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WikiLeaks To Monetize Using Slur.io

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The @wikileaks Twitter account announced the next generation of the platform slur.io with a pair of tweets on Christmas Eve.

What is Slur.io?

u99 GrfupSlur.io will be an open source, decentralized and anonymous marketplace for the selling of secret information in exchange for Bitcoin.

Slur will operate over the Tor network. Both buyers and sellers are fully anonymous, and there are no restrictions on the data that is auctioned.

Sellers will auction secret information to the highest bidder, who will receive exclusive access to the decryption key.

The tweets from WikiLeaks:

Wikileaks Announces Slur

Wikileaks Announces Slur

Wikileaks Announces Slur

Wikileaks Announces Slur

Wikileaks evolving in response to the opportunity represented by blockchain based decentralized networks is no surprise; we first suggested this was going to be a broad trend in Ethereum’s Brave New World. The technology they’ve selected and the scenarios they describe are raising eyebrows across the full spectrum of individuals who would normally support Wikileaks at least in principle, if not directly.

@_cypherpunks_ immediately jumped in with this criticism, but there is an older, larger issue behind this one-line critique.

@_cypherpunks_ Comments

@_cypherpunks_ Comments

Jeremy Hammond is currently serving a ten year prison sentence for the Stratfor intrusion and Barrett Brown awaits sentencing on January 22nd for the brutal crime of sharing a link to Stratfor content, which had been publicly posted by someone else, in an IRC chat room. Wikileaks now offers The Global Intelligence Files as a free, searchable product, but they came under enormous criticism for attempting to monetize the content while Hammond faced prison for having liberated it.

Many Concerns

The introduction to Slur shows what appears to be a lack of mastery on the topic of blockchains. The developers appear to hold the idea that Bitcoin transactions are anonymous. This will be a feature of next generation blockchains, but it’s not true today, and this is easily demonstrable with their own fundraising wallet.

“Slur is an open source, decentralized and anonymous marketplace for the selling of secret information in exchange for bitcoin. Slur is written in C and operates over the Tor network with bitcoin transactions through libbitcoin. Both buyers and sellers are fully anonymous, and there are no restrictions on the data that is auctioned. There is no charge to buy or sell on the Slur marketplace except in the case of a dispute, where a token sum is paid to volunteers.”

Slur Fundraising With Bitcoin

Slur Fundraising With Bitcoin

Crimes, Conspiracies & Implications

Reading the Slur Implications in one window while having Cornell’s Legal Information Institute reference open to Title 18, the following are some obvious, glaring issues:

Stolen databases. Corporations will no longer be able to get away with an apology when they fail to secure their customers confidential data. They will have to pay the market value to suppress it.

Depending on who the victim is, this is likely a violation of Title 18 Chapter 41 Extortion and Threats.

Military intelligence relevant to real-time conflicts.

This is de facto espionage. The motivation would be whistleblowing if the conflict were a war of choice, like Iraq was for the U.S., rather than the war of necessity we faced in Afghanistan. While it depends on circumstances, this is likely a violation of Title 18 Chapter 37 Espionage & Censorship.

Zero day exploits. For the market defined value rather than a price determined by the corporations under the guise of a bounty with the veiled threat of legal action should the researcher choose to sell elsewhere.

It is unthinkable that Wikileaks is unaware of @thegrugq, the world’s top broker of 0day exploits. This market already exists, and corporate bounties have little teeth.

Unflattering celebrity photos and videos.

This is the most puzzling item in there – Wikileaks has been about government corruption from its inception, and now it wants to be a paparazzi/revenge porn operation? There are many states with statutes against this sort of thing, but there isn’t anything specific in Title 18 yet.

Slur’s Curious Origin

Julian Assange has been a de facto political prisoner, living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since the summer of 2012. This lengthy physical isolation has been deleterious to his health, and such level of isolation, with police camped outside his door waiting to arrest him, has limited chances for networking. It is interesting to see that the selection of Slur seems to have been initiated by a Twitter cold call from @theu99group six weeks prior to the Wikileaks announcement, rather than by personal networking.

Slur's First Public Appearance

Slur’s First Public Appearance

The Twitter account’s avatar is a simple yellow submarine silhouette combined with the name provides an immediate clue for World War II history buffs. The U99 was a German submarine which sank thirty-eight allied vessels, damaged five others, and took one Estonian vessel as a prize, only to later have it mistakenly sunk by the Luftwaffe. The crew of the U99 escaped death at the end of an incredible eighth war patrol by scuttling their damaged boat and surrendering to the pair of British destroyers that were hunting them.

Conclusions & Speculation

What are we to make of Slur at this point?

The concept of a decentralized market for leaks is a good one, but there are many worrying gaps in what Slur is offering. Their proposed solution seems in want of some skeptical oversight, particularly in that it plans to do this business via the Bitcoin blockchain, rather than one of the new, more secure offerings like Ethereum.

The scenarios offered are … cheeky. An unnamed, unclaimed decentralized autonomous organization MIGHT be able to get away with what Slur suggest, but one would not want to admit authorship for fear of conspiracy charges. Money changing hands really squashes any potential to claim whistleblower status.

Wikileaks is not the only anti-corruption entity facing financial and operational travails. The recent Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg did much to take the heat out of Torgate, but it’s unlikely that leak oriented organizations are going to have a similar event. They are simply always in opposition to the man.

If you’re law enforcement in an industrialized country you might be smiling at the rough patch Wikileaks is facing. Don’t be too smug. There are always going to be leaks; just imagine the hazards we would be facing if Edward Snowden had quietly sold his leak rather than ensuring proper journalists got hold of it.

Images from u99 Group.

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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  1. RomertL

    January 1, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    “This is de facto espionage. The motivation would be whistleblowing if the conflict were a war of choice, like Iraq was for the U.S., rather than the war of necessity we faced in Afghanistan.” Er…Say what? How was the war in Afghanistan any less mindless aggression than the war(s) in Iraq? They started like most wars, falsflag attacks followed by trashtalking by the media of the target and lies about reasons to enter (wmds./bin laden mm) and then mindless slaughter of both civilians and soldiers

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Crypto-Security Testnet Surpasses Key Milestones

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Security and has been combined with micro-compucomputing are a combination which ascended to greatly relevant, both economically and financially, since the early days of commercial internet technology, the John McAfee associated era of anti-virus software, and fears of ‘millennium-bug’ (‘Y2K’)-induced societal meltdowns.

As a market player, ‘cybersecurity‘ is hailed for its continuedvalue and growth, with recent implementations advancing in tandem with technological development. With ‘blockchain’ having become a key buzzword in recent years, it comes as little surprise that digital security providers have been attempting to identify and provide protection against cryptocurrency related scams.

Examples of these include ‘malware‘ AKA ‘malicious software’. They are often created with the aim of illicitly subvert the processing power of the victim’s device for use towards the mining of cryptocurrencies, or lock and potentially delete highly sensitive data (such as Ransomware’).

Cybersecurity and Blockchain

Crypto attacks can affect almost any person or institution: from private wallets and exchanges, to cryptocurrency operators, and even sometimes unsuspecting users of internet browsers with no relation to blockchain based services.

In an article published at CCN in August 2018, I wrote about the large prolificity and news coverage of cyber-attacks carried out against cryptocurrency organisations: with a majority of them involving the theft of high-value quantities of tokens or sensitive data.

Key points raised in the piece include the identification of wallets and exchanges as high-value targets for potential thieves, as well as a discussion surrounding a study of over 1000 participants in which none of the top exchanges were “lauded for security”.

As cybersecurity has been exposed as a fatal flaw in the unauthorised access / theft access of finances and data, it has also drawn a spotlight on the various methods employed by the companies which suffer these attacks.

Middleware, Wear and Tear

Some teams attempt to protect their data and finances through the creation and implementation of their own proprietary cybersecurity solutions whilst others seek the tender of others,

‘Middleware’ is nothing new and has long been utilised as a means of implementing third-party solutions as a means of shifting professional a legislative liability regarding essential functions of a brand technology.

It’s a creation by third party product / service providers that sits between external and internal code in order to facilitate functions or protections.

Decentralized Security Testnet

REMME is a project harnessing blockchain technology to create a distributed cybersecurity solution for enterprises.

Its now-released testnet has already demonstrated the efficacy of storing hashed Public Key Infrastructure certificates on the blockchain, and with 300 pilot program participants signed up, REMME isn’t short of applicants eager to trial its distributed identity and access management solution.

‘Distributed Identity and Access management’ (IAMd) and ‘Public Key Infrastructure’ requests (PKId) count amongst two of the primary features of the proprietary REMChain testchain network infrastructure. Both claims of which have come from CEO Alex Momot, who additionally praised “The interoperability of the public blockchain and sidechains”.

Additional features include the ‘REMchain block explorer’ – ‘node monitoring’ (connected to five nodes worldwide) – REMME WebAuth demo application.

While a pilot program reportedly attracting over 300 global enterprise applicants, REMME feels confident about the future of their long terms plans: which include full integration existing enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, Accounting software etc.).

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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MyEtherWallet Compromised in Security Breach; Users Urged to Move Tokens

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Popular cryptocurrency service MyEtherWallet (MEW) is urging users to move their tokens after the platform succumbed to its second cyber attack of the year. As the company reported earlier, hackers targeted MEW’s popular VPN service in an attempt to steal cryptocurrency.

Hola VPN Users Compromised

Rather than target MEW directly, hackers took control of the Hola VPN service, which claims nearly 50 million users. For the next five hours, MEW users who had the Hola chrome extension installed and running on their computer were exposed.

MEW took to Twitter to urge users to move their funds immediately.

“Urgent! If you have Hola chrome extension installed and used MEW within the last 24 hrs, please transfer your funds immediately to a brand new account!” the company said. It added the following message shortly thereafter:”We received a report that suggest Hola chrome extension was hacked for approximately 5 hrs and the attack was logging your activity on MEW.”

At the time of writing, MEW’s Twitter feed had no further updates.

MyEtherWallet is used to access cryptocurrency wallets, where users can send and receive tokens from other people.

The company reportedly told TechCrunch that the attack originated from a Russian-based IP address.

“The safety and security of MEW users is our priority. We’d like to remind our users that we do not hold their personal data, including passwords so they can be assured that the hackers would not get their hands on that information if they have not interacted with the Hola chrome extension in the past day,” MEW said, as quoted by TechCrunch.

It’s not yet clear how many users were compromised in the attack or how much, if any, was stolen from their wallets. MEW suffered a similar incident in February after a DNS attack wiped out $365,000 worth of cryptocurrency from users’ accounts.

Cyber Attacks on the Rise

The attack on MEW came less than 24 hours after Hacked reported another major cyber breach involving Bancor, a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. The security breach compromised roughly $23.5 million worth of digital currency, including Ethereum, NPXS and BNT, Bancor’s native token.

Last month, a pair of South Korean exchanges fell prey to cyber criminals, prompting local regulators to expedite their approval of new cryptocurrency laws.

It has been estimated that a total of $761 million has been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges in the first half of the year, up from $266 million in all of 2017. That figure is expected to rise to $1.5 billion this year.

CipherTrace, the company behind the estimates, told Reuters last week that stolen cryptocurrencies are mainly used to launder money and aid criminals in concealing their identities.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 647 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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Mt. Gox vs. Bithumb: That Was Then, This Is Now

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Bithumb now shares something in common with the Tokyo-based shuttered bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox — both suffered a hack on about the same date, June 19. It’s a club that no exchange wants to belong to and that Bithumb happened on the seven-year anniversary of Mt. Gox’s maiden attack has to be more than an eerie coincidence.

It’s a stark reminder of the risks involved with keeping funds on an unregulated exchange, vulnerabilities that cost South Korea’s Bithumb some $36.6 million in digital cash and Mt. Gox $450 million in hacked bitcoin and its future. The Mt. Gox theft unfolded over a series of hacks that culminated in 2014. Though it’s still early on in the Bithumb hack, it appears the South Korean exchange will recover from the security breach. So what do we know now that we didn’t on June 19, 2011?

Then vs. Now

Former Coinbase official Nick Tomaino, who is also the founder of crypto fund 1 confirmation, reflected on the Mt. Gox hack in what proved to be a prescient tweet given the Bithumb attack that was about to surface.

The thing to note about Mt. Gox is that the Japan-based exchange in 2011 controlled most of the BTC trading volume, approximately three-quarters of it by average estimates — more if you ask Tomaino. Since bitcoin fever caught on in 2017, there are more than 500 cryptocurrency exchanges on which trading volume is shared. Binance boasts the highest trading volume and captures nearly 15% of bitcoin trading. It’s much less than Mt. Gox days but still a little high.

The other thing to note is that the Mt. Gox hack or actually hacks, as there were multiple attacks on the exchange over several years, was a mysterious event that was shrouded in controversy and mistrust of a key executive. Bithumb, on the other hand, confronted the hack seemingly right away on Twitter and has not let any grass grow under its feet in the interim, which is a key difference in the way Mt. Gox was handled.

Also, the bitcoin price didn’t tank in response to the Bithumb hack. It traded lower for a while, but less than 24 hours it was back in the green, which is a reflection of the fact that bitcoin trading is no longer dependent on a single exchange.

Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin (LTC), the No. 6 cryptocurrency by market cap, was among the first to respond to the Bithumb hack. He tweeted:

Indeed, Bithumb does expect to be able to cover the losses via their reserves.

Crypto Security

It’s still early on in Bithumb’s security breach, and more details are sure to emerge in time. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to use the hack as an opportunity to examine the security of your cryptocurrency investment portfolio. There are several hardware wallet options out there for you to choose from — whether it’s Trezor or Ledger Nano S, to name a couple — and as Charlie Lee advised, “only keep on exchange coins that you are actively 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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4.6 stars on average, based on 69 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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