Saturday, May 26, 2018

Privacy Practices and Secure Communications to Mitigate Attack Risk


It’s a common misconception that privacy concerns are only for the paranoid or those with something to hide. In reality, having greater privacy is often a prerequisite to having greater security.

If your information is made private, it’s a lot harder to compromise.

Hackers need something to bite on in order to take a chunk of your life or business and tear it to shreds. Don’t give them that initial morsel. Do all you can to step into the shadows.

A few simple methods to help prevent attacks include having better privacy practices and avoiding phishing tactics.

Best Privacy Practices for Companies

The methods described here apply to both individuals and corporations of all sizes. Here are a few things that can be done to make some of the actions of your company opaquer:
·       Use DuckDuckGo as your default search engine. DuckDuckGo does not track its users, meaning there will be no trace of what your employees search for. This will alleviate some concerns over corporate espionage. In addition, DuckDuckGo generally yields better research results than most other search engines.
·       Use Protonmail for all company communications. Protonmail is an encrypted email service based in Switzerland. Free accounts come with up to 500 megabytes of storage. Emails sent to these accounts cannot be seen by outside sources. Encrypted emails also come with the option of setting an expiration date – meaning they will delete themselves without a trace after a set amount of time, from one hour to twenty-eight days.
·       Use Signal 2.0 for all cell phone communications. Signal allows for the same kind of security provided by Protonmail, but for texts and voice calls. Just as with encrypted emails, encrypted texts can be set to self-destruct after a time.
Better privacy practices won’t solve all your problems. But they are a big step in the right direction.

Privacy Practices and Detection

If you can’t prevent an attack, you need to at least know it’s happening. If not, there’s no end to the damage that can be done. Many corporations and nearly all individuals have no detection whatsoever.

Hi business owners and entrepreneurs, are you all ready for GDPR? On 25th of May, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will take effect. The GDPR is the European Union's new data privacy law. It impacts how all businesses, big and small, collect and handle personal data about their customers. Even though we're in Australia and don't have to comply with the new GDPR requirements. However I thought it is a good idea to get everything set up. I think sooner or later this will come to Australia. Also if you're running FB ads, you have to make sure you comply with FB's private data policy. Make sure you have your privacy policy in place on your landing page. At AuBiz, we've updated our Privacy Policy to make sure we provide information around the rights individuals have under the GDPR and to include more details around our processing of personal data including marketing opt-in and cookie policy.
A post shared by AuBiz Consulting (@aubizconsulting) on Even                       
Take the National Security Agency (NSA), for example. For months, Edward Snowden was opening classified documents and downloading them.

He managed to escape undetected the entire time. An insider threat escaped the awareness of the NSA due to poor detection. How can you prevent this from happening?

StationX Canary Tokens allow you to create files that will act as trip wires for unauthorized access to your data. If someone opens a Canary Token, you will receive an email notification immediately. This lets you know someone has been poking around in your system.

While it’s ideal to not get compromised in the first place, having adequate detection ensures that you can mitigate the damage done by an attacker. After receiving news that you have been hacked, you can shut down all systems, preventing further intrusions.

Phishing and Privacy Practices

Most of the time, however, detection won’t be much of a concern.

Hackers have figured out that the best way to gain access to a system is to go straight to the source via social engineering. Hackers have begun to turn into amateur spies worldwide.

The majority of successful hacking today is not done by means of some sophisticated computer program or network attacking technique.

It’s simply accomplished by using phishing tactics.

Educating employees about phishing is one of the simplest and cheapest ways for companies to prevent attacks. Many organizations have already begun incorporating such education into their standard training programs.

Phishing emails, phone calls, and websites are the most common techniques used by hackers.


Never click a link or download an attachment in an email without being 100% certain that it’s from a trusted source.

In fact, it’s best to not even open emails unless you can tell they’re from someone you know. Be sure to check the address the message was sent from. A common tactic is to use a name from your contacts with a single letter changed.

Another way to help avoid this is to use separate email addresses for your inbox. Give one address out for general purposes and another for strictly business.

This way, if an email comes from your general address, you will know to be on high alert for anything suspicious.  

Make it a rule to never click a link or download an attachment in an email, period. This shouldn’t be hard to do.

With cloud storage, you don’t need to send email attachments as often as in the past. And you can always find a link on your own rather than trying to go there directly through the email.
privacy and cybersecurity

Phone Calls

Phone calls are a more sophisticated form of social engineering. A caller might impersonate someone higher up the corporate ladder and ask for sensitive information.

Again, the easiest way to avoid this is to make it a rule to never share information whenever possible. Verify the source, and then see if there’s some other way to do what’s needed.

Fake Sites

Fake websites are perhaps the most difficult phishing traps to avoid. They can look exactly like the real thing. It’s even possible for an attacker to fake the SSL certification and padlock image in the URL.

 The only way to avoid these attacks is to constantly check the web address word for word. If anything appears to be off, don’t enter any personal information. In addition, most browsers and anti-virus programs have features that will warn you of potentially fake sites.

No Cause for Concern with Good Privacy Practices

Using encrypted communication, having some detection set up, and avoiding phishing will go a long way towards achieving freedom from many of the most common cybersecurity concerns. It will also mitigate the damage that can be done in the event of a successful attack.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Fears of a Worldwide Crypto Ban Fan the Flames of Fake News

worldwide crypto ban

In the world of crypto, false rumors abound. Talk of a worldwide crypto ban is the latest and most incredible claim of this nature.
Consider the entire internet one giant troll box. Bitcoin serves as the ultimate troll food.
Trolls feed off of reactions to their ridiculous assertions. That’s why the number one rule of anything online is: don’t feed the trolls.
Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t help doing just that. While starving a troll out is the best way to cope with it in general, specific circumstances might require a rebuttal.
This week’s case of tremendous trolling involves such an outrageous claim that it deserves to be addressed.
Critics have begun claiming that all cryptocurrency will soon be banned.
The “insiders” at Casey Research claim to have exclusive knowledge of a fantastic future event regarding crypto (this isn’t the first time they have made such claims, might I add):
“They’ve been studying this situation for a full year now. And they’ve received word of a private meeting that will take place on July 21st where the 20 most powerful countries on earth are joining together to discuss cryptos.

What’s most surprising, however, isn’t which currencies are most likely to be banned…

But, rather, which will be allowed to survive”
Of course, the very premise here makes zero sense. How could 99.9% of cryptocurrencies possibly be banned? Absent a world government, this simply can’t be achieved. And even then, such a ban would only drive activity underground, if history is any guide.
Furthermore, how could someone know this so far in advance and also know exactly which currencies will be spared?
Simply questioning the absurd logic of this idea could make for a short book. For now, let’s consider some reasons why this will never happen.

Today, a Worldwide Crypto Ban is Less Likely Than Ever

worldwide crypto ban

There have been so many positive developments in the cryptocurrency community in recent months it’s difficult to keep up. Things just keep getting better and better.
There may even be positive trends on the technical side of things.
The old phrase “sell in May and go away” appears to be in play for now. But there are some indications that a big reversal could be on the horizon.
The chart below shows three significant things happening with the BTC/USD pair:
  1. Bollinger bands tightening
  2. Moving averages about to cross
  3. Low trading volume

worldwide crypto ban

On top of all the positive news, technical indicators seem bullish as well.
As you can see, the last time these three factors combined was at the very beginning of Q4 2017, right before the big run-up to 19k USD.
BTC/USD could re-trace recent lows before beginning its next “bubble phase.”

Three Factors Negating Fears of a Worldwide Crypto Ban

All in all, the naysayers have begun to run out of misinformation material. You can only cry out that bitcoin has died again so many times. It seems to be the perfect time to create some sensational nonsense. Let’s see how this measures up to reality.
While three major technical developments are converging, so too are three even more important elements coming into play.
NASDAQ, one of the world’s largest stock exchanges, has said they will consider a crypto exchange in the future. They’re also working with Gemini, the second-largest US-based crypto exchange, to regulate that exchange’s markets.
Regulators, in general, seem to have decided that a “hands-off” approach is appropriate with regard to crypto markets.
Most significant of all, in my opinion, is the fact that large institutional investors such as the Rockefeller family have begun to make arrangements to pour fiat into bitcoin. This has huge implications and could lead to an avalanche of new capital flowing into the crypto markets in the near future.

NASDAQ Considering Crypto Exchange

Mainstream financial markets have begun to express interest in crypto. Is this suggestive of a worldwide crypto ban?
The CEO of NASDAQ recently told CNBC that a crypto exchange is being considered. The company is only waiting for clear regulatory guidance, at which point they will likely move forward:
“On Wednesday, the company announced a collaboration with cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, founded by early bitcoin investors Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. The deal gives Gemini access to Nasdaq’s surveillance technology to help make sure the platform provides a fair and “rules-based marketplace,” for their own participants, Gemini CEO Tyler Winklevoss said in a statement.”

NASDAQ may soon get just what it wants. Some regulators have begun to soften their tone. They’re certainly not speaking of a worldwide crypto ban.

Regulators Have Become Voices of Reason

Despite all the hysteria about how to regulate this new, unique, and controversial asset class, some top regulatory bosses have begun to issue statements suggesting that cooler heads may prevail in this heated debate.
worldwide crypto ban

This contradicts the suggestion of some kind of worldwide crypto ban.
CFTC Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo told Reuters on May 1st that regulators should “respect this generation’s interest” in cryptocurrency.
“There is something going on here that is generational. Just as the baby boomer generation lost faith in the leaders that came before them and tried to seek a cultural change in those days through sex, drugs and rock and roll, I think there is a generation that also has lost faith in us that led them through the financial crisis and they see technology as a way of disintermediating institutions for which they don’t have a great deal of respect.”
Giancarlo also noted the difficulty regulators are having to figure all of this out:
“We are struggling to find out how we apply an old law to really new and different applications.”

Yes, Mr. Commissioner, that much is obvious. Some have gone so far as to speculate that a lack of regulatory clarity is the main reason for most lapses in compliance. We hope you’ll get it right someday.
On the heels of this bold proclamation of protection for the rights of crypto enthusiasts everywhere comes another striking announcement.
Hedge funds owned and operated by some of the wealthiest families in history have begun to express interest in the crypto markets.

Wealthy Dynasties Have Begun to Dive into Bitcoin

It’s not hard to see the value in big names entering the crypto space.
In general, adoption of a new industry and the corresponding investment happen in three broad phases:
  1. Insiders – people who are on the ground floor. In crypto terms, this would be developers, programmers, the people who mined a few thousand BTC with their CPUs in 2010.
  2. Smart money – Institutional investors begin to stand up and take notice at this phase. They can see trends developing. These are the people who have a proven track record of capitalizing on trends in capital markets. When they decide to make a move, the final adoption phase becomes a near certainty.
  3. Mass adoption – This is the end game. Everything changes at this point – the whole world, in fact. Think about cell phones, personal computers, the internet, hybrid vehicles,
It may seem as if 2017 was the year of mass adoption for crypto. But being valued at under $1 trillion suggests otherwise. The constant barrage of negative press has served to keep much of the public skeptical – for now.
“Limited liability venture capital firm, Venrock (a compound of “venture” and “Rockefeller”), is turning its sights on cryptocurrency projects and markets. Famously an investment vehicle of the Rockefeller family, the focus for Venrock since its inception nearly half a century ago is technology and science. Their investments are a laundry list of dominant companies, from Intel and Apple to AppNexus and StrataCom, among many, many others. Cryptocurrency seems like a logical progression.”

There has been talk of this for years. Now it appears to finally be on the horizon. Mass adoption could be a stone’s throw away.

Throwback Thursday: “South Korea to Ban Crypto Trading”

We have been down this road before.
worldwide crypto ban

Little more than one financial quarter ago, crypto markets erupted in mayhem over a rumored crypto ban in South Korea. Sound familiar?
Here’s a snippet from
“South Korea this past week was said to be considering a blanket ban on all cryptocurrency (OTCQX:GBTC) (COIN) trading. While regulatory responses will vary nation by nation, South Korea’s proposed ultra-harsh action is worrying because:”
But no, really, this time it’s for real, right?
The market reaction from this recent worldwide crypto ban racket has been muted so far. Interesting, considering how much wider in scope it is, compared to the Korean rumor. Perhaps the whole thing is more bark than bite.

Worldwide Crypto Ban – No Need to Worry

All in all, these fears have been overblown. They come at a time of tremendous positive developments in the crypto space.
Even if there were a worldwide crypto ban, that would spell certain success for gold mining stocks.
Of course, the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Combined, they make for a spectacular investment strategy going forward. They are both hedges against fiat currency failure and also hedges against each other.
Always bullish, GoldStockBull doesn’t buy the FUD about a worldwide crypto ban.
Subscribers get access to our full database including charts and comprehensive analysis. Subscribe today.
worldwide crypto ban

“You only attain mediocrity by being a day-trader. If you want to get rich, you have to look at the long-term…you cannot possibly predict a short-term event. You can easily predict a long-term event.”
– John Mcafee

[Originally published on on May 10th, 2018]