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.Bank Represents “A New Online Chapter For Global Banking Community”

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Craig Schwartz, Managing Director fTLD Registry Services

Craig Schwartz, Managing Director fTLD Registry Services

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In 2008, ICANN approved a program to offer on the Internet thousands of new generic Top-Level Domains in addition to existing ones such as .COM and .ORG.

Recognizing what this could mean to financial institutions, their customers and Internet users, a coalition of banks, insurance companies and financial services trade associations formed a partnership to establish fTLD Registry Services in order to apply for and operate the .BANK and .INSURANCE gTLDs on behalf of the global banking and insurance communities.

fTLD – a top level domains registry – was granted the right to operate .BANK on September 25, 2014, and .INSURANCE on February 19, 2015. .BANK was not available to would-be registrars until June 25, 2015. Since its release, the domain has been in demand.

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“The launch of the .BANK domain is the start of a new online chapter for the global banking community,” Craig Schwartz, Managing Director at fTLD Registry Services, told Hacked.

As a trusted, verified and more secure location on the Internet for the banking industry and its customers, .BANK provides a more secure way for banks to do business and a powerful tool to take immediate ownership of their brands online.

The theory goes that since only verified members of the global banking community are eligible to register domains, a .BANK domain signifies that an organization has been verified as legitimate and committed to implementing security requirements that surpass existing standards. .BANK requires registrants to comply with requirements not currently mandated by the operators of other commercially available gTLDs, including:

  • Mandatory Verification Re-Verification of Charter/Licensure for Regulated Entities to ensure that only legitimate members of the global banking community are awarded domain names.
  • Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) to ensure that Internet users are landing on participants’ actual websites and not being misdirected to malicious ones.
  • Email Authentication to mitigate spoofing, phishing and other malicious activities propagated through emails to unsuspecting users.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication to ensure that any change to registration data is made only by authorized users of the registered entity.
  • Strong Encryption to ensure security of communication over the Internet.
  • Prohibition of Proxy/Privacy Registration Services to ensure full disclosure of domain registration information so bad actors cannot hide.
  • Domains must be hosted on .BANK Name Name Servers to ensure compliance with all technical security requirements.

Not only can individuals register .Bank domain these days, but also thousands of other new domain extensions.

“There has been a lot of reference to how the new domain extensions are ‘the biggest land rush in Internet history,’ Schwartz said. “In some ways, it’s certainly a land rush, since the domains are like plots of land all mapped out and companies need to register and lay claim to the domains they want.” Schwartz points out this is all in the early stages.

“We’re still in the beginning stages of this transformed Internet, but part of our thinking process for .BANK was to consider the issues banks and their customers currently face online as well as to anticipate the new challenges and dangers that would come from the creation of so many new domains,” he said.

It’s that thinking and care for the community that led in part to the thirty security requirements we have in place for .BANK.

The banking industry is changing, with Internet-only operations in some cases out competing brick-and-mortar locations. Many banks are closing their brick-and-mortar locations. This could bolster the need for .BANK in Schwartz’s eyes.

“Many banks are closing their physical locations and transitioning many of their services online,” Schwartz said. “Another way to look at it is that flow of money has changed from paper bills and coins to digital. The need .BANK meets is that to have a place and a way to conduct business more securely online.” When I ask if .BANK has any plans for Bitcoin businesses, Schwartz informs me they do not at this time. He also said that, at the time of this publication, nobody had filed for the Bitcoin.Bank domain. 

“We provide a trusted and identifiable piece of Internet real estate that comes with extensive security requirements that will help safeguard financial transactions and services,” he added. There are many ways a financial institution can use the .BANK domain.

“.BANK is an exceptionally flexible tool in a bank’s toolkit. How to take advantage of the benefits .BANK provides is up to the individual banks who register the domains,” Schwartz told Hacked.

While some organizations will transition some or all of their consumer-facing online presence to .BANK to maximize the value of participation, others may use the new address as a channel to communicate with customers, banks and regulators.

At the time of this writing, fTLD Registry Services had received over 5,700 .BANK applications from members of the global banking community, representing approximately 2,300 individual banks as some banks have applied for more than one domain name. More than 3,700 verifications have been completed and .BANK names are now reserved for the banks that submitted the applications until the verification process is complete.

“The strong demand for owning a .BANK domain shows that banks recognize that the security offered by .BANK will be a critical tool for protecting their customers’ proprietary information,” Schwartz said. “The use of .BANK will signal that the bank has made a visible commitment to online security.”

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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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5 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsJustin O'Connell is the founder of financial technology focused CryptographicAsset.com. Justin organized the launch of the largest Bitcoin ATM hardware and software provider in the world at the historical Hotel del Coronado in southern California. His works appear in the U.S.'s third largest weekly, the San Diego Reader, VICE and elsewhere.




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Cybersecurity

Three Hours After Re-Launch, BitGrail Shuts Down Again

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Embattled digital currency exchange BitGrail has reportedly suspended operations a mere three hours after re-launching, a move that could signal the death knell for the controversial trading platform.

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BitGrail Shuts Down After Court Order

The Italian exchange received an order from the Court of Florence on Tuesday to cease operations immediately. BitGrail was open for all of three hours before the order was handed down. All cryptocurrencies that were previously supported on the exchange were available for trade with the notable exception of Nano XRB.

On Wednesday, BitGrail issued the following statement:

“This morning, following the re-opening, we were notified of a deed by the court of Florence requesting the immediate closure of BitGrail and this situation will persist until a decision is made by the courts, about the precautionary suspension request made by the Bonelli law office on behalf of a client.”

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A final decision by the court is scheduled for May 16 2018.

Embroiled in Controversy

The Italian exchange has been mired in controversy after 17 million Nano XRB tokens went missing in February. At the time, the total value of the theft was $170 million.

At the time, BitGrail said the shortfall was caused by “unauthorized transactions,” but didn’t indicate exactly when the hack took place.

A Twitter user by the name of “Francesco the Bomber,” who apparently runs the exchange, later confirmed that the funds were stolen and that the exchange didn’t have the capital to repay its customers. However, developers who used to work with Francesco claimed that the exchange was solvent long before the attack took place. This fact was concealed by BitGrail for as long as possible.

For its part, Nano XRB managed to recovery in the wake of the attacks, with prices reaching a high near $17 in early March. The cryptocurrency has nearly doubled in value over the last three weeks as part of a broader upward correction in the market.

The Nano Foundation has established a fund to assist BitGrail users affected by the attack. The Foundation says it will match donations to the fund for up to $1 million.

BitGrail was the second largest attack of a digital currency exchange this year. In January, cyber criminals made off with around $530 million worth of NEM tokens following an attack on Coincheck, a Japanese exchange.

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.

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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 412 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Cybersecurity

Facebook Stock Has Best Day in Two Years as Zuckerberg Testifies

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Shares of Facebook Inc. (FB) gained on Tuesday, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before U.S. lawmakers over allegations of data misuse.

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Zuckerberg Gets Likes

Mark Zuckerberg apologized and defended his company on Tuesday as he appeared before a joint U.S. Senate committee hearing. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” the 33-year-old CEO said when questioned about Facebook’s misuse of user data.

Lawmakers grilled Zuckerberg on issues ranging from Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal to its failure in addressing provocative messages during the most recent Myanmar crisis. He took it all in stride, appearing confident and poised throughout the question-and-answer period (at least, that’s what professional PR experts quoted by Bloomberg had to say).

Zuckerberg took full responsibility not just for Cambridge Analytica, but for Facebook’s negligence in safeguarding consumer data. That said, Republican Senator from Iowa Chick Grassley sent a strong signal that new regulations are on the way.

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“The status quo no longer works,” said Grassley, who chairs the Judiciary Committee. “Congress must determine if and how we need to strengthen privacy standards to ensure transparency and understanding for the billions of consumers who utilize these products.”

Wall Street Responds

The testimony resonated with Wall Street, as investors scooped up shares of the battered social media company. Facebook shares added 4.5%, their best in two years. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index gained 1.7% on Tuesday and the index’s technology component rose 2.5%.

The stock surge grew Zuckerberg’s personal fortune by $2.8 billion to $66 billion, according to Forbes. That makes him the world’s seventh richest person.

Despite the gain, FB is down almost 15% from its all-time high and its current price point lags behind the 50-day and 200-day moving averages. An RSI of 48 also signals weak underlying momentum for the social media stock.

Facebook’s Declining Usage

Facebook experienced a public backlash last month amid reports that a political research firm had scraped data on 87 million people. The revelation sparked a growing debate over Facebook’s privacy standards at a time when the company was battling a noticeable decline in usage.

The social media platform declined by roughly 50 million hours per day in the fourth quarter, or 5% overall. Meanwhile, independent research from a company named Edison found a steady drop in usage among Americans aged 12 and up.

While Zuckerberg has tried to spin the decline as a good thing, it’s apparent that the platform is experiencing fewer meaningful interactions, which partially explains recent efforts to transform the News Feed.

It remains to be seen how much damage the declines will do to top and bottom line results. Facebook is expected to report its quarterly earnings report Apr. 25. Analysts are expecting per-share earnings of $1.37 for the quarter, up from $1.04 the same time a year ago.

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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 412 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Cybersecurity

Facebook Admits It Has Failed to Protect User Privacy

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In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has had to come clean about its privacy standards. The company recently admitted that the data on most of its 2 billion users could be compromised by malicious actors, a strong sign that the social media giant is not only misusing consumer data, but failing to protect it.

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Data on the Loose

Facebook recently announced that it has removed a feature that allows users to search for people using email addresses or phone numbers. The feature, which accounts for 7% of all searches in some regions, is being discontinued over fears that malicious users were using it to “scrape” profiles.

Mike Shcroepfer, the company’s chief technology officer, issued the following statement on Wednesday:

“Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way. So we have now disabled this feature. We’re also making changes to account recovery to reduce the risk of scraping as well.”

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CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters that it was “reasonable to expect” that your information may have been accessed in this way.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, which surfaced last month, blew the lid wide open on Facebook’s privacy standards. Since 2014, Cambridge Analytica legally obtained information on as many as 87 million Facebook users for the purpose of influencing elections. In the wake of the scandal, Zuckerberg is being summoned by U.S. Congress to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, currently scheduled for Apr. 11. The CEO has acknowledged that his company made mistakes, but this has largely failed to resonate with Facebook’s growing list of critics.

Facebook Tanks

Many say that Facebook has suffered irreversible damage since the scandal was brought to light. Faced with declining usage, severed business ties and a severe backlash from the public, Facebook shares have tanked more than 16% over the last three weeks.

Prices have fallen below the 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages, with the short-term average converging on the longer one. An RSI in the low-30s makes a strong case for Facebook’s bearish downturn, although current levels indicate that an oversold bounce is likely.

FB’s share price shed another 0.7% on Wednesday even as the major indexes gained. The S&P 500’s information technology index rose 1.4%, capping off a solid recovery for the market.

Along with the other so-called FAANG stocks, Facebook has been largely responsible for the recent tech rollover and subsequent turbulence on Wall Street. Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet lost a combined $324 billion in market cap between Mar. 12 and Apr. 2.

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 412 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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