Category Archives: ICO

ICO Analysis: Harmony

As of today, there are no blockchains in existence that can scale to the needs of 5G technology and the internet of things. According to this Huawei article, to meet the requirements of 5G you need 100 billion connections, 1 ms latency and 10 Gbps throughput. New startup, Harmony Protocol, aims to be the first […]

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ICO Analysis: Pigzbe

London’s maiden cryptocurrency sculpture has been unveiled alongside the River Thames, reflecting a baby in a mother’s womb holding a tablet. Italian sculptor  Frederico Clapis is behind the design and was commissioned by cryptocurrency wallet Eidoo. “The baby in the statue represents a generation being born into a world where blockchain is normal and useful for all,” according to […]

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ICO Analysis: AIRBLOC

AIRBLOC is a platform for the analysis and trade of personal data, uniting buyers and companies wishing to obtain information about their customers. As a decentralized platform for the exchange of personal data for both people and applications, AIRBLOC is planning to expand the data market to a level where individuals and small applications can […]

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Dixons Carphone breach: Personal and payment card info compromised

Dixons Carphone, the multinational electrical and telecommunications retailer that holds over 2,000 stores across the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe, has suffered a security breach. About the breach The company discovered the “unauthorised access to certain data held by the company” while reviewing their systems and data and that access has since been closed off. “Our investigation is ongoing and currently indicates that there was an attempt to compromise 5.9 million cards in one of … More

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ICO Analysis: RedPen

RedPen is a breakthrough social news and storytelling platform powered by blockchain and artificial intelligence. It combines news and public opinion into one experience to showcase what the internet thinks, feels and says about stories. The RedPen platform transforms online communities and information consumption while highlighting author reputation. The company aims to build and empower […]

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UK privacy watchdog slaps Yahoo with another fine over 2014 hack

Yahoo still isn't done facing the consequences for its handling of a massive 2014 data breach. The UK's Information Commissioner's Office has slapped Yahoo UK Services Ltd with a £250,000 (about $334,300) fine under the country's Data Protection Act. The ICO determined that Yahoo didn't take "appropriate" steps to protect the data of 515,121 UK users against hacks, including meeting protection standards and monitoring the credentials of staff with access to the information.

Source: ICO

Bitcoin drops 10% after hack of South Korean exchange service

CoinRail, a small cryptocurrency exchange service based in South Korea, reported on Sunday that it fell victim to a cyberattack and publicly confirmed it on Twitter. As a result, bitcoin prices collapsed by 10 percent to the lowest since April.

“The price of bitcoin dropped $500 in a single hour Sunday to hit a two-month low below $6,700,” wrote CoinDesk.

Following the hack, CoinRail lost some 30 percent of the tokens traded at the time of the hack, namely Pundi X (NPXS), NPER (NPER) and Aston (ATX). Local media estimated the loss at $37.28 million. CoinRail’s website has been in maintenance mode ever since the hack was identified. Their website said most of the cryptocurrency has been moved to offline wallets but it gave no detail about the actual financial loss.

“At present, 70% of your coin rail total coin / token reserves have been confirmed to be safely stored and moved to a cold wallet and are in storage,” reads their website (according to Google translate). “Two-thirds of the coins confirmed to have been leaked are covered by freezing / recalling through consultation with each coach and related exchanges. The remaining one-third of coins are being investigated with investigators, relevant exchanges and coin developers.”

CoinRail is working with an external forensics agency to investigate the breach and recover from the damage. Together with the compromised ICOs, they are trying to freeze the stolen tokens.

As South Korea is an important cryptocurrency trading center, this is not the first time a cryptocurrency exchange service has been attacked. After it was hacked twice, Youbit shut down in December.

ICO Analysis: Arxum

ARXUM is a spinoff from a longtime German company, Arend Prozessautomation GmbH, which has established customer relationships with companies such as Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and Continental. ARXUM combines software and hardware development competencies with industrial production experience to attach physical machines to the bockchain world. ARXUM will interconnect manufacturers, suppliers and customers in a blockchain-based […]

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ICO Analysis: Drep

Founded in Singapore, DREP is a decentralized reputation ecosystem using blockchain technology to empower various internet platforms to quantify and monetize reputation value and uses it for trading, making investments, sharing data and providing services. It is comprised of a public chain, a reputation-based protocol and tools for internet platforms (DRApps -apps developed upon the […]

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ICO Analysis: Etherisc

The insurance industry is an old and traditionally minded industry, often plagued by conflicting interests between insurance policy holders and insurance companies. Insurance companies sometimes have business models that are based upon doing everything they can not to pay out money to policy holders, and the policy holders are, as a result, often fighting frustrating […]

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ICO Analysis: Tenzorum

In 2017, over $325 million were either stolen through phishing scams or frozen due to transacting to the wrong addresses. This is unacceptable and must be fixed. In fact, there are already a couple projects trying to find the solution to phishing scams, lost keys and miss-sent transactions. Tenzorum looks like the strongest solution so […]

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ICO Analysis: EtherInc

EtherInc, or eInc, is basically a blockchain startup in a box, and it’s looking to do for startups what the bitcoin network did for payments. More specifically, it’s a smart-contract-fueled blockchain platform for decentralized organizations and apps. It’s designed to streamline the process of joining the blockchain for entrepreneurs and developing decentralized apps for developers. eInc is […]

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ICO Analysis: Fantom

Fantom is the world’s first smart contract platform based on the Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) that solves the current problems of slow transaction times and scalability issues. There are a few other companies such as Nano and IOTA that are based on DAGs, however, they lack the smart contract dAPP infrastructure. To maintain consensus, Fantom […]

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What is the Outlook for European Legislation on ICOs in 2018?

ICOs, or Initial Coin Offerings, have been fairly controversial since their inception, not least because of the major volatility of cryptocurrencies (like bitcoin) in general. They are essentially a method employed by startup ventures to get past the strongly regulated capital raising processes used by the likes of angel investors and lenders by using cryptocurrencies as the source of funding.

This has raised questions over their long term viability, and whether they will be targeted by new legislation which aims to limit or regulate them (given their moral/ethical questionability). Here are some considerations on whether Europe will create legislation to limit them in 2018.

How do ICOs Work?

ICOs work very similar to the likes of crowdfunding platforms and IPOs (Initial Public Offerings). Instead of dealing with investors, however, ICOs usually involve supporters of the startup buying its distributed cryptocurrency units for real money in order to provide it with the funds it needs to operate.  

If the required funds are received by the startup, then it is ready to begin operating, but if it does not receive the required funds then all money/coins are returned to the ‘investors’. One of the key differences with ICOs is that shares of the company are not actually issued in return for funds, but rather cryptocurrency ‘tokens’ are given instead.

Cryptocurrencies

The spotlight was on cryptocurrencies in 2017 when bitcoin and other notable cryptocurrencies (ethereum, ripple) saw an unprecedented rise in value. Unlike regular stock trading markets, the cryptocurrency market is completely unregulated, and as such is extremely volatile.

Since ICOs use such a volatile asset to finance operations, it is perhaps unsurprising that they are fairly controversial and potentially facing regulation from a number of different governments.

Regulation

It is worth noting that ICOs have been banned in some countries such as China and South Korea, and others have already begun regulating them. This suggests that they have the potential to upset current, established financial systems which have been used for years. Whilst a ban may seem like an extreme measure, ICOs appear dangerous to governments who rely on the financial systems which keep their economies afloat.

One of the main problems with the current lack of regulation is that it opens up opportunities for fraudsters to scam investors through ICOs, and there have been examples of this happening already.

Will Europe Introduce Legislation?

The recent introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) shows that the EU is now taking the digital/online world very seriously, and that the days of unregulated technology (cryptocurrencies) bypassing current systems may be coming to an end.

Given the current suspicion surrounding ICOs, as well as the fact that other major economies have banned or regulated ICOs, it seems as though regulation could be high on the agenda for European countries as well. If it were introduced, it could certainly have a damaging effect on ICOs as well as the value of prominent cryptocurrencies.

That being said, there may also be advantages to ICOs which countries may wish to explore (they make issuing bonds/shares for smaller companies much easier). As such, it seems as though it is less a question of if they will be regulated and more a question of how much regulation will be introduced.

Ultimately, ICOs have had a turbulent ride, having partially fuelled the massive leaps in cryptocurrency values and suffered setbacks with bans and regulation across the world. As such, it seems very likely that at least some form of European legislation will be introduced this year, although its size and scope remains to be seen.

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ICO Analysis: Varyon

Our current system of governance is far from ideal. Governments all around the world all control their own piece of land, and most people in the world end up living under the same government their entire life, regardless of how good or bad that particular government may be. The idea of the government as a […]

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ICO Analysis: Parsec Frontiers

Massive Multiplayer Online Worlds continue to gain in popularity. And now that in-game transactions can be put on the blockchain, the industry will  continue to grow and innovate. The massive team at ArtPlant is building what they hope is the next big thing, Parsec Frontiers. Parsec Frontiers is an MMO world, with a complex virtual […]

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ICO Analysis: Moonlight

Moonlight is a decentralized platform for managing human resources and project management on NEO. Moonlight will use a special algorithm to guarantee the necessary set of skills and experience for potential new hires or project team. Skills and experience in solving set tasks, the very fact of solving problems will be fixed in the ledger […]

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ICO Analysis: BolttCoin

Physical activity plays a very important role in our health and fitness. Most people know this but do little about it because of our busy lifestyles or lack of motivation. BolttCoin is aiming to change this by building a platform to reward you for taking steps to better health and fitness. Boltt is already an […]

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ICO Analysis: Arweave

Arweave is a new blockchain based protocol for storing data on a ledger, based on a new proof of the access consensus mechanism, which creates a low-cost solution for permanent data storing. The project’s BlockWeave is a blockchain protocol that differs from the traditional blockchains with two basic concepts: List of hash blocks. This allows you […]

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ICO Analysis: Loyakk

Due to their inability to securely and efficiently share data with their business partners, enterprises are losing billions of dollars. Data leakage, contract disputes, and limited visibility across business networks is forcing future enterprises to look to blockchain for solutions. Loyakk, a blockchain-enabled platform for decentralized business networks, transforms how companies collaborate and share data […]

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ICO Analysis: Mandala

With the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies comes a growing demand for exchanges where the various cryptocurrencies can be traded. And although cryptocurrency exchanges have seen huge growth during the past couple of years, it’s still not showing any signs of slowing down. We now have a large selection of both traditional centralized and newer decentralized […]

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ICO Analysis: Verasity (VRA)

Verasity is a video-sharing platform that caters to content creators and rewards viewers with VERA tokens just for watching content, sharing videos, watching ads and for referrals. Over the past few years, brands have shifted their advertising model to allow influencers to share products with their audience. This gives products a much more personal touch […]

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Greenwich University Fined £120,000 by ICO for “Serious” Security Breach

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined the University of Greenwich £120,000 for a “serious” security breach of personal data. On 21 May, the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner announced the fine. It’s the first time the ICO has levied such a penalty against a university under the Data Protection Act 1998. According to the ICO’s report […]… Read More

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ICO Analysis: Layer Protocol (LRX)

With the sharing economy industry poised to soon surpass $40 billion in revenues, the profit potential is massive. Companies such as Airbnb, Uber, and Zipcar depend on user ratings and reviews to give potential customers insight into assets or services before they commit to using them. The issue with the current reputation management system is […]

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ICO Analysis: DeStream

The internet has allowed for many new avenues of entertainment to be introduced. Online streaming has become a culture of it’s on in the last few years. Millions of people watch their favorite content creators on live streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube. Famous content creators are also jumping abroad the trend, this way directing […]

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ICO Analysis: Smart Valor

The Consensus Conference just came to an end. And although it didn’t quite produce the instant moon shots expected around the market, it did produce a smorgasbord of tasty new projects. Perhaps the most succulent one is a decentralized, community-based marketplace for tokenized alternative investments called Smart Valor. The VALOR Platform is blockchain agnostic and […]

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ICO Analysis: Kleros

Thousands of decentralized applications in tomorrows economy will rely on smart contracts to settle disputes by arbitration. The problem right now is smart contracts are incapable of making subjective judgments or factoring information from outside of the blockchain. Existing dispute resolution technologies are slow, expensive and unreliable. For DApps to gain mass adoption, they need […]

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ICO Analysis: Productivist

The ‘Productivist blockchain project’ hopes to define and implement a “new standard of smart production” (whitepaper) that focuses on key areas for improvement such as service quality, fairness of pricing, and an overall increase in the efficiency of production. The Current State of Smart Manufacturing Supply chain and manufacturing sectors have adapted numerous times as […]

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Cyber Security Roundup for February 2018

February saw over 5,000 websites infected by cryptocurrency mining malware after a popular accessibility plugin called ‘BrowseAloud’ was compromised by hackers. This led to several UK Government and Councils websites going offline, including the Information Commissioner's Office, the Student Loans Company, and Manchester City, Camden and Croydon Council website. Symantec Researchers also announced that 'Crytojacking' attacks had increased 1,200% in the UK. Cryptojacking once involved the installation of cryptocurrency mining malware on users computers, but now it is more frequently used in-browser, by hacking a website and execute a malicious mining JavaScript as the user visits the compromised website, as with the case with the 'BrowseAloud' incident.

More than 25% of UK Councils are said to have suffered a breach in the last five years according to the privacy group Big Brother Watch, who said UK Councils are unprepared for Cyber Attacks.

There was a  fascinating report released about Artificial Intelligence (AI) Threat, written by 26 leading AI experts, the report forecasts the various malicious usages for AI, including with cybercrime, and manipulation of social media and national news media agendas.

GDPR preparation or panic, depending on your position, is gaining momentum with less than 100 days before the privacy regulation comes into force in late May. Here are some of the latest GDPR articles of note.

Digital Guardian released an interactive article where you can attempt to guess the value of various types of stolen data to cybercriminals -.Digital Guardian: Do you know your data's worth?

Bestvpns released a comprehensive infographic covering the 77 Facts About Cyber Crime we should all know about in 2018.

February was yet another frantic month for security updates, which saw Microsoft release over 50 patches, and there were new critical security updates by Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Dell, and Drupal.

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Carphone Warehouse fined £400K for serious 2015 data breach

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is back to doing what it does best today, slapping Carphone Warehouse with a £400,000 fine for a 2015 data breach that exposed the personal information of over 3 million customers and 1,000 staff. It's one of the heftiest invoices the ICO has ever written up, though TalkTalk was fined just as much for failing to protect user data from a cyberattack that same year. Carphone Warehouse suffered a comparably serious breach that affected several of the company's brands. Not only were names, addresses, dates of birth and other personal details exposed, but the "historical" card details of 18,000 customers. According to the ICO, though, "there has been no evidence that the data has resulted in identify theft or fraud."

Source: Information Commissioner's Office

Cyber Security Roundup for August 2017

TalkTalk yet again made all the wrong cyber security headlines in the UK this month, after it was handed a £100,000 fine by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for not adequately protecting customer records from misuse by its staff. The ICO investigated the Internet Service Provider after receiving complaints from customers, who said they received cold calls from scammers who knew their TalkTalk account information.

Second-hand goods firm CeX disclosed a compromise of up to 2 million online customer accounts due to a hack, however, CeX has yet to disclose any details about the cyber attack. My blog post and advice about this is here http://blog.itsecurityexpert.co.uk/2017/08/up-to-2-million-cex-customer-account.html

Hackers had a field day taking over social media accounts, from Real Madrid and FC Barcelona to Game of Thrones, much embarrassment could have been avoided if they had adopted multi-factor authentication on the accounts, aside from the spate of Instagram hacks which were caused by the exploitation of a software vulnerability, namely within Instagram's API.

In what looks like a follow on from the UK's Parliament's email brute force email account attack in June, the Scottish Parliament was hit by a very similar cyber attack, it was reported, as per the Westminister attack, many SMPs were found to be using weak passwords. Let's hope the Welsh Assembly have taken note and have learned the password security lessons.

A massive 'spambot' holding 711 million email addresses was found to be spreading malware by a security researcher. It was said to have been put together using stolen data from previous LinkedIn and Badoo data breaches. Using legitimate email addresses helps in the avoidance of anti-phishing and spam filters.

On the ransomware front, LG reported WannaCry caused a two-day shutdown of its business in South Korea. TNT customers were said to be furious after NotPeyta badly affected its ability to deliver hundreds of thousands of items, particularly within in the Ukraine. And Digital Shadows reported a trend in cyber criminals dropping Exploit kits for Ransomware, as there is simply a lot more money to be made out of ransomware attacks.

On the critical security patching, Microsoft released 25, Adobe released 43, and Drupal patched a critical bug. And there was an interesting article posted by Microsoft on Cyber Resilience worth reading.

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