Monday, 5 June 2017

The BitcoinDigital Currency

It’s a form of digital currency created electronically in which encryption technique is used to regulate the generation of units of currency and to verify the fund transfer. It’s operating independently of a central bank.Nobody is there to control it.

The Bitcoins aren’t printedlike dollars. Bitcoin currency is fully unregulated and totally decentralized. There is no guarantee or insurance coverage for your deposit with Bitcoin.

You can use your Bitcoins to purchase goods and services online, or you can gather them hoping that their value might increase over the years.Bitcoins are transferred from one personal 'wallet' to another.

Transactions takes place directly with no middle men – meaning, no Banks! Thetransaction fees are too low and no need to give your real name. Bitcoin has been recorded as the first decentralized digital currency in the world.
Bitcoins can be earned by two ways – as a reward for mining, or it can be exchanged for other currencies,products, or services.

Miners are the collective network of people who contribute their PCs to the Bitcoin network.They are paid for their accounting work by earning new Bitcoins each week.

How is it Different from Normal Currencies?

Bitcoin is used to buy things electronically only. It’s not a printed or physical currency.

Who Developed Bitcoins?

Mr. Satoshi Nakamoto - a software developer - proposed the digital currency - Bitcoinin 2009. The concept was to create a currency independent of any Bank authority, which is able to transferelectronicallywith very low transaction fee.
Currently, it’s estimated that over $1B of investment has been made into Bitcoin sector. Several companies and thousands of individuals are involved in Bitcoin currency trade from around the globe.

The Working Principle of Bitcoin

Our traditional currency like dollar or pound has been based on gold or silver. That means, if you deposit a dollar at the bank, you could get some gold back, but in the case of Bitcoin, it’s not based on gold; the currency itself is self-contained. It’s based purely on mathematics.
People are using software that follows a mathematical formula to createBitcoins.
The final point is, Bitcoins trade can’t be monitored or controlled by Govt. agencies, banks or tax men. So, it might not be supporting any Govt. or nation’s interests.

The Features of Bitcoins

Bitcoin has numerous important features

  • Bitcoin Account Set up is easy
    It’s too easy to set up a Bitcoin account; it can take only seconds, no fees is required or no needed much formalities like for setting up a Bank account.
  • Bitcoin is decentralized
    It’s not controlled by a single authority. Every system which uses Bitcoin and does transactions are becominga part of the Bitcoin network. Not any central agency can issue any monetary policy or control the transactions.
  • Totally  transparent
    The Bitcoin keeps all the details of transactionswhich ever happened in a large general ledger, called the Blockchain.
  • It's anonymous
    Users in a Bitcoin network can have multiple addresses, or they aren’t linked to names, addresses or any identification numbers.
  • Transaction fee is less
    Bitcoin charges for transaction are too low compared to traditional Bank charges. They will charge a small fee for the service of their servers, the online exchanges which convertsBitcoins into dollars, and for the mining pools you join. 
  • It’s non-refundable
    When you transfer Bitcoins to other persons, they’re gone forever, no chance to get them back, unless the recipient is willing to return them back to you.

Bitcoin Security 

Bitcoin is not 100% secured like other currencies. The person who has Bitcoins with him should find his own precaution in order to not be stolen by hackers.

Programming Languages used in Bitcoin

Bitcoin is primarily written in C++. Java and Python languages are also used.

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Thursday, 1 June 2017

The WannaCry Ransomware Attack

A global cyber-attack has been reported recently which affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries. In the United Kingdom, the cyber assault hit 47 Hospitals and the operations have been cancelled leaving patients helpless or without getting proper treatment. This cyber-attack has been reported due to a Ransomware called WannaCry.

The WannaCry Ransomware is a crypto worm which targeted the Microsoft Windows OS computers, by encrypting data, blocking access to the files and demanding payments in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

Microsoft had already announced the vulnerability issue on March 14 and advised users to patch their software.

The WCry is a specific hacking program which locks all the data on a computer system and leaves with only two files: directions on what to do next and the Wanna Decryptor program itself.

When the user opens the software, it informs the users that their files have been encrypted (locked), and gives them a few days to pay the ransom amount, with a warning that their files will be deleted if not paid within the date. WannaCry demands the payment in Bitcoin, it will show the instructions on how to purchase it, with their Bitcoin address to send it to.

Protection Measures against WannaCryAttacks

  • The best protection method against Ransomware attacks is to have all files backed up regularly in a separate system. This can protect your files from an attack because you have already a backup.
  • Never open any suspicious Email or website link. The most common method of installing the virus is through phishing emails or websites.
  • Downloading an app, or visiting a website which displays malicious adverts can also make you a victim of the WannaCry attack.
  • Updating the Antivirus programs is a MUST because it can scan files before they are going to be downloaded, and can block secret malware installations.
  • It is strongly recommended that all Windows users must fully update their system with the latest available patches.
  • It is also suggested to disable the SMB1 file protocol, through which the worm was believed to spread across various networks.

Recently, some cyber security companies have developed sophisticated tools against cyber-attack, including machines which fight back when they identify hackers in a system.

What to do if WannaCryAffected - Should you PAYor NOT?

It’s advised to never pay the ransom amount as it encourages the hackers to continue with their hacking process. Even if the amount is paid, there is no guarantee that all files would be returned safe.
The best thing to do in such a situation is to restore all files from the back up source. If it’snot possible, there are some tools available now which can decrypt and recover the encrypted files.

How Much Do AttackersDemand?

The Ransomware hackers often demand between 0.3 and 1 Bitcoins (£400 - 1,375).
The Bitcoin digital currency has been popular among cyber attackers,because it is practically impossible to find out or track who’s playing behind while using Bitcoin unlike traditional currencies.

How Did the WannaCry Spread to Other PCs?

Detailed analysis from Anti-virus/Anti-malware developers like Proofpoint, Symantec and Kaspersky got evidence that WannaCry Ransomware began to spread via Microsoft's SMB flaw. This system is meant to share files between PCs on closed networks but can easily be exploited if one PC is connected to a public network.

Which Programming Lanuguage used to Code WannaCry?

Like most other malwares, it is also written in C, C++ Programming Language.

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