After Bitcoin, John McAfee Will Start Mining Ethereum

MGT Capital Investments, a New York-based investment firm whose CEO is John McAfee, announced the company will start mining Ethereum.

MGT already started mining bitcoin in July 2016 with the firm reporting in September 2016 that they are mining approximately 90 bitcoins per month. At the time, the company said that the bitcoin they mined in a month held a value of $55,000, however, since the price of the cryptocurrency surged up, 90 BTC has a value of about $236,000.

The publicly traded company pitched itself to investors mostly as a cybersecurity company, according to Business Insider. This industry is where John McAfee got his name with the antivirus product of McAfee LLC.

McAfee recently started to turn a major focus on cryptocurrencies. Last month, the cybersecurity guru said that the MGT will turn profitable with bitcoin mining in the center of activities of the firm, and have a goal of becoming the biggest in the world.

“We will definitely be profitable before the end of the year,” McAfee said in a phone interview to Bloomberg. “From bitcoin mining, we will get the experience and expertise to apply the blockchain to our security products.”


Just after McAfee was named the CEO of the company, MGT’s stocks rose by 63 percent in one day. The cybersecurity expert is confident of his role in MGT:

“I don’t know anyone more capable than me,” said McAfee. “I have never lost in terms of business and I certainly don’t intend to start now.”

Ethereum can also be mined like bitcoin by computers that solve complex computations. On June 23, MGT announced that the company reached an agreement with Bit5ive LLC to purchase 60 graphics-processor-based mining computers, which will be used by the firm to mine for ether.

“We are more convinced each day of the growth and value of digital currencies, and our company is uniquely positioned to be a leading provider of processing power to relevant blockchains,” McAfee said in a statement.

McAfee is among the minority who predicts that cryptocurrencies will rise. In early June, billionaire Marc Cuban called bitcoin’s recent price surge a bubble. In addition, Panos Mourdoukoutas, Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at LIU Post in New York, also foresaw that the “bitcoin bubble will burst.”

On the contrary, McAfee stated earlier:

 No matter how much government and regulators may scream and complain, there will be a world standard alternative currency. Bitcoin appears to be the one… It cannot possibly be a bubble.

Featured image from Gage Skidmore/Flickr.



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One online security breach can push bank by $1.75 million: Kaspersky

NEW DELHI: An incident involving a bank’s online banking services could cost the organisation USD 1,754,000 (about Rs 11.31 crore), a report by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has found.

A study by the security firm showed that 61 per cent of cyber security incidents affecting online banking came with additional costs for the institution targeted – including data loss, the loss of brand/company reputation and confidential information becoming leaked among others.

Banking institutions are also worried about the growing menace of cyber attacks. The top concerns for financial services included attacks on digital/online banking services (45 per cent) and point-of-sale (POS) systems (40 per cent), phishing/social engineering of customers (35 per cent), along with attacks on core transactional/back-office systems (35 per cent) and on ATMs (26 per cent).

Apart from their own complex systems that need to be protected, there is also pressure on these financial institutions to provide customers with secured access to mobile and online banking services.

The actual cost of a cybersecurity incident to a financial institution can be as much as USD 926,000. While business customers of these institutions could see averages losses of USD 10,312, consumers who have fallen victim typically see losses of about USD 1,446.

“…financial institutions (need) to consider the cost implications of cybersecurity threats and put appropriate measures in place to protect themselves and their customers from incidents involving online banking – particularly from DDoS (denial of service) attacks, which can threaten online banking services,” it added.

Kirill Ilganaev, Head of Kaspersky DDoS Protection at Kaspersky Lab, said if a bank’s online services come under attack, it is very difficult for customers to trust that bank with their money.

“…so it’s easy to see why an attack could be so crippling. If banks are to protect themselves effectively from the price tag of an online banking cybersecurity incident, they first need to become more prepared for the dangers DDoS attacks pose to their online banking services,” he added.

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Ransomware families – and how to fight them

Ransomware has been with us for a while now and is even considered old news by many security practitioners. But, it remains a vexing problem for many companies. SophosLabs recently looked at the most prolific ransomware families and attack vectors over a six-month period.

We break down the statistics and, most importantly, provide you with the resources to help mount a more effective defense.

Statistics from SophosLabs

The statistics below cover the six-month period between October 2016 and April 2017. It doesn’t include mid-May’s WannaCry outbreak, which came later.

The data was collected using lookups from customer computers. Beginning with specific ransomware families, the labs found that Cerber and Locky were by far the most active. Cerber accounted for half of all activity during the period, and Locky made up a quarter of it.

Cerber has undergone many mutations designed to circumvent sandboxes and antivirus. One version spread via spam emails disguised as a courier delivery service. Locky, meanwhile, has a history of renaming the important files of its victims so that they have the extension .locky. Like Cerber, its tactics and make-up have morphed over time.

The countries seeing the most ransomware activity are Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and the US, and the biggest spike of activity came in early- to mid-March. Activity dropped for a short time but spiked again around April 5.

Reviewing malware delivery methods and evolution for the past year (April 2016-April 2017), the labs discovered, among other things, that the malware came from different attack angles – email spam, web malvertisements and drive-by downloads. The most prevalent attack vector for ransomware was email attachments, particularly PDFs and Office documents.

The majority of malicious spam attacks using non-EXE attachments are related to ransomware infections one way or another. We saw a big drop in malicious spam starting in December 2016.

The exact percentages are captured here (for a closer view, click on various parts of the graphic and use the magnifying glass function).

What to do?

To better protect yourself from this sort of thing:

  • Back up regularly and keep a recent backup copy off-site. There are dozens of ways other than ransomware that files can suddenly vanish, such as fire, flood, theft, a dropped laptop or even an accidental delete. Encrypt your backup and you won’t have to worry about the backup device falling into the wrong hands.
  • Don’t enable macros in document attachments received via email. Microsoft deliberately turned off auto-execution of macros by default many years ago as a security measure. A lot of malware infections rely on persuading you to turn macros back on, so don’t do it!
  • Be cautious about unsolicited attachments. The crooks are relying on the dilemma that you shouldn’t open a document until you are sure it’s one you want, but you can’t tell if it’s one you want until you open it. If in doubt, leave it out.
  • Patch early, patch often. Malware that doesn’t come in via document macros often relies on security bugs in popular applications, including Office, your browser, Flash and more. The sooner you patch, the fewer open holes remain for the crooks to exploit.
  • Use Sophos Intercept X, which stops ransomware in its tracks by blocking the unauthorized encryption of files.

Other links we think you’ll find useful:

Techknow podcast — Dealing with Ransomware:


(Audio player above not working? Download, or listen on Soundcloud.)

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