Connect with us

Technology

Dogecoin’s record-breaking rise shoots ‘joke’ cryptocurrency to wider attention | Cryptocurrencies

Voice Of EU

Published

on

It is perhaps the ultimate symbol of late capitalism: a digital currency that started as a joke, now worth more than the Ford motor company, BP or Tesco.

Riding a wave of speculative interest despite Covid-19 triggering the worst global recession since the 1930s Great Depression, Dogecoin has been a huge hit with amateur investors. It is a cryptocurrency based on an internet meme – a humorous online phrase or photo, which on this occasion is a dog – and has shot to wider attention with a record-breaking rise in value in recent weeks.

Backed by famous supporters including the Tesla founder, Elon Musk, the rapper Snoop Dogg and the Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, the digital asset similar to bitcoin jumped by more than 40% on Wednesday to reach $0.68 (£0.49) against the dollar, according to CoinMarketCap.

With a surge of more than 14,000% since the start of the year, Dogecoin’s market capitalisation – the combined value of every coin – has now hit more than $84bn, equivalent to the annual economic output of Sri Lanka.

Analysts said the rising price of the digital currency, which is similar to bitcoin, comes amid interest ahead of Musk hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend, given the billionaire’s public support on Twitter for Dogecoin and the potential that him appearing on the popular US TV show will raise its profile further.

“Dogecoin is surging because many cryptocurrency traders do not want to miss out on any buzz that stems from Elon Musk’s hosting of Saturday Night Live.” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at the financial trading platform Oanda.

“Also known as the Dogefather, Musk will undoubtedly have a sketch on cryptocurrencies that will probably go viral for days and further motivate his army of followers to try to send Dogecoin to the moon,” he said.

Musk already has form as a crypto maverick, buying $1.5bn of bitcoin with cash reserves at Tesla. He has previously tweeted support for Dogecoin in what may be best understood as the perpetuation of an online joke.

Having often courted controversy on Twitter for offbeat comments, costing him and his company millions of dollars and landing him in legal trouble, Musk helped raise Dogecoin’s profile in February by posting a picture of Doge on the moon, planting a flag bearing the digital currency’s logo, and captioned with one word: “literally”.

The tweet pushed up the value of the digital currency by more than 20% on the day. The phrase “to the moon” is used online to talk up investments, indicating the direction of travel for a financial asset, and was used prominently by Reddit users on the WallStreetBets forum earlier this year as small investors boosted shares in GameStop in an attempt to undermine hedge funds.

Created in 2013 by two software engineers from IBM and Adobe, the Dogecoin digital currency is based on the Doge meme, which features a Japanese shiba inu dog surrounded by grammatically incorrect phrases in a kind of inner monologue.

Written in deliberately broken English, the meme involves pairing a modifier – such as “so”, “such” or “very” – with a word that ought not to be modified, such as “so wow” or “much currency”.

Dogecoin’s rise comes on the back of the boom in bitcoin that has lifted the value of the original digital currency to more than $50,000, coming as stock markets around the world soar to fresh record highs despite the worst economic collapse for at least a generation.

Similar to internet-fuelled speculation in GameStop, the surge in Dogecoin comes as the US government sends out its third round of emergency Covid-19 payments to eligible American households.

Washington has distributed more than 163m stimulus cheques, worth $384bn, in payments of up to $1,400 per person, plus $1,400 per dependent. Although intended as support for struggling households, economists say this has helped to fuel a rise in stock markets and crypto assets such as bitcoin and Dogecoin, as more affluent recipients put their cheques into financial investments.

It also comes as traditional fiat currencies, such as the dollar, pound and euro, risk being debased by record low interest rates from central banks, and billions of dollars worth of quantitative easing; the buying of bonds to keep borrowing costs low, effectively printing new money.

Expectations are rising that stronger economic growth will take hold as the Covid vaccine enables a faster return to normal, at a time when government and central bank support remains high. Economists warn this would lead to a rise in inflation, which would erode the value of fiat money, making digital currencies a potentially attractive proposition.

“The big story underneath all of it is the money printing presses turning in the states and everywhere else too,” said Erik Britton, managing director of the economic research firm Fathom Consulting.

“Anything denominated in that money tends to rise in value, whether it’s the bitcoin or Dogecoin exchange rate, equities or any other asset – such as housing – if you print shed loads of that currency other things will tend to rise.”

Although started as a joke, some early buyers of the digital currency have become millionaires, while one anonymous trader claims to have amassed a fortune worth more than $1bn. However, analysts warn that it could quickly unravel because the digital currency has no intrinsic value; relying on investment hype, speculation, and fear of missing out.

Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at the trading platform Avatrade, said some of the “insanity” surrounding Dogecoin was likely to ease after hitting record highs.

“Dogecoin is the most speculative coin, and most traders are just not aware of the risk,” he said.

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!