Archive for Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin Speculators trimmed their bearish bets for 2nd week in January

February 16, 2019 – By CountingPips.comReceive our weekly COT Reports by Email

Bitcoin Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large cryptocurrency speculators cut back on their bearish net positions in the Bitcoin futures markets in January, according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

This latest COT data is from later in January due to the government shutdown which suspended the releases. The CFTC is releasing data on Tuesdays and Fridays going forward until the data is back up to date.

The non-commercial futures contracts of Bitcoin futures, traded by large speculators and hedge funds, totaled a net position of -1,010 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday January 22nd. This was a weekly gain of 194 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of -1,204 net contracts.

This week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) sliding by -291 contracts to a weekly total of 1,872 contracts which was overtaken by the gross bearish position (shorts) which saw a reduction by -485 contracts for the week to a total of 2,882 contracts.

The speculative bitcoin position improved for a second straight week and fell to the lowest bearish position in six weeks through January 22nd.

Bitcoin Futures:

Over the same weekly reporting time-frame through January 22nd, from Tuesday to Tuesday, the Bitcoin Futures (Front Month) closed at approximately $3580 which was an uptick of $45 from the previous close of $3535, according to unofficial market data.

*COT Report: The COT data, released weekly to the public each Friday, is updated through the most recent Tuesday (data is 3 days old) and shows a quick view of how large speculators or non-commercials (for-profit traders) as well as the commercial traders (hedgers & traders for business purposes) were positioned in the futures markets.

The CFTC categorizes trader positions according to commercial hedgers (traders who use futures contracts for hedging as part of the business), non-commercials (large traders who speculate to realize trading profits) and nonreportable traders (usually small traders/speculators).

Find CFTC criteria here: (http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/CommitmentsofTraders/ExplanatoryNotes/index.htm).

Article By CountingPips.comReceive our weekly COT Reports by Email

Fibonacci Retracements Analysis 15.02.2019 (BITCOIN, ETHEREUM)

Article By RoboForex.com

BTCUSD, “Bitcoin vs US Dollar”

As we can see in the H4 chart, the short-term correctional downtrend continues. After breaking the resistance at 3618.00, BTCUSD may start a new rising impulse towards the high at 3704.8 or even the mid-term retracement of 50.0% at 3786.00.

BTCUSD1
Risk Warning: the result of previous trading operations do not guarantee the same results in the future

In the H1 chart, the pair has been corrected downwards by 38.2%. In the future, the decline may continue towards the retracements of 50.0% and 61.8% at 352100 and 3478.00 respectively. At the same time, there is a convergence on MACD, which may indicate the slowdown in the downtrend.

Bitcoin
Risk Warning: the result of previous trading operations do not guarantee the same results in the future

ETHUSD, “Ethereum vs. US Dollar”

As we can see in the H4 chart, after reaching the retracement of 38.2%, ETHUSD is starting a new pullback towards the retracement of 23.6% at 114.35. The next ascending wave will be heading towards the retracements of 50.0% and 61.8% at 130.30 and 137.40 respectively.

ETHUSD1
Risk Warning: the result of previous trading operations do not guarantee the same results in the future

In the H1 chart, the pair is trading between the retracements of 23.6% and 38.2%.

Ethereum
Risk Warning: the result of previous trading operations do not guarantee the same results in the future

Article By RoboForex.com

Attention!
Forecasts presented in this section only reflect the author’s private opinion and should not be considered as guidance for trading. RoboForex LP bears no responsibility for trading results based on trading recommendations described in these analytical reviews.

Are You PhishProof?

Phishing is one of the most common forms of cybercrime, so if you’re online, you’ve likely been targeted by a phishing attack—and you might not even know it. So what is phishing exactly? It’s the act of collecting personal information—including bank account numbers, passwords, and usernames—through electronic means, such as deceptive email messages and phone calls. According to RSA’s report for the third quarter of 2018, phishing attacks made up 50 percent of cyber attacks this year, and that number is a huge increase from last year. That’s why it’s important to learn what the most common types of phishing attacks are, and how you can reduce your odds of falling for them.

Common Types of Phishing Attacks

Snowshoeing

One type of phishing is called snowshoeing, where scammers send messages to several IP addresses and domains, with the intention of avoiding spam filters. This ensures that at least some of the emails make it to the inbox before the filters start to identify them as spam. This is much like how snowshoes distribute weight evenly over a large area, so you don’t sink into the snow.

Spear Phishing

Another type of phishing is spear phishing, in which the message is targeted toward one person, not just anyone. Spear phishers put their target’s name in the message and try to make it look like it’s coming from a friend or colleague using a spoofed email address. They might get this information from social media, such as LinkedIn. For instance, a spear phishing email might look like it’s coming from the accounting department at work, requesting your bank account number or home address. It might also look like it’s coming from your bank or favorite store, with a link asking you to input sensitive information, such as a password.

Whale Phishing

Whale fishing is a subset of spear phishing, as it targets “big fish,” such as CEOs and board members. After all, these individuals tend to have more information, such as passwords and bank account numbers, than the average person. While it may take longer for scammers to convince these “big fish” to give up personal information, the payoff is usually better than with regular spear phishing because they often get access to personal information from the entire company, not just one person.

Vishing

Vishing is short for “voice phishing,” so as you might guess, it involves the phone rather than email. If someone is vishing you, you’ll get a phone call with a message from a voice that claims to be a bank. It might ask you for your account number, password, or other sensitive information. The message will usually ask you to press a number to talk to a representative, or it will provide you with a phone number to call so you can give them the information. Either way, you might be tricked into giving a scammer enough personal information to have money taken from your account within minutes, making vishing a dangerous attack if you fall for it.

How to Protect Against Phishing Attacks

Now that you know about the most common types of phishing attacks, you can arm yourself with the information you need to ensure you don’t become a victim. Of course, you can expect to occasionally receive emails and phone calls trying to phish for information from you, but you won’t fall for them once you know the telltale signs of phishing attacks.

Look for spelling errors. Many phishing emails contain several misspellings and grammatical errors. This is because they’re not usually crafted by copywriters and then proofread like a legitimate company’s emails tend to be. In addition, it’s common for phishers to live in other countries where English is not the main language, so look for awkward phrasing that makes it clear the writer is not a native English speaker.

Don’t assume you know the sender. Keep in mind that just because a company or individual knows some information about you doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. There are plenty of easy ways for scammers to get your name, address, and phone number. They might even know where you work, and which bank you use. So, don’t be fooled into thinking they’re legitimate just because they know a few facts or claim to be from a company you’re familiar with. And remember that trusted companies won’t call or email you for personal information anyway

Be wary of links and attachments. If you get an email that claims to be from your bank, work, or credit card company, be suspicious of any links in it. First, hover your cursor over the link to check the URL. If it’s real, the website should be spelled right. But even if it looks correct, there’s a chance you’ll be sent to a different website address once you click on it. The same goes for phone numbers, as scammers can spoof numbers to make it seem like they’re calling from a trusted company. And do not open attachments from email addresses you don’t know, since they might contain viruses. So instead of clicking on a link in an email, type the website address into your browser yourself. And instead of answering personal questions when a possible scammer calls you, hang up and call the number you have for the company.

Report suspicious emails and phone calls. Once you realize the email or call you got it a phishing attempt, contact the company the phisher is trying to mimic. So, if it looks like it’s coming from your bank, call your bank to report the phishing attack. Many companies keep track of these and will inform their customers about them to ensure they’re not the next victim.

Smartly trained people are your best defense against risk. Inspired eLearning offers enterprise-level security awareness education and an anti-phishing simulator, PhishProof,  to organizations of all sizes. Contact us today to find out how we can help your workforce stand strong in the face of ever-changing cyber threats.

 

 

 

What are the three key drivers for Bitcoin’s price rebound?

By George Prior

Bitcoin is finally on the verge of breaking out of the bearish sentiment that has gripped the cryptocurrency market, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations.

The comments from Nigel Green, chief executive of deVere Group, follow surging Bitcoin prices at the end of last week.  On Friday, the world’s largest and original digital currency jumped around 10 per cent within 24 hours, pushing past $3,700 for the first time in three weeks.

He observes: “It was a relatively sudden jump, and, of course, positive news for those holding Bitcoin.

“However, the price only reached the top of the trading range and investors should not be popping champagne corks just yet.”

Mr Green continues: “There are three likely drivers of Bitcoin’s price spike.

“First, there are widely published reports that according to a leaked interview with a commissioner, a Bitcoin ETF could imminently secure approval from the U.S. securities watchdog.

“Second, the development of the lightning network which will dramatically improve Bitcoin’s well-documented scalability issues, allowing it to move towards mass adoption.

“And third, the 2020 Bitcoin halving.  The code for mining Bitcoin halves around every four years and the next one is set for May 2020. When the code halves, miners receive 50 per cent fewer coins every few minutes.  History shows that there is typically a considerable Bitcoin surge resulting from halving events.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “Bitcoin is the flagship cryptocurrency and, as such, we can expect when its values climb, it will drive prices of other major digital currencies such as Ethereum and XRP.”

About:

deVere Group is one of the world’s largest independent advisors of specialist global financial solutions to international, local mass affluent, and high-net-worth clients.  It has a network of more than 70 offices across the world, over 80,000 clients and $12bn under advisement.

Bitcoin Speculators added to bearish net positions for 2nd week into January

By CountingPips.comReceive our weekly COT Reports by Email

Bitcoin Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large cryptocurrency speculators raised their bearish net positions in the Bitcoin futures markets in early January, according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

The latest COT data is from early in January due to the government shutdown which halted the releases. The CFTC is releasing data on Tuesdays and Fridays going forward until the data is back up to date.

The non-commercial futures contracts of Bitcoin futures, traded by large speculators and hedge funds, totaled a net position of -1,306 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday January 8th. This was a weekly reduction of -76 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of -1,230 net contracts.

The week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) gaining by 109 contracts to a weekly total of 2,120 contracts but was overcome by the gross bearish position (shorts) which saw a increase by 185 contracts for the week total of 3,426 contracts.

Speculative net positions saw higher bearish bets for two straight weeks and rose to the most bearish level in three weeks on January 8th.

Bitcoin Commercial Positions:


The commercial traders position, hedgers or traders engaged in buying and selling for business purposes, totaled a net position of -174 contracts on the week. This was a weekly improvement of 45 contracts from the total net of -219 contracts reported the previous week.

The commercials were recently added to the data on November 27th (chart above) and have started off with a small short position.


Small Traders Positions:

The small traders, meanwhile, added to their their existing bullish bets by 31 contracts through January 8th to a total of 1,480 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of 1,449 net contracts.

The small trader position has continued to have a bullish standing in Bitcoin futures since the contract was introduced in December of 2017 and rose for a second straight week.

Bitcoin Futures:

Over the same weekly reporting time-frame, from Tuesday to Tuesday, the Bitcoin Futures (Front Month) closed at approximately $3985 which was an advance of $335 from the previous close of $3650, according to unofficial market data.

*COT Report: The COT data, released weekly to the public each Friday, is updated through the most recent Tuesday (data is 3 days old) and shows a quick view of how large speculators or non-commercials (for-profit traders) as well as the commercial traders (hedgers & traders for business purposes) were positioned in the futures markets. The CFTC categorizes trader positions according to commercial hedgers (traders who use futures contracts for hedging as part of the business), non-commercials (large traders who speculate to realize trading profits) and nonreportable traders (usually small traders/speculators). Find CFTC criteria here: (http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/CommitmentsofTraders/ExplanatoryNotes/index.htm).

Article By CountingPips.comReceive our weekly COT Reports by Email

Fibonacci Retracements Analysis 08.02.2019 (BITCOIN, ETHEREUM)

Article By RoboForex.com

BTCUSD, “Bitcoin vs US Dollar”

As we can see in the H4 chart, the correctional downtrend continues; the pair keeps updating the lows. After reaching the retracement of 76.0%, BTCUSD may continue falling towards the low at 3121.90. However, there is a convergence on MACD, which may indicate a possible pullback towards the retracement of 61.8% at 3547.00.

BTCUSD1
Risk Warning: the result of previous trading operations do not guarantee the same results in the future

In the H1 chart, the pair is consolidating and testing the lows. If the price breaks the previous low and fixes below it, the instrument may continue falling towards the post-correctional extension area between the retracements of 138.2% and 161.8% at 3286.00 and 3251.00 respectively.

BTCUSD2
Risk Warning: the result of previous trading operations do not guarantee the same results in the future

ETHUSD, “Ethereum vs. US Dollar”

As we can see in the H4 chart, after reaching the retracement of 76.0%, ETHUSD is starting a new pullback towards the retracement of 61.8% at 111.30. In the future, the price may break the low and continue falling towards the post-correctional extension area between the retracements of 138.2% and 161.8% at 97.50 and 95.40 respectively.

ETHUSD1
Risk Warning: the result of previous trading operations do not guarantee the same results in the future

In the H1 chart, after reaching the retracement of 76.0%, the price is forming a new correction to the upside.

ETHUSD2
Risk Warning: the result of previous trading operations do not guarantee the same results in the future

Article By RoboForex.com

Attention!
Forecasts presented in this section only reflect the author’s private opinion and should not be considered as guidance for trading. RoboForex LP bears no responsibility for trading results based on trading recommendations described in these analytical reviews.

5 Myths About Data Breaches

Not sure what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to data breaches? Check out the top five data breach myths we’ve heard of…and the reality behind them!

Data Breach Myth 1: Only major companies get targeted for data breaches.

Reality: Any company of any size can be the target of a cyber-attack. We often only see news reports about data breaches from major companies which leads to data breach myths like this one. However, that doesn’t mean small companies are in the clear. In fact, 58% of companies that get their data stolen are small businesses. Basically, if your company has an online presence and collects data from customers in any way, you could be susceptible to a data breach.

Data Breach Myth 2: Cybersecurity is only the IT department’s problem.

Reality: Employees in all departments can establish a Security First mindset and help keep important company information safe from data breaches. In fact, it’s often employees not in the IT department who are accidentally making the company vulnerable to an attack or a data breach. This comes down to lack of security awareness training and resources. Many employees aren’t aware of the tell-tale signs of a phishing email and end up clicking infected links or opening bad attachments. This can easily open the door to malware, which can infiltrate the entire system rather than just affecting one employee. For this reason, it’s helpful for companies to teach all employees the basics on how to avoid data breaches, starting with security awareness training in the workplace.

Data Breach Myth 3: All you need is a strong password.

Reality: A strong password is helpful, but it won’t stop all data breaches. It can also be helpful to use two-factor authentication. You can add another layer of protection by requiring users to confirm a phone number via text message or requiring a fingerprint on top of entering their strong password. Although two-factor authentication can be helpful, it is not fool-proof. You should also implement cyber-security training to keep your organization educated and ahead of the threat.

Data Breach Myth 4: Data breaches only cause financial damage

Reality: The financial and reputational damage caused by data breaches can affect companies for years. Companies might face fines and lawsuits that require them to pay out money to the victims of the data breach over time. They might also have to invest more money in cybersecurity training and defenses after the data breach. In addition to financial loss, companies often must deal with a loss of reputation and trust in their company. As a result, companies might lose business and in some cases be forced to shut down.

Data Breach Myth 5: It’s possible to be completely cyber secure.

Reality: Most security professionals would agree that it’s almost impossible to be totally bulletproof when it comes to cyber-attacks. However, cyber-risk is best managed through continual threat education, security awareness training, and involvement from all levels of leadership.

About the Author:

Want to more tips? Read more at InspiredeLearning.

 

Bitcoin Speculators pared their bearish bets through December

By CountingPips.comReceive our weekly COT Reports by Email

Bitcoin Non-Commercial Speculator Positions:

Large cryptocurrency speculators trimmed their bearish net positions in the Bitcoin futures markets in late December, according to the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

This latest COT data is from late in December due to the government shutdown which halted the releases. The CFTC will be releasing data on Tuesdays and Fridays going forward until the data is back up to date.

The non-commercial futures contracts of Bitcoin futures, traded by large speculators and hedge funds, totaled a net position of -1,142 contracts in the data reported through Tuesday December 24th. This was a weekly change of 200 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of -1,342 net contracts.

The week’s net position was the result of the gross bullish position (longs) tumbling by -292 contracts to a weekly total of 1,808 contracts compared to the gross bearish position (shorts) which saw a decrease by -492 contracts for the week to a total of 2,950 contracts.

The net speculative position closed out the year with specs decreasing their bearish bets for four out of the last five weeks.


Bitcoin Commercial Positions:

The commercial traders position, hedgers or traders engaged in buying and selling for business purposes, totaled a net position of -219 contracts on the week. This was a weekly change of 20 contracts from the total net of -239 contracts reported the previous week.

The commercials were just added to the data mix on November 27th (chart above) and have started off with a small short position.


Small Traders Positions:

The small traders, meanwhile, cut back on their existing bullish bets by -220 contracts through December 24th to a total of 1,361 net contracts from the previous week which had a total of 1,581 net contracts.

The small trader position has continued to maintain a bullish standing in Bitcoin futures since the contract was introduced in December of 2017.


Bitcoin Futures:

Over the same weekly reporting time-frame, from the previous Tuesday to Tuesday December 24th, the Bitcoin Futures (Front Month) closed at approximately $4070 which was a gain of $575 from the previous close of $3495, according to unofficial market data.

*COT Report: The COT data, released weekly to the public each Friday, is updated through the most recent Tuesday (data is 3 days old) and shows a quick view of how large speculators or non-commercials (for-profit traders) as well as the commercial traders (hedgers & traders for business purposes) were positioned in the futures markets. The CFTC categorizes trader positions according to commercial hedgers (traders who use futures contracts for hedging as part of the business), non-commercials (large traders who speculate to realize trading profits) and nonreportable traders (usually small traders/speculators). Find CFTC criteria here: (http://www.cftc.gov/MarketReports/CommitmentsofTraders/ExplanatoryNotes/index.htm).

Article By CountingPips.comReceive our weekly COT Reports by Email

Fibonacci Retracements Analysis 01.02.2019 (BITCOIN, ETHEREUM)

Article By RoboForex.com

BTCUSD, “Bitcoin vs US Dollar”

As we can see in the H4 chart, the correctional downtrend has reached the retracement of 76.0% and may continue falling towards the low at 3121.90. However, there is a convergence on MACD, which may indicate a possible pullback towards the resistance level at 3678.00.

BTCUSD1
Risk Warning: the result of previous trading operations do not guarantee the same results in the future

In the H1 chart, after finishing the short-term correctional uptrend, the pair is forming a new descending impulse. If the price breaks the low at 3342.70, the instrument may fall towards the post-correctional extension area between the retracements of 138.2% and 161.8% at 3294.00 and 3262.00 respectively. The local resistance is the high at 3472.50.

BTCUSD2
Risk Warning: the result of previous trading operations do not guarantee the same results in the future

ETHUSD, “Ethereum vs. US Dollar”

As we can see in the H4 chart, the downtrend has slowed down; the pair is trading between the retracements of 61.8% and 76.0% at 111.25 and 100.00 respectively. The key downside target is the low at 80.86. At the same time, there is a convergence on MACD, which may indicate a possible pullback in the short-term.

ETHUSD1
Risk Warning: the result of previous trading operations do not guarantee the same results in the future

In the H1 chart, the pair is forming a new descending impulse with the closest target at 101.00. If the price breaks this level, the instrument may continue falling towards the post-correctional extension area between the retracements of 138.2% and 161.8% at 97.55 and 95.38 respectively.

ETHUSD2
Risk Warning: the result of previous trading operations do not guarantee the same results in the future

Article By RoboForex.com

Attention!
Forecasts presented in this section only reflect the author’s private opinion and should not be considered as guidance for trading. RoboForex LP bears no responsibility for trading results based on trading recommendations described in these analytical reviews.

Lookout for These 11 Cryptocurrency Scams

#bitcoinCRAZE—Scams galore!

As the market shares of Bitcoin take us on a rollercoaster ride, e-wallets, cryptoexchanges, and other cryptocurrencies are popping up. New “crypto” apps offer mining services, exchange services, and even banking services. How will you navigate the potential security pitfalls of cryptocurrency scams?

We will examine some of the various ways bad actors are skimming the coffers of cryptocurrencies and what you as a consumer can do to avoid them.

Cryptocurrency Hack Attacks:

Fake News

With the era of social media and online news, fake news pushers have it easier than ever to create and spread online cryptocurrency scams by capitalizing on the gold rush. They simply mimic mainstream media web pages with catchy links, “Click here to earn one Bitcoin a day!” which bait users to enter their personal data and credit card information. Always remember, Think before you click! If it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is.

Phishing Scams

Another popular cryptocurrency scam is specialized phishing lures to penetrate cryptocurrency storage systems, such as mobile wallet apps, online exchanges, or trading apps. For example, Fortinet identified a phishing attack that invited investors to increase their gains by utilizing a trading bot application. The phishing email claimed that this app, Gunbot, automatically traded Bitcoins within set parameters to secure profits for investors. Recipients were encouraged to download the new trading bot, Gunbot attachment, but in actuality, it contained an executable that delivers Orcus Remote Access Terminal (RAT) malware.

RATs allow your computer or device to be controlled remotely. From there, it takes just a few keystrokes for the attacker to gain admin rights, which in turn gives him/her access to account and password information that may be stored in the far reaches of your device’s memory. The attacker may even strike gold if you have any Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies that are stored on the hard drive.

Miner Malware

Mining cryptocurrencies takes a lot of resources and computational power. In fact, electricity is the number one operational cost to a Bitcoin miner. For that reason, nefarious hackers have resorted to “borrowing” resources by spreading Bitcoin-mining malware. Many of the current malware botnets are created to mine Bitcoins, whether they’re injected into computers, smart phones, or IoT gadgets. Although their intent isn’t malicious, it’s still unauthorized use of someone else’s property, and it costs the victim money and slows down the hijacked devices. If your battery is dying faster than usual or your device is running slower than normal, then you should scan your system with updated antivirus/anti-malware software.

Compromised e-Wallets

Crypto-currencies often store their value in file stores known as e-wallets. Wallets can be compromised, manipulated, stolen, and transferred, just like any other data stored on a computer. Kaspersky Lab recently detected a new attack strain called CryptoShuffler. The technique uses simple copy-and-paste tactics to steal valuable Bitcoins from unsuspecting users, straight out of their wallets. Most experts recommend keeping your value in an offline wallet that can’t be accessed by malware or hackers.

Fake e-Wallets

Bad actors create fake e-wallets to take advantage of people new to Bitcoin and other digital currencies as they are less likely to recognize fake apps. Lookout recently discovered three fake Bitcoin wallet Android apps in the Google Play Store that trick people into sending cybercriminals Bitcoins. Some of the apps had thousands of downloads. Fortunately, Google has since pulled them from the store. But more crop up every day as the craze for cryptocurrencies hungers on.

Transfer Trojans

Crypto-currency trojans monitor your computer waiting for what looks like the format of a crypto-currency account number. When it spots one, it “awakens” and replaces the intended account you are transferring value to with their account number. Unless you are aware of the switch, it will be game over if you hit the Send button.

Inherent Programming Weaknesses

Like any crypto implementation, the cryptologic algorithm is almost always far more sound than the program that implements it. In general, blockchaining can suffer from a programming bug or lack of good private key security (or Bitcoin wallets) which will it turn compromise the whole system. So, before you use a cryptocurrency or get involved in a blockchain project, make sure the software programmers are applying secure development lifecycle (SDL) processes to minimize bugs. And, protect your private crypto keys as you would the key to your house, or better yet, your safe.

Known Plaintext Crib Attacks

Good crypto makes the resulting cryptotext look like random gibberish. Theoretically, a crypto-attacker should not be able to figure out what the original plaintext looked like. With any blockchain technology, however, the format of the blocks is not a secret and can be easy to figure out. Certain letters, characters, or numbers are always in the same places in every block. This allows crypto-attackers to “crib” a partial representation of the plaintext in every crypto protected block. Plus, every block is a function of the previous block. This weakens the overall protection of the underlying encryption cipher. If the cipher isn’t weak, it isn’t a huge problem, but it does give attackers a starting edge.

Weak SHA-256?

Many security experts wonder if SHA-256, which contains the same mathematical weaknesses as its shorter, very much related SHA-1 precedent, is a concern for Bitcoin and blockchain (both usually use SHA-256). The answer is not right now. SHA-256 is strong enough for the foreseeable future. More importantly, since most of the world’s financial transactions and HTTPS transactions are protected by SHA-256, when someone breaks it, we’ll have far bigger things to worry about than just Bitcoin and blockchains. “Although if you’re planning to make a cryptocurrency or blockchain, start planning for “crypto-agility,” which is the ability to replace ciphers and keep the underlying program,” suggests Roger A. Grimes, from CSO.

Sites Get Hacked

Some of the bigger hacks are ascribed to unscrupulous operators who run away with millions in ill-gotten gains. Other common hacking threads surrounding Bitcoin is how often the centralized website controlling the cyber currency gets hacked. One such example is Youbit, a South Korean Bitcoin exchange that had to file for bankruptcy after criminals stole almost one-fifth of its clients’ holdings in the second major cyberattack on its systems this year.

DDoS attacks against major cyptocurrency exchanges or vaults like Mt. Gox or more recently, Coincheck, can take down whole cryptocurrency systems resulting in either stolen funds or corrupted files that are rendered worthless. Make sure to back up your value into an offline location because an FDIC bail out is not likely to happen. Moreover, always do business with a cryptocurrency website that is well secured and trustworthy.

Credentials Intercepted

Researchers have been warning for years about critical issues with the Signaling System 7 (SS7) that could allow hackers to listen in private phone calls and read text messages on a potentially vast scale, despite the most advanced encryption used by cellular networks.

Avoid using two-factor authentication (2-FA) via SMS texts for receiving OTP codes. Instead, rely on cryptographically-based security keys as a second authentication factor, for example Google Auth.

Timely Advice

Whether you decide to join the craze or sit back and watch the rollercoaster’s dips and turns, here are a few cyber security tips that will be wise to follow:

  • Research before investing to make sure your cryptocurrency website is well secured and trustworthy.
  • Do not trust Twitter or other social media for investment advice since fake news is a pitfall.
  • Think before you click! Do not fall for phishing scams or ads laced with malicious links.
  • Report phishing scams, and don’t share or forward the lure to others.
  • Closely monitor your cryptocurrency wallets, credit card accounts, and banking accounts.
  • Be wary of social engineering attempts to steal your credentials.
  • Routinely scan your computers, laptops, mobile phones, and other devices using updated and patched antivirus/anti-malware software.
  • Avoid using two-factor authentication via SMStexts, rather use Google Auth.

Practicing routine cyber hygiene will help you avoid the hidden traps lying wait on the web.

Want to more tips? Read more at InspiredeLearning.