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The Congressional Facebook Testimony Is a Lesson in Agency, Responsibility, and Education

The recent Facebook congressional hearings on the (mis)handling of customer data has impassioned many of its users. The hearings themselves made a few things clear, and the public response shined light on a growing trend in a blockchain world: people want greater control over their data.

Congressional Facebook Testimony Underscores Need for Blockchain Technology

The facts are these: Facebook makes its money through ads, and those ads are worth more money if Facebook can provide information (freely offered by its users through a Terms of Service that they didn’t read) to tailor those ads. I can’t blame Facebook for wanting to make money; that’s just business. However, it should be no surprise that upon realizing just how much of their data was sold and to whom, users would want to change the relationship.

Obviously one way is to stop using Facebook, but that’s hard to do. There are many distant friends and family on there, and some users rely on Facebook for communication.

Blockchain technology is uniquely positioned to help all users take more control over their own identities, sharing only the data they want, or the data necessary to identify them for a given situation, without over-credentialing themselves.

There is a serious need to educate lawmakers on privacy issues, the internet, and the intersection of these two worlds

One of the most encouraging things about the hearing, for me, was that it happened at all. While it was frustrating to hear the senators and congresspeople flounder their ways through this new world, I was happy to see effort being put in to try to better understand it, even if their approach was slightly accusatory.

These hearings need to happen more often, on more topics, and at greater length and depth – particularly when it comes to privacy and (in my opinion) blockchain technology. Privacy is considered a basic human right, and you should be able to control your information.

A Return to Responsibility: Enter the Blockchain

Blockchain technology offers the opportunity to protect your identity and self-agency in two significant ways: 1) as I’ve described above, information is not only hashed, but also modular, with the ability to only share relevant information, and 2) in learning about blockchains and cryptocurrency, people generally are willing to accept the onus of their own responsibility (after they get over that mental shock).

As an anecdotal piece of evidence, prior to really starting to learn about blockchain technology years ago, I was less concerned with how my data was collected, stored, and sold. Whether it was from ignorance or just being a dumb teenager/young adult, it just didn’t matter as much to me. Learning about blockchain technology, I think, was really what made me realize just how important it was to control my data – since it meant control of myself.

Social media isn’t evil, companies need to make money, and you need to be responsible for yourself

While it’s hard to have sympathy for Facebook in this situation, I do feel a lot of hurt feelings and harsh realizations could have been avoided through a more serious consideration of one’s responsibility to protect one’s identity and data. This was as much on the users as it was on Facebook, maybe even more so. As with all things in life, do your own research, understand who you’re giving access to your information, and demand better.

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The Jigsaw Ransomware Has Been Revived to Steal Bitcoin from Unsuspecting Users

The Jigsaw malware is back and it is ready to steal Bitcoin from consumers once again. Jigsaw is Back to Scare Bitcoin Users ZDNet recently reported that the “Jigsaw” ransomware has recently been revised by hackers to steal Bitcoin from unsuspecting users through a “simple-but-effective trick.” According to the technology news source, Jigsaw first appeared in the cryptocurrency scene in April 2016 as a form of ransomware, holding the files and information of users hostage until a ransom of Bitcoin was paid. The reason why it is named Jigsaw is due to the fact that the piece of code displayed the likeness of the Saw horror film villain. However, with this most recent revision, the ransomware has been re-purposed to steal Bitcoin in a fairly innovative and non-intrusive manner, modifying the addresses inputted by a user. Once the piece of malware alters an address, the Bitcoin payment will then be redirected to the hacker’s wallet, resulting in lost crypto for the victim. Jigsaw, or “BitcoinStealer,” as it is known by references in the code of the program, accomplishes this by altering Bitcoin addresses in someone’s clipboard, or the area where copied pieces of text lie. However, the ingenuity of the program does not stop there, as BitcoinStealer is able to the intended address of the payment to one that looks very similar, using a program such as VanityGen to trick the user into thinking the hacker’s address and the original address are one and the same. Image Courtesy of Fortinet This ingenuity has proven to be rather successful, with researchers from Fortinet, who first broke the news about Jigsaw, saying that cyber attacks utilizing this method have garnered over 8.4 Bitcoin, or approximately $61,000 at current market prices. Fortinet also discovered that there were many similar projects for “modifying cryptocurrency addresses” being advertised on dark web forum sites, presumably by hackers enlisting the same method of attack. Crypto-Related Cybercrime is Still Prevalent Despite Price Decline However, this method of cybercrime, which the cyber researchers called the “clipboard-substitution malware family,” was not mentioned in a recent threat report from the cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes. According to the report released on July 17th, ransomware and cryptojacking were by far the primary sources of crypto-related cybercrime, with “cryptominers continuing to dominate” the threat landscape. Despite starting to slow down due to declining cryptocurrency prices and mining profits, the Cybercrime Tactics & Techniques Report for Q2 2018 still found that cryptominers are as prevalent as ever, noting: “Cryptomining detections are slowly declining; however, as one of the top two detections for both businesses and consumers, they still dominate the threat landscape” Nonetheless, moving into Q3 of 2018, Malwarebytes expects for cryptojacking cases to slowly fade, as cybercriminals follow the industries where they can make the biggest profits. The security firm wrote: “Ultimately, many criminals aren’t getting the return on investment (ROI) from cryptomining they were expecting. The cryptojacking craze will likely stabilize as it follows market trends in cryptocurrency… Until changes in the cryptocurrency market cause a spike or swift downturn, expect to see cryptomining hum along at its current slower pace into Q3.” It is likely that the propagation of clipboard-substitutions will become a growing threat for cryptocurrency users moving into the future, as it is a much more reliable, non-intrusive and profitable way for hackers to get their hand on consumer crypto. So watch out, double, triple or even quadruple check the address when you send your next Bitcoin transaction. Featured image from Shutterstock. The post The Jigsaw Ransomware Has Been Revived to Steal Bitcoin from Unsuspecting Users appeared first on NewsBTC.

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