Deep Dot Web https://www.deepdotweb.com Surfacing The News From The DeepWeb Sun, 17 Dec 2017 12:38:35 -0200 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Bitcoin News Roundup 17.12.17 https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/17/bitcoin-news-roundup-17-12-17/ https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/17/bitcoin-news-roundup-17-12-17/#respond Sun, 17 Dec 2017 12:38:35 +0000 https://www.deepdotweb.com/?p=23946 This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments: New developments: Bitcoin community donates nearly $2 million to Andreas Antonopoulos following Roger Ver tiff The Bitcoin community recently sent nearly $2 million in donations to Andreas Antonopoulos, a community scholar and lecturer who’s authored several books including Mastering Bitcoin, following a tweet from prominent Bitcoin ...

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This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:

New developments:

Bitcoin community donates nearly $2 million to Andreas Antonopoulos following Roger Ver tiff

The Bitcoin community recently sent nearly $2 million in donations to Andreas Antonopoulos, a community scholar and lecturer who’s authored several books including Mastering Bitcoin, following a tweet from prominent Bitcoin Cash supporter and Bitocin.com CEO Roger Ver. Ver’s tweet essentially said that, despite being one of the most eloquent speakers on the topic of Bitcoin, Andreas Antonopoulos isn’t a millionaire because he didn’t invest “even $300” in Bitcoin back in 2012. In response, Antonopoulos clarified that he did invest, but had to sell to pay rent, and didn’t go further into debt because he needed to take care of his family.

Recognizing Antonopoulos’ contributions to the cryptocurrency’s expansion, the community quickly started donating to his address, with one user sending 37 BTC, the equivalent of well over $500,000. In total, donations amounted to nearly $2 million, and Roger Ver then congratulated him on the donations, and added that he chipped in too. At the end of his tweet, Ver then suggested he would respect him more if he would “speak out against the censorship and manipulation that is still going on at /r/Bitcoin.”

Senior VP says eBay is “seriously considering” accepting Bitcoin payments

eBay, one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, may be about to accept Bitcoin as a payment method. This according to Scott Cutler, senior vice president of eBay Americas, who speaking to Yahoo Finance revealed the e-commerce giant is holding serious discussions on becoming the highest-profile company to accept Bitcoin. Cutler stated:

  • “This is a trend that everybody is talking about, but sadly, at eBay, we don’t currently accept Bitcoin as a form of payment…We’re seriously considering it as these cryptocurrencies become more mainstream, [but] we’re not quite there yet.”

As Yahoo Finance noted, companies who’ve been accepting Bitcoin are getting a boost. Overstock, a web retailer that’s been accepting Bitcoin since early 2014, is up more than 250% in the last six months, for example.

Mt Gox creditors looking to get the exchange out of bankruptcy

According to the Financial Times, Mt Gox creditors are currently looking to move the now-defunct Bitcoin exchange out of bankruptcy and into a process of civil rehabilitation, with the goal of preventing a potential billion-dollar payout to its CEO, Mark Karpeles. At press time, a Mt Gox trustee is holding 202,195 BTC, worth approximately $3.6 billion, and under current Japanese law, if the exchange maintains its current status, credits will be paid the amount they invested in U.S. dollars in 2014. This means that due to the rise in Bitcoin’s value, majority shareholders like Karpeles could end up receiving a multi-billion dollar windfall, while creditors get their money’s worth in USD. At the time of Gox’s demise, one Bitcoin was trading at about $450, while today the cryptocurrency already surpassed the $18,000 mark.

Creditors contend that Gox’s liabilities can be paid off with the Bitcoins held by the trustee, even after paying investors what’s owed. As such, through a petition, they asked the court to pause Mt Gox’s bankruptcy proceedings to enable them to receive recovery payments in Bitcoin. The Tokyo District Court is set to consider the petition and make a decision in early 2018.

World affairs:

Russia’s deputy finance minister says Bitcoin will be legal in the country

Alexei Moiseev, Russia’s deputy finance minister, reportedly stated that buying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be legal in Russia, as the government won’t outlaw or punish those who buy or sell. According to Moiseev, however, the government will adopt a stricter stance toward cryptocurrency mining, meaning miners, who will be limited to “individual entrepreneurs and legal entities” may have to register their activity. Those who don’t fit the government’s criteria will not be allowed to mine cryptocurrencies, and may even face criminal penalties if using the cryptocurrencies to avoid paying taxes or creating pyramid schemes. The official stated:

  • “The penalties will be different, mostly administrative, but if someone created the cryptocurrency for the purpose of settlements, then there will be a criminal punishment.”

Mexican Authorities issue warning on cryptocurrencies and ICOs

Mexico’s securities regulator, CNBV, together with other government authorities, recently issued a statement clarifying that the country doesn’t recognize cryptocurrencies as a legal form of payment, and that so far no Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have originated in Mexico. The statement read:

  • “However, depending on their specific characteristics, some ICOs that originate and are emitted in Mexico could violate the Markets and Securities Law and constitute a financial crime.”

The statement further added that only seasoned investors should dabble in cryptocurrencies, and should nevertheless stay vigilant for signs of fraud.

Bitcoin “keeping me awake at night” says Bank of Canada governor

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz, in a year-end speech titled “Three Thinks Keeping Me Awake At Night,” revealed that there are three things keeping him awake at night: cyber threats, difficulties young Canadians face when finding employment, and the rising household debt due to the costs of housing. Before finishing his speech, however, he confessed that cryptocurrencies also keep him awake at night, through: “the noise I keep hearing about cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin.”

Per Poloz, cryptocurrencies shouldn’t even be called currencies in the first place, as:

  • “For something to be considered a currency, it must act as a reliable store of value, and you should be able to spend it easily. These instruments possess neither of these characteristics, so they do not constitute “money.”

He added that cryptocurrencies are more akin to high-risk securities, and that purchasing them is closer to gambling than investing. Poloz concluded stating that the desire for “digital cash” continues to grow, providing strong arguments for central banks, such as the Central Bank of Canada, to research how these should be issued to enter the legacy financial system.

Financial:

Bitcoin at $18,650 as futures contracts kick off

Bitcoin futures contracts are now being traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and are soon going to be added to CBOE and Nasdaq. Although some believe institutional investors could crash the cryptocurrency’s price while shorting it, Bitcoin has so far been soaring. At press time, one Bitcoin is currently trading at $18,650, and its market cap is of $312 billion. Bitcoin’s dominance is currently at 55.9%, as other cryptocurrencies are seemingly soaring as well.

Cryptocurrencies are now more valuable than Facebook

With a $558 billion market cap, the cryptocurrency ecosystem is now more valuable than social media giant Facebook, whose market cap, at press time, is of $523.57 billion. Various cryptocurrencies surged this week, with Litecoin reaching a new all-time high above $340, Ethereum blowing past the $700 mark, and Ripple reaching $0.8 per token and briefly surpassing Bitcoin Cash to become the number three cryptocurrency. Another cryptocurrency, IOTA, managed to reach $5.5 per token this week, while a previously unknown one, Cardano, hit a nearly $7 billion market cap out of the blue. Some of these have already faced small corrections, although new heights keep being reached.

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Austrian Dealers Busted for Darknet Importation https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/17/austrian-dealers-busted-darknet-importation/ https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/17/austrian-dealers-busted-darknet-importation/#respond Sun, 17 Dec 2017 04:38:33 +0000 https://www.deepdotweb.com/?p=23945 Salzburg: The National Police Directorate (LPD) arrested a 25-year-old drug dealer who had been ordering large quantities of drugs from darknet marketplaces. Officers found more than 1,000 ecstasy pills, 145 grams of MDMA, and 100,000 euros at the dealer’s Salzburg home. The LPD declined to share any details about the investigation and events that led ...

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Salzburg: The National Police Directorate (LPD) arrested a 25-year-old drug dealer who had been ordering large quantities of drugs from darknet marketplaces. Officers found more than 1,000 ecstasy pills, 145 grams of MDMA, and 100,000 euros at the dealer’s Salzburg home.

The LPD declined to share any details about the investigation and events that led to the dealer’s arrest, but the recent wave of arrests in the area have been attributed to the arrest of one former Dream and Hansa vendor. The vendor’s arrest set a chain of events in motion as his organization trafficked more drugs than many vendors ever caught by German or Austrian police. One report listed more than 60 identified drug buyers in the region.

In Salzburg, the 25-year-old drug dealer “had everything he needed” for his allegedly short time as a drug dealer. Short or not, the police caught him with massive quantities of drugs for a small-time drug dealer. The total value of the drugs, according to LPD Salzburg, was more than 100,000 euros (118,000 USD).

During a search of the suspected dealer’s home, LPD Salzburg found 65 grams of methamphetamine, 145 grams of MDMA, 7 grams of heroin, and enough counterfeit notes to warrant a follow-up investigation. The police discovered their drug dealing suspect had also been distributing false euro notes throughout the city.

Drug dealing and selling counterfeit currency went hand-in-hand during the second half of 2016 and the trend continued in 2017. For example, not long before the LPD arrested the 25-year-old drug dealer in Salzburg, the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Tübingen and the Rottenburg Police Headquarters caught a 24-year-old drug dealer who had also been ordering and distributing counterfeit euros. Roughly one week before that bust, the Federal Criminal Police Office arrested a 20-year-old drug dealer in North Rhine-Westphalia for buying and selling both drugs and counterfeits from the darknet.

Back in Salzburg, the investigation into the 25-year-old dealer expanded in scope. The LPD arrested two men for suspected involvement in the primary suspect’s operation. Both had allegedly used the darknet in their drug distribution conspiracy. Both suspects had drugs in their homes when the police conducted their raids at the respective residences. One of the the two claimed that his drugs were for personal use.

Police investigated the case beyond the extent of the primary suspect drug dealing upon discovering the counterfeit currency element of the crime. Both co-defendants allegedly helped the 25-year-old sell and use the fake euros.

The police arrested and charged all three suspects. One may be allowed to leave jail pending his upcoming court appearance.

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Georgia Judge Sentences Russian Hacker to 14 Years in Prison https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/16/georgia-judge-sentences-russian-hacker-sentenced-14-years-prison/ https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/16/georgia-judge-sentences-russian-hacker-sentenced-14-years-prison/#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 20:15:07 +0000 https://www.deepdotweb.com/?p=23936 U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones of the Northern District of Georgia sentenced a Russian cybercriminal to 14 years in prison for involvement in an international hacking conspiracy. The hacker, 33-year-old Roman Valeryevich Seleznev of Vladivostok, Russia, participated in a fraud network that caused more than $50 million in damage. In August 2016, a federal ...

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U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones of the Northern District of Georgia sentenced a Russian cybercriminal to 14 years in prison for involvement in an international hacking conspiracy. The hacker, 33-year-old Roman Valeryevich Seleznev of Vladivostok, Russia, participated in a fraud network that caused more than $50 million in damage. In August 2016, a federal jury in Washington convicted Seleznev of 38 counts of assorted fraud charges. On April 21, a Washington court sentenced Seleznev to 27 years in prison. The 27 year and 14 year prison sentences are to be served concurrently.

In September 2017, Seleznev pleaded guilty to his role as a “casher” in a 2008 hack of RBS WorldPay, a transaction processing branch of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC. According to evidence revealed in the courtroom earlier this year, Seleznev and several co-conspirators hacked the encryption on RBS WorldPay systems in Atlanta. After breaching RBS WorldPay encryption, the hackers increased the spending and withdrawal limits on the then-compromised accounts to $1,000,000 or more.

The hackers then, within 12 hours, distributed 44 counterfeit cards to an even larger network of co-conspirators. The network of cashers accessed 2,100 ATMs in almost 300 countries and withdrew more than $9,000,000 from the compromised accounts. Before trying to erase any trace of their unauthorized access of the RBS WorldPay servers, the fraudsters copied more than 45 million pre-paid cards used by unidentified companies to their pay employees.

In an indictment returned in the District of Nevada, Seleznev pleaded guilty to one RICO charge. He admitted to operating online under the usernames “Track2,” “Bulba,” and “Ncux.” He admitted involvement in the carder.su fraud network and market. Carder.su functioned as a fraud hub and market on the clearnet where users could buy credit card information and similar fraud-related sets of data. Seleznev had initially sold card dumps under the Ncux monicker but retired it in 2009 and started selling his card dumps as a private vendor as Track2 and Bulba.cc. He advertised his service on Carder.su before the the United States Government’s “Operation Open Market” shut the carding site down.

Seleznev sold enough credit card information that he created his own auto shop for credit cards that he advertised on carders.su. “His automated website allowed members to log into and purchase stolen credit card account data,” one of the Department of Justice press releases explained. It added, “the defendant’s website had a simple interface that allowed members to search for the particular type of credit card information they wanted to buy, add the number of accounts they wished to purchase to their “shopping cart” and upon check out, download the purchased credit card information.” His business ventures recorded by the Nevada grand jury led to more than $50 million in damages.

The Nevada court ordered that Seleznev pay a restitution of $50 million and the Georgia court ordered an additional $2 million. Both prison sentences are to be served concurrently.

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Federal Court Orders Coinbase to Turn Over Records on 14,355 Customers to the IRS https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/16/federal-court-orders-coinbase-turn-records-14355-customers-irs/ https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/16/federal-court-orders-coinbase-turn-records-14355-customers-irs/#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 12:15:04 +0000 https://www.deepdotweb.com/?p=23935 In 2016, Bitcoin exchange Coinbase was ordered by a federal court in California to turn over customer information. On November 29th of this year the court ruled that Coinbase must turn over information on 14,355 customers to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The records involve customers who either bought, sold, sent, or received more than ...

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In 2016, Bitcoin exchange Coinbase was ordered by a federal court in California to turn over customer information. On November 29th of this year the court ruled that Coinbase must turn over information on 14,355 customers to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The records involve customers who either bought, sold, sent, or received more than $20,000 worth of Bitcoin. The IRS had originally sought to obtain all customer information from between the years of 2013 and 2015. Coinbase is calling the court’s new ruling a partial victory. The company is looking on the bright side, as they neglected to mention that ruling is also a partial defeat.

The court’s new order requires Coinbase to hand over to the IRS the names, addresses, birth dates, taxpayer ID numbers, transaction logs, and account statements of customers who were involved with transactions that were worth $20,000 or more. The new court order is narrower in scope from the initial court order, which demanded all customer information including communications between Coinbase and its customers. The IRS does not base its demands for customer information on any reasonable suspicions, much less probable cause, against any particular specific customers of Coinbase. The IRS bases its demands for Coinbase customer information on the fact that just over 800 Americans have reported cryptocurrency holdings on their taxes, or more accurately their capital gains from cryptocurrency.

While Coinbase is touting the new court order as a partial victory, others in the cryptocurrency world are seeing the new court order as a huge blow to financial privacy in America. “We remain deeply unsatisfied with the lack of justification provided by the IRS. Without better rationale for why these specific transactions were suspect, a similarly sweeping request could be made for customer data from any financial institution. It sets a bad precedent for financial privacy,” Peter Van Valkenburgh of Coin Center said to The Verge.

In a blog post made on the Coinbase website, the company pointed out that around 14,000 customers whose information will be turned over to the IRS represents less than 1% of all of Coinbase customers. The IRS’ initial request for records would have affected at least 500,000 Coinbase customers. The company has also vowed to notify all affected customers before they turn over any information to the IRS.

“Coinbase is in the process of reviewing the order. As we proceed, we will continue to keep our customers updated. Coinbase has millions of customers and the narrowed summons affects approximately 14,000 of the highest-transacting customers from 2 to 4 years ago. This represents less than 1% of our customer base. In the event that we ultimately produce the documents under this Court order, we intend to notify impacted users in advance of any disclosure,” the company said on their blog post. While the company argued they were fighting against government overreach, they also stated they were eager to work with the IRS in the future. “We were proud to appear in court today, together with support from industry colleagues, to continue to fight against what we believe to be government overreach. In the future we hope to work with the IRS to establish a reasonable tax reporting method that makes sense for virtual currency service providers and consumers alike,” the company said on another blog post.

Could the United States government’s demands for Coinbase customer information have a positive effect? It could, if the IRS’ demands encourage users to shift away from centralized exchanges like Coinbase and move towards using decentralized exchanges such as Bisq, formerly known as BitSquare, and pseudonymous exchanges which exchange cryptocurrencies with prepaid cards and gift cards. Other more anonymous ways of obtaining cryptocurrency include sites like LocalBitcoins and LocalMonero. Bitcoin ATMs are another private way of exchanging cash for coins.

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”Buying of Bitcoins will to Lead Children in Drug Dealings.” Says South Korean’s PM. https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/16/buying-bitcoins-will-lead-children-drug-dealings-says-south-koreans-pm/ https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/16/buying-bitcoins-will-lead-children-drug-dealings-says-south-koreans-pm/#respond Sat, 16 Dec 2017 04:15:00 +0000 https://www.deepdotweb.com/?p=23934 In recent years Darknet markets provided expedient sales channels to technologically knowledgeable customers. This approach appears to have considerable potential for growth in drugs sale,” a report claims. The role of fintech, information technology, and social media have been identified as threats to law enforcement agencies’ ability to combat the trade of illegal drugs on ...

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In recent years Darknet markets provided expedient sales channels to technologically knowledgeable customers. This approach appears to have considerable potential for growth in drugs sale,” a report claims.

The role of fintech, information technology, and social media have been identified as threats to law enforcement agencies’ ability to combat the trade of illegal drugs on the darknet. This has been made even more complicated by the fact that payments on the dark web have been shifted to cryptocurrency like Bitcoins. This Internet currency is beloved by computer scientists, libertarians, and criminals, and is considered invulnerable. As recently, it seems that anyone can buy or sell anything with Bitcoin and never be tracked, let alone busted if they broke the law. It’s totally anonymous.

According to South Korea’s Prime Minister, Bitcoin which is now the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency, could be used by children to deal drugs. All youth would only need $10,000 to buy the currency. According to studies carried out in 2015 and 2017 and published in the report revealed that Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are the most prolific areas for the sale of drugs on the darknet, stimulants being the most popular of all. Germany accounted for $31.6 million in sales, the UK accounted for over $24 million and Netherlands over $21.2 million in total sales. All these sales traded online and in secret on the dark web using bitcoins as the currency.

Darknet markets have an average shelf life of eight months before they become inactive. However, despite the law enforcers’ ability to disrupt darknet markets, the report suggests,”the overall ecosystem appears to be fairly resilient with new markets quickly becoming established.” As a result, there have been a flurry of threats to regulate, ban, and control bitcoin. Some countries such as Ecuador have already banned it while others such as China have initiated strict restrictions. Therefore, with more condemnations of drug trades using the currency, it is possible that regulators will be further galvanized to lead an assault on bitcoin and dark web cryptocurrency trades.

Warning of the danger of young people getting involved in dark web and cryptocurrency speculation, Lee Nak-Yeon said: “these are cases in which young Koreans are jumping into for quick cash and virtual currencies are being used in illegal activities such as drug dealing or marketing for frauds. This can lead to serious social, economic and security catastrophe, if left unaddressed,” he added.

The PM may have missed some information on Bitcoin’s price in recent months, which is currently hitting record highs. On South Korea’s largest exchange Bithumb, the price went past the historic $11,000 mark Monday, though surprisingly it is yet to break the barrier in other parts of the world. This comes despite the South Korean government’s attempt to stifle the cryptocurrency. Nonetheless, cryptocurrency market capitalization continue to soar, dark webs continue to proliferate, and more people continue to adopt the currencies. In Ecuador, regulators have not been able to stop the currency’s growth, and in China dark web transactions are still in full swing. No telling how politicians will decide to handle the ensuing growth of the crypto darknet marketplaces.

However, bitcoin has also sought to shed this image, with many investors now taking the cryptocurrency very seriously. But if its privacy shortcomings drive users away, the currency will quickly lose its value. But the demand for financial privacy won’t disappear, and new systems are already emerging. “I don’t feel people have the right to know, unless disclosed, how much cash is in my wallet.” That’s why Bitcoin is preferred no matter the shortcomings.

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Bitcoin Mining – Is It Still Profitable? https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/15/bitcoin-mining-still-profitable/ https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/15/bitcoin-mining-still-profitable/#comments Fri, 15 Dec 2017 20:18:13 +0000 https://www.deepdotweb.com/?p=23923 The best answer for this question would be “it all comes down to how much you will invest.” However, to get a more meaningful answer, there are multiple factors to be considered: 1. The price of bitcoin is constantly changing and the volatility is currently extremely high. One bitcoin is currently worth more than $11,000, ...

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The best answer for this question would be “it all comes down to how much you will invest.” However, to get a more meaningful answer, there are multiple factors to be considered:

1. The price of bitcoin is constantly changing and the volatility is currently extremely high. One bitcoin is currently worth more than $11,000, and less than a month ago it was worth around $6,000, so its price increased by more than 80% in just a single month.

2. Bitcoin mining difficulty is constantly rising. In other words, the same hash rate you are using today to mine a single bitcoin won’t yield the same amount the following month.

3. Bitcoin mining is a process that consumes considerable electric power, so you should think twice before investing in mining, if you are located in a country were power costs are high.

4. You won’t be easily able to buy bitcoin miners from the manufacturers’ websites as they are usually sold out there. So, you won’t be able to buy miners from the Bitmain website; instead, you will have to buy them on eBay from someone who managed to pre-order them.

5. The prices of bitcoin miners are constantly changing and a large percentage of individuals involved in the mining business price-gouge most of these miners.

6. Bitcoin miners generate a considerable amount of noise and heat.

7. Bitcoins you mine will be taxed as they are considered a stream of income.

As such, since the profitability of bitcoin mining depends on many factors, bitcoin mining profitability calculators were created to help you find out if mining will actually be profitable to you. These calculators utilize a number of parameters, including power costs, the price of your mining hardware, your hash rate and other variables, to predict the profit of your mining efforts.

Using Mining Calculator To Predict Profitability of Bitcoin Mining Today:

There are many calculators available online to help you predict the profitability of your mining rig. We will use the mining calculator on Whattomine.com to estimate the profitability of bitcoin mining today. This calculator takes into account many parameters including the difficulty, hashrate of your miner(s), BTC/Block reward, bitcoin price, pool fees %, consumed power in Watts, Power cost per kWh and the price of your mining hardware. The below figure shows the calculator we will be using:

We will propose that we are using Antminer S9, which is one of the most advanced ASIC miners available today. It has a hash rate of 14 TH/S, or 14,000 GH/S. The price of Antminer S9 is $3,000 (note that this is the miner’s price on Bitmain’s website, so it will probably cost more if you buy it on eBay or other online markets). The electric power consumption of the Antminer S9 is 1370 Watts. We will consider a power cost of 0.12$/kWh which is the average power cost in the US. Currently, the block reward is 12.5 BTC, the mining difficulty is 1347001430558.6 and the bitcoin price is $11,015. We will use a pool fee of 2%, which is the average fee on most mining pools. After entering the aforementioned parameters into the calculator, we will get the following results:

So, as you notice from the results, you will be able to generate 0.002561 BTC per day using this mining rig, which is worth $24.27 at today’s bitcoin exchange rate. Consequently, if you do the math, you will find out that you will be able to get back the amount you invested in the Antminer S9 in less than 4 months. As such, if you have gotten your Antminer S9 at $3,000, bitcoin mining will be very profitable to you as you will be able to make more than $700 per month after deduction of the power costs. However, it is worth mentioning that the price of the Antminer S9 can exceed $5,000 today, especially that the price of bitcoin is skyrocketing.

To sum up, bitcoin mining is still profitable if you are willing to invest at least $3,000-$5,000 to purchase heavy duty ASIC mining equipment. It is also worth mentioning that high electric power costs can markedly reduce your profitability, so always do the math accurately and keep an eye on the network difficulty levels and the bitcoin exchange rates.

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Can Cryptomarkets Minimize The Harms Associated With Illicit Drug Use? https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/15/can-cryptomarkets-minimize-harms-associated-illicit-drug-use/ https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/15/can-cryptomarkets-minimize-harms-associated-illicit-drug-use/#respond Fri, 15 Dec 2017 12:18:12 +0000 https://www.deepdotweb.com/?p=23922 Cryptomarkets are special forms of online marketplaces that are hosted on the deep web, and feature a large number of vendors. Buyers and vendors on cryptomarkets enjoy the anonymity provided to them by the deep web, as their web locations are concealed and cryptocurrency payments render it almost impossible to track them. Drug trading on ...

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Cryptomarkets are special forms of online marketplaces that are hosted on the deep web, and feature a large number of vendors. Buyers and vendors on cryptomarkets enjoy the anonymity provided to them by the deep web, as their web locations are concealed and cryptocurrency payments render it almost impossible to track them. Drug trading on various cryptomarkets has recently evolved to become a special area of interest for academic criminologists. Even though mainstream media portals usually focus on the dangerous impacts of drug trading on cryptomarkets, very few reports have examined how cryptomarkets can minimize the harms of illicit drugs, and/or increase the benefits of cryptomarkets participants.

A recently published paper provided an analytical review of literature linked to illicit drug trading on cryptomarkets. The authors of the paper used the MacCoun and Reuter formula to analyze the influence of population-level rise in use on the overall harm, as depending on the degree of harm linked with each unit of use. Afterwards, they examined the potential of various cryptomarkets to increase or reduce the benefits and harms associated with each unit of illicit drug use, while focusing on the quality of illicit drugs offered on these markets, as well as the non-drug related benefits and harms for buyers.

How can cryptomarkets influence the harms and benefits of illicit drugs on users?

The authors of the paper postulated that if cryptomarkets are to continue on growing, the overall number of illicit drug users might rise, as well as their usage intensity and their drug abusing repertoires. The MacCoun and Reuter equation denotes that harms related to illicit drugs are dynamic. The overall harm won’t simply depend on the prevalence of drug use, but also on usage intensity and harms per unit of drug use.

The MacCoun and Reuter equation can also be utilized to analyze the benefits of drug use. Even though there is a growing literature focusing on the analysis and categorization of harms related to illicit drug use, possible benefits of drug usage have been less frequently studied. Logically, drug use benefits exist, or else the number of people using drugs all over the world would have been much more less. Users resort to drugs for multiple reasons, which are more or less volitional, but less likely dependant. Users may benefit from pleasure, increased capacities to study and/or work and strengthened social relationships with other drug users, in addition to other forms of benefits. As prescription drugs are sold on cryptomarkets, many individuals are now self medicating psychological as well as physical health problems, and despite the fact that doing so can carry multiple risks, a number of researchers have concluded that self medication can have many benefits, even when opiates substitutes are used for self medication.

One of the benefits of buying drugs from cryptomarkets is that users are able to get the drugs they are actually seeking, rather than unpredictable substitutes; a problem that can be illustrated by how street drug dealers sometimes deceive users and sell them fentanyl and LSD as heroin. As cryptomarket customers mostly get the drug they expected to buy, they are less likely to experience undesirable effects, and consequently, the harms that can occur secondarily to those effects. Purer drugs, and hence higher strength drugs, are not always better as the incidence of overdoses rises when a purer drug enters the markets and users don’t modify their doses accordingly. Recently, reports of purer forms of MDMA were linked to deaths from overdose. Disentangling the benefits and harms of purer, or higher quality, drugs is not always straightforward. Nevertheless, many drug users believe that higher purity is beneficial, especially when associated with better prices, and transactional risks on cryptomarkets.

Cryptomarkets offer drug users benefits via providing them with information regarding harm reduction. Forums and websites specializing in drug user related discussions have recently proven to reduce drug induced harm via information sharing. Cryptomarkets, in addition to their associated forums offer users a step-change benefit, as vendors can communicate directly with their customers and provide them with information regarding safer methods of drug use, in addition to openly discussing various issues such as the quality and purity of the drugs they sell.

To sum up, cryptomarkets can greatly reduce the harm associated with drug use, and maximize its benefits, if any could ever be found.

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The Darknet Search Engine ‘Grams’ is Shutting Down https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/15/darknet-search-engine-grams-shutting/ https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/15/darknet-search-engine-grams-shutting/#comments Fri, 15 Dec 2017 04:13:43 +0000 https://www.deepdotweb.com/?p=23916 In 2014, a developer launched Grams, a darknet market search engine. Grams quickly caught on and picked up attention from mainstream tech sites. The site became a useful resource for markets, buyers, journalists, and researchers. In mid-December, 2017, the Grams developer will end Grams and all associated services. The site will be missed. The developer, ...

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In 2014, a developer launched Grams, a darknet market search engine. Grams quickly caught on and picked up attention from mainstream tech sites. The site became a useful resource for markets, buyers, journalists, and researchers. In mid-December, 2017, the Grams developer will end Grams and all associated services. The site will be missed.

The developer, known only as “gramsadmin,” posted a message on the darknetmarkets subreddit. “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish,” the title of the message read. The title itself is an informal and somewhat humorous way of saying goodbye that first appeared in the comedic science fiction book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. “I write to you all today with heavy heart,” the Grams developer said in the message. “I have decided to take down Grams and all its’ services one week from now. I have tried very hard to provide the best services on the darknet.”

Although the “best services on the darknet” may vary from person-to-person, the majority of the 100 or more users who commented on the post expressed some form of disappointment after reading the admin’s decision. Or, at the very least, they thanked gramsadmin for his dedication to the community. Some asked the developer to stick around. One user wrote that we needed Grams more now than ever.

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion” — a quote from Albert Camus that sat at the bottom of the Grams homepage.

Two services provided by Grams—Grams Infodesk and Grams Helix—stood out in dozens of comments as the services users will likely miss the most. Both features help users accomplish completely different tasks. Infodesk helps buyers verify a vendor’s identity across numerous marketplaces by scraping the markets or through implementation of the Grams API. And Helix is one of the only services that could be considered a glorified Bitcoin tumbler or mixer. Helix itself is actually more than a Bitcoin tumbler; gramsadmin called it “the definitive darknet bitcoin cleaner.” However, Grams is not the only darknet search engine (nor does Grams offer the only Bitcoin tumbler).

But Grams, with an emphasis on the search and Infodesk, may be one of the only darknet search engines recognized in international drug research publications. The Global Drug Policy Observatory, in The Rise and Challenge of Dark Net Drug Markets, said Grams “has transformed how people can search the hidden web and access the vendors by name without having to log onto various sites.” Constantly managing the information from numerous sites became too much of a pain for the Grams team to continue doing. In the recent past, the Infodesk vendor reviews switched to only serving reviews from the darknetmarkets subreddit.

In the announcement on Reddit, gramsadmin wrote, “it has become too difficult to get the listings from the markets and to keep up on even routine maintenance of the site.” The admin struggled with getting market listings since the search engine’s inception. Not every marketplace worked to implement the Grams API. And gramsadmin found spidering every large marketplace too resource intensive. Gramsadmin said that Grams Helix and Helix Light rarely even broke. The high Bitcoin transaction fees cut the profits earned by the tumbler/cleaner. The admin added, “the money is not worth the stress of maintaining the site.”

Also Read: an Interview with the Grams Search Engine Admin

Reddit users asked gramsadmin for a dump of the vendor listings and reviews for various reasons. In a response to one user, the admin said he would try to get a dump of the vendor information table before he goes offline. If you have an interest in accessing the data, monitoring the post on Reddit may be the best option. Additionally, users have until December 16 to withdraw coins from their Helix accounts.

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Detection of Malicious or Black IP Addresses Via Analysis of Daily Darknet Traffic https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/14/detection-malicious-black-ip-addresses-via-analysis-daily-darknet-traffic/ https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/14/detection-malicious-black-ip-addresses-via-analysis-daily-darknet-traffic/#comments Thu, 14 Dec 2017 20:50:00 +0000 https://www.deepdotweb.com/?p=23905 The world has recently began to recognize the significance and dangerous impact of various forms of network vulnerabilities. Moreover, cybercriminals can exploit these vulnerabilities to phish sensitive and private information from the machines of vulnerable web users. As such, researchers have recently began to thoroughly study how countermeasures can be created to solve various network ...

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The world has recently began to recognize the significance and dangerous impact of various forms of network vulnerabilities. Moreover, cybercriminals can exploit these vulnerabilities to phish sensitive and private information from the machines of vulnerable web users. As such, researchers have recently began to thoroughly study how countermeasures can be created to solve various network vulnerability issues. A recently published paper proposed utilizing the darknet to detect black IP addresses, which represent IP addresses that are used by attackers to spread spam and malware. The researchers gathered 8,192 IP addresses within the darknet and then monitored darknet traffic associated with these IPs for a period of 1 month. Throughout this article, we will take a look at the method proposed by the authors of this paper and how it can help in minimizing the threats affecting vulnerable networks.

The Proposed Process for Detection of Black IPs:

Before we dig deeper into the proposed process, we need to understand the different types of darknet packets that were collected during the experiment. The collected darknet packets were mainly in the form of real attack packets, scanning packets and misconfiguration packets. Scanning packets represent a pre-investigation method for real attack forms. Misconfiguration packets represent various errors of data management that occur throughout communications in a network setting.

Darknet information is comprised of many elements including source IP address and port; destination IP address and port; payload, event time and others. As such, the method proposed by the authors of the paper focused on the source IP addresses within the collected darknet data packets. The researchers selected the top 10 source IP addresses among the daily collected data packets. Whenever more inflow data packets can be linked to a source IP address, the possibility of malicious activities rises. The below figure represents an illustration of the proposed process for detection of black IP addresses, which depends on a service named “VirusTotal”.

VirusTotal can aid in providing verification results for almost any antivirus solution. VirusTotal analyzes the top 10 source IP addresses to determine whether they are malicious or safe IP addresses. The next step is comparing between the packets gathered on the day of collection by VirusTotal and the darknet packets collected on any other random day. In the end, if a day of gathered source IP addresses represented a date prior to the day of detection via VirusTotal, then malicious IP addresses could be early identified through the darknet. The below figure represents the main idea of the process of detection of black IP addresses.

Results of the Experiment:

The proposed experimental process collected 8,192 destination IP addresses within the darknet environment and the associated darknet traffic in the month of August 2016. This led to collection of 277,002,257 darknet data packets and 8,392,962 source IP addresses. The below figure illustrates the overall number of malicious IP addresses, as compared to the monthly duplicate IP addresses.

The experiment revealed a daily number of duplicate IP addresses of 142. Also, a total of 34 monthly duplicate IP addresses were detected. As such, the results of the experiment can vary according to the period of monitoring and the number of source IP addresses.

The results of VirusTotal monitoring detected malicious IP addresses via the latest monitored URLs, the latest monitored files which were downloaded from these IP addresses, the latest monitored files that interacted with these specific IP addresses…etc. Daily duplicate IP addresses represented 72.17% of all daily IP addresses and monthly duplicate IP addresses represented 52.94% of all monthly IP addresses.

The paper presented practical analysis and classification via usage of darknet information, even though analyzing darknet data packets represents a rather difficult task to handle. The proposed process relied on analyzing the top source IP addresses to detect black, or malicious IP addresses. The results of the experiment proved that whenever the analysis involved a longer period of time, more accurate results can be obtained. As such, the researchers recommended repeating the experiment using longer time periods (week, month,…etc) to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the results to help in the construction of more advanced security control systems.

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Using a Large Scale Darknet To Identify Botnet Related Activities https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/14/using-large-scale-darknet-identify-botnet-related-activities/ https://www.deepdotweb.com/2017/12/14/using-large-scale-darknet-identify-botnet-related-activities/#comments Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:49:58 +0000 https://www.deepdotweb.com/?p=23904 The consequences of a wide array of malware programs, which are present today, have led to perilous incidents that induced serious damage not only to users’ assets, but also to the internet’s infrastructure. This is notably the case with botnets, which represent networks of compromised machines that are remotely controlled by botmasters to perform various ...

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The consequences of a wide array of malware programs, which are present today, have led to perilous incidents that induced serious damage not only to users’ assets, but also to the internet’s infrastructure. This is notably the case with botnets, which represent networks of compromised machines that are remotely controlled by botmasters to perform various forms of nefarious activities. By far, botnets are considered the most serious cyber-threats available today and are used to carry out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, spamming, phishing of sensitive personal data and click fraud, leading to billions of dollars worth of annual damage. As such, countermeasures against botnets have become a pressing need and have recently attracted considerable research efforts and operational attention.

A botnet is different from other forms of intrusion malware in two main aspects; Firstly, a botnet is goal directed, e.g. generating monetary profits via silent mining of cryptocurrencies and provision of spamming and DDoS services to clients who choose to resort to botnets. Secondly, it operates within a Command and Control (C&C) framework; a botmaster (creator of the botnet) communicates with bots (compromised and controlled host machines) through C&C channels to force them to participate in the intrusion campaigns. A botnet is created and managed in multiple stages including C&C server rallying, probe and exploitation, self-update and synchronization, in addition to a wide array of malicious activities.

Detection of Internet Traffic Related to Botnets:

The difficulty in detection of traffic associated with botnet activities has fueled research studies aiming at accurate detection of botnet related traffic and hence, identifying the location of botnets and their C&C servers across operational networks. Known approaches for the detection of botnet related traffic fall into one of four groups:

  1. Employing fine grained analysis e.g. deep packet inspection (DPI) to identify communications associated with botnets.
  2. Given the fact that a large percentage of botnets rely on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels and exhibit distinctive features that are different from normal IRC traffic, IRC detection methods are used to identify botnet related traffic.
  3. DNS related approaches which focus on the regularities of various DNS queries to detect traffic associated with botnets by detection of anomalies on the temporal intensity, similarity and periodicity of compromised hosts which query the same domain.
  4. The last approach includes methods that combine two or more of the above approaches to yield a more comprehensive analysis.

Utilizing the Darknet to Identify Botnet Related Internet Traffic:

A recently published paper proposed a brand new approach to identify botnet related traffic from a totally new perspective. The analysis is performed using data obtained from unused parts of the world wide web, mainly, a darknet, which presents a universal overview of various cyber threats in the internet with somehow inexpensive monitoring costs. The proposed monitoring approach is mainly centered upon powerful temporal coincidence of various probing activities, secondary to the coordinated behavioral features of bots. Executed in a framework which is comprised of two stages, it can not only identify the grouped activities and associated traffic of bots in short durations, but also detect individual host machines that participate in the campaigns with high levels of accuracy.

The experiments carried out in this study involved evaluation of Active Epoch (AE) detection and classifier on datasets which were obtained from various destination ports of a pair of class-B darknet sensors which were hosted by NICTER. All probing hosts detected on the darknet were grouped on the basis of network services, which were probed by the hosts. Thereafter, the data was manually labeled regarding the hosts and AEs that participated in the botnet campaigns.

To sum up, botnet activities and botnet related traffic lead to high temporal coincidence that can be observed in the darknet. The authors of the paper proposed a novel abrupt change detection algorithm that can easily identify botnet probe campaigns with high levels of accuracy. As per the research’s experiments for detection of botnet campaigns, temporal features, which quantify the coincidence between host machines, prove to convey important discriminate information to discriminate hosts that participate in the botnet probes from the remainder. The authors of the paper planned, in their future work, to utilize the valuable information concluded from this research study in “knocking out” botnets as well as managing host reputation across the internet.

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