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Tom Brady Blasts Charges He Destroyed His Cell Phone As NFL ‘Deflatage’ Rages

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The battle between New England Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady and the National Football League (NFL) over deflated footballs continues, with both sides digging in on their positions. Did Brady violate football’s integrity by tampering with the inflation of footballs before a championship game? Did he go even further and destroy evidence of his actions sought by investigators by destroying his cell phone?

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The saga, termed by some as “Deflatage,” rages.

NFL Holds Firm; Brady Fires Back

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ruled Tuesday that Brady’s 4-game suspension stands and said that Brady told his attorney to destroy his cell phone.

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Brady didn’t hesitate to deny there was any attempted coverup.

The scandal began following allegations that Patriots equipment attendants deflated footballs before Brady led the Patriots to a victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the American Football Conference Championship game in January. The NFL suspended Brady for four games and Brady appealed this suspension. The NFL Players Association voted Tuesday to appeal the NFL’s decision in federal court, according to The Boston Globe.

In a 200-page report, investigator Ted Wells said Brady failed to cooperate with the investigation by refusing to share text messages and emails. In a document titled “The Wells Report,” the Patriots contended that Brady didn’t supply his texts to the NFL because the league already had them.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Tuesday the league does not appear inclined to budge on the ruling as settlement talks continue.

Also read: Exposing fragility in mobile phone

Brady Responds On Facebook

After ESPN reported the NFL’s decision Tuesday, Brady firmly denied breaking the phone in a Facebook statement.

He expressed his disappointment and denied any wrongdoing by himself or the Patriots. He said he replaced his broken Samsung phone with a new iPhone 6 after his attorneys made it clear to the NFL that the phone would not be subjected to investigation under any circumstances.

As a member of a union, I was under no obligation to set a new precedent going forward nor was I made aware at any time during Mr. Wells investigation, that failing to subject my cell phone to investigation would result in ANY discipline.

“More importantly, I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything  related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January. To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong,” Brady wrote.

We even contacted the phone company to see if there was any possible way we could retrieve any/all of the actual text messages from my old phone. In short, we exhausted every possibility to give the NFL everything we could and offered to go thru the identity for every text and phone call during the relevant time. Regardless, the NFL knows that Mr. Wells already had ALL relevant communications with Patriots personnel that either Mr. Wells saw or that I was questioned about in my appeal hearing. There is no ‘smoking gun’ and this controversy is manufactured to distract from the fact they have zero evidence of wrongdoing.

Patriots Dispute NFL Decision

NFL Logo

NFL Logo

The Patriots, having previously agreed to pay $1 million and forfeit a first-round pick in the 20-16 draft and a fourth-round pick in 2017, criticized Goodell’s ruling. “We cannot comprehend the league’s position in this matter,’’ the Patriots statement said. “Most would agree that the penalties levied originally were excessive and unprecedented, especially in light of the fact that the league has no hard evidence of wrongdoing.’’

Brady denied that the phone would have turned up any evidence, and he denies he destroyed the phone.

Mike Dyce, a writer for Fansided.com, noted that Brady said he replaced his broken phone, not destroyed it. “To the average person who owns a phone, that typically means it was dropped and the screen was busted, otherwise it still works fine. People take these phones with damaged screens in and transfer data from that to their new phone all the time. Brady, however, suggests that his phone was damaged to the point that there was no way to retrieve the messages from them.”

Dyce notes that Brady is saying this occurred during the appeals process, and he had already disposed of the old phone, which a “normal person would’ve done.” Brady does not clarify the timeline, Dyce said. Nor does he clear up the NFL’s accusation that he destroyed his cell phone to avoid giving it over to Wells.

“The fact that the NFL would resort to basing a suspension on a smoke screen of irrelevant text messages instead of admitting that they have all of the phone records they asked for is a new low, even for them, but it does nothing to correct their errors,” the union said in a prepared statement.

Images from Keith Allison and Jeffrey Beall.

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Breaches

Uber Is Paying Hackers to Keep Quiet

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Uber Technologies Inc. has reportedly paid hackers to delete scores of private data stolen from the company in a security breach that was concealed for over a year. The revelation provides further confirmation that, when it comes to cyber security, crime does pay.

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Massive Data Breach

According to Bloomberg Technology, hackers retrieved the personal data of 57 million Uber customers and drivers at some point last year. Nobody heard about it because the rideshare company paid the hackers $100,000 to keep quiet. A purge at the front office of Uber also ensured that the massive cyber breach was kept under wraps.

The compromised data was from October 2016 and included the names, phone numbers and addressed of 50 million Uber riders globally. About seven million drivers had their personal information accessed as well.

At the time of the cyber attack, Uber was inundated with a slew of legal issues stemming from alleged privacy violations. Rather than shine even more negative spotlight on the company, Uber executives decided to pay hackers to stay quiet.

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“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over as CEO in September, said in a statement that was published by Bloomberg. “We are changing the way we do business.”

Hackers have done a masterful job infiltrating companies and governments in recent years. As a reminder, recent cyber attacks levied against Yahoo!, Target Corp and Equifax Inc. dwarf Uber’s 57 million compromised accounts.

Various reports indicate that cyber attacks are bleeding the global economy dry. One report, issued by the World Economic Forum, suggests that cyber crime cost the world economy $445 billion in 2016. If cyber crime were its own market cap, it would exceed Microsoft Inc., Facebook Inc. and ExxonMobil Corp

The Fall of Uber?

Uber revolutionized the ride-hailing business over the span of seven years by giving more power to the consumer. Several missteps later, the company finds itself in legal hot water, with its future appearing less certain than it did just one year ago.

The rideshare company faces at least five U.S. probes ranging from bribes to illicit software and right up to unethical pricing schemes. According to another Bloomberg report, Uber is under investigation for violating price transparency regulations, not to mention the alleged theft of documents for Google’s autonomous cars.

Some governments are sensing weakness in the ride-hailing service, and are moving toward banning the Uber app entirely. London is the most prominent example of a city that has taken definitive steps to outlaw the service over a “lack of corporate responsibility.”

Even with its legal troubles, Uber is a revolutionary technology that has influenced a bevy of other innovations aimed at improving the human experience.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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Cybersecurity

The Pirate Bay is Hijacking PCs to Stealth-Mine Cryptocurrency

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For the second time in as many months, The Pirate Bay has been caught mining cryptocurrency on your computer without consent. The torrent platform was actually test-driving cryptocurrency mining in your browser – no doubt a lucrative revenue stream.

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The Pirates Are At It Again

The Pirate Bay has been caught using software called Coinhive, a JavaScript library that essentially serves as a cryptocurrency miner. It basically connects to visitors’ computers to mine Monero, one of the world’s most profitable cryptocurrencies.

The news was later confirmed by Bleeping Computer, which reported that,”The Pirate Bay, the internet’s largest torrent portal, is back at running a cryptocurrency miner after it previously ran a short test in mid-September.”

Estimates indicate that the scheme has earned the pirates a total of $43,000 over a three-week period.

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Users had no way to opt their computers out of being test-driven by the torrent network. Back in September, The Pirate Bay got away by telling people it was just a test. The site’s owners cannot use the same excuse this time around.

CoinHive advises websites to let their visitors  know their browser is being used to mine cryptocurrency.

“We’re a bit saddened to see that some of our customers integrate CoinHive into their pages without disclosing to their users what’s going on, let alone asking for their permission,” the company said.

The good news is most ad-blockers and antivirus programs will block CoinHive, given its recent abuses. That means not all visitors of The Pirate Pay were being used as a conduit for mining Monero.

Monero Joins Global Crypto Rally

The value of Monero (XMR) shot up nearly 8% on Friday, and was last seen trading at $94.17. With more than 15.2 million XMR tokens in circulation, the total market cap for Monero is $1.4 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. That’s enough for ninth on the global cryptocurrency list.

Twelve cryptos have now crossed the $1 billion valuation mark. A handful of others have made their way north of $500 million.

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Breaches

Ethereum Notches Two-Month High as Bitcoin Offspring Triggers Volatility

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Digital currency Ethereum climbed to a two-month high on Monday, taking some of the heat off Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, which have slumped since the weekend.

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Ethereum Forges Higher Path

Concerns over Bitcoin created a favourable tailwind for Ethereum (ETH/USD), which is the world’s No. 2 digital currency by total assets. Ether’s price topped $340.00 on Monday and later settled at $323.54. That was the highest since June 20.

At its peak, ether was up 10% on the day and 70% for the month of August.

The ETH/USD was last down 2.2% at $315.02, according to Bitfinex. Prices are due for a brisk recovery, based on the daily momentum indicators.

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Fractured Bitcoin Community

Bitcoin and its offshoot, Bitcoin Cash, retreated on Monday following a volatile weekend. The BTC/USD slumped at the start of the week and was down more than 3% on Tuesday, with prices falling below $3,900.00. Just last week, Bitcoin was trading at new records near $4,500.00.

Bitcoin Cash, which emerged after the Aug. 1 hard fork, climbed to new records on Saturday, but has been in free-fall ever since. The BTH was down another 20% on Tuesday to $594.49, according to CoinMarketCap. Its total market value has dropped by several billion over the past two days.

Analysts say that a “fractured” Bitcoin community has made Ethereum a more attractive bet this week. The ether token has shown remarkable poise over the past seven days, despite trading well shy of a new record.

Other drivers behind Ethereum’s advance are steady demand from South Korean investors and growing confidence in a smooth upgrade for the the ETH network. The upgrade, which has been dubbed “Metropolis,” is expected in the next several weeks. Its key benefits include tighter transaction privacy and greater efficiency.

Ethereum Prices Unaffected by ICO Heist

Fin-tech developer Enigma was on the receiving end of a cyber-heist on Monday after hackers took over the company’s website, mailing list and instant messaging platforms. The hack occurred three weeks before Enigma’s planned Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for September 11.

In addition to defacing the company’s website, the hackers pushed a special “pre-sale” ahead of the ICO. While many users realized it was a scam, 1,492 ether tokens – valued at $495,000 – were directed into the hackers’ cryptocurrency wallet by unsuspecting backers.

The irony in all this is that Engima is a cryptography company that prides itself on top-notch security protocols. The company issued a statement that its servers had not been compromised.

ETH/USD (Bitfinex)

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