Connect with us

Technology

NFTs are helping artists solve a vital problem: who owns digital artwork? | Digital art

Voice Of EU

Published

on

The artist Kevin Abosch has sold a picture of a potato for $1.5m, made a neon sculpture inspired by cryptocurrency, and even sold his own blood on the blockchain.

So in many ways, entering the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) was the next logical step for the 51-year-old Irish artist, whose work explores themes of digital currency and value.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are electronic identifiers that verify the existence and the ownership of a digital collectible. The technology has been around since at least 2017, and come as an offshoot of the boom in cryptocurrencies, which also run on the blockchain.

But the NFT craze hit frenzied new highs in March when Christie’s, the prestigious art auction house, auctioned off a digital collage by an artist who goes by the name of Beeple for nearly $70m, immediately making him the third-most expensive living artist in history.

Beeple’s digital art collage Everydays: The First 5,000 Days sold at Christie’s for a record $69.3m.
Beeple’s digital art collage Everydays: The First 5,000 Days sold at Christie’s for a record $69.3m. Photograph: CHRISTIE’S AUCTION HOUSE/AFP/Getty Images

The seemingly meteoric rise of NFTs has many wondering why any collector would want to buy one, but for artists like Abosch, NFTs are helping to solve problems that have long been central to digital art: how do you claim ownership of something that can be easily and endlessly duplicated? And what does ownership of art mean in the first place?

In 2020, Abosch started working on a series of images that tackled themes of cryptography and alphanumeric codes. After several of his in-person shows were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Abosch decided now was the perfect opportunity to sell his work as NFTs. He plotted to auction them on OpenSea, the largest marketplace for the tokens, which sees 1.5 million weekly visitors and facilitated $95m in sales in February 2021 alone.

Months later, he made a profit of $2m from the series, all art that cannot be physically transported to a gallery or hung on a wall. It made him the most successful NFT artist on the OpenSea platform. When he spoke to the Guardian on the eve of the sale in March, he said the idea that a piece of art must be a physical purchase that can be displayed somewhere is quickly becoming outdated.

“Some people struggle with this idea because they want to know, what is it you actually own?” he said. “But people of a younger generation don’t struggle with it. It’s a very old-world idea, wanting to hold something in your hand, as if as if the intangible or the immaterial doesn’t have value.”

An NFT auction works much like an online auction on platforms like eBay. Each work is displayed online as a jpeg file that contains metadata – which literally means “data about data” – about the work’s title, number, and who owns it.

Abosch’s 1111 series launched at 11.11am EST on OpenSea, , where he put up 111 works for a set amount of time. After the start of the auction, interested potential buyers go to the page for Abosch’s sale to bid on each work of art individually – in this case using the cryptocurrency Ethereum.

While the NFTs were sold on Opensea, the actual string of characters that attaches the owner to their new NFT is stored on Arweave, a software that fashions itself as a kind of permanent internet by storing files in perpetuity across a distributed network of computers so that they cannot be deleted or destroyed in the future.

People view NFT works of art at the grand opening of Superchief Gallery NFT, a physical gallery dedicated exclusively to NFT artwork in New York City.
People view NFT works of art at the grand opening of Superchief Gallery NFT, a physical gallery dedicated exclusively to NFT artwork in New York City. Photograph: John Angelillo/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

In other words: using Ethereum, a buyer will pay for a jpeg on the NFT auction platform OpenSea and in exchange receive an address on Arweave confirming the purchase and ownership of the image.

Ultimately, 106 of the 111 works were purchased by 53 unique collectors, with the most expensive selling for $21,242.

Abosch said many artists like himself are drawn to the NFT technology for its democratizing nature: anyone can log on and purchase the goods, and the work comes with a publicly visible ledger of its entire history – when it was created, who has owned it, who has purchased it, and for how much.

Abosch described this as a departure from art purchases of the past, in which investors tuck valuable art away in storage to save it for a time when it will be worth more.

Cryptocurrency popularity and the rise of art market speculation have been gaining interest for quite some time – but the pandemic further primed the industry for the success of a technology like NFTs, said Andrei Pesic, an art history professor at Stanford.

“In the years of 2020 and 2021, as we have so weirdly and radically had to move much of our lives online, it has opened up or accelerated the process of valuing digital goods in a similar way that we value physical goods,” he said.

Abosch, who has been using the blockchain to create art since 2013, said he believes the craze surrounding NFTs has been ignited by two factors: that the technology is legitimately interesting and useful, and that any new shiny item that is making people get rich quick can easily draw attention.

“We are in a major transitional period – it’s like we’re in the middle of a serious earthquake, except at the end of the earthquake instead of everything being destroyed, we’re going to see new structures that are actually really interesting,” he said. “But there’ll be some rubble as well.”

Source link

Technology

Apple’s new lockdown mode to protect from spyware such as Pegasus

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Coming to devices this autumn, the new lockdown mode aims to make Apple devices ultra-secure at the expense of functionality.

Apple has developed a new ‘lockdown mode’ for its devices to give extra security to users who are more susceptible to targeted spyware cyberattacks.

Individuals such as journalists, lawyers, government officials and human rights activists have been reportedly targeted by authoritarian governments and criminals using spyware such Pegasus by Israel’s NSO Group or, more recently, Italian spyware Hermit.

The new lockdown mode will be made available on the iPhone, iPad and Mac devices later this year, when Apple – known to make some of the most secure devices and software in the market – is expected to release a suite of software updates.

Apple describes lockdown mode as “an extreme, optional protection for the very small number of users who face grave, targeted threats to their digital security”. Turning it on secures the device’s defences, but comes at the cost of functionality.

Once turned on, lockdown mode blocks most message attachment types other than images and disables features such as link previews. Web browsing technologies such as just-in-time JavaScript compilation are disabled except for sites trusted by the user.

Incoming invitations and service requests, including FaceTime calls, are also blocked if the user has not previously interacted with the person initiating the call or request. Wired connections with a computer or accessory are also blocked when the iPhone is locked.

Lockdown mode is not compatible with the kinds of device management software often used by larger organisations.

“Lockdown mode is a groundbreaking capability that reflects our unwavering commitment to protecting users from even the rarest, most sophisticated attacks,” said Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of security engineering and architecture.

Krstić noted that the “vast majority of users” will never be victims of highly targeted cyberattacks. But for the ones who may be at risk, Apple will work “tirelessly” to protect them.

“That includes continuing to design defences specifically for these users, as well as supporting researchers and organisations around the world doing critically important work in exposing mercenary companies that create these digital attacks.”

Last November, Apple sued the NSO Group behind Pegasus spyware in a bid to “hold it accountable for the surveillance and targeting of Apple users”, two months after it had to issue an urgent security patch for a Pegasus backdoor on all devices.

NSO Group develops surveillance technology that can be used to track targeted iOS and Android users. It claims its products are only used by government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to prevent and investigate serious crime and terror incidents.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Source link

Continue Reading

Technology

Bridie Connell: the 10 funniest things I have ever seen (on the internet) | Comedy

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Ah, the internet. My reliable friend. I turn to it when I need to smile (cute pet videos), when I need to cry (war veterans being reunited with their kids), and when I need to destroy what’s left of my self-esteem (Instagram). There are plenty of arguments about why life would be better without it, and honestly? It probably would be. But it also wouldn’t be as funny. Here’s a bunch of things from the world wide web that never fail to make me laugh.

There’s nothing I enjoy more than people trying to make the world a better place. Particularly when they make the world better in a way they’d never intended. I can just imagine the conversations that took place in the drafting process for this campaign:

“We need a catchy and educational campaign to tackle the horrors of addiction.”

“Yes, one that shows we’re in this together, as a community.”

“One that doesn’t stereotype addicts.”

“I’ve got it!”

The result is what I believe they call a “swing and a miss.” A+ for effort, though.

If there was an award for best award acceptance speech, this would win. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is brilliantly funny (while accepting an award for being brilliantly funny) and she remains my hero.

Allow TikTok content?

This article includes content provided by TikTok. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. To view this content, click ‘Allow and continue’.

Here’s one for my fellow theatre kids. This pitch perfect sketch is from comedian and writer Jacob Kaplan. Does it make me laugh? Yes. Does it make me tense every single muscle in my body and hold my breath while I try not to think about the time that 14-year-old Bridie wrote a play about the dangers of DRINK-DRIVING and also DRUGS, which inexplicably culminated in a peppy dance routine? … No comment.

Amber Ruffin is one of the most versatile and talented comedians around. I love a lot of what she does, but this song is a special favourite. Hilarious, a little creepy and downright catchy: a winning combo!

This sketch from the late 1990s sketch group Big Train still delights me. Short, sharp, silly. Please and thank you!

Allow TikTok content?

This article includes content provided by TikTok. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. To view this content, click ‘Allow and continue’.

Adrian Bliss, Certified Internet Star™, is a go-to for inventive sketches (and a seemingly endless supply of costumes). Many of his skits feature historical characters, like this one about a Greek soldier inside the Trojan horse. That layer of awkwardness that the Brits do well drives this skit, and now that I’ve seen it I can only hear The Aeneid being read in Bliss’s voice: “I sing of arms and a man, innit.”

Now this, THIS is some relatable content. Don’t pretend you’ve never tied one on and woken up on a golf course/boat/gold lame suit, because I won’t believe you. Perfectly encapsulating the delight of a great night-turned great story, I give you this hungover Scotsman who woke up in the wrong house. Of course, it’s made all the better by the Glaswegian accent.

*Assumes elderly wizard voice* I have been studying and performing improv since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, so the Whose Line crew are some of my longtime heroes. This game is one of my faves, not just because it’s so funny and clever, but because the “mistake” that happens around the 2:20 mark encapsulates the joy and collaboration that good improv is all about. Oh dear, this got more earnest than I intended. Just watch it!

A masterclass in physical comedy, from one of the greats.

Last but not least, here’s a video to save for a day where you need a bit of a pick-me-up. This is my favourite of all “laughing baby” videos, a classic in a crowded genre. And sure, if we’re measuring “funny” by incisive satirical commentary or well crafted punchlines, then this is a fail – but no other video fires up my mirror neurons and makes me laugh as much as this one.

Seriously, if you watch this and don’t feel at least a little bit better, then call a cardiologist because you have NO HEART.



Source link

Continue Reading

Technology

North Korean ransomware dubbed Maui active since May 2021 • The Register

Voice Of EU

Published

on

For the past year, state-sponsored hackers operating on behalf of North Korea have been using ransomware called Maui to attack healthcare organizations, US cybersecurity authorities said on Wednesday.

Uncle Sam’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the FBI, and the Treasury Department issued a joint advisory outlining a Pyongyang-orchestrated ransomware campaign that has been underway at least since May, 2021.

The initial access vector – the way these threat actors break into organizations – is not known. Even so, the FBI says it has worked with multiple organizations in the healthcare and public health (HPH) sector infected by Maui ransomware.

“North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors used Maui ransomware in these incidents to encrypt servers responsible for healthcare services – including electronic health records services, diagnostics services, imaging services, and intranet services,” the joint security advisory [PDF] reads. “In some cases, these incidents disrupted the services provided by the targeted HPH Sector organizations for prolonged periods.”

The Feds assume the reason HPH sector organizations have been targeted is that they will pay ransoms rather than risk being locked out of systems, being denied data, or having critical services interrupted.

Maui, according to Silas Cutler, principal reverse engineer at security outfit Stairwell, is one of the lesser known families of ransomware. He says it stands out for its lack of service-oriented tooling, such as an embedded ransom note with recovery instructions. That leads him to believe Maui is operated manually by individuals who specify which files should be encrypted and exfiltrated.

The advisory, based on Stairwell’s research [PDF], indicates that the Maui ransomware is an encryption binary that a remote operator manually executes through command line interaction. The ransomware deploys AES, RSA, and XOR encryption to lock up target files. Thereafter, the victim can expect a ransom payment demand.

According to SonicWall, there were 304.7 million ransomware attacks in 2021, an increase of 151 percent. In healthcare, the percentage increase was 594 percent.

CrowdStrike, another security firm, in its 2022 Global Threat Report said North Korea has shifted its focus to cryptocurrency entities “in an effort to maintain illicit revenue generation during economic disruptions caused by the pandemic.” For example, consider the recent theft of $100 million of cryptocurrency assets from Harmony by the North Korea-based cybercrime group Lazarus. But organizations that typically transact with fiat currencies aren’t off the hook.

Sophos, yet another security firm, said in its State of Ransomware Report 2022 that the average ransom payment last year was $812,360, a 4.8X increase from the 2020 when the average payment was $170,000. The company also said more victims are paying ransoms: 11 percent in 2021 compared to 4 percent in 2020.

The advisory discourages the payment of ransoms. Nonetheless, the FBI is asking any affected organization to share information related to ransomware attacks, such as communication with foreign IP addresses, Bitcoin wallet details, and file samples. The advisory goes on to suggest ways to mitigate ransomware attacks and minimize damage.

Last month, the US Justice Department outlined its Strategic Plan for the next four years and cited enhancing cybersecurity and fighting cybercrime among its objectives. One of its key metrics for success will be the “percent of reported ransomware incidents from which cases are opened, added to existing cases, or resolved or investigative actions are conducted within 72 hours.” ®

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!