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Coin developers are offering massive rewards to blockchain bounty hunters
The crypto market isn't doing so hot. But a bubble isn’t the only threat to coin wallets: the bubble has spawned a whole new category of cybercrime.
High-profile thefts -- like the recent Coincheck heist, where bandits made off with $534m in a matter of seconds -- have prompted the SEC to admit they don’t have any regulatory power to rein in crypto-thieves.
So, what do you do when you lose all of your crypto-cash to thieves?
One option: hire a crypto bounty hunter
In the crevices of the internet, victims of crypto-heists post desperate bounties for their hackers.
These bounties, naturally listed in coin value, often reach into 6-figure territory, and include descriptions of the theft and any information available (e.g. email transcripts, old web addresses, screenshots).
Most bounty sites include rules about turning in hackers, receiving payment, and participating in the community -- and some feature leaderboards to honor the most prolific bounty hunters.
Cybersecurity is big business, and a number of startups make good money uncovering vulnerabilities by legally hacking big tech companies and government agencies (HackerOne recently inked a deal to hack the Pentagon, for instance). But the rewards for these jobs can’t hold a candle to the jackpot payouts that cryptocurrencies offer.
ICOs are likely to keep crypto bounty hunters in business
Small bounties require little programming knowledge and net minimal profits, but big security-breach bounties (posted on Reddit or other crypto forums) reward world-class bounty hunters with a percentage of the total amount of coins stolen, which can amount to $3.6m or more.
Since bigger thefts mean bigger rewards for bounty hunters, crypto-thieves are painting ever-larger targets on their backs.
DOG the crypto hunter
12 years in, Twitter finally turns a profit
Yesterday, the 12-year-old social media network posted their Q4 earnings -- and for the first time ever, they put up a modest profit.
As we anticipated back in October, the company was in the green ($91m) for the quarter, on a reported revenue of $732m (a 2% bump from this time last year).
Chalk it up to targeted ads
This newly minted profitability is largely thanks to improvement in the click-through rate of Twitter’s targeted ads, led by machine learning advancements.
Twitter also benefited from a boost in global growth: while revenue was down 8% in the US, it shot up 17% in the rest of the world, including a 34% increase in Japan.
It’s about damn time
Twitter has experienced a bit of a stagnation in recent years and has suffered slower than expected user growth.
When the company went public in 2013, they had 218m users; now they’re at 330m -- the same as Q3, and only a 4% gain YoY. By comparison, Facebook went from 845m to 2.13B users in a similar timeframe.
Regardless, the company’s profitability excited investors: stock jumped as high as $34 per share (a 20% hike) after the earnings call.
On Wednesday, someone posted what experts recognized to be source code for “iBoot,” a main component of the iPhone’s operating system, on the software development platform GitHub.
Apple sent GitHub a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown request, confirming the code is currently in circulation -- potentially opening the door for hackers to find vulnerabilities in iOS.
iBoot code is essentially the first line of defense when booting up an iPhone. According to Ars Technica, if someone found a vulnerability in the iBoot code, they could “theoretically” break the security check and upload malware or emulate iOS on other devices.
Which, to the layman, seems like a big deal -- but Apple says the source code that was leaked is outdated, meaning newer versions wouldn’t be affected.
It could also be used for good
Jonathan Levin, the author of a series of books on iOS and Mac OSX internals, called the leak “huge,” speculating the code is currently making rounds in the underground iOS jailbreaking community.
Apple has led a bug bounty program in the past, offering researchers up to $200k to expose vulnerabilities in the boot process -- meaning this leak could be another opportunity to strengthen security, depending on who gets their hands on it.
Chinese police officers now have high-tech “smart specs” that ID criminals
After installing the world’s largest state-owned surveillance system (100m+ CCTV cameras), China is now equipping its police officers with suspect-identifying “smart glasses.”
It’s the latest advancement in China’s big push to integrate facial recognition tech into the daily life of its citizens.
Big brother rocks shades
The technology in the glasses can recognize suspects from snapshots of a crowd, and can pick out faces from any angle. Once captured, images are run through a database of 10,000 suspects -- and a match can be determined in just 100 milliseconds.
As reported by a state-owned Chinese media company, these smart shades have already helped with the arrest of 7 suspects in an ongoing case.
Facial recognition: Big in China
Chinese citizens can use their “faceprint” to do everything from enter college dorms to board airplanes.
Certain applications of this tech have been called into question. In Muslim-dominated villages, for instance, the government is experimenting with facial-recognition systems that can detect when a person of interest wanders more than 1k feet from designated “safe areas.”
The country is working hard to develop the technology to match someone’s face with their ID with 90% accuracy. That 10% margin for error seems a little high for criminal ID, though -- especially considering China’s severe penal code.