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Tag: bitcoin

Facebook and Twitter ‘harm young people’s mental health’

Facebook and Twitter 'harm young people's mental health'

Poll of 14- to 24-year-olds shows Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter increased feelings of inadequacy and anxiety

  

Young people scored Instagram the worst social medium for sleep,

body image and fear of missing out. Four of the five most popular forms of social media harm young people’s mental health, with Instagram the most damaging, according to research by two health organisations.Instagram has the most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing, a survey of almost 1,500 14- to 24-year-olds found, and the health groups accused it of deepening young people’s feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

The survey, published on Friday, concluded that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are also harmful. Among the five only YouTube was judged to have a positive impact. The four platforms have a negative effect because they can exacerbate children’s and young people’s body image worries, and worst bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the participants said.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Signs that you’re addicted to Social Media

Signs that you're addicted to Social Media

         

A new survey reveals that Instagram

is the worst social media site in terms of its impact on the mental health of young people. A survey of 1,479 youngsters aged 14 to 24, found Instagram was positive in terms of self-expression and self-identity but the #StatusofMind survey found that the photo-sharing app can negatively impact people's body image, sleep and fear of missing out.

Celebrity ‘selfies’: (clockwise from top left) Miley Cyrus, Conan O'Brien and Ricky Gervais, Helen Flanagan and Tom Hanks. In addition, many youngsters today say they feel “panic-stricken and physically sick” if they do not post dozens of ‘selfies’ a day on Facebook. In fact, Facebook addiction shows up in brain scans of those who can’t stay off the site, affecting the grey matter in a similar way that cocaine does.

Here are 12 signs that you too could be addicted to social media.

  1. You can’t get beyond the main course in a restaurant before you get out your phone and Instagram the duck confit. In fact, you are itching to snap away by the time the first course arrives. Ideally, you would chronicle the bread basket within three minutes of arriving. Because, frankly, a romantic meal for two isn’t a romantic meal for two unless you have shared it with all your followers. Course by course.
  2. The very first thing you do when you wake up is in reach for your phone (always by the side of your bed, in fact — usually under your pillow) and check how many times your witty comment from the night before has been retweeted or liked. You do this before you have left the bed, let alone rolled over and kissed your loved one.
  3. Your children catch you trying to post Facebook updates while reading their bedtime stories. You know it’s seriously bad when you agree that you will pay them 20p every time they bust you. It has got out of control when they can buy an XBox with the proceeds.
  4. You greet friends at a party by their Twitter handle. “Hey, @bobcat100, how are you?” It’s really bad when, after the second Aperol Spritz, you forget their real name. Do they even have a real name? Who knows?
  5. You can not visit the lavatory without using the 23 available seconds to investigate how many people have liked your photo. Snapchatting a selfie while sitting on the loo is a proof you have stopped understanding basic decent behaviour. Rather sadly, social media has killed off the immensely valuable and intrinsically British “loo book” market. We now swipe, tap, scroll, wipe.
  6. Brian from accounts, on a Monday morning, asks how was your weekend. And your first reaction is “What? did you not see all the amazeball photos I posted on Instagram? How can you not know that I had a *totes* great time?” You say: “Er, it was nice. Thanks.” And then think, I must unfollow Brian, the ungrateful idiot.
  7. You “like” your own updates on Facebook. You “favourite” your own Tweets. You “like” your own Iinstagram pics. You “pin” selfies on Pinterest. Stop it. Now.
  8. You “check in” at tube stations on the way to work. You “check in” when you go out to get your lunchtime Pret salad, you “check in” at the pub after work. You want to “check in” when you get home, but you suddenly realise that though you have remembered your phone (of course), you have forgotten your keys.
  9. The first thing you do on hearing that someone famous has died is to Wiki their career and urgently, in a panicky rush, find the most obscure fact you can find about them so that you can post an update. “So sad about David Frost. Of course, his greatest achievement was being offered a contract at Nottingham Forest FC. #RIP”
  10. Someone tells you a joke, and instead of laughing out loud, you use the phrase “lol”. As in, you actually open your mouth and instead of uttering the purest, most instinctive proof of humanity, you say “lol.” And then you laugh at your own cleverness.
  11. Watching the Great British Bake Off/Game of Thrones/X-Factor your anxiety levels rise to almost unbearable levels as you desperately try to be the first person on your timeline to tweet “Soggy Bottom/Jon Snow's Eyes/Has Simon had too much work done?”
  12. You use the phrase “hashtag” in normal conversations. #fail. Or rather “Hashtag fail”.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Your Addiction to Social Media Is No Accident

Your Addiction to Social Media Is
No Accident
 
  

They're using manipulative tricks from casinos, among other things.

On February 9, 2009, Facebook introduced the like button. Initially, the button was an innocent thing. It had nothing to do with hijacking the social reward systems of a user's brain. "The main intention I had was to make positivity the path of least resistance," explains Justin Rosenstein, one of the four Facebook designers behind the button. "And I think it succeeded in its goals, but it also created large unintended negative side effects. In a way, it was too successful."

Today, most of us reach for Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with one vague thought in mind: Maybe someone liked my stuff. And it's this craving for validation, experienced by billions around the globe, that's currently pushing platform engagement in ways that in 2009 were unimaginable. But more than that, it's driving profits to levels that were previously impossible. "The attention economy" is a relatively new term. It describes the supply and demand of a person's attention, which is the commodity traded on the internet. The business model is simple: The more attention a platform can pull, the more effective its advertising space becomes, allowing it to charge advertisers more.

But the problem is that attention isn't some non-sentient resource like wheat or oil. Attentiveness is a human state, and our reserves of attention are finite. They're hemmed in by sleep, work, children, and relationships with friends who find it rude when we're on our phones. So ideally we'd want to invest our limited supply of attention on things that make us happy. But as Facebook observed, social feedback induces a burst of happiness so brief it's addictive, causing us to return more and scroll further.

"The like button, simple as it was, tapped into a bottomless font of social feedback," explains Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. "And I don't think social media companies are trying to make 'addictive' platforms, per se. But since they're all competing for our (limited) time and attention, they've always been focused on making the most engaging experience possible."

Following the introduction of Facebook's like button in 2009, YouTube moved to a binary like/dislike format in 2010. Instagram launched that same year and came ready-made with a like function shaped as a heart. Twitter adopted this same heart-shaped system in 2015, while, in the years since, Silicon Valley has come up with a multitude of new ways to gamify our need for social validation.

Former Google designer and ethicist Tristan Harris lays out the most common ways we're being manipulated on his blog. And as he explains, all of them use something called intermittent variable rewards. The easiest way to understand this term is by imagining a slot machine. You pull the lever to win a prize, which is an intermittent action linked to a variable reward. Variable meaning you might win, or you might not. In the same way, you refresh your Facebook updates to see if you've won. Or you swipe right on Tinder to see if you've won.

This is the most obvious way social feedback drives platform engagement, but others are harder to spot. You know when you open Instagram or Twitter and it takes a few moments to load updates? That's no accident. Again, the expectation is part of what makes intermittent variable rewards so addictive. This is because, without that three-second delay, Instagram wouldn't feel variable. There's no sense of will I win? because you'd know instantly. So the delay isn't the app loading. It's the cogs spinning on the slot machine.

Another piece of psychology hijacked by social platforms is that of social reciprocity; if someone pats your back, you'll feel pressure to pat his or hers. Facebook exploits this by alerting you when someone has read your message, which encourages the receivers to respond—because they know you know they've read it. And at the same time, it encourages you to check back to read the inevitable response. The same bits of your brain get a rush on Facebook as a set of wavy dots appear as someone writes a message. You might not exit if you think you're getting a message, or at the very least you're more likely to come back. And while Apple also employs this feature, at least it allows you to turn it off.

All this might seem a little underhanded, but it's nothing compared to some of the design features currently showing up on Snapchat. Of these is the one causing the most concern, and uses elongating red lines to display the number days of since two users interacted. According to Adam Alter, this design feature is so effective that he's heard of teens asking friends to babysit their streaks while on vacation. "It's clear here that the goal—keeping the streak alive—is more important than enjoying the platform as a social experience," he says. "This is a clear sign that engagement mechanisms are driving usage more than enjoyment." We asked like button co-creator Justin Rosenstein what he thinks is the most insidious form of social media manipulation, and according to him, it's the humble push notification.

"The vast majority of push notifications are just distractions that pull us out of the moment," he says. "They get us hooked on pulling our phones out and getting lost in a quick hit of information that could wait for later, or doesn't matter at all." And of course, all these little efforts to keep us hooked are having a very real impact. As Facebook's current head of marketing bragged in this speech, the average millennial checks his or her phone 157 times daily. That's a total average of 145 minutes every day that we're trying to feel connected, validated, and liked.

The increasingly time-absorbing nature of the internet is one of the reasons Justin Rosenstein left Facebook to start his own company. Today he's the co-founder of Asana—a web and mobile app that tracks work app that tracks work and allows collaboration without distractions like email. But according to author Adam Alter, change will only come from the bottom up. He claims the social media business model, built around the needs of marketing agencies instead of lives, are already far too entrenched and profitable for self-governing.

"It might diminish a bit," he says. "But as long as companies have an incentive to make their platforms as engaging as possible, the arms race forcing them to 'manipulate' users will continue." He encourages users to try and curb their own addictions or to install phone apps that will do that for them. He also says that by demanding more ethical design practices from companies—in the same way that we demand ethical environmental practices—we'll force change and claw back our free time. Because as Like button co-creator Justin Rosenstein highlights, "These are our lives. Our precious, finite, mortal lives. And if we're not vigilant, computers and mobile devices will guide our attention poorly."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Movers & Shakers: Anna Braun, JT Mega, director of business development

Movers & Shakers:
Anna Braun, JT Mega, director of business development

             

ANNA BRAUN — Director of business development

Anna Braun is helping to build a course for future growth as director of business development at Minneapolis-based food advertising agency JT Mega. Braun said the agency has been interested in adding leadership to build on its strong organic growth, which led to the creation of the new role that she has taken. "The thing that's exciting about JT Mega is there is so much opportunity for continued smart growth," Braun said. "To work with a great foundation and start carving out what some of the next business opportunities look like is really exciting to me."

Braun's responsibilities also include developing new business strategy, leading business acquisition efforts and establishing industry relationships. She previously led brand business initiatives as a marketing manager at Polaris and worked as an account supervisor at Periscope. "I really love the combination of business management and agency creativity and agency strategic work," Braun said. "For me, this role is a perfect mix of that."

JT Mega, founded in 1976, is an independent agency whose clients include Hormel Foods, Land O'Lakes, and the Schwan Food Co.

Q: What's driving the agency's focus on business development?

A: It's been on the forefront of the owners' and the leaders' minds here. They realized that as organic growth opportunities were coming there's a big opportunity for someone to come in and be able to focus specifically on this (new business) effort and help lead that. This industry is changing so rapidly and there's a lot of growth in different areas within the business. You see where the industry is going and now it's: "How do we proactively start carving out space where the industry is growing?"

Q: What are some possible growth areas?

A: The two areas of focus are absolutely expanding our foundation in food service and building on the retail space. We work a lot with clients selling into K-12, into the commercial space. A handful of clients sell directly into retail and direct to consumers. We're looking at where some opportunities in the retail space that would make sense for us.

Q: Why should a company work with JT Mega?

A: We work as an extension of the client's team, bringing a different point of view to the table. We understand the nuances of what it means to be in the [food and beverage] industry. The other thing is our scalability. We work with small, medium and big companies both in the B2B and B2C space. That's something that we really enjoy especially with how quickly this industry is evolving.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about
Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Business Development Associate at Full Harvest

Business Development Associate
at Full Harvest

  
Business Development Associate at Full Harvest

At Full Harvest, we are disrupting the agriculture space by solving farm food waste and bringing technology to a market where there was none. We are the first B2B platform connecting farms with food businesses to sell discounted, yet perfectly good surplus and imperfectly shaped produce that would have otherwise gone to waste. A huge environmental problem as approximately 20 billion pounds of produce goes to waste in the U.S. annually simply because they are not perfectly shaped for strict retailer standards.

As Business Development Associate, you’ll play a critical role in growing the company. You’ll have the opportunity to develop and shape systems and strategies as you design Full Harvest’s sales processes with food & beverage customers. You’ll work with buyers (food manufacturers) to close new accounts. You will attend various conferences and events as well as leverage your networks in the food and ag space to significantly build the business.

Additional Responsibilities:

Serve as an outside sales/ business development person to fill pipeline of new buy side food & beverage customers, working closely with the CEO and Director of Sales

– Identify potential buyer accounts, leveraging your network
– Attend food and agriculture events to network and build relationships with buyers
– Reach out to potential new accounts via phone, email, and in-person meetings to fact find and generate new leads
– Negotiate contracts and close the sales
– Serve as liaison between buyers and manage communication to finalize sales
– Support new buyer operational roll-out
– Research market to determine appropriate pricing for different items  Qualifications:
– Passion for Full Harvest’s mission
– Persistent go-getter with 5+ years of experience in sales, preferably working with large food CPG and/or agricultural companies
– BA, preferably in business
– Strong network with healthy food manufacturers
– Experienced project manager who can juggle a lot of moving parts with strong execution / operational roll-out skills
– Proactive / Takes initiative; ability to work independently
– Strong interpersonal skills and customer-facing experience
– Previous startup experience strongly preferred
– Knowledge and understanding of food manufacturing and/or produce industry

– Some travel will be required

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
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Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

FirstClose names Jorge Ponce director of business development

FirstClose names Jorge Ponce
director of business development

Ponce will oversee driving adoption, Client Communication, and Product Development

  

FirstClose has announced it has hired Jorge Ponce as director of business development.

Ponce has more than 15 years of experience in bank operations, mortgage and risk-based consumer lending. He will be responsible for driving adoption, client communication and product development for FirstClose, end-to-end technology solutions for refinancing and home equity lenders and 2017 HW Tech100 winner.

Ponce previously worked as a home equity product manager for New York-based Bethpage Federal Credit Union, which uses the FirstClose Report. Ponce is well-versed in the FirstClose system and was instrumental in helping to build the first version of the FirstClose Report, a comprehensive refinance and home equity loan solution with capabilities to deliver title, flood, valuation and other important data elements in one report, FirstClose said in a press release.

“With his experience and background in the credit union space, Jorge will deliver exceptional results to our financial institution partners,” said Tedd Smith, co-founder and chief executive officer of FirstClose, an Austin, Texas-based company.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
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Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

3M Strategy & Marketing Development (SMD)

3M Strategy & Marketing
Development (SMD)

Internal consultants in the SMD program are involved in projects dealing with the highest level of business operations across our five business groups, 25+ global divisional and corporate functions. SMD consultants work across 3M’s diverse customers, industries, geographic and technology platforms to create value for their clients. In SMD, you lead projects of critical importance and gain knowledge and understanding of the entire company while finding the path to your individual career.

                     

SMD is a unique two-year, non-rotational leadership development program

that leverages internal marketing and strategy consulting as a vehicle for development. SMD is the integration of two highly successful programs — Strategic Business Development (SBD) and Integrated Marketing Development (IMD) — that have thrived at 3M for over 20 years. The SMD program is designed for talented MBA candidates who have a strong desire to:

  • Lead individual and team projects that contribute directly to 3M’s growth across marketing, strategy and business development
  • Gain in-depth exposure to a broad range of customers, industry, and technologies in a global business arena
  • Drive a variety of functional, mentoring and leadership experiences that will enhance your personal and professional capabilities
  • Access SMD’s rich alumni network which totals over 100 members including Division and Function VPs

SMD’s collaborative environment fosters peer to peer learning. SMD consultants interact with the same team of peers over a two-year period, allowing them to build strong professional and personal camaraderie.

  • What We Do

    SMD consultants typically lead 3-5 projects at once, working closely with internal clients across 3M divisions, corporate functions, and subsidiaries. Project work spans marketing, strategy and business development. Common project types include:

    Marketing:
    Market and product opportunity analysis, commercialization of new products, customer journey mapping, the voice of customer analysis, new product introduction process, pricing analysis, competitive analysis, segmentation, brand strategy, digital strategy, etc.

    Strategy:
    Corporate and divisional strategic planning, market platforms assessment, technology assessment, growth plans, strategy development, etc.

    Business Development:
    Business modeling, new business development processes, mergers & acquisitions strategy and planning, etc.

    The Start of Your Career at 3M

    The SMD team serves as a source of top business and marketing talent to 3M. During their two years on the team, SMD consultants have the opportunity to identify industries and businesses of interest and customize their career paths based on business needs and personal interests. Upon completion of the program, SMD consultants typically accept marketing or business development roles within a 3M division or corporate function.

    Recruiting

    MBA students of all ages are welcome to apply.

    Must be legally authorized to work in a country of employment without sponsorship for employment visa status (e.g. H1B status). 3M is an equal opportunity employer. 3M will not discriminate against any applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or veteran status.

    • We recruit top talent through our seven partner schools and key diversity conferences. Our partner schools are:

      • Harvard Business School
      • Indiana University, Kelley School of Business
      • Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
      • University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
      • University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
      • University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management
      • University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

      We also recruit at these diversity conferences: The Consortium, National Black MBA (NBMBAA) and Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA).

    • To Apply

      Submit an application by the deadline at your MBA career services office or through the highlighted diversity conferences.

      Basic Qualifications

      • Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university
      • Currently enrolled in an MBA program at an accredited university

      Preferred Qualifications

      • Currently enrolled in an MBA program with an emphasis in marketing, finance, strategy, and/or general management
      • Minimum of a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (undergraduate degree)
      • Minimum of 3 years of full time work experience
      • Demonstrated leadership abilities and high ethical standards
      • Demonstrated interpersonal, communication, and team skills
      • Superior quantitative, analytical, problem-solving, project management, and presentation skills
      • Comfort with ambiguity in project work and a changing external environment

      MBA students of all ages are welcome to apply. Must be legally authorized to work in the country of employment without sponsorship for employment visa status (e.g. H1B status). 3M is an equal opportunity employer. 3M will not discriminate against any applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or veteran status.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about
Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Is North Korea Stocking Up on Bitcoin?

Is North Korea Stocking Up on Bitcoin?
 

Three security firms have reported a connection between WannaCry ransomware and malware used by the Lazarus group, a cyber crime group made up of unknown individuals.

Google security researcher Neel Mehta tweeted sample hashes from the WannaCry ransomware and the Contopee backdoor, which had previously been employed by the shadowy Lazarus Group. The group is responsible for the Sony hack, the SWIFT bank attacks, as well as other attacks on financial institutions. Some experts posit they hail from the North Korean government, but hard evidence is lacking.

Still, three security firms — Kaspersky Lab, Symantec, and BAE Systems — claim there could be a connection between North Korea’s Lazarus Group and WannaCry. To be sure, the groups are not exactly concluding that North Korea is behind WannaCry. The connections are pretty light, including but code written in C++ and compiled in Visual Studio 6.0. Comae found connections to North Korea, as well.

“The implementation of this [random buffer generator] function is very unique,” according to Sergcks Ongoing?

Europol’s chief told BBC the ransomware was designed to enable “infection of one computer to quickly spread across the networks…That’s why we’re seeing these numbers increasing all the time.”

She added: “Even if a fresh attack does not materialise on Monday, we should expect it soon afterwards.”

The ransomware, reformatted after MalwareTech’s solution, has been spread by individuals copying the attack. “We are in the second wave,” Matthieu Suiche of Comae Technologies, tells the New York Times earlier in the week. “As expected, the attackers have released new variants of the malware. We can surely expect more.”

Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith on Sunday lambasted governments over the weekend for hoarding information about security flaws in computer systems instead of cooperating with multinational companies. He wrote:

Microsoft, which had to create a patch for Windows XP (they haven’t provided support for the OS since 2014), released a statement addressing how they are trying to undermine the attackers ability to exploit their systems. They also have choice words for the U.S. government.
 

“This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem. This is an emerging pattern in 2017. We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world. Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage.

An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today — nation-state action and organized criminal action.

The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call.”

If North Korea is behind the WannaCry attacks, then its raised less than $100,000 via the ransomware’s bitcoin bounty.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The technology and economic determinants of cryptocurrency exchange rates: The case of Bitcoin

The technology and economic determinants of cryptocurrency exchange rates: The case of Bitcoin

  

We theoretically discuss the technology

and economic determinants of the Bitcoin exchange rate We use the ARDL model with bounds test to address co-integration of a mix of stationary and non-stationary time series We find Bitcoin exchange rate relates more with economic fundamentals and less with technology factors as Bitcoin evolves We find the impact of computational capacities on Bitcoin is decreasing as technology progresses

Abstract

Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, have ignited intense discussions. Despite receiving extensive public attention, theoretical understanding is limited regarding the value of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, as expressed in their exchange rates against traditional currencies. In this paper, we conduct a theory-driven empirical study of the Bitcoin exchange rate (against USD) determination, taking into consideration both technology and economic factors. To address co-integration in a mix of stationary and non-stationary time series, we use the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) model with a bounds test approach in the estimation. Meanwhile, to detect potential structural changes, we estimate our empirical model on two periods separated by the closure of Mt. Gox (one of the largest Bitcoin exchange markets). According to our analysis, in the short term, the Bitcoin exchange rate adjusts to changes in economic fundamentals and market conditions. The long-term Bitcoin exchange rate is more sensitive to economic fundamentals and less sensitive to technological factors after Mt. Gox closed. We also identify a significant impact of mining technology and a decreasing significance of mining difficulty in the Bitcoin exchange price determination.

Xin Li

is an associate professor in the Department of Information Systems at the City University of Hong Kong. He received his Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Department of Automation at Tsinghua University, China. His research interests include business intelligence & knowledge discovery, social network analysis, social media, and applied econometrics. His work has appeared in the MIS Quarterly, INFORMS Journal on Computing, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems, IEEE Intelligent Systems, among others, and in various conference proceedings.

Chong Wang

is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at the City University of Hong Kong. He received his Ph.D. in Information Systems from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He received his Master's degrees from the Department of Finance at Tsinghua University, China, and his Bachelor's degree from the Department of Applied Mathematics at Peking University, China. His research focuses on understanding the social and economic impacts of information technology. His research projects cover topics in the areas of online social networks, crowdsourcing platforms, and financial information technologies. His work has appeared in the Information Systems Research, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, and in various conference proceedings.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

After WannaCrypt, world faces massive cryptocurrency attack

After WannaCrypt, world faces massive cryptocurrency attack

"Adylkuzz attack" for cryptocurrency began on or before May 2, more than a week before "WannaCry" that hit 150 countries, including India

  An alternative to Bitcoin, cryptocurrency is being used for trading in drugs,

stolen credit cards and counterfeit goods. After facing a massive “WannaCrypt” ransomware attack that exploited a vulnerability in a Microsoft software and hit 150 countries, the same Windows vulnerability (MS17-010) has also been exploited to spread another type of malware that is quietly but fast generating digital cash from machines it has infected.

According to a report in The Registrar on Wednesday, tens of thousands of computers globally have been affected by the “Adylkuzz attack” that target machines, let them operate and only slows those down to generate digital cash or “Monero” cryptocurrency in the background. “Monero” — being popularized by North Korea-linked hackers — is an open-source cryptocurrency created in April 2014 that focuses on privacy, decentralisation, and scalability.

It is an alternative to Bitcoin and is being used for trading in drugs, stolen credit cards and counterfeit goods. “Initial statistics suggest that this attack may be larger in scale than WannaCry[pt], because this attack shuts down SMB networking to prevent further infections with other malware (including the WannaCry[pt] worm) via that same vulnerability,” US-based cyber security firm Proofpoint researchers were quoted as saying in the report.

How a cryptocurrency attack works?

The hackers need to mine cryptocurrency using computers/computing devices (IoT included). “Mining of cryptocurrency simply means solving complex cryptography problems designed within the algorithm of a cyber-currency that requires a lot of computing,” Saket Modi, CEO and Co-founder of Delhi-based IT risk assessments provider Lucideus, told IANS. To draw a parallel, there can only be 21 million Bitcoins that can be mined out of which 16 million have already been mined, informed Modi. “Monero”, on the other side, is slightly different than Bitcoin but for simplification’s sake, it can be assumed that it follows a similar architecture and similar mining process.

“Hence, there is a new wave of cyber attacks where the hacker is least interested in the personal information of the victim and instead his only motivation is to gain access to the CPU of the victim’s computer/mobile/IoT device so that they can use it to mine more currencies (and correspondingly make more money),” Modi told IANS. This looks like something more dangerous than “WannaCrypt” as the victim doesn’t come to know that they have been hacked, but, on the other side, “the good part is that the hacker here is not interested in the victim’s personal data,” Modi told IANS.

To achieve this, the hackers find a vulnerability in one of the servers in the targeted organization or they would infect a website which employees of a targeted organization often visit. “They would then infect the IT infrastructure of the target with malware and would identify where a server running SWIFT software is installed. They would download additional malware to interact with SWIFT software and would try to drain the organization’s accounts,” Altaf Halde, Managing Director of Kaspersky Lab (South Asia), told IANS. According to Proofpoint, the “Adylkuzz” attack is still growing.

“Once infected through use of the ‘EternalBlue’ exploit, the cryptocurrency miner ‘Adylkuzz’ is installed and used to generate cybercash for the attackers,” Robert Holmes, Vice President of products at Proofpoint, was quoted as saying. According to experts, the “Adylkuzz” began its attack on or before May 2, more than a week before “WannaCrypt” arrived and hit 150 countries, including India. “Indications are that the crooks behind ‘Adylkuzz’ have generated a lot more money than the ‘WannaCrypt’ ransomware fiends,” The Registrar report noted. According to cyberscoop.com, “Monero” doubled in price over the last month to around $23 while other digital currencies, including bitcoin, saw a mixed month. “Cybercriminals intrigued by the currency’s promises of greater anonymity are using it more often on black markets,” it said.

How to save your organizations from cryptocurrency attacks?

“If your organisation has software tools for conducting money transactions like SWIFT software, invest into additional protection and regular security assessment in addition to standard protection measures implemented in all other parts of the organization’s network,” Halde informed. Protect backup servers as they contain information that can be of use for attackers: passwords, logins, and authentication tokens. “When deploying specialized software for money processing follow recommendations and best security practices from your software vendor and security professionals,” Halde added. In a case of suspicion of intrusion, request for professional assistance with incident response.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
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