ransomware

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pages: 252 words: 75,349

Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-From Global Epidemic to Your Front Door by Brian Krebs

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barriers to entry, bitcoin, Brian Krebs, cashless society, defense in depth, Donald Trump, employer provided health coverage, John Markoff, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, payday loans, pirate software, placebo effect, ransomware, Silicon Valley, Stuxnet, the payments system, transaction costs, web application

For starters, the work done by Savage, Microsoft, and the brand holders who worked with the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) to make it far more expensive for partnerka programs to obtain credit card processing effectively killed off much of the rogue antivirus or scareware industry that ChronoPay had so carefully nurtured. But in its place, a far more insidious threat has taken hold: ransomware. Much like scareware, ransomware is most often distributed via hacked or malicious sites that exploit browser vulnerabilities. Typically, these scams impersonate the Department of Homeland Security or the FBI (or the equivalent federal investigative authority in the victim’s country) and try to frighten people into paying fines to avoid prosecution for supposedly downloading child pornography and pirated content. Ransomware locks the victim’s PC until he either pays the ransom or finds a way to remove the malware. Increasingly, ransomware attacks encrypt all of the files on the victim’s PC, holding them for ransom until victims pay up. Victims are instructed to pay the ransom by purchasing a prepaid debit card or cash voucher, sold at convenience stores or retail outlets the world over.

Victims are then told to send the attackers the voucher code or card number that allows the bad guys to redeem the information for cash. “I don’t think it’s an accident that we’ve seen ransomware rise as it’s become harder for these partnerka programs to find a continuous supply of banks to help them process cards for scareware payments,” Savage said. “You have a bunch of people who are used to making good money for whom fake antivirus software and scareware have become problematic and for whom pharma is not really an option. There’s a void in the ecosystem where people can make money. It’s not at all an accident that these ransomware schemes essentially are bypassing traditional payment schemes.” The past few years have also witnessed a noticeable change in the ways that botmasters are using the resources at their disposal.

In other words, it’s very possible that a cybercriminal right now is selling your personal information to someone else and making a pretty penny off it. “Much like the Inuit Eskimos made sure to use every piece of the whale, we’re seeing an evolution now where botmasters are carefully mining infected systems and monetizing the data they can find,” Savage said. “The mantra these days seems to be, ‘Why leave any unused resources on the table’?” While some are using ransomware and data harvesting, Savage said, many other former affiliates and managers of failed scareware, pharma, and pirated software partnerkas are casting about for the next big thing. “It’s a period of innovation, and people clearly are looking around for another sweet spot that’s as good as pharma, which made more money more reliably than anything else out there,” he said. “A few affiliate programs are trying to peddle pirated e-books and movies; others are getting into [advertising] payday loans.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

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23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

Schwartz, “Malware Toolkits Generate Majority of Online Attacks,” Dark Reading, Jan. 18, 2011. 95 To unlock their computers: David Wismer, “Hand-to-Hand Combat with the Insidious ‘FBI MoneyPak Ransomware Virus,’ ” Forbes, Feb. 6, 2013. 96 Thus users in the U.K.: EnigmaSoftware, “Abu Dhabi Police GHQ Ransomware.” 97 Another, even more pernicious: Mark Ward, “Crooks ‘Seek Ransomware Making Kit,’ ” BBC News, Dec. 10, 2013. 98 Nearly 250,000 individuals: Dave Jeffers, “Crime Pays Very Well: CryptoLocker Grosses up to $30 Million in Ransom,” PCWorld, Dec. 20, 2013. 99 Automated ransomware tools: Dennis Fisher, “Device-Locking Ransomware Moves to Android,” ThreatPost, May 7, 2014. 100 The police lieutenant: Violet Blue, “CryptoLocker’s Crimewave: A Trail of Millions in Laundered Bitcoin,” ZDNet, Dec. 22, 2013; Bree Sison, “Swansea Police Pay Ransom After Computer System Was Hacked,” CBS Boston, Nov. 18, 2013.

Alarmingly, the malware presents a ticking-bomb-type countdown clock advising users that they only have forty-eight hours to pay $300 or all of their files will be permanently destroyed. Akin to threatening “if you ever want to see your files alive again,” these ransomware programs gladly accept payment in Bitcoin. The message to these victims was no idle threat. Whereas previous ransomware might trick users by temporarily hiding their files, CryptoLocker actually uses strong 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard cryptography to lock user files so that they become irrecoverable. Nearly 250,000 individuals and businesses around the world have suffered at the hands of CryptoLocker, earning an estimated $30 million for its developer. Automated ransomware tools have even migrated to mobile phones, affecting Android handset users in certain countries. Not only have individuals been harmed by the CryptoLocker scourge, so too have companies, nonprofits, and even government agencies, the most infamous of which was the Swansea Police Department in Massachusetts, which became infected when an employee opened a malicious e-mail attachment.

Savvy users thought rebooting might resolve the problem, but when they did, they were met with the blaring siren noise and the same implacable red alert screen. Paying the $49 fee was the only way to regain access to their own computers and data (a deluxe version with unlimited tech support was available for $79). So what exactly was this pioneering software product Innovative Marketing had created? It was called crimeware, a whole new product category within the software industry—software that commits crime. Crimeware, sometimes called scareware, ransomware, or rogue antivirus, is nothing more than a malicious computer program that plays on a user’s fear of virus infection. We’ve all been trained to be on the lookout for antivirus alerts and to run our security software when a problem is detected. Thus it seemed entirely logical that when System Defender’s critical system pop-up message appeared on the screens of users around the world, the best and commonsense course of action was to click on the “remove all threats” button.


pages: 587 words: 117,894

Cybersecurity: What Everyone Needs to Know by P. W. Singer, Allan Friedman

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4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business continuity plan, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, drone strike, Edward Snowden, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fault tolerance, global supply chain, Google Earth, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, M-Pesa, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, packet switching, Peace of Westphalia, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, ransomware, RFC: Request For Comment, risk tolerance, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day, zero-sum game

Here again, it’s not merely the system going down that makes availability a security concern; software errors and “blue screens of death” happen to our computers all the time. It becomes a security issue when and if someone tries to exploit the lack of availability in some way. An attacker could do this either by depriving users of a system that they depend on (such as how the loss of GPS would hamper military units in a conflict) or by merely threatening the loss of a system, known as a “ransomware” attack. Examples of such ransoms range from small-scale hacks on individual bank accounts all the way to global blackmail attempts against gambling websites before major sporting events like the World Cup and Super Bowl. Beyond this classic CIA triangle of security, we believe it is important to add another property: resilience. Resilience is what allows a system to endure security threats instead of critically failing.

Harm can occur through unscrupulous manufacturing or tainted products, especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals. Most losses, however, are indirect, through missed sales and diluted brand value for the companies that followed the rules. Many cybercrimes target businesses more directly. We explore one particularly widespread type, trade secret and intellectual property theft, later. But companies can also be harmed directly through extortion attacks. This is the category that uses the type of ransomware attacks we read about earlier. The victim has to weigh the potential cost of fighting a well-organized attack versus paying off the potential attacker. Websites with time-dependent business models, such as seasonal sales, are particularly vulnerable. One study reported that, “In 2008, online casinos were threatened with just such an [extortion] attack, timed to disrupt their accepting wagers for the Super Bowl unless the attackers were paid 40,000 dollars.”

phishing: An attempt to fool the user into voluntarily supplying credentials, such as a password or bank account number, often by spoofed e-mails or fake web pages. “Spear phishing” attacks are customized to target specific individuals. protocol: A set of formats and rules that defines how communications can be exchanged. pwn: Hacker term meaning to “own,” or take control of, a rival’s systems and networks. ransomware: A type of malware that restricts access to a target and demands payment to return regular service. red-team: To examine and/or simulate an attack on oneself, in order to identify and close vulnerabilities before an adversary can do so. Often performed by “white hat” hackers. RickRolling: The Internet meme of tricking someone into watching a horribly addictive music video by 1980s singer Rick Astley.


pages: 296 words: 86,610

The Bitcoin Guidebook: How to Obtain, Invest, and Spend the World's First Decentralized Cryptocurrency by Ian Demartino

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3D printing, AltaVista, altcoin, bitcoin, blockchain, buy low sell high, capital controls, cloud computing, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, forensic accounting, global village, GnuPG, Google Earth, Haight Ashbury, Jacob Appelbaum, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, litecoin, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Oculus Rift, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, QR code, ransomware, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Skype, smart contracts, Steven Levy, the medium is the message, underbanked, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

The most common tactics include installing hidden mining software, and encrypting important files and then holding them for ransom. The last example is by far the most frightful. The malware—this particular form is known as “ransomware”—cryptographically encrypts a victim’s files, focusing on things it deems important, such as documents and photographs. It then demands payment in Bitcoin for the key to unlock the files. The software usually includes a timer counting down, with the threat that if it reaches zero, the price to unlock the files will increase. According to security blogs, more often than not, victims who pay the ransom fail to get their files unlocked. There are some sites that use already-discovered passwords to attempt an unlock for free but the ransomware itself remains practically unbreakable. Another scamming tactic is the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack, where the attacker takes a site offline by sending too many requests for the site to handle.

Multiple mainstream journalism publications have set up Tor hidden service sites, allowing whistleblowers to leak information without revealing their identity. The experience of trawling the Deep Web is somewhat akin to traveling the Internet before Google made it easy. The freedom that comes with true anonymity is powerful and results in both good and bad, and that isn’t going away anytime soon. Bitcoin’s ties to criminal activity aren’t limited to the Deep Web. Bitcoin is playing an increasingly large role in malware, ransomware, and gray-market services. Online gambling was an early and obvious use for Bitcoin and that trend has continued unabated since the first dice sites hit the Internet. Today, nearly any event can be bet on using Bitcoin and nearly every casino game is available. There are even peer-to-peer betting sites that allow you to wager on the outcome of custom events—from the results of a presidential election to the next time a celebrity will be arrested to whether it is going to rain in Las Vegas tomorrow.


pages: 602 words: 177,874

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Bob Noyce, business process, call centre, centre right, Chris Wanstrath, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, demand response, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Flash crash, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land tenure, linear programming, Live Aid, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, pattern recognition, planetary scale, pull request, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, supercomputer in your pocket, TaskRabbit, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, Transnistria, urban decay, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Earlier this month, cybercriminals attacked a hospital in Los Angeles, then demanded payment in bitcoin to let the hospital regain access to their computers. It’s the most high-profile case yet of cyber-extortion using software known as ransomware. The attack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center effectively knocked it offline. As a result, patients had to be diverted to other hospitals, medical records were kept using pen and paper, and staff resorted to communicating by fax. The attackers demanded 9,000 bitcoins—around $3.6 million. After a two-week stand-off, the hospital yesterday paid out $17,000 … “Ransomware has really exploded in the last couple of years,” says Steve Santorelli, a former UK police detective who now works for Team Cymru, a threat intelligence firm based in Florida. One ransomware package, CryptoLocker 3.0, is thought to have earned attackers $325 million in 2015 alone. “These guys are crazy sophisticated,” says Jake Williams, the founder of cybersecurity firm Rendition Infosec … Ross Anderson, a security researcher at the University of Cambridge, says bitcoin has helped cybercriminals to access payments without being caught.

Hartman, David Harvard Business Review Harvey, Hal Hautman, Pete Hautman family Hawaii Hazeltine National Golf Club HBO health care HealthPartners Heifetz, Ronald “Hello” (song) help desks Henderson, Simon Henry, Buck Hessel, Andrew Hewitt, Brad Hewlett Packard Enterprise high-frequency trading Hillel, Rabbi HipChat Hiroshima, atomic bombing of history: Eurocentric view of; inflection points in, see inflection points; McNeill’s view of HistoryofInformation.com Hitler, Adolf Hmong people Hoffman, Reid Hoffmann-Ostenhof, Georg Hollande, François Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, ransomware attack on Holmstrom, Carl Holocaust Holocene epoch; planetary boundaries of Holt, Bill Honduras Hong Kong Horn, Michael hospitality industry, supernova and House of Representatives, U.S., Homeland Security Committee of Huffington Post Hughes Aircraft human adaptability, in age of accelerations human capital; investment in human networks, see intelligent algorithms Human Resources Development Ministry, India Human Rights Campaign humans: godlike powers of; tribalism of humiliation: adaptability and; as geopolitical emotion Humphrey, Hubert H.

planetary boundaries PlayStation 3 Pleistocene epoch pluralism Pluralism Project politics: bipartisanship in; compromise in; disruption in; dogmatism in; money in; polarization in; trust and; see also geopolitics politics, innovation in; adaptability and; diversity and; entrepreneurial mindset in; federal-local balance in; Mother Nature as mentor for; need for organization in; ownership in; “races to the top” in; resilience in; specific reforms in pollution Pol Pot polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) Popular Science population growth; climate change and; political instability and; poverty and; in weak states Population Institute poverty; advances in connectivity and; chickens and; global flows and; population growth and power of flows power of machines power of many; Mother Nature and; supernova and; see also population growth power of one; ethics and; supernova and Prabhu, Krish prairie, as complex ecosystem Present at the Creation (Acheson) Preston-Werner, Tom Prickett, Glenn privacy, big data and Private Photo Vault Production and Operations Management Society Conference (2014) productivity, supernova and Profil Progressive Policy Institute progressivism; economic growth and Prohibition Project Dreamcatcher Project Syndicate public spaces Putin, Vladimir Putnam, Robert Quad Qualcomm; maintenance workers at Qualcomm pdQ 1900 Quednau, Rachel Queen Rania Teacher Academy Quiz Bowl (TV show) QuoteInvestigator.com (QI) racism rain forests Rain Room ransomware Rattray, Ben ReadWrite.com Reagan, Ronald Real Time Talent Reflections on the Revolution in France (Burke) regulation, technological change and Regulatory Improvement Commission (proposed) Reilly Tar & Chemical Corporation Rejoiner.com relationships, human, connectivity and Republican Party, Republicans: climate change denial by; dogmatism of; implosion of; liberal; polycultural heritage of resilience; in Mother Nature; ownership and; political innovation and retailing: big data and; supernova and Reuters ride-sharing Rifai, Salim al- Ringwald, Alexis Rise and Fall of American Growth, The (Gordon) Rise of the West, The (McNeill) “Rising Menace from Disintegrating Yemen, The” (Henderson) Roberts, Keith robotics “Robots Are Coming, The” (Lanchester) Rockström, Johan Rodríguez, Chi Chi rogue states Rosenstein, Wendi Zelkin Royal Ontario Museum Rugby World Cup (1995) Ruh, Bill Russ, Pam Russell, Richard B.


pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

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Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, off grid, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social software, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, wealth creators, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

It enables humans to value and to violate one another’s rights in profound new ways. The explosion in online communication and commerce is creating more opportunities for cybercrime. Moore’s law of the annual doubling of processing power doubles the power of fraudsters and thieves—“Moore’s Outlaws”1—not to mention spammers, identity thieves, phishers, spies, zombie farmers, hackers, cyberbullies, and datanappers—criminals who unleash ransomware to hold data hostage—the list goes on. IN SEARCH OF THE TRUST PROTOCOL As early as 1981, inventors were attempting to solve the Internet’s problems of privacy, security, and inclusion with cryptography. No matter how they reengineered the process, there were always leaks because third parties were involved. Paying with credit cards over the Internet was insecure because users had to divulge too much personal data, and the transaction fees were too high for small payments.

He was inspired by cryptographer Adam Back’s solution, Hashcash, to mitigate spam and denial-of-service attacks. Back’s method required e-mailers to provide proof of work when sending the message. It in effect stamped “special delivery” on an e-mail to signal the message’s importance to its sender. “This message is so critical that I’ve spent all this energy in sending it to you.” It increases the costs of sending spam, malware, and ransomware. Anyone can download the bitcoin protocol for free and maintain a copy of the blockchain. It leverages bootstrapping, a technique for uploading the program onto a volunteer’s computer or mobile device through a few simple instructions that set the rest of the program in motion. It’s fully distributed across a volunteer network like BitTorrent, a shared database of intellectual property that resides on tens of thousands of computers worldwide.

Security Principle: Safety measures are embedded in the network with no single point of failure, and they provide not only confidentiality, but also authenticity and nonrepudiation to all activity. Anyone who wants to participate must use cryptography—opting out is not an option—and the consequences of reckless behavior are isolated to the person who behaved recklessly. Problem to Be Solved: Hacking, identity theft, fraud, cyberbullying, phishing, spam, malware, ransomware—all of these undermine the security of the individual in society. The first era of the Internet, rather than bringing transparency and impairing violations, seems to have done little to increase security of persons, institutions, and economic activity. The average Internet user often has to rely on flimsy passwords to protect e-mail and online accounts because service providers or employers insist on nothing stronger.


pages: 200 words: 47,378

The Internet of Money by Andreas M. Antonopoulos

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AltaVista, altcoin, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, cryptocurrency, ethereum blockchain, financial exclusion, global reserve currency, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, Marc Andreessen, Oculus Rift, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, QR code, ransomware, reserve currency, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Skype, smart contracts, the medium is the message, trade route, underbanked, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

This has never happened before, and that’s just the beginning. Audience member gasps: "Oh shit!" "Let’s take three radically disruptive technologies and mash them together. Bitcoin. Uber. Self-driving cars. What happens when you mash the three together? The self-owning car." I can guarantee you that one of the first distributed autonomous corporations is going to be a fully autonomous, artificial-intelligence-based ransomware virus that will go out and rob people online of their bitcoin, and use that money to evolve itself to pay for better programming, to buy hosting, and to spread. That’s one vision of the future. Another vision of the future is a digital autonomous charity. Imagine a system that takes donations from people, and using those donations it monitors social media like Twitter and Facebook. When a certain threshold is reached and it sees 100,000 people talking about a natural disaster, like a typhoon in the Philippines, it can marshal the donations and automatically fund aid in that area, without a board of directors, without shareholders.


pages: 329 words: 95,309

Digital Bank: Strategies for Launching or Becoming a Digital Bank by Chris Skinner

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algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, bank run, Basel III, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, cashless society, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, demand response, disintermediation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Google Glasses, high net worth, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, margin call, mass affluent, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, Pingit, platform as a service, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pre–internet, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, reserve currency, RFID, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, smart cities, software as a service, Steve Jobs, strong AI, Stuxnet, trade route, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, web application, Y2K

McAfee Labs researchers recently debated the leading threats for the coming year and show that it’s only going to get worse: “Hacking as a Service”: Anonymous sellers and buyers in underground forums exchange malware kits and development services for money The decline of online hacktivists Anonymous, to be replaced by more politically committed or extremist groups Nation states and armies will be more frequent sources and victims of cyberthreats Large-scale attacks like Stuxnet, an attack on Iranian nuclear plants, will increasingly attempt to destroy infrastructure, rather than make money Mobile worms on victims’ machines that buy malicious apps and steal via tap-and-pay NFC Malware that blocks security updates to mobile phones Mobile phone ransomware “kits” that allow criminals without programming skills to extort payments Covert and persistent attacks deep within and beneath Windows Rapid development of ways to attack Windows 8 and HTML5 A further narrowing of Zeus-like targeted attacks using the Citadel Trojan, making it very difficult for security products to counter Malware that renews a connection even after a botnet has been taken down, allowing infections to grow again The “snowshoe” spamming of legitimate products from many IP addresses, spreading out the sources and keeping the unwelcome messages flowing SMS spam from infected phones.


pages: 1,318 words: 403,894

Reamde: A Novel by Neal Stephenson

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air freight, airport security, crowdsourcing, digital map, drone strike, Google Earth, industrial robot, informal economy, large denomination, megacity, new economy, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, ransomware, side project, Skype, slashdot, South China Sea, the built environment, the scientific method, young professional

Corporation 9592’s security hackers had been toiling at it all weekend. “How is this possible?” Wallace demanded. Upstairs, Zula was already reading about how it was possible. “It’s not just possible, it’s actually pretty easy, once your system has been rooted by a trojan,” Peter said. “This isn’t the first. People have been making malware that does this for a few years now. There’s a word for it: ‘ransomware.’” “I’ve never heard of it.” “It is hard to turn this kind of virus into a profitable operation,” Peter said, “because there has to be a financial transaction: the payment of the ransom. And that can be traced.” “I see,” Wallace said. “So if you’re in the malware business, there are easier ways to make money.” “By running botnets or whatever,” Peter agreed. “The new wrinkle here, apparently, is that the ransom is to be paid in the form of virtual gold pieces in T’Rain.”

Ivanov,” Zula said, “Wallace is innocent.” “You are beautiful girl, smart, I guess you know of computers. Convince me of this,” Ivanov pleaded. “Make me believe.” ZULA TALKED FOR an hour. She explained the nature and history of computer viruses. Talked about the particular subclass of viruses that encrypted hard drives and held their contents for ransom. About the difficulties of making money from ransomware. Explained the innovation that the unknown, anonymous creators of the REAMDE virus had apparently come up with. Ivanov had never heard of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs, so she told him all about their history, their technology, their sociology, their growth as a major sector of the entertainment industry. Ivanov listened raptly, breaking in from time to time. Half of the time this was to compliment her, since he seemed convinced that any female who did not receive a compliment every five minutes would stab him with an ice pick in his sleep.