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Atomic Energy Director: Nuclear Power Plant Saw ‘Disruptive’ Cyber Attack

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The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog revealed that a nuclear power plant was the target of a disruptive cyberattack two to three years ago.

“We never know if we know anything…” said the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the world’s foremost nuclear watchdog, when it comes to cyberattacks targeting nuclear power plants.

Lower the alarm bell, though. The attack was described by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Yukiya Amano as disruptive, insisting that it wasn’t “destructive.” That said, he also revealed that an individual tried to smuggle a small amount of highly enriched uranium four years ago. A small amount enough to build a “dirty bomb.”

Amano was speaking to Reuters during a visit to Germany, when he confirmed that the revelation of the unnamed nuclear plant that was ‘disrupted’ was never spoken about in public before.

When it comes to cybersecurity and the threats against nuclear power plants’ cyber defenses, Amano had some sobering and alarming insights to share.

“This is not an imaginary risk,” he stated, before adding:

This issue of cyberattacks on nuclear-related facilities or activities should be taken very seriously. We never know if we know everything or if it’s the tip of the iceberg.

“This actually happened and it caused problems,” he further confirmed, underlining the incident of the disruptive cyberattack.

Somewhat reassuringly, the attacks were not potent enough to shut down the plant, although management has since taken “precautionary measures” according to the director.

For obvious reasons, Amano’s concerns about the state of cybersecurity in nuclear power plants are being addressed.

The IAEA has trained over 10,000 people in nuclear security since 2010. Police and border guards have received specialized training to safeguard nuclear plants’ security. Furthermore, the watchdog has also given countries over 3,000 portable devices for detecting nuclear and other radioactive material.

The bottom line? Security experts do not see a scenario wherein militant groups have acquired the capability to blow up nuclear reactors to inflict widespread, long-lasting destruction. However, the nuclear industry has vulnerabilities that could be exploited.

For instance, the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co Ltd, the company that runs South Korea’s 23 nuclear power reactors saw its computer systems hacked during the end of 2014.

A report from October 2015 stated that nuclear power plants around the world have an “element of denial” when it comes to cyberattacks.

 Featured image from iStock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsSamburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.




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Altcoins

Dash 51% Attack Fears Cooled as Core Dev Group Suggest Benevolent Miner

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Dash investors may have been starting to question the security of their holdings in light of Ethereum Classic’s (ETC) recent attack, and the subsequent fallout which revealed Dash’s own vulnerability to 51% attacks.

Three addresses, all controlled by the same user, were in control of more than 51% of the Dash mining hashrate, as reported on CCN a few days ago. On top of that, over 74% of the entire Dash hashrate was accessible via Nicehash – a cloud-mining marketplace – where it could be purchased for as little as $3,104 per hour.

Hashing Power Removed from Nicehash

As of Saturday’s statement by the Dash Core Group, the same individual still controls the majority of the Dash hashrate. However, the group pointed out that since the news concerning a 51% attack broke out earlier this week, the individual has begun to remove their hashing power from Nicehash, and spread it around separate mining pools.

The team stated clearly that they do not believe the miner in question to be malicious:

“…we don’t believe the entity in control of the wallets in question plans or wants to attack because their mining activities began at least 4 months ago and their blocks have been published for all to see.”

The group believe the sudden removal of hashing power from Nicehash – as shown above – is a signal of benevolent intentions on the part of the miner. As a major holder of Dash, they reason that the miner would want to secure the network as best they could.

“This removes the risk of a malicious party renting the hashing power via NiceHash and simultaneously signals that the entity in control of the hashing power does not have negative intent. We believe the miner behind the hashing power was made aware by the same info we discovered online and quickly moved to more protected pools as they appear to be a major stakeholder of Dash.”

Future Proof?

The announcement ends with a look to the future in the form of Dash’s upcoming ChainLocks technology. To be implemented in an as yet unspecified future update, ChainLocks will unite the mining layer with that of the Dash’s masternodes.

This means that a 51% attacker would also have to secure a majority of the blockchain’s masternodes to execute their plans. More can be read on ChainLocks here.

Dash Coin Price

Almost mid-way through the first month of 2019, Dash has recovered 26% of its value since the market lows of mid-December. That’s when one unit of DASH was valued at $58.27 – a 96% decline since December 2017.

Dash’s 26% recovery in the past month still leaves the coin 95% off its all-time high. As of Saturday the coin had settled down along with the broader market, after a sharp 17.5% decline 48 hours before.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 123 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Cryptocurrencies

Where to Store Your Crypto?

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Storing crypto on virtual exchanges has some inherent security risks that have been exploited by hackers and cyber criminals. This article will touch upon this important topic and provide you with alternative methods in which to store your digital assets.

Cold and Hot Wallets

The main thing in cryptocurrency storage is the private key and who has access to it.

Cold storage wallets operate offline and without a constant internet connection. If your key is not on the Internet, then it is much more difficult to steal.

A hot storage wallet is a wallet with constant connection to the Internet.

So, all storage options can be distinguished by the following criteria:

  1. private keys are kept by you or by third parties.
  2. without internet connection or with internet connection

A cold storage wallet with a private key is considered the most reliable storage option. Such a wallet is suitable for long-term storage of large amounts. However, it is not convenient if, for example, you do trading and need access to your wallet for transferring small amounts.

Hardware Wallets

hardware wallets like Ledger, Trezor, Pi Wallet, Keepkey, Opendime, Bitlox, etc. have a flash drive within the software without an internet connection. You can connect to the Internet only when sending a transaction. You need to confirm the transaction physically, from the device itself. This is a “cold” method of storage without an internet connection (connection only at the time of the transaction). The user keeps private keys.

Paper Wallets

This method of storage will be also convenient for you if you want to conserve your funds for an extended period. In offline mode, you can generate a public and private key. For example, if you are using the service walletgenerator.net it will transfer those keys in the form of a QR-code, which can be printed and stored by you.

Physical Bitcoin Wallet

A physical bitcoin wallet has almost the same properties as a paper wallet. Encrypted bitcoins cannot be spent until the seal protecting the secret key has been broken. However, the security of the seal is not considered very reliable.

Desktop Offline Wallets.

There are also two main types of offline wallets:

  1. Wallets, where the user is the only one with the access to private keys. You can install such wallets on a personal computer as a separate program. As a rule, these are the wallets from the developers of that cryptocurrency. For example, Bitcoin Core. Litecoin Core, Mist, etc. Such wallets are also called “heavy” wallets since during installation they take up quite a lot of space (for example, you will have to free up at least 200 GB for a Bitcoin wallet in 2018). When installing such wallets on laptops flash drives that are disconnected from the Internet can also be called “cold” wallets. In general, they are also considered safe.
  2. The so-called “light” offline wallets. These are desktop wallets that allow you to store cryptocurrency without downloading its full registry to a bunch of gigabytes. Some of them give you private keys and the ability to restore a lost wallet at any time using seed phrases. There is a drawback – they do not always contain the full version of the blockchain, and sometimes won’t show up-to-date transaction information. Examples of such a wallet are Electrum and Armory.

Light wallets can be multi-currency, with a built-in internal exchange for example Exodus. Its private keys can also be restored using seed-phrases. However, inside such wallets, not only you but also developers have access to your private keys.

It is also worth to mention an essential aspect of light wallets, which are open source code. If something happens to the wallet, then it will be only possible to restore the wallet using the seed phrase only if the function is restored.

As a conclusion on cold wallets, I can say that their main advantage is reliability and security, and the main drawback is that it is difficult to move cryptocurrencies quickly. Therefore, cold wallets are suitable for long-term storage. For everyday transactions, hot wallets are the best. The exceptions are some hardware wallets that are compatible with online cryptocurrency storage and exchange services.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.9 stars on average, based on 41 rated postsVladislav Semjonov has a legal and financial background. He has been involved in crypto space since early 2017 in both ICO advising positions in several ICO consultancy firms, and as an ICO analyst for VC. He began contributing for Hacked.com in April 2017.




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Altcoins

Ledger Making Major Announcement On January 7 as the Case for Cold Storage Grows

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2017 was a breakthrough year for cryptocurrencies.  Many traders were able to generate incredible, life-changing profits.  And while not everyone was able to maintain those profits, the excitement led many to seek out the safest ways to protect their assets.  Even now, after experiencing a massive drop in crypto valuations, asset protection is still a major issue.  This is especially true given all the wallet and exchange hacks that have occurred during the past 12 months.  A few of the most notable hacks that have occurred are:

  • Coincheck – January 2018 – $530 million loss
  • BitGrail – February 2018 – $195 million loss
  • Bithumb – June 2018 – $31 million loss

These are just a few examples of significant losses that have crypto traders have suffered.  A report from blockchain security firm, CipherTrace, estimated that hackers stole $927 million from cryptocurrency related platforms during the first nine months in 2018.  Although the lack of regulation is normally cited as a benefit by cryptocurrency proponents, it also creates major security concerns for those with valuable crypto portfolios.  So, what’s the best way for traders to protect themselves?  Cold storage.

What is Cold Storage?

The one place that traders should not keep their assets is direct on the exchanges.  Given all the exchange hack attacks, especially the ones cited in this article, a better option is available.  Cold storage means keeping digital assets offline (i.e. away from internet access).  By storing assets offline, the assets are significantly less susceptible to being hacked and/or stolen.

While there are several cold storage options available, the two most popular are the Ledger Nano S and the Trezor.  Although the Trezor hardware wallet was designed by the highly respected SatoshiLabs, the Ledger Nano S has emerged as the most popular.

Ledger Nano S

The Ledger Nano S is the most widely used multi-currency hardware wallet in the cryptoverse.  It’s the only hardware wallet that features a secure chip with a custom operating system.  While many other hardware wallets do contain a “simple chip,” the Ledger Nano comes with a “smartcard chip.”  This smartcard chip is used for applications that require extreme measures of security such as passport biometric data and credit card details.

Since its inception in 2014, the company has grown by leaps and bounds.  The Ledger Nano now supports over 1,100 currencies thanks to its compatibility with other mainstream wallets such as MyEtherWallet and MyCrypto.

Major Announcement on January 7

Ledger is known for being on the cutting edge of blockchain and crypto security.  Therefore, many expect the announcement this coming Monday to be a big deal.

While it’s not yet clear what the announcement is regarding, many are speculating on the possibility of a new and improved Ledger device.  Perhaps one that comes with additional storage capacity and an enhanced screen.  A few reddit posters even mentioned the possibility of fingerprint authentication which, would be quite interesting.

Another hint that an improved device is coming is the fact that Ledger is currently offering a 30% discount on Ledger Nano S wallets.

Conclusion

I’m not sure yet what the announcement will be but I’m certainly eager to find out given that I’m a huge fan of their products.  While the Ledger Nano S is my go-to cold storage wallet, it isn’t perfect.  There are things I would love to see improved and fingers are crossed that Monday will be when that happens.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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