What is Net Neutrality – Wall Street

Gathering And Sharing Information On The Internet Globally

The internet has fast evolved to represent a new extension of our connected world. Today, we are ever more closely connected internationally. Such interconnectedness now enables individuals to bring a unique beauty that makes the world more interesting through the gathering and sharing of information.

Much more than just a communication system, the internet makes it possible to download or watch movies, shop, listen to podcasts, transact, learn, etc. Our modern world is indeed inextricably connected. Net neutrality aims to make sure that it remains that way, by ensuring that the internet continues to provide a level playing field for consumers and content providers.

What Exactly is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is a principle which advocates that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) treat all data delivered to consumers equally. The idea aims to ensure that customers are given access to all legal content and applications on equal basis, without giving an unfair advantage to some sources or blocking others.

The principle stops broadband providers from deliberately blocking content or deciding to boost or slow down traffic for specific apps and sites. Net neutrality also prevents ISPs from prioritizing their own content – or those of a partner – or otherwise hamper others’ ability to reach customers.

The net neutrality rule was approved in 2015 during Barack Obama’s presidency. The law states that “The FCC’s Open Internet rules protect and maintain open, uninhibited access to legal online content without broadband internet access providers being allowed to block, impair, or establish fast/slow lanes to lawful content.”

This definition suggests net neutrality was conceived to ensure the freedom of internet users to share information, start new businesses, and engage in discussions online. With net neutrality, all internet content – video streaming, audio streaming, etc. – will be treated equally by broadband providers. Also, startups and business will have unrestricted access to broadband networks.

The Rollback

But it wasn’t to be. In a move which left internet users scratching their heads and asking why, the Ajit Pai-led Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to reverse net neutrality rules in December 2017. The decision, it was claimed, was to “deregulate the industry,” according to a CIO article.

Abolishing the rule gives internet free rein to offer service at their own discretion. However, ISPs are required to reveal their policies concerning performance, commercial terms, as well as network management practices. This means that while they have the freedom to throttle connections, block websites, or charge different prices to different sites, they will have to own up to doing so.

Customers Concerns

As you might have surmised, the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality was condemned in various quarters, with consumers clamoring to have it restored. According to a New York Times piece, customers resist the abolishment of the rule for several reasons. First, they fear that with the repeal, ISPs would start “selling the internet in bundles,” and they would be required to pay to access social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Second, with internet providers having the leeway to do as they want, more influential organizations and households would monopolize the “fast lane” through paid privatization, which allows service providers to create a fast lane for firms and individuals willing to pay more, leaving everyone else to make do with the “slow lane.”

Paid privatization, in particular, would have severe consequences for small businesses and individuals. For e-commerce startups, the worry is that their sites and services wouldn’t be as swift. On their part, freelancers and other remote workers risk higher internet costs.

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The Five Biggest Business Plagiarism Scandals

Throughout history, plagiarism has always been present, but never more so than in the current digital age. Where the internet is filled to the brim with content, with more being posted each and every day, it can be difficult to truly know whether what you are reading is original content. However, while most plagiarism cases are dealt with easily or float under the radar, there are some higher profile cases that certainly haven’t had that benefit! From the likes of Amy Schumer, to Melania Trump and even The New York Daily News, the following certainly could’ve done with a plagiarism checker! Without further ado, here are the five biggest plagiarism scandals of recent years.

The New York Daily News

The New York Daily News case was one that taught editors and writers across the globe a valuable lesson – keep drafts, notes, and ensure you save any relevant emails! They might not seem like much once the piece is done and ready to go, but you never know just when it might prove useful.

On April 19th 2016, journalist Shaun King had an article published that readers noticed was very similar to one published much earlier by The Daily Beast. Of course, this was immediately accused of being plagiarised, but there was an unexpected twist to come! King took to twitter after the accusations with evidence of timestamped emails that contained his original submission, and it turned out it was in fact an editorial issue! Jotham Sederstrom edited out the attribution that had been put into the piece before it went online! As a result, he was fired for the mistake.

Joe Biden

Many of us known Joe Biden as the much-loved vice president to Barack Obama, but long before he filled that role, Biden tried his own hand at the top spot. In 1987, Biden was running his presidential campaign but it was swiftly cut short when the accusations of plagiarism came rolling in. It soon surfaced that Biden had stolen a speech from a British politician by the name of Neil Kinnock. Soon after his academic work came under fire for plagiarism also. His withdrawal from the presidential race was, of course, announced soon after.

Amy Schumer

Laughter is a language that every person can speak, and jokes are often a great way of spreading said laughter around – well, if they don’t receive a groan instead! But in 2016, Amy Schumer came under fire when she was accused of plagiarising the jokes she was using in her stand-up performances. Tammy Pescatelli, Kathleen Madigan and Wendy Liebman all claimed that Schumer had ‘stolen’ their jokes and passed them off as her own without firing a single thank you in their direction. This story didn’t come to any conclusion, however, as Schumer only denied the claims, and it wasn’t taken any further.

Melania Trump

While this one might not be the tip of the ice-burg when it comes to thinking about the most words plagiarised, it certainly does for one of the worst possible places to do it. Also taking place in 2016, Melania Trump’s plagiarism scandal came about when she took to the stage to give a speech on the President’s behalf at the Republican National Convention. However, as great as the speech may have appeared to some, it pricked the ears of Obama fans, who quickly realised that Melania’s speech sounded strangely similar to Michelle Obama’s speech that was given in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention. Melania’s speech writer was blamed, and while she apologised and went on to try and resign, Trump refused to accept it anyway.

Vladamir Putin

1997 brought about Putin’s turn to face public criticism following accusations of plagiarism. Putin’s 1996 dissertation titled ‘Strategic Planning of Mineral Resources Replenishment at a Regional Level in Market Economy’ fell under scrutiny when it appeared to bear unavoidable resemblance to a book written by William Kind and David Cleland’s book ‘Strategic Planning and Policy’. Granted, no one’s approached Putin to question it directly, but the accusations have been made all the same.

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Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Banking and Finance

A I Artificial Intelligence On Guard Against Fraud

Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to be the next big thing in the banking and financial services sector; it has been touted as next great breakthrough that will change the way we bank and conduct financial transactions.

Why not, the vast amount of data, high volume transactions, and the quantitative nature of the banking and finance industry makes it one of the sectors where artificial intelligence will be better applied. It is believed that financial institutions can leverage the power of AI to transform current processes and improve services delivery as well as the use of financial products.

A Powerful New Weapon Against Financial Fraud

In today’s low-trust environment, artificial intelligence offers a new way to tackle financial fraud, build trust, and create a secure financial atmosphere. New forms of AI are being introduced to catch fraudsters with exceptional speed and efficiency.

Thanks to such new technologies, artificial intelligence could identify irregularities or patterns in transactions which might point to fraud, money-laundering, or terrorist activity. Tools like machine learning and data analytics could be used to scrutinize the vast amounts of data AI holds on clients and transactions, and compare this information against publicly held data to flag suspicious activity for security teams.

Asides these anomaly detection apps, future security measures will require biometric data such as facial recognition, voice recognition, etc., to provide more protection to customers.

Role in Customer Service as well as Sales and recommendation of Financial Products

Other potential future applications of AI in banking and finance lie in the area of customer service and sales of financial products. An Accenture report states that artificial intelligence will become the primary channel through which financial institutions and their clients will interact in future. Indeed, this prediction is fast becoming a reality thanks to organizations like Kasisto, which are developing chatbots that enable bank customers to chat with their financial institution using text-based natural language.

The Kasisto app facilitates finance-specific interactions by allowing customers to ask finance related questions via chat. Similarly, McLean-based Capital One Finance has developed a chatbot called Eno to enable its clients to complete a broad array of tasks on their smartphone. Customers can use the app to transact, check their account balances, as well as request card information such as bill dates and limits.

Beyond its role in enhancing customer experiences, AI is also expected to play a significant part in the sales and recommendation of financial products. For instance, a robo-advisor might recommend portfolio changes. It is also believed that robo-advisors could potentially employ some level of machine learning to recommend a specific car or home insurance plan.

As AI continues its journey into the mainstream, it is predicted that the technology will play a more prominent role in reinventing the banking and financial services landscape by making it much easier for banks to analyze risks and assess the behavior of a prospect to discover any possible fraud, among other things.

Overall, the future of AI promises a new era of disruption in the banking and finance industry.

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Apple and Chinese Telecom Firms to Combat Spam with Machine Learning

Security Breaches in China

In an effort to fight spam, attempted security breaches, and protect their Chinese customers, Apple will employ sophisticated algorithms based on advances in the field of machine learning. The California-based tech giant is looking to enlist the help of Chinese telecom operators to identify messages by source, presumably. “We are in touch with telco companies to see what additional steps could be taken to reduce this inconvenience,” Reuters quoted an Apple spokesperson as saying.

Apple plans to use machine learning to determine whether a message is spam or not, cites a report from Reuters. The tools, which are being developed will also help bar fraudulent accounts from sending spam messages. An Apple spokesperson was quoted as saying, “We are currently working on additional ways to further reduce it, including more advanced machine learning models to identify it and more tools to block fraudulent accounts.”

The Crux of the Matter

Apple was forced to act when the official state broadcaster, worried by the growing volume of spam messages Apple users were receiving through the messaging app and in an attempt to protect citizens who are most vulnerable, accused the American multinational corporation of allowing gambling apps on their devices – gambling is illegal in China.

The allegation forced the US manufacturer to take more effective action against unsolicited messages, which potentially cheats people out of their money, lowers consumer confidence in online commerce, and threaten the digital economy.

The issue of spam and unsolicited calls is a common problem in China, where individuals can get phone numbers from black markets. So, the Apple situation isn’t an isolated one. In fact, spam problem is so rife in China that a Spam Laws content claimed spam grows faster than the Chinese population.

On its part, the Chinese government is making efforts to curb spam through an organization created explicitly for this purpose, the “China Anti-spam Alliance.”

Undefined Engagement Objectives

Apple partnering with Chinese telecom operators is a step in the right direction. However, it is not yet clear what possible role the telecom companies could play with regard to fighting spam, or how they could help the tech giant, bearing in mind that Apple’s native messenger, iMessage uses the manufacturer’s servers and all data communication between end users is encrypted with a secure encryption algorithm.

As mentioned, they would likely be asked to provide the tech giant with information regarding the identity of spammers to enable Apple to block the messages from source using advanced machine learning algorithms.

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How Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Will Impact Cyber Security

AI Security and Intelligence Services

The efforts of security and intelligence services to counter threats has led experts to consider using new concepts that are fast becoming part of our daily life such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning as a defense to boost skills for countering cyber-attack.

Industry experts have always believed that AI will have a growing impact on cybersecurity technology thanks to its potential to improve threat detection. Believe however turned to reality when Alphabet launched a cybersecurity intelligence system designed to fight crime on a global scale back in January. If one ever needed proof of how AI-based solutions will improve existing technologies and drive greater efficacy and efficiency in the war against cybersecurity, Chronicle is it. Before we proceed to discuss their impact on cybersecurity, it is essential to first understand, from a technical standpoint, what is meant by artificial intelligence and machine learning.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is an aspect of computer science that gives prominence to the creation of applications that engage in tasks that require mental processes of a high level such as memory organization, perceptual learning, and critical thinking.

In other words, artificial intelligence borders on the development of machines that work and react like humans by performing activities such as problem-solving, learning, planning, and speech recognition, among others.

What is Machine Learning?

Kris Lahiri, co-founder and chief security officer of Egnyte, in an article published on Forbes, defined machine learning (ML) as “a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) that refers to technologies that enable computers to learn and adapt through experience.”

How Will AI and ML Impact Cybersecurity?

With technologies advancing very quickly, the sophistication of hackers is fast emerging as a threat to internet security. Cybercriminals continue to develop new attack strategies meant to avoid existing security systems. This makes organizations act defensively rather than proactively. The difficulty in knowing precisely what attackers are planning makes it hard to take preventive measures.

As the level of sophistication across the entire global threat landscape continues to increase rapidly, security outfits must use advanced tools to get ahead of the threats before they do any damage. Given their sophistication and intelligence, it is believed that the use of AI and machine learning tools will enable companies to detect, investigate and remediate breaches faster.

This is because AI allows organizations to automate complex processes for detecting attacks and responding to breaches. And since AI and ML work hand-in-hand, AI can leverage ML capabilities to enhance its abilities and evolve. In this manner, AI security solutions powered by ML can rely on ML use data from previous attacks to react to newer and similar risks.

Tech professionals believe that the efficacy of this approach rests on the fact that hackers build on old threats. Therefore, by deploying AI and ML, new dangers can be detected more quickly and dealt with before they do any harm.

 

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World Finance: How Institutions Can Prepare for the Future of Banking

The Future of Banking

Finance is being taken over by tech. Advances in technology are quickly transforming the industry, and may ultimately change the face of world finance as we know it. Banks and insurers used to have less motivation to push boundaries, as the highly profitable, relatively static business models they adopted worked so well.

Today, however, leaders of the industry who had achieved excellent results and brought advanced experience into the financial and business world are being confronted by a new wind of technologies that may disrupt their markets. Peer-to-peer lenders, crowdfunding, bitcoin, mobile payments, robo advisers, etc., are bringing about rapid liberalizing of finance and trade.

The current situation and forces have led to questions being asked about the future of finance. Unless the big names of financial services rethink their business models in some very fundamental ways, they may find themselves losing market share to today’s ever-aggressive innovators. These innovators have come up with ways to offer better products than traditional financial organizations as you would see below.

Modern Technology Use Cases in Financial Services

Technology is driving innovation in the world of finance in several ways. These include:

  • Remittance: This is one of the problem areas for conventional financial institutions. Cross-border payments have traditionally been a slow and expensive process, with some transfers taking up to three days to arrive. The blockchain enables innovators to challenge this process by significantly speeding up confirmation times and simplifying the payment process, all while reducing costs. Blockchain also enhances transparency in the financial industry. This helps to minimize risk and human errors.
  • Chatbots and Customer Service: Another issue that customers often face with traditional financial institutions is that they offer poor customer experience. Chatbots help to correct this, thereby improving client satisfaction and lowering cost.
  • Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Fraud Detection: Machine learning and artificial intelligence make fraud detection easier, as they help enhance efficiency through the mining of unstructured transaction and account information to give a 360-degree client view and facilitate faster transaction authentication.

How Traditional Financial Institutions Can Prepare for the Future

If the aforementioned disruptive technologies are an indication of things to come, then financial institutions must make efforts to move with the times by generating more innovative ideas to take their business forward. This can be done by:

  • Embracing technology: To ensure continued success, banks will have to adopt technology to keep up with the rapid shift in digital economics. Unless banks train staff on the use of and invest in tech, they may find themselves lagging behind their non-bank competitors in the foreseeable future.
  • Adopting blockchain: Financial institutions should look to take advantage of blockchain if they aim to provide customers with quicker and inexpensive ways to transact.
  • Staying social: Banks can improve customer satisfaction by not only providing engaging content but also by providing customers with several platforms with which to contact them and respond promptly to inquiries.

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How To Protect Your Online Privacy

Internet Transitioning From a Service To a Utility

Recently, the Internet has become an essential resource for all of us. We rely on the Internet to send and receive emails, post/share photos and messages on social networking sites, shop for clothes, search for information and many others.

Unfortunately, most of don’t care on how they manage our fatal information and what we do online. This basically is very dangerous since it exposes our data and private information to hackers.

Privacy is more important than ever. The Internet may be the best thing that makes our work easier day by day, but as we come to rely on it more and more in our daily life we risk exposing our data to attackers.

This gives you a hundred and one reasons as to why you should protect your online privacy. In some cases most of online marketers use a wide range of internet activities to run their business.

Thereby, here is some ways through which you can protect your online privacy:

  1. Always update your device

This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect the security of your computers and mobile devices is to keep the software up to date.

Frequents updates help manufacturers patch security vulnerabilities quickly. Once you update your device it is important to double-check your digital privacy settings to make sure nothing has changed in the process.

  1. Lock down your hardware

It is very necessary to have a strong password to protect your device when it wakes from sleep or when it boots up. Just the same you have got passwords in every inch of your phone it is also necessary to protect your device with such.

  1. Turn on private browsing

This is very crucial too. You have to be excellent on how we handle things online and by that we will prevent our data and online activities from leaking. How do we achieve this? Through private browsing. A setting available in each major web browser.

It deletes cookies, temporary Internet files and browsing history after you close the window. Basically, the Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ buttons you see on just about every site allow those networks to track you even if you don’t have an account or are logged into them.

Other times information collection companies rely on embedded code in banner ads that track your visits, preferences, and demographic information.

  1. Use a two-factor authentication

Sometimes ones need to be sharper considering the possible steps that hackers can opt to. Two-factor authentication means that you can have a second way to which you can make your password all but useless to a hacker.

You don’t have to dwell on using just one password since there are other factors whereby you can use a two-factor authentication. Use cards, ID before granting access to your account. At times also it is advisable to use fingerprint whenever it is possible.

  1. Use secure WI-FI connections

Use of free WI-FI services at public places is highly tempting, but honestly it is a major risk and can highly comprise your personal information. Most probably the one watching the internet traffic and public Wi-Fi can have intention on stealing your sensitive information.

In case you have to use such anonymous connections, Through this they should make the activities as effective as possible. All they need is the anonymous private proxy or VPN. it is best to use a Proxy or VPN so all the data you send will be encrypted. You can easily find reliable proxy providers or VPN services that can keep your identity safe.

  1. Secure your browsing habits

Your interaction with the digital world is primarily through your browser and you have to be very careful when using it to ensure that you are not leaving a trail of footprints for someone to follow.

Marketers and websites may attempt to track you and hackers may do the same. Therefore, you need to keep your browsing habits private.

  1. Be careful on what you share on social media

Social media can feel like a conversation with your closest friends — except it may be a conversation the whole world can see. If you post enough on social media, the information can be used to track where you are and what you’re up to.

The first line of defense is to lock down your social media accounts. Share only with the people you want to see the information you’re sharing, like your friends and family.

 

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I T Trends Are Leaving Their Mark on Cloud Strategies

Organizations and enterprises have realized that they are spending a lot of energy, effort, and time as well as management bandwidth to create IT infrastructure whereas it is now readily available for their use. As a result, more and more companies are turning to Cloud services that offer flexibility and scalability at very affordable costs.  Doing away with the need for any infrastructure development means saving money. IT practices have changed drastically ever since the introduction of Cloud computing, and now the market is ready to witness a new wave in Cloud computing consisting of private, public and hybrid Cloud services.

Enterprises are now feeling the heat of competition and desperately looking for scaling up their computing resources that would enable them to serve customers better. It has led to the rapid adaption of the Cloud environment with 38% enterprises getting ready to build private clouds while another 32% rely on public cloud services that they procure. Indeed, the most attractive option seems to be the hybrid cloud with 59% enterprises going for it. In an attempt to keep pace with the demand for cloud services, the big players like AWS, Google, Microsoft, and IBM are gearing up to attract big companies by rapidly adding new data centers to the existing facilities.  The emerging trends in cloud services NYC will become clear as you go through the rest of this article.

The shift towards co-location services

The trend of co-locating data centers is on the rise. Co-location is the practice of using third-party data centers for housing networking equipment and privately owned servers instead of putting it up on own premises. Renting space at a co-location center is the latest trend among companies that find advantage in the system as they are relieved from the uncertainty about which cloud service would be best for them.

Besides renting out space with a higher level of physical security, the co-location provider will also provide the power, IP address, bandwidth and cooling systems that would be necessary for proper deployment of servers. In addition to the benefit of economies of scale, the managed data centers offer better connectivity with far lower network latency that enables companies to avail various SaaS and public cloud services. The arrangement gives businesses the opportunity to adopt a multi-cloud strategy and to test services of different Cloud service providers before deciding on the most suitable one.

Hyper-converged infrastructure for private cloud

Although organizations prefer to place data in the public cloud for its flexibility, lower costs and better security, not all CIOs are comfortable in sharing with a third party, sensitive business data and customer data. The reservation of CIOs in confiding in third parties with sensitive data is pushing organizations towards private cloud services that require advanced virtualization, automation, standardization, resource monitoring and self-service access just in the same way as public clouds. Creating a cohesive system by collating the capabilities is expensive and can be quite daunting.

The solution lies in going for hyper-converged infrastructure solutions that provide a software-centric architecture that acts as the binder and holds together storage, computes, virtualization and networking resources along with other technologies in a commodity hardware box that the vendor provides. Hyper-converged infrastructure provides the foundation for private cloud development especially for new workloads that require automated scale out at a rapid pace. You can add as many boxes as you like to enhance the pool of resources.

Improved spending on cloud services

Cloud vendor management is a complex area and containing the cloud cost can become quite challenging. It is particularly true for organizations that make use of multiple cloud providers. The numerous offers related to consumption plans and cloud service pricing from Cloud service providers add more complexities to the task of CIOs who are already having their hands full. Hiring a dedicated person to choose cloud contracts and undertake negotiations is a viable option that many organizations follow. However, with experience and exposure to better practices and by using cost management tools, IT executives are now able to derive better cost benefits.

Public cloud is hosting enterprise apps

It is no more a taboo for Chief Information Officers (CIO) to keep enterprise applications away from the cloud. They have become more comfortable in using the public cloud for hosting critical software as would be evident from the trend of hosting apps in AWS.  Business apps like SAP and other analytics software also have found a host in AWS, which is a clear indication of increased dependence of CIOs on the public cloud. Organizations can exploit the ability of the cloud in providing enterprise data that gives better insight for turning great ideas into software.

  Companies taking advantage of migration services and rewriting applications to move it to the public cloud

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THE FUTURE OF CREDIT WITH BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY

 

 

Crypto Credit Cards

The cryptocurrency has taken the world by storm, as it has finally shaded its fringe idea reputation and is now among the most hotly sought-after commodities in the world. Due to the industry’s wild successes this year, which has seen the industry multiply over 10 times in value this year, people are trooping into the industry in their millions seeking to be part of this gold rush.

And although the ways of acquiring cryptocurrencies has become exceptionally simpler over the years with most exchanges now accepting credit card payments, there are a significant section of investors who don’t wish to pay the astronomical amounts cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are currently priced at. This naturally sends these groups of investors into the only other way of acquiring cryptocurrencies which is mining. And true to its rise, mining some of the more valuable cryptocurrencies is become more and more out of the reach private individuals, due to their capital and energy intensive nature.

But like every other obstacles there are solutions that have been made to circumvent them. Investor’s and cryptocurrency enthusiasts around the world now use what is known as cloud mining in order to still participate in the mining of their desired cryptocurrencies without having to make investments in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up industrial  scale mining operations. Although there are a lot of cloud mining operations that are labeled as Ponzi schemes, but the industry is rapidly maturing and has some reputable and innovative ones like Miner Gate which seeks to take the cloud mining to new heights. Some of the great benefits that cloud mining offers the user include:

Simultaneous Mining

Most people who take on the mining industry by themselves do so by concentrating on a single cryptocurrency at a time to maximize the usability of their computing power (also known s hashing power). This is quite limiting as cloud mining operations offer the user the chance to maximize the use of their hashing power by mining for several cryptocurrencies at the same time which is also beneficial as far as spreading the miner’s risks are concerned.

Smart Mining Operations

To take this great innovation to another level, cloud mining service providers such as Miner Gate have another cool feature up their sleeve where by the users’ mining rig automatically focuses on mining the cryptocurrency with the most value among the multiple mining options offered. This is done by calculating the value of the cryptocurrency against the power needed to mine it. Users are of course not forced to use this feature as they can switch it off at any time of their choosing.

Small Scale Profitability

Cryptocurrency mining operations especially that of Bitcoin have the reputation of being too expensive and often small scale mining operations tend to make heavy losses as the cost of maintaining the mine is significantly higher than the reward obtained at the end of the day. And this is where Cloud Mining pools work their magic for potential miners, as they allow multiple small scale mining operations to pool their resources and mine as a single entity. Any reward gotten at the end of the day is distributed among the participating miners according to the amount of hashing power they contributed to the operation.

 

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Telegram Founder: Crypto Mining Malware Not An App Flaw

 

 

There was a report by  that the attackers had discovered an exposed backdoor in Telegram Messenger, this vulnerability helped the attackers unknown to the owners turn computers into cryptocurrency miners.

These clandestine crypto mining operations had been going on since March 2017 reported Kaspersky Labs, the company that discovered and exposed the cyber attacks. Kaspersky also said a zero-day vulnerability in the Telegram messenger desktop app gave the attackers the ability to create and spread a never before seen the type of malware that could create a backdoor Trojan and also mine cryptocurrency.

 

A Kaspersky lab analyst said they had found quite a number of possible actions of the zero-day exploitation which asides from being spyware and malware, could also send unknown and unseen software for mining cryptocurrency, and that infections like that had become a global phenomenon.

Here is a little insight into the operation of the Telegram vulnerability; there is a way the Telegram Windows client deals with the RLO (right-to-left override) Unicode character (U+202E), in that process lays the vulnerability. However, that RLO Unicode Character is how languages are written from right to left (like Hebrew or Arabic) are coded. Kaspersky’s report states that a hidden RLO Unicode Character contained in the file name that flipped how the characters were ordered, thereby giving the file a new name was how the malware creators got access to computers. Like in this example, an attacker names a file “IMG_high_re*U+202E*gnp.js” and sends to someone using the Telegram messenger, the file seen at the User’s end will be “IMG_high_resj.png” (notice how a flip has happened to the file format), the user then clicks on the file thinking it is a picture file, then a JavaScript file containing the malware would be secretly downloaded.

                                                 Founder of Telegram

 

However, the founder of the Telegram application did not waste time in deemphasizing the allegations. He is of the opinion that antivirus companies always do the most at stretching the severity of their results, just to excite the public, and as such, should not be taken seriously. He also rebuffed Kaspersky’s claim by explaining that what they uncovered was nothing near a vulnerability of the Telegram messaging app, and also that there was no way cybercriminals could gain access to users’ computers without the users opening something malicious. He further assured Telegram users that they were safe and had always been safe.

According to Kaspersky, Fantomcoin, Monero, Zcash and other cryptocurrencies were acquired, and according to the evidence they had, Russians were behind the malware, and also that it could be used as a backdoor for hackers to gain access and silent control of users’ computers. Records of a Telegram local cache which most likely was stolen from victims was found in the process of doing their analysis of malicious servers.

One sure way to guard against such attacks is to avoid downloading and opening suspicious files from untrusted and unknown sources, as that suspicious file could be a portal for attacks.

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