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Daily Byte: Wednesday, November 14, 2018

By

Frederick

Reese

WriterETHNews.com

Customizable mining malware is on the loose, Marshall Islands readies national cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency gets thumbs up from Islamic scholars, and Twitter hackers strike again.

Here is some of what's happening for Wednesday, November 14, 2018:


Google, Target Hit by Bitcoin Scammers

The Twitter accounts for Google's G Suite and big box retailer Target are the latest, erm, targets for crypto giveaway scams.

Both attacks seem to feature the same scam. Claiming to be the "biggest crypto-giveaway in the world," the tweets called for users to send in up to two BTC in order to enter a raffle for up to 40 BTC. In the case of the Target ad, there was an additional promise of a 200 percent return for anyone that sent in 1 BTC.

The tweets were confirmed by Twitter as fraudulent and were quickly deleted. It is not known how many users fell for these scams. These are but the latest in verified account hacks that seeks to swindle crypto from users. While Twitter has vowed to stop the rash of account hacks, the company is facing an arms race where the hackers seem to be continuously one step ahead.

In recent months, the scammers have hacked Elon Musk, the Indian national disaster authority, Pantheon Books, and Fox Broadcasting, among others.


Marshall Islands Cryptocurrency On Track After Vote

Plans for a national cryptocurrency for the Marshall Islands are still on track as President Hilda Heine survived a vote of no confidence.

The Marshall Islands is seeking to create a cryptocurrency, called the Sovereign, as an alternative currency to the nation's primary currency, the US dollar. Since the nation's independence from the United States in 1979, the Pacific nation has endeavored to become more self-reliant.

The vote of no confidence came from claims that Heine was damaging the nation's reputation by backing the cryptocurrency plan, which has been panned by the International Monetary Fund. The Independent reports she survived by a single vote.

The plan moving forward is to raise money for the country by selling half of the issued coins to foreign investors via an initial coin offering. The remainder will be held in a governmental trust fund or distributed to the Marshall Islanders. A date for the ICO has not been determined.


New Russian Malware Customizes Malware Attack Based on Your System

Per a report issued Monday by anti-virus software maker McAfee Labs, a new Russian malware package has been discovered that mines cryptocurrencies on targeted computers.

Dubbed WebCobra, the malware installs a different background miner based on the computer's chipset. The installer installs Cryptonight for x86 systems and Claymore's Zcash miner for x64 systems.

While Cryptonight has been used primarily to mine Monero, it technically can be configured to mine any cryptocurrency that uses the Cryptonight hash algorithm.

McAfee has detected the greatest concentration of the installers in Brazil, South Africa, and the United States. The miners, once installed, will mine cryptocurrencies in the background of a computer's processes, slowing down the system and causing it to overheat. While the x86 miner infects the system's svchost.exe file and will work regardless of the GPU, the x64 miner only works with certain GPUs.


Swiss Firm Obtains Crypto Certification from Islamic Scholars

In a move that may clear the way for Middle East integration of cryptocurrency, the Swiss-based FinTech firm X8 AG has received certification from Islamic scholars for its crypto offerings.

Cryptocurrency is controversial in the Islamic world as Sharia frowns on non-physical trade and economics based on interest or speculation. Many crypto firms have worked around these challenges by offering stablecoins, or cryptos based on real world assets or fiat currency. However, some scholars have narrowed the debate in recent months by comparing the trading of cryptocurrency to the trading of rights, which is permissible.

The crypto asset is an Ethereum-based coin based on a basket of eight fiat currencies and gold. Per Reuters, the asset was approved by the Shariyah Review Bureau, a firm licensed by the central bank of Bahrain.

X8 is seeking to open a regional office in the Middle East later this month, as well as open a crypto exchange with a Sharia-compliant component.


Be fast, be clever, be wise. Most importantly, be here tomorrow for your Daily Byte.

Frederick Reese

Frederick Reese is a politics and cryptocurrency reporter based in New York. He is also a former teacher, an early adopter of bitcoin and Litecoin, and an enthusiast of all things geeky and nerdy.

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