The leading cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies LTD., Has published through its research subsidiary a report where it has made public the global threats for April 2019, in which the malwares associated with cryptocurrency mining take all three positions honorary.
Also the report highlights the return to the list of the banking Trojan ‘Trickbot', a popular option among cybercriminals in the past and that has returned to the scene. The multi-purpose banking Trojans like this one allows the cyberdelicuentes financial gains through banking platform.
The increase in use of this Trojan had its highest moment on April 15, date coinciding with the payment of taxes online in the United States, spreading through Excel files that download the Trickbot and is distributed by networks and banks.
The three most common malware variants of the past month were cryptominers, the remaining seven of the top ten are multi-trojan trojans.
The three most wanted malicious programs of April 2019 were:
- Cryptoloot, uses the power of the CPU or GPU of the victim and the existing resources for the extraction of crypts, adds transactions to the blockchain and releases new currencies. Originally a competitor of Coinhive.
- XMRig: open source CPU mining software used to exploit the Monero cryptocurrency, which was first seen in May 2017.
Despite its prevalence, the company's researchers believe that criminals are diverting their focus from crypto mining. Several popular services used to attack users such as Coinhive, have closed coupled with the low performance of cryptocurrency prices.
In counterpart, Check Point indicates that trojans multipropositos have been increasing, by the way they steal private data and it is easier to request attractive rewards for blocking them.
Maya Horowitz, director of research and threat intelligence at the company said:
“As this malware is constantly changing, it is crucial to have a strong defense line against them with advanced threat prevention.”
The company also released a list of the three most wanted mobile malwares in April, with Triada leading the list for its damage to Android systems and the report concludes with the three most exploited vulnerabilities of the previous month that affect 44% of organizations at the same level. world.
Crypto Media Site CCN Announces It’s Shutting Down After Latest Google Update
Crypto media giant CCN has made the sudden decision to shut down. CCN’s Director and Founder, Jonas Borchgrevink, announced the news in a blog post earlier today.
CCN claims that the latest Google update, the June 2019 Core Update that rolled out on June 3, has caused website traffic to plummet. Mobile visits to the website are down 70%, and CCN’s advertising revenue has dropped 90%.
“Our visibility on Google dropped from 2.1 to less than 0.6,” explains CCN. “You might say we ought not to face any issues since we’ve been at those levels and lower, in the past. What you need to realize is that we have added more people to the team, both full-timers and part-timers.”
CCN does not want to downsize the team and “break the morale”. The money they make on advertisements “was directly funneled back into growing the team.” As a result, they need to shut down.
CCN claims their stories “are no longer visible on Google”, and that “Google has decided to basically ‘shut down’ CCN”. Google’s latest update has caused certain stories to no longer appear on search results, and CCN no longer appears in crypto news story searches.
Is Google Targeting Crypto Sites?
It’s possible Google is targeting crypto sites, punishing websites for focusing exclusively on bitcoin and other crypto-related topics.
As evidence, CCN mentions that CoinDesk has experienced a 34.6% drop in traffic after the latest update, and that CoinTelegraph’s traffic has dropped 21.1% on mobile.
Meanwhile, an industry source interviewed by CCN claims that popular search crypto queries on Google will be populated by “outdated top-stories from dinosaurs like Bloomberg, FXstreet or Coindesk” instead of the latest, most relevant news stories from crypto media websites.
Clickbait Websites Have Taken a Hit
Although crypto websites have been affected by Google’s June 2019 Core Update, other sites have been affected as well. Many “clickbait”-style websites seem to have been targeted during the update.
Other sites targeted by the latest update include Mercola.com, DailyMail.co.uk, NuffieldHealth.com, DrAxe.com, Prevention.com, and other websites.
The update has also punished websites that appear to have no connection to clickbait stories or crypto news: NFL.com was hit with a 24% drop in traffic, for example, and Iceland.co.uk’s traffic dropped 20% as well.
Vimeo.com, CNTraveller.com, and Sparknotes.com were other websites hit after the update.
Of course, as with all Google search algorithm updates, other websites have experienced a gain in traffic. Mirror.co.uk and thesun.co.uk both experienced a 90% or higher gain in visibility, for example, and a 54% gain in traffic. Tumblr.com, GettyImages.co.uk, and VeryWellHealth.com also experienced similar gains.
Nobody Knows Why Google’s Ranking Algorithm is Targeting Certain Websites
The CCN blog post announcing the shutdown runs through a list of reasons why website traffic may be down.
Barry Schwartz recently wrote a blog post analyzing the drop in traffic to The Daily Mail’s website:
“There is a lot of speculation floating around this drop in Google visibility for The Daily Mail’s website. People are speculating it has to do with the ads, the site speed, the content, the political slant, and so forth.”
Meanwhile, other SEO experts have speculated that it’s part of the “Your Money Your Life” or “YMYL” trend at Google:
“Your website is the news website with articles focusing on the financial market. Perhaps Google can be ranked the website as Your Money Or Your Life – YMYL and the content and trustworthiness level of the website is defined by the recommendations Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness – EAT.”
Google reportedly categorizes certain pages as “Your Money or Your Life” pages because they affect the reader’s money or life in a significant way. Google holds these pages to a higher quality standard.
There’s even a theory that Google is targeting right-wing publications while promoting left-wing publications. The Daily Mail is seen as Britain’s most right-wing newspaper, for example, while the Mirror and the Guardian are both seen as two of the country’s most left-leaning.
CCN Has Operated Successfully Since 2013
The crazy thing about CCN shutting down is that they weren’t a low-quality, clickbait-style news website. The site had existed since 2013. They were cited by major publications. They didn’t post sponsored content masquerading as real articles.
Sure, there were some low-quality articles on the site mixed in alongside the authoritative news pieces, but not enough to have the site get whacked by Google this hard.
CCN also had the highest Alexa ranking in the crypto industry, ranked as one of the top 800 most-visited websites prior to the Google Core Update, and among the world’s top 1900 most-viewed websites.
In 2013, CCN was a one-man show. In 2019, the website’s team grew to 60+ people.
One of the biggest praises for CCN came last year when a journalist from Breakermag reached out to crypto media sites to run a sponsored story masquerading as a regular article.
CCN was one of a handful of crypto websites that refused to run a sponsored story as a regular article, no matter how much money was offered.
What’s Next for CCN?
It seems dramatic to shut down an entire media site just a week after a Google update – even if that Google update was catastrophic for traffic.
However, CCN insists it’s not being dramatic: the site is legitimately shutting down.
CCN is using its latest blog post to protest Google’s monopoly on the internet. They’re encouraging readers to share their message, share their demands, and “rally against the draconian power Google has”.
Meanwhile, CCN’s writers will all move over to HVY.com, described as “a news platform made by and for journalists.”
You can read the full blog post announcing the shutdown here.
What the future holds for the crypto space as Firefox Quantum fights crypto jacking
The illicit hijacking of processing power for mining otherwise known as crypto jacking has been a terrific menace that has ravaged the world if crypto currency for quite some time now and it is also noteworthy to state that this practice although seemingly harmless has in one way or another lead to a decrease in the number of prospective investors. This practice which essentially involves taking advantage of unsuspecting internet users by making use of their spare computing powers to facilitate mining of crypto currencies has also over time gotten various attempts at stopping it.
One of these attempts has been made known to the public very recently and it is known the Firefox Quantum, it is the latest version of an open source internet browser which was created by Mozilla and was designed specifically for the purpose of combating this exploitative practice that has ravaged this space. It's already general knowledge that Mozilla had previously made efforts to warn in an official blog posts that websites could be embedded with features that can deploy scripts to launch a crypto miner on a users device without them knowing. This can be seen as a very welcomed development given that these activities are so subtle that even users who are aware of it can neither know the websites that could be free of these illegal activities nor know the exact measures to take to prevent being taken advantage of, knowing that this development is coming from the makers of one of the most recognised internet browsers gives a very strong feeling of assurance.
Mozilla which has partnered with online privacy company Disconnect has successfully created a crypto mining blocker for their browser there by making it more reliable to use by crypto currency enthusiasts. Users now have the liberty to toggle in an opt-in feature which eventually blocks crypto jackers from taking advantage of spare computing power to mine cryptocurrencies.
Although an announcement was made earlier on that Mozilla was going to block off every form of crypto jacking in a new browser which was supposed to be released in August 2018, Firefox Quantum is also designed to curb the so-called “fingerprinting” which is also another vice that threatens the security of users on the internet by making some sort of digital fingerprint of a user and monitors their activities.
Similar efforts have also been made before now to curb this illicit activities that continuously threatens the safety of users on the internet as It could also be recalled that the cybersecurity company MalwareBytes has on the 23rd of April called crypto jacking essentially extinct all of these go to show that not only are serious efforts being made to ensure the safety of crypto currency enthusiasts on the internet but that with these efforts there's some level of hope for the future of crypto currencies.
Inevitably the malicious persons within the crypto space just like in any other space would no doubt continuously look for loopholes to exploit in the system. But then the joy now lies in the fact that these acts are not left unchecked. It is therefore possible to say that the decentralisation that cryptocurrencies seek to achieve has been further fostered as different bodies can be seen making contribution to making the space safer for all.
Ethereum Whales Own 33% of ETH total Circulating Supply
Whales have been described as a a small group of people who control a substantial amount of a cryptocurrency’s total supply. While whales may not be active in terms of transactions on the blockchain, their wallets hold enough of the cryptocurrency to “control the market” as some people allege. A recent report reveals just 376 whales control 33% of the 106 million circulating ETH. This was recently discovered in a research by Chainanalysis.
The research revealed that among the top 500 ETH holders (whales), 124 were services while the remaining 376 were individuals who traditionally hold their digital assets in cold wallets and not on exchanges. These 376 were found to control the 33% of ETH in circulation. Although the actual amount of ETH was not mentioned, that could be a major fraction as there are millions of ETH holders worldwide.
The research also found something interesting which is contrary to popular belief that whales control prices. However, it did confirm that whales can cause volatility to increase if they suddenly start moving their enormous wealth on the blockchain.
Another interesting find from the research is that the amount of ETH controlled by whales has actually reduced from 47% in 2016 to the current 33%. Chainanalysis considers this an improvement and an indication that the Ethereum market is maturing and less will be controlled by whales as the market matures even further.
Also as already established, the research confirmed that Ethereum price always moves at the same pace with Bitcoin’s, and funds sent to whales do not affect the asset price or volatility. In summary, the firm stated:
“Although it seems that concerns about the impact of whales on market prices have been overstated, there are still important caveats to our research. We cannot rule out the possibility that whales can impact price changes within single days based on outlier events. Our research analyzed the general impact of flows from Ether whales, and did not exclusively look at the impact of outlier events.”
Meanwhile Ethereum has been at the forefront of altcoin recovery but has lately been taken over by Stellar XLM as the altcoins retrace a bit. The market is expected to favour alts as long as Bitcoin dominance continues to dip as it is doing right now. Otherwise, things may return to the former state for the altcoins while Bitcoin continues to soar.