprint follows profit; and in ransomware's case, it's estimated it has yielded around $1 billion just this year. Ransomware even has the advantage of not requiring specialized computer skills, and can be quickly and brainlessly deployed in search of a quick buck.

Carbon Black reports that there are currently more than 6,300 ransomware marketplaces in the dark web, with over 45,000 different product listings, which range in price from $0.5 to $3K (the median price for a DIY ransomware package stands at roughly $10.5). Ransomware sellers are taking advantage of this burgeoning, "quick buck at anyone's expense" reasoning: some ransomware sellers are earning more than six figures yearly, sometimes even more than legitimate software companies. It's no surprise, however that the report points to technologies such as Bitcoin and the Tor network as being two of the most important enablers in this ransomware explosion, besides making it much more difficult for law enforcement agencies to, well, enforce the perpetrators.
To our Forum Dwellers: this piece is marked as an Editorial

The Pirate Bay Resumes Cryptocurrency Mining, No Opt-Out

We've previously covered The Pirate Bay's usage of a web-based miner on users' machines without their knowledge or consent. We've even done a pretty extensive editorial on whether or not this could be the revenue model of the future. At the time, we came away with the conclusion that the problem isn't with the technology per se, but with the fact it's implemented by humans (and most problems do have their root cause in us humans after all, don't they?).

This seems to be such a case, since The Pirate Bay has now resumed their web-based mining activities with no Opt-out or, better yet, opt-in business model. Now, however, the code isn't being run in the site's core code, but is instead embedded on an advertisement script (yes, advertisements are still running parallel on The Pirate Bay). The most popular adblockers should be enough to stop this miner from ever running, anyway, but yes, there are still users who surf the web absent of any ad-blocking capabilities - and these should see some added processing spikes on their CPUs.

Where's My Bitcoin? "Cerber" Ransomware Starts Stealing Cryptocurrency Wallets

"Where's my Bitcoin?" is a question no miner, investor or mere user in the cryptocurrency ever wants to have to ask. There's always someone willing to take advantage of someone else's hard work or subjection to risk in order to increase their own value; and if there's something years of cyber security have told us, is that hackers seldom lag in picking up new sources of undeserved revenue. So it was only a matter of time before general purpose ransomware started seeing updates so as to take advantage of the newer trends in valuable assets. Enter cryptocurrency. And you can probably guess the rest of this piece.

The new, updated Cerber ransomware routine now not only encrypts a user's files, it also looks for some specific, known Bitcoin wallet applications (namely, and as of time of writing, Bitcoin Core, Electrum, and Multibit), copies them to an external server controlled by the hackers, and proceeds to delete them from the user's PC. Naturally, Cerber also has a routine that handles copying passwords that are stored in your browser of choice. The wallet stealing and copying isn't much of a concern per se; there are additional security measures in any given wallet before the hackers can access their potential treasure trove of cryptocurrency. However, many people also keep files with passwords or some such on their computers; and could be doing a disfavor to themselves by not keeping another copy of their wallets on a secure, non-internet connected hardware wallet, or even USB pen. Naturally, a user who kept the password for their wallet on their system is vulnerable to the entire "ransomware" portion of the Cerber malware; and if someone doesn't even have another copy of their wallet but keeps an ungodly amount of value in it, could very well be facing losses towards the entirety of their wallet. Definitely not a good place to be.

Sources: Trend Micro Cerber Ransomware Removal Tool, Trend Micro, Trend Micro on Cerber Ransomware, via HotHardware, Picture Source

No End to GPU Supply Woes: Germany Supplier Hit by Shortage, Pulls Cards

There seems to be no end in sight for current high-performance, discrete graphics cards' supply constraints. If you've been looking for a specialized graphics processing unit to push eye-candy on your favored 3D experiences to the max, you've probably been having trouble for a while now. It all stems from a crazy, dizzying wave of cryptocurrency mining. And the fact that this mining spree has already taken global mining power consumption to levels close to a 17 million population country, as one of our editors puts it, kind of has a human problem. And it would seem that not even NVIDIA and AMD's partners' attempts to sate current miners' appetite for profit-generating graphics cards has put a dent on demand.

Cryptocurrency Mining Consumes More Power Than 17M Population Country

So, yes, the headline is accurate. We all know that cryptocurrency mining has now reached an all time high, which has affected availability and pricing of most graphics cards from both AMD and NVIDIA. Who doesn't want to make a quick buck here and there? So long as it's profitable, right?

Well, that kind of thinking has already brought the global mining power consumption to unprecedented levels (some might also say demented.) The two top cryptocurrencies right now (by market-cap), Bitcoin and Ethereum, are each responsible for 14.54 TWh and 4.69 TWh power consumption figures. As of now, Ethereum consumes almost as much power as the 120th most power-consuming country, Moldova, which has a population of around 3 million. Bitcoin, on the other hand, stands at 81st on the list, in-between Mozambique and Turkmenistan, the latter of which has a population estimated at 5.17 million people. Combined, Ethereum and Bitcoin consume more power than Syria, which had an estimated 2014 population above 17 million.

Colorful Intros H81A-BTC V20 Motherboard for Cryptocurrency Mining

Quite a few motherboard manufacturers are designing boards for crypto-currency mining rigs. The idea behind these boards is to serve up as many PCI-Express add-on card slots as possible, so miners can wire those slots out through risers, and drive way more than 7 GPU/ASIC cards. This makes for a better investment than building additional machines for more than 7 cards. Crypto-currency mining isn't bandwidth-heavy, and so even PCI-Express x1 provides sufficient connectivity for mining cards. The H81A-BTC V20 from Colorful is a socket LGA1150 motherboard, which takes in old "Haswell" and "Broadwell" CPUs, a pair of DDR3 memory modules, and puts out seven PCI-Express slots, of which one is x16, and the rest x1. The board draws power from 6-pin PCIe and 4-pin Molex, besides 8-pin EPS and 24-pin ATX, to cope with add-on cards that don't have their own power sources.

BIOSTAR Announces the TB250-BTC PRO Motherboard with 12 Slots

Cryptocurrency mining has once again found revitalized value thanks to skyrocketing cryptocurrency prices now reaching record highs. GPU-based mining has long-been the most cost-effective and most accessible way of entering this field and BIOSTAR has been one of the foundations that helped many enthusiasts as well as investors in creating platforms for this industry. BIOSTAR since the H81A and TB85 series have been favorites by miners for its balance of price and scalability offering support up to six graphics cards for maximum board utilization.

Thanks to years of professional experience in mining backed by feedback from customers as well as internal R&D, BIOSTAR has debuted its most innovative mining platform yet. Making its debut during COMPUTEX 2017, motherboards that support up to 8 graphics cards were showcased by BIOSTAR in its booth receiving positive feedback from the people present. Today BIOSTAR has just up the ante with the announcement of it's the world's first motherboard that can support up to 12 graphics cards simultaneously with the global announcement of the TB250-BTC PRO specialized cryptocurrency mining motherboard.

Linux Raspberry Pi Devices Being Infected by Cryptocoin "Mining Malware"

If you have your Raspberry Pi setup and have never changed the default password on the standard "pi" user, it's probably time to do so. A new malware has come out that exploits the simple fact several users apparently have never changed this password. Once it installs itself, it exploits the recent rise in value on cryptocurrency (Bitcoin recently topped $3000 per BTC) to mine cryptocoins for the authors benefit. This not only uses almost 100% of your poor Raspberry Pi's limited CPU, but also makes it part of a "mining botnet" that nets the controller money, adding insult to injury. The malware also makes an anonymous proxy on your box, which needless to say is probably not a good thing.

NVIDIA, AMD to Launch Mining-Oriented Versions of Their GPUs

You must've heard the news of increasingly tighter supply on AMD's video cards. This is kind of a "hello darkness my old friend" kind of moment, since we've seen this happening before. However, these days, the problem looks to be exacerbated with the increase in digital currencies - it's not just Bitcoin now. Ethereum and Zcash have come in to fill customer's desire for a lower entry, ASIC-resistant mineable cryptocurrency. And with the currencies' exploding pricing, people are once again looking to enter the mining craze - to ride the crypto wave, so to speak. All higher-performance graphics cards since the R200 series are flying off the shelves and second hand markets, and as we speak, virtually all RX 580 models are out of stock on Newegg. And while AMD graphics cards have historically been leagues better than their NVIDIA counterparts in mining environments, recently some specialized miners have surfaced, tailored for the Pascal architecture (more oriented to Zcash, though.)
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