Bitfinex Users Share Losses After Major Hack

Anyone who stored their bitcoins at the enormous Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange platform Bitfinex will have to share in the losses that resulted from the bitcoin market’s recent cyber-attack.

Following the hack, all Bitfinex users were alerted that they will lose 36% of their assets. Bitfinex allegedly lost up to $65 million worth of bitcoin during the attack.

chi“Upon logging into the platform, customers will see that they have experienced a generalized loss percentage of 36.067%,” the company stated on its website. “We have decided to generalize losses across all accounts.”

The firm added that it would be offering more in depth information regarding how that particular figure was reached soon. Customers were also assured that they would receive a “BFX token” that would be equal to their personal losses. These tokens will eventually be exchanged for repayment by Bitfinex when the company is able to get back on its feet. The tokens will also be exchangeable for shares in its parent company iFinex Inc.

According to Bitfinex, a total of 119,756 bitcoins in total were stolen by hackers. It was the first major attack to hit the platform since May of last year, when 1,500 bitcions were stolen.

This attempt to “socialize” the losses suffered from the attack may have a negative impact on the validity of all digital currencies, as explained by Cornell Universtiy’s Emin Gun Sirer.

“Anyone who holds any asset at any exchange realizes they’re part of the insurance plan for others,” he said.

Bitfinex is by no means the first bitcoin exchange platform to be hacked. A major crisis in the value of bitcoins as a whole followed a brutal cyber attack carried out against the Mt. Gox exchange, which was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2014.

After news broke that Bitfinex has suffered major losses at the hands of malicious hackers, the value of bitcoin fell by an astounding 20%. It has since rebounded slightly, but as usual after a major cyber attack, bitcoins as a concept have been thrown into question.

bitbit“It’s going to be rough,” explained Dr. Sirer. “I think we’re going to see a move towards models with better understood insurance.”

According to Professor Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey, the “vast majority” of people with bitcoins held them in exchanges and online wallets. “It’s a bit like your bank account having money taken from it and then your bank writing to all customers saying it will spread the losses across all of them,” he explained.

Clearly it’s not the most encouraging banking system out there, especially for a currency whose very philosophy is unprecedented and whose value has suffered rough patch after rough patch in terms of stability.

That said, the anonymous currency will likely never die out completely; it’s too important for dark web users, black market patrons, and ransomware makers to ever be allowed to go out of commission entirely.

That said, there are other cryptocurrencies that may rise to take the bitcoin’s place. People are excited about the newest currency, Ethereum, which is also traded at Bitfinex and is rapidly gaining on the bitcoin.


Apple’s Remote Camera Control

An Apple patent just dropped with an infrared system which could be used to shut off iPhone cameras and microphones at various live performances is one of many patents Apple rolled out last week. In addition to this the company first applied for said patent and the infrared camera system in 2011, this coming from a paternally Apply source, which noted tech tech has a lot of potential and up side value for days. The system is able to assist the must and movie industries by automatically disabling camera functions at movies or concerts. However, this technology could also have other applications as well. Consider, by example that you turn an iOS device into a museum or city tour guide, or a source of production info at a retail outlet or something like that. Now you may be wondering how it works, basically the camera is described in Apple’s patent that it could detect much more than an image ever could. In face if the image that is contained within the infrared field then the encoded data would be thus routed to circuitry within the camera in order to decode the data. “this technology could be used for many purposes. However, many of the ones noted for retail or other environments can be accomplished with technologies already Incorporated in mobile devices; using the sensor to control other consumer electronics like your TV or stereo is more practice application;you could just cover up the sensor because it requires line of sight and I doubt consumers would be happy about the ability of someone else controlling their phone.As for the entertainers that do not like people film them welcome to the age of communications; They would be much better leveraging the technology and the fans that trying to fight it.”

McGregor goes on to say that, ” the cameria is integral to so many applications from banking to expense systems, and without it you begin to dilute the value of the mobile device.”
Essentially ” you can send an instruction set to shut off a phone but other instructions set can be sent the phone to that could compromise other capabilities in the phone, Thus infrared is a very easy pathway for a hacker to get into a phone, of Apple does this it has to think the security architect through from end to end, not just from a turn off the camera perspective.”

Finally” instead of having to surrender their phone at the gate, visitors clout take their device with them if the camera and microphone were disable with the infrared system.” I don’t see a lot of enterprise doing it, because when you disable the camera its disabled indeterminately, not just within the convinces of the enterprise, thus that limits the usability of the device itself. I don’t think employees would like it much.” This is one of the scariest stories I have ever covered as a tech blogger because it is limiting the power people have in a free flow of information and is making it all the more possible to be controlled and directed in what you see and when you see it, and more importantly what you can’t see.



brex big

The UK Tech Sector Reacts to Brexit

The recent news regarding Brexit has caused made headlines and cause quite the stir across industry sectors. This particular article will cover the initial reactions of Britain’s tech industry to the groundbreaking vote made by the European people.

Perhaps the most widely reported phenomenon to take place after the vote has been the rapidly devaluation of the pound and share prices of tech firms like BT, TalkTalk and software firm Sage.

tech and brexitThis is likely unwelcome news in the UK and London in particular, where the tech sector has been widely viewed as an economic buoy of sorts. This attitude was the driving force of the UK government’s Tech City initiative as well as the attraction of employees and customers from other EU member states towards the UK’s tech industry.

In fact, British companies publicly hoped to create their own Silicon Valley in London, leading to the nickname “Silicon Roundabout” for London’s tech hub.

The nickname didn’t imply a reality too far from the truth; earlier this year the Tech City cluster of technology businesses in the UK reported that 1.56 million people were employed in companies dealing with digital technology, 328,000 of whom were working in London. That same report stated that the digital economy in the UK grew one third faster than the general UK economy as a whole.

In light of the economic turmoil caused by the Brexit vote, many British tech enthusiasts are now wondering whether this progress may be threatened.

“I have concerns that the local market might slow down,” stated Drew Benvie, founder of London-based digital agency Battenhall. “Over recent years, it’s been clear to anyone in technology that London has become a major technology centre- all the major tech companies have big offices in London.”

Benvie employs 34 people and is also has concerns regarding the fact that many of his employees are EU citizens working in the UK with EU visas.

Leave.EU supporters wave Union flags and cheer as the results come in at the Leave.EU referendum party at Millbank Tower in central London early in the morning of June 24, 2016. First results from Britain's knife-edge referendum showed unexpectedly strong support for leaving the European Union on Friday, sending the pound plummeting as investors feared a historic blow against the 28-nation alliance. / AFP / GEOFF CADDICK        (Photo credit should read GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images)

Benvie isn’t the only business owner unsure what to do in response to Brexit risks.

“The vast majority of large technology companies have invested in a presence around the Reading and outer London area,” explained Theo Priestley, a Scottish tech evangelist and start-up mentor. “The Brexit vote does call into question whether that remains as a sound decision.”

Trade body TechUK represents British tech firms and was displeased at the news regarding the Brexit vote:

“Without the benefits of EU membership, the UK needs to be at its very best to succeed.”

Funding projects could also become more difficult as a result of the Brexit vote. Many firms such as C-Tech Innovation participate in collaborative research projects seeking to forward future technologies and data storage. These projects often benefit from research teams of which there are members from all around Europe.

As Tudor Aw, head of technology at KPMG UK stated, “Technology is a sector that will only increase in importance and works without borders… I therefore continue to see the UK tech sector as one that will not only withstand the immediate challenges of the referendum result, but one that will continue to grow and thrive.”



Data Storage in your own Biology

Researchers have recently decoded the genome of a mammoth and a 700,000 year old horse that is using DNA fragments that extracted from fossils in the past few years. DNA is clearly resistant in a sense that is far longer than the bodies for which it carries said genetic code. This is among many divergent tech en-devours. 

Computer scientists and engineers have long dreamed of capturing this DNA’s tininess and resilience for the storing of their digital data. The idea behind this is to encode all those os and 1s into the molecules A,C,G and T which form the famous double helix structure of DNA.This is a decades advances in DNA both synthesis and sequence have bought the tech forward by many bounds. However, the recent experiments are indicating that we might one day be allowed to encode all the worlds digital information into ta few liters of DNA and then be able to read it back after thousands of years.

Now the interest from the Microsoft corporation and other tech leaders are beginning to energize the field. Microsoft Researchers have announced as early as last month that they would pay synthetic biology start-up Twist Bio-science which is an undisclosed amount to produce 10 million strands of DNA in an effort with Microsoft’s computer scientists to store and more importantly preserve data against the ravages of time and deterioration.  

People will generate upwards of 16 trillion gigabytes of data by 2017 and much of it is going to be needed to be archived. These pertain to such fields as legal, financial and medical records as well as multimedia files. Data is thus stored today on hard drives that are costly and susceptible to damage and aging. These media last anywhere from a few years to decades at most, but they will never break into the super long time frames we are wanting from our researchers. “we’re producing a lot more data than the storage industry is producing devices for, and projections show, that this gap is expected to widen.”

Thus the stage is set for DNA to fill the void that is so obviously present. It will last for centuries if you keep it cold and dry, and it may also pack billions of gigabytes of data into the volume of a sugar crystal (in theory).

The basis of DNA follows a model that is beautiful in its simplicity and its elegance. This is because it is comprised of 4 simple fundamental building blocks. Adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), thymine (T) is only a cubic nano meter in volume. Harvard researchers have said that “our goal is to demonstrate an end to end system where we encode files to DNA have the molecules cynthesized, store them for a long time and then recover them by taking DNA out and sequencing it; start with bits and go back to bits.” There is going to be a few ethical questions that need to be addressed that have not been yet, and we need to consider if we should wait for easier means of large scale data storage.


Solar Tech Sets New Performance Records

There are times when it seems like if there is a new week, there is a new solar record to go along with it. This has been very encouraging and is opening the door for droves of investors to exponentiation this growth. Today the receipt goes something like the conversion of crystalline silicon solar cells that are in the majority of solar planes. Then organic thin film solar cells work in the catching up and hold the possibility to greatly disrupt this trend in the future given the massively decreased price point. The battery arms race is on. 

Researchers constantly looking for ways to make their cells more efficient that is the name of the game. One that can convert the most sunlight into raw electrical power. Not only that it needs to be able to compete with fossil fuels both in performance and cost which is a huge chip against them. Today a conversion rate of 34.5% is pretty good and considered highly efficient. But the majority of them on the market are going to only transfer 18%-20% at best.

The previous record was 24 percent and was held by a large, 800 square centimeter solar cell produced in the US. The new record holders say that “This encouraging result shows that there are still advances to come in photostatic research to make solar cells even more efficient;extracting more energy; extracting more energy from every beam of sunlight is critical to reducing the cost of electricity generated by solar cells as it lowers the investment needed and delivering payback faster.”

When they consider the future of this application it is very promising to the tune that as they say, “a recent study by Germany’s Angora Energiewende think tank set an aggressive target of 35 percent efficiency by 2050 for a module that uses concentrated sunlight such as the standard ones on family homes today; so things are moving faster in solar cell efficiency than may experts have ever expected.”

This is going to be one story of our generation of we are going face the largest threat to our sustained existence. That is the threat of climatic change thorough human intervention. The path to sustainability is though solar cells, but until now they are simply too expensive to be a large means infrastructure plan. Just the other day Germany who is the leader in green technology went completely sustainable ran for a few hours. This was due to unexpectedly sunny and windy forecasts that allowed them to totally to sustainable and turn of their back up power systems. Although the field is still very much in its infancy, this is extremely satisfying. Only years ago it seemed doom and gloom that we could never get off the fossil fuel train, now there is hope. This is not to say that we are save, far from it. In fact although the tech is there if the majority of nations do not adopt these practices it will be a mute point considering Germany and Scandinavian countries contribute relatively little to the global carbon footprint to begin with.


Federal Judge Rules on Touch ID

The recent and highly-mediatized standoff between Apple and the FBI made headlines for much of March and April. While the case was closed when the government ultimately sidestepped Apple and purchased a cracking tool for its investigation of the smartphone belonging to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, the battle between personal privacy and government surveillance rages on in the shared ground between legal and virtual realms.

touch id2In a virtual world without precedent, a myriad of legally murky situations have surfaced around the proper breadth of access of personal (and often evidence-rich) smartphones by relevant authorities. For example, just last February the Los Angeles Times reported on a case in which the FBI obtained a warrant from federal magistrate judge Alicia Rosenberg which compelled a 29-year-old female resident of Los Angeles to unlock her iPhone using her fingerprint. Paystar Bkhchadzhyan has a criminal record and was reportedly involved in a romantic relationship with alleged Armenian Power gang member Sevak Mesrobian. It’s unclear why the FBI sought access to Bkhchadzhyan’s smartphone as certain elements of the paper trail behind her warrant were classified, but the relevant significance lies in the fact that a suspect in a criminal case could be compelled to open up her smartphone using Touch ID.

Judges at the state level have set a precedent that holds that law enforcement officials can compel a suspect to provide his or her fingerprint in the event that it will unlock a computer. They draw a distinction between this method of unlocking otherwise encrypted data and that of entering a password or numeric code, the idea being that while thoughts and ideas are protected by the Fifth Amendment, “material evidence” (which includes blood, handwriting samples, keys to a strongbox, etc.) is not protected.

Susan Brenner, a law professor at the University of Dayton, is among the many legal analysts and privacy advocates still considering whether this distinction between fingerprints and memorized passcodes holds true to the constitution:

“It isn’t about fingerprints and biometric readers. It’s about the contents of that phone, much of which will be about her, and a lot of that could be incriminating.”

touch id3This distinction has been a point of interest and contention since Touch ID hit the market; in 2014, criminal defense and government investigations lawyer at Cozen O’Connor Hayes Hunt stated the following:

“I think the courts are struggling with this, because a fingerprint in and of itself is not testimony,…[but] the concern is, once we put a password on something or on ourselves, we have a certain privacy interest.”

Given the nature of this conflict, yet another privacy issue rises to the surface; because we leave fingerprints behind on everything we touch, law enforcement may be able to lift prints and unlock devices without even using a suspect’s fingers directly. In fact, this technique could also be used with criminal intent.

For this and many other reasons, many have reset their phones to use passcodes as opposed to fingerprints; sometimes the best methods are tried and true.


Federal Agency Making Headway In Battery Storage

Whenever the military decides to invade an isolated location most recently the middle East one of the biggest issues is ensuring that the people on the ground have a reliable source of energy. With the military of technology being as it is not this alone is one the biggest strategic and pressing issues facing the military of tomorrow, provided they decide to keep invading and waging war on areas  that do not have a reliable source of energy and are technologically far behind that of the US. If history is any indicator that is probably the state of affairs we find ourselves in. This trend is indicative of a trend of evolution in tech infrastructure.

“You can certainly see it in forward operations where they are moving their troops out into a place where they don’t have ready access to an electric power system,” she said. “As a military base, they need emergency preparedness so that if there is a hurricane or if there is a terrorist event anything that might disrupt the external electric power grid, they need to be able to keep their operations going. For them to have a microgrid with their own storage and their own battery system is really important.”fuck stick

William goes on to say

“They are too early stage, they have too much technical uncertainty or risks for the private sector to invest in immediately,” she continued. “Our job is to assess and make sure there is some potential there and then invest in teams to help them develop their technology up to the prototype scale where it’s possible to evaluate their potential value in practical applications and then help them move their technology towards readiness for the private sector to pick up and develop.”

That is to say,

“It flies up to elevations where the wind is very strong and then it flies on [a] particular flight path. Then the propellers on the vehicle become the wind collectors and generate electricity, which is sent down the tether,” she said. “It was so exciting that a big company has picked them up and has been developing their technology ever since and we believe they are now demonstrating a 600 kilowatt version that may go commercial in the next couple of years.”

They then consider the fact that,

kjljlkj“Right now, the way you make a silicon wafer on which you build all your technology is you grow a big single crystal of silicon and then you slice it,” Williams said. “Their (1366 technologies) idea was that, instead of growing this crystal and slicing it, which causes you to lose a lot of silicon, they believed they could grow individual wafers of silicon one at a time and get rid of all that extra processing and the slicing and polishing.”

As unsavory as a lot of the rhetoric is surrounding this topic is and when we consider that this tech they are considering is to aid in the killing of more people we may find a silver lining in all of this. Whenever the US needs innovation they turn to the military.There is going to be an arms race for batteries that will ultimately help the future of energy and the US energy infrastructure in general.



The Evolution of WiFi

Like the internet itself, the technology surrounding wireless internet connectivity exists in a constant state of flux. Gone are the days that the a home or business maintained access to the internet through wires alone; the ability for internet access to be obtained through radio signals has completely revolutionized the common user’s web experience, not to mention made home decoration a whole lot easier.
balloonAt the present, WiFi is an amenity almost as basic as electricity and running water; restaurants are pressured by customers and competition to supply free WiFi along with their services, and libraries not only offer the ability for knowledge-seekers to congregate due to their large repositoires of physically written works; the free WiFi they supply is a magnet for researchers and social media lovers alike.
But where is WiFi headed? The future of WiFi may be even more surprising and influential than its past.
Take the Google Loon project, for example. The research and development team behind the project is determined to create an adequate response to the needs of potential internet users based in regions that lack the infrastructure (whether governmental or physical) to access the internet. The government of Afghanistan, for example, would be hard pressed to get together the resources and work force to develop internet-offering infrastructure for its citizens living in its most remote mountain regions.
Citizens of the Phillipenes face a similar issue; the hundreds of islands that make up the region consititute a real infrastructural challenge for the government when it comes to purchasing and installing the system of undersea fiber optic cables that would enable all of its citizens to access the internet.
Google Loon’s R&D team came up with the following solution for the people suffering from this problem: make WiFi airborne using hot air balloons.
As insane as it may sound, the team is close to perfecting what may be an ingenious and world-shattering technology that will bring the two thirds of the world’s population that remain untouched by the internet revolution right back into the heart of the 21st century.
facebook lasersFacebook is undergoing a similar challenge, though its R&D teams are actively developing a method of creating WiFi connections through lazers shot from the earth and reflected towards remote regions by orbiting satellites. The technology continues to be in the works, but the teams responsible have reported fast progress and a generally promising product.

Then there’s the new energy-saving WiFi technological advancements that are likely to affect the more seasoned internet users; engineers have realized that it’s unnecessary (for most internet users) to use WiFi every hour of every day, yet routers must constantly be plugged in to function, and function 100% of the time that they’re turned on. Now there are WiFi routers that turn off when they’re not being used, allowing them to be up to seventy percent more efficient and less of an energy leak that WiFi routers have become.

As to the future of WiFi, even past these recent developments, it’s hard to know. Only time will tell what’s coming up.

tim cook battle

Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes Encryption Battle Public

Tim Cook has made it clear that he think’s the government’s wish that Apple make a “backdoor” to their encryption services would give malicious hackers a leg-up that would prove harmful to society.

He has attended multiple meetings with White House officials where he has stood his ground on the issue, claiming that while a “backdoor” might make government surveillance easier, it would actually open up Pandora’s box in terms of all the opportunities hackers would have to prey on private Apple product users and even government bodies.

Now that a federal magistrate has ordered Apple to create software that would let authorities access data in an iPhone used by the shooters in last year’s San Bernadino terorrist attack, Tim Cook has taken his stance to the public by writing an open letter explaining his company’s resistance.

fbi“The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand,” he stated.

Apple has already acted in accordance with the FBI’s request for information about Syed Farook’s iPhone and has provided all the data in the company’s possession according to Cook.

The problem has to do with the FBI’s request that Apple provide a “back door” to the iPhone’s encrypted data, which Cook claims is “too dangerous to create.”

“Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software– which does not exist today– would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.”

The FBI has promised that the custom software would only be used once, for this particular San Bernadino investigation. However, Apple doesn’t buy the government’s promise to not use the technology in future issues, and believes that it would undermine the encryption for millions of other users.

The issue comes down to one of privacy; data stored on a phone could include everything from bank information to sensitive pictures to medical records, so companies that promise to protect their customers’ sensitive data would stand to lose that ability.

“What we’re talking about is balancing interests between personal and public safety and personal privacy- whether the federal government or state and local law enforcement should be in a position to be able to demand access to those kinds of capabilities,” explained Michael E. Dergosits, a partner in Dergosits & Noah.

encrypted iphoneIn our unprecedented internet age where everything is recorded, people aren’t sure what is private anymore.

“If you have a document on the front seat of your car when you get pulled over, you can’t have an expectation of privacy… because it’s in plain view. But if you have it in an envelope in your trunk inside a piece of baggage, then it would seem that your expectation is that you wouldn’t want it to be within plain view or where anyone could see,” he continued. “If you’re randomly stopped, the law enforcement [official] has to have some sort of probably cause for opening up a closed container that might haves something private in it… If they don’t have probably cause, then they have to get a warrant. The asme goes for going to a venue like an airport or concert venue, or somewhere where you’re subject to search. That’s your personal choice to submit to that search.”


What the Internet has Done to Our Opinions

The effect of the internet on the average man’s world view will likely be a subject of study for centuries to come. Like the advent of the printing press, the development of computers and the interactive digital world will go down in history as a great global advancement of consciousness within human society as a whole.

…maybe. The thing about the Internet, is it’s a lot like a car, a gun, or even the first and most crucial discovery of humankind: manmade fire. It’s both dangerous and freeing, and it can alter your life for the better or for the worse depending on how you use it.

someone is wrong on the internetUnfortunately for society as a whole, most people don’t take an academic approach to the internet. Though they likely do get more news updates and advertisements, even these have become customarily tailored to the person’s browsing history. If anything, the products and information chosen for the average internet browser creates an artificial world in which his or her values seem to be validated as the most important and easily accessible subjects on the internet.

Even if someone begins to search the web, prodding the internet for more information about a given subject, that person is likely to just use their google search to upturn more information to support his or her already held beliefs. American conservatives will go to Fox News for information to add to their worldview, while young American liberals will watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report to better understand how to negate conservative opinions.

Not that the playing field is completely level and the two sides are totally even and valid perspectives differentiated only by matters of opinion… it’s likely no coincidence that academia and scientific advances tend to clash with conservative values and belief.

That said, there are a fair amount of questions that the liberal can use the internet to arm him or herself against instead of really considering them. Like, if a fetus is not a human at three months of age, when is it a human and what scientific backing do you have for that particular guideline? At one point does it make sense to risk killing what potentially counts as an innocent unborn child?

fox newsI’m pro-choice myself, but these questions still plague me and I believe found themselves in a legitimate moral quandary. That said, if I want to google search “why any feminist is pro-choice”, I’ll be inundated with information that seems to make that opinion basically based in fact.

Perhaps the biggest effect that the Internet will have on our opinions is that idea that information comes from a media source and that that source may be disproven or argued with the next day or years later. Donald Trump’s recent decision to boycott the Fox News Republican Presidential Candidate Debates has illuminated a more wide-spread diminution of respect for mainstream news forms that often finds support on the Internet, where fact-checking abounds, as do a host of private and international news sources.