Good news arrives for cryptocurrency exchanges in Chile as the country’s appeals court has ordered the re-opening of their unexpectedly-closed bank accounts.
A Small but Significant Victory
Earlier this month, Bitcoinistreported that Chilean cryptocurrency exchanges Buda, Orionx, and CryptoMarket filed appeals to one of the country’s appeals court following the unexpected closure of their bank accounts from Itau Corpbanca, Bank of Nova Scotia, and state-owned Banco del Estado de Chile.
Guillermo Torrealba, Buda’s co-founder and chief executive officer, had explained to Bloomberg:
They’re killing an entire industry. It won’t be possible to buy and sell crypto in a safe business in Chile. We’ll have to go back five years and trade in person. It seems very arbitrary.
Hopefully the appeals court will see we’re right.
The appeals have been heard, and the court has indeed seen that Torrealba is right.
As reported by Bloomberg Quint today, Buda successfully persuaded a court to order a detente in its dispute with banks.
The South American country’s anti-monopoly court reportedly ordered both Banco del Estado de Chile and Itau Corpbanca to re-open Buda’s accounts. Meanwhile, the exchange’s lawsuit will continue against 8 other banks, in addition to the aforementioned pair, citing the unexpected closure as “arbitrary” and “unjustified.”
This should be interpreted as positive news for those worried that the wealthy South American country’s government was making efforts to potentially implement a blanket ban on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading in the country — though it remains unknown whether or not the banks’ closures of the exchanges’ accounts came from above.
Chile’s cryptocurrency exchanges are small fish in the global blockchain sea, but they are important to the country’s (and continent’s) continued growth in what many believe is the future of finance. Before the unexpected account closure, Torrealba’s Buda was only trading about $1 million per day, small change compared to the billions being traded on the world’s larger exchanges.
It will be interesting to see if the court’s decision has any impact on the greater sentiment towards cryptocurrencies from Chilean authorities. As noted by Bloomberg, Itau Corpbanca Chief Executive Officer Milton Maluhy has stated that the cryptocurrency industry needs more regulation — despite claiming his bank supports burgeoning technologies and startup companies.
What do you think about the Chilean appeals court’s decision? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
DNS attacks can manifest themselves in many ways, all targeted against the Domain Name System that connects the internet. At best they’re an inconvenience, knocking websites offline or preventing access, and at worst they’re costly, as this week’s $150,000 Myetherwallet hijack demonstrated. When you’re interacting in the crypto space, here are a few ways to protect yourself against DNS attacks.
In the aftermath of Tuesday’s DNS attack, which affected a string of major websites and proved particularly costly to some Myetherwallet users, Cloudflare published a report. “BGP leaks and cryptocurrencies” examines how the attack went down, and how the attackers were able to exploit vulnerabilities in the DNS system. BGP is the Border Gateway Protocol, a standardized gateway for routing information from one part of the internet to another.
With over 700,000 possible routes, there’s a lot of ways to get from A to B or Z or any letter in between. Most of the time, all of these chains, operated by different internet providers, communicate just fine, but occasionally things go wrong. Usually these leaks are localized and are the result of a configuration mistake. But as Cloudflare explains, “Sometimes [a BGP leak] is done with a malicious intent. The prefix can be re-routed through in order to passively analyze the data”. It continues:
During the two hours leak the servers on the IP range only responded to queries for myetherwallet.com. As some people noticed SERVFAIL. Any DNS resolver that was asked for names handled by Route53 would ask the authoritative servers that had been taken over via the BGP leak. This poisoned DNS resolvers whose routers had accepted the route.
Anyone connecting to a DNS resolver that had been poisoned during the attack would have been rerouted to a fraudulent Russian provider instead.
How to Detect DNS Attacks
The good news is that in most cases identifying the signs of BGP hijacking doesn’t call for a Master’s in internet protocol architecture. The first clue that something is amiss can be found by glancing at the https lock in your browser. It should be green, to denote that the certificate for the website you’re accessing is trusted. If it’s red or you’re presented with a warning message, don’t proceed just because the URL you’re loading is correct.
One of the victims of Tuesday’s Myetherwallet attack was shown a warning that their connection to the site was not secure but confessed: “Even though every part of my body told me not to try and log in, I did.” Due to notification fatigue, it’s easy to dismiss warning messages without paying them attention, but not all notifications are spammy: some are vital, and should be overridden at your peril.
Cloudflare explains: “If you were using HTTPS, the fake website would display a TLS certificate signed by an unknown authority (the domain listed in the certificate was correct but it was self-signed). The only way for this attack to work would be to continue and accept the wrong certificate. From that point on, everything you send would be encrypted but the attacker had the keys.”
Stay Vigilant and Control your Crypto
Sites such as Whoismydns.com enable web users to check whether they recognize the name and IP of the server they’re connecting to, which will often be your ISP. Beyond that, unfortunately, there is little that the average web user can do, for the onus is on web admins to monitor their site for evidence of BGP leaks. Given the risks of storing cryptocurrency on centralized exchanges, and of interacting with websites such as Myetherwallet and decentralized exchanges like Etherdelta, both of which have fallen victim to DNS attacks, investors are left with few options. Crypto projects such as REMME are working on technology that will alert users to DNS attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges, but its implementation is still some way off.
The only way to ensure your crypto remains your crypto is to store it in a secure hardware wallet that is not connected to the internet. But to acquire those coins in the first place, you have to connect to the internet. For practical reasons, it is essential that you are able to go about your daily business without constant fear of having your web traffic hijacked, poisoned, or spoofed. But when accessing online wallets and exchanges, be sure to check that the https lock is in place. If your gut is telling you something is wrong, trust your instincts and heed the warning signs. It might just save your crypto.
Do you think DNS attacks are on the rise? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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An Arizona Senate bill that previously focused on state income tax is getting a makeover, the Senator who crafted the bill tells CCN. Senator Warren Petersen, a Republican, said the bill is being redesigned to instead focus on point-of-sale crypto tax payments known as the transaction privilege tax (TPT) in the state. Arizona residents could be the The post Arizona Overhauls Blockchain Bill to Focus on Crypto Payments appeared first on CCN
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Kromtech Security has revealed a data breach tied to investors of the Bezop cryptocurrency. The cybersecurity firm made the announcement on April 25, 2018. The leak exposed confidential information about investors of the Bezos cryptocurrency.
Details of the Data Breach
The sensitive information exposed by the breach include full names, wallet information, and even scanned photos of ID documents. More than 25,000 investors were affected by the leak. Apparently, the team at Bezop had failed to secure a MongoDB database, thus opening the way for hackers. Bezop is a startup cryptocurrency company with its own blockchain-powered e-commerce app platform.
Bezop posted an announcement via its Medium account stating that it was already aware of the leak and that the issue had been resolved since January 2018. According to the announcement, the platform had suffered a DDoS attack which had exposed some unsecured databases on the platform. Deryck Jones, the CTO of Bezop confirmed the data breach and said that all investors were notified. He also confirmed the fact that the issue had been resolved and that the affected databases had been secured.
Despite reassurances, a Twitter user claims to have seen the leaked database online as recently as March 30, months after it was supposedly secured by Bezop. The cryptocurrency startup insists that the only breach was in January and any new reports are simply “old news.” It is important to note that the Kromtech report confirms the database leak.
Another bit of controversy – perhaps more concerning than the leak itself – is that the leak appears to have been deliberately orchestrated. According to Kromtech researchers, changes made to MongoDB protocol makes it impossible for such a mistake to occur accidentally. This means that the database was intentionally configured to be accessible to the public.
The John McAfee Connection
John McAfee, the cybersecurity tycoon, is one of the investors exposed by the leaked database. He is also listed as an advisor on the Bezop website. McAfee has previously touted the platform as having the potential to challenge Amazon in the e-commerce scene. The Bezop Medium post also indicated that McAfee had been paid to promote the platform. McAfee who has more than 800,000 followers on Twitter charges as much as $105,000 to promote ICOs on his Twitter account.
What do you think of the Bezop leak? Was it deliberately orchestrated or just a case of poor security? Let us know your views in the comment section below.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, DepositPhotos, Shutterstock
Even though some political candidates have already accepted crypto contributions in the past, the Wisconsin Ethics Commission is still not sure whether their state should follow suit.
As digital currencies continue to gain traction in the real world, seemingly everyone wants to be a part of this virtual movement. Politicians are no different, realizing that crypto could provide them with that cash injection their campaign needs.
One of crypto’s major advantages, which is anonymity, also seems to be its biggest drawback for the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. According to The Kansas City Star, the commission is however open to discussing the possibility of allowing political contributions to be made in cryptocurrency.
Crypto Donations are Already Happening
Last year saw the state of Missouri and Senate hopeful, Austin Petersen, accepting Bitcoin contributions. Other politicians included New York’s Patrick Nelson, Arizona’s Kelli Ward, and California’s Brian Forde.
Even though the powers that be in Washington DC are on board the crypto contribution train, other states are still apprehensive. Anonymity is, of course, a factor, but so is the volatility of the crypto market.
Last year saw Bitcoin reach amazing heights of $20k, and while it has gone down in value since then, it is slowly clawing its way back to the top. At the time of writing, it was trading at just under $9,200.
Wisconsin Not Yet Convinced
In addition to untraceable donations and unpredictable prices, the Wisconsin Ethics Commission is also concerned about the lack of concrete regulations. Members are also unsure as to whether crypto donations should be seen as cash- or in-kind contributions. The latter would be seen as the donation of an asset in lieu of cash.
The commission is also worried about how the value of each contribution will be assessed due to the characteristically unstable market.
Phil Anderson, who is the Wisconsin Libertarian Party Chairman and also a candidate for governor, approached the commission on Tuesday to approve Bitcoin donations.
He stated that the bitcoins, which can be viewed as in-kind contributions, could be immediately converted into US dollars. He also touched on the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies:
There are people that want to use it as money for contributions.
Guidelines But No Rules
Speaking of popularity, the Federal Elections Commission voted for the allowance of crypto donations in 2014. However, Bitcoin was trading at about $400 and was not as well-known as it is today. At that time, the commission decided that they would be seen as in-kind contributions. However, they just provided a set of guidelines and no hard-and-fast regulations.
The Wisconsin Ethics Commission has not yet taken any decisive action on whether or not to allow cryptocurrency donations.
Saying No To crypto
There are some US states that will not even consider allowing crypto contributions for political endeavors. Kansas ethics authorities have downright refused, while their Californian counterparts have strongly advised against accepting virtual currencies.
Do you think cryptocurrency contributions should be accepted for political campaign funding? Let us know in the comments below!