CyberSecurity Pulse 2017-08-07

CyberSecurity Pulse 2017-08-07

“Just relax. Everyone around you is working too hard.”

Analyst Insight

How a Bitcoin Fork Has Created a New Cryptocurrency

Last August 1st the first programmed major Bitcoin hard fork has taken place. As a consequence, the original Bitcoin blockchain enrooted in Satoshi Nakamoto's project has been divided into two sister blockchains that are now keeping two separate transaction books that coexist with each other. The new cryptocurrency has been named Bitcoin Cash.

Many experts where expecting a major impact in the Bitcoin price. However, the market has welcomed the new cryptocurrency which has been traded at prices that ranged between 400 and 650 USD. But, where do these new bitcoins come from? In fact, any user who was owning conventional Bitcoins as rooted in the blockchain will now also have bitcoins in the new Bitcoin Cash blockchain since it is based on the original one. The changes will only be seen after the August 1st fork in which the rules to create and accept new transactions are being separated from the globally accepted original requirements. Thus, many users will have two ways of spending their bitcoins: either in the original blockchain or in the new one.

The reasons behind this new horizon are showing how the different ways of understanding the future of the cryptocurrencies can collide bringing to light a problem that shows the different interests that users, miners and developers may have. In this sense, the fees that Bitcoin users were facing lately where growing significantly lately because of the limited block space that was reserved for newer transactions. The main change that Bitcoin Cash has introduces is increasing the number of transactions that may be added to a block by increasing the maximum size of a block from 1 MB to 8 MB. This fact will also have an important lateral effect: it will increase significantly the size of the whole blockchain from now. Whether this solution is the best or not is something that has been widely discussed and odds are against an arrangement being made. What is definitely true is that a new cryptocurrency has been born but, is it here to stay?

Top Stories

UK's Data Protection Bill Ready Next Month

The UK's new legislation on data protection is to get its first airing in Parliament next month, the government has said. The Data Protection Bill, announced in the Queen's Speech at the end of June, will replace existing data protection legislation on both corporate data and data processing by law enforcement agencies. Although the UK is leaving the EU, it will have to adhere to the GDPR for about a year as a member state and, if it wants to continue exchanging data with EU countries, will have to demonstrate compliance even after Brexit.

» More information at The Register

New IoT Bill Proposes Security Standards for Smart Devices

The bill would require suppliers that provide wearables, sensors and other web-connected smart devices to the United States government to adhere to some new industry-wide security practices. The security standards prohibit the suppliers from including hard- coded (unchangeable) usernames and passwords in their devices, which is a primary vector for hackers and malware to break into the devices and hijack them. The new bill called the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017 was introduced on Tuesday by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) a Democrat in Virginia and Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), a Republican from Colorado.

» More information at The Hacker News

Rest of the Week´s News

Computer Incidents with Major Impact in British Airways

The past week, a computer outgage affected the check-in desks at both of the main London airports, Heathrow and Gatwick when a system crash caused the chaos. The impact was also noticeable in social networks where several passengers started to complain about the delays in the registrations desks. This is the third cyberincident with operative disruption consequences experienced by the company in four months.

» More information at The Register

Alleged Information from Mandiant Fireye Leaked by Hackers

Mandiant's infrastructure would have been leaked by anonymous hackers in a Pastebin data dump which has been denied by Mandiant itself. The operation, named Op #LeakTheAnalyst might be the result of an action against Mandiant social media staff, however several security analysts are reluctant to give credit to any compromise of Mandiant's infrastucture.

» More information at The Register

Alexa, Are You Listening?

Researchers from MWR InfoSecurity have demonstrated a hack in which an attacker can exploit a vulnerability in some models of Amazon Echo to turn them into covert listening devices that are capable of recording what is happening around the device. According to the researchers, the hack requires physical access to the product although they assess that developers "should not take it for granted that their customers won't expose their devices to uncontrolled environments such as hotel rooms".

» More information at The Hacker News

Further Reading

Young People in Cybersecurity

» More information at National Crime Agency

Invisible Man Malware Runs Keylogger on Android Banking Apps

» More information at The Register

Microsoft Expands Bug Bounty Program to Cover Any Windows Flaw

» More information at Arstechnica