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Pegasus Spyware: Is Your Crypto Secure?

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08/03/2021 | Blog posts

The following article summarizes the technical blog recently published by the Ledger Donjon team. You can click here to read it.

Software programs designed to hack our personal devices are getting more and more sophisticated. The Pegasus spyware scandal highlights the threat this software poses to our technology and information. 

Spyware have also gained the attention of the crypto industry, as an increasing number of users and investors rely on software wallets running on unsafe computers and smartphones. Web3 digital assets, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, should not be stored on Web2 devices (laptops and smartphones). This article explains why.

“Zero-days” & “zero-clicks” spyware proliferates

In 2020, investigative reporters revealed that tens of thousands of citizens, activists, and political leaders were targeted by clients of the spyware maker, NSO Group. Recently, the spyware became a true diplomatic scandal with the revelation that 14 heads of States and governments were former targets, including President Macron of France and King Mohammed V of Morocco. The spyware provided full access to their smartphones.

How did this spyware become such an insidious surveillance tool? Simply because of a mix of “zero-day” and “zero-click” features. But what does that mean, exactly? 

A “zero-day” attack occurs when hackers exploit a vulnerability in an app or device unknown to the vendor of the target software. In the Pegasus spyware case, entry points are messaging apps (iMessage, WhatsApp, SMS…). 

On the other hand, a “zero-click” attack exploits vulnerabilities without requiring a target to click anywhere. These vulnerabilities gave the attacker almost complete access to targeted devices and their data: camera, microphone, geolocation, images, conversations, etc. 

A “zero-day zero-click attack” is a combination of the two above. Worried, yet?

These attacks harm your digital assets, too 

Unfortunately, “zero-day” and “zero-click” attacks are not limited to Pegasus spyware. If you thought your software wallets were inherently secure, think again. The following videos show how easily our Ledger Donjon Team was able to hack smartphones and access the seed phrases of MetaMask, Coinbase, and Blockchain.com software wallets.

The next video simulates a malware that steals the user password entered by the victim. It is then used to decrypt the Electrum wallet data and to display the seed.

The following video highlights malware disguised as a fake Bitcoin ticker widget. Malware exploits a device vulnerability to exfiltrate the encrypted seed to a remote server. The server then bruteforces the password to decrypt the seed: 

The next video shows an equivalent process with a Coinbase Wallet:

This last video demonstrates spyware targeting a Blockchain.com wallet. Once user has authenticated using the victim fingerprint, encryption key is unlocked and wallet data is decrypted: 

Overall, the process is actually quite simple. The hacker sends you a message without you being notified. The message exploits a vulnerability allowing the attackers to spy on your app and exfiltrate your seed phrase through the internet. The hacker then sends the seed back to their own computer. No click is needed and it’s a malicious exploit, to say the least. 

As for your crypto? Gone.

The lesson is clear: don’t put your Web3 digital assets on Web2 devices like laptops and smartphones! They’re not secure by design, meaning they run on software programs (iOS or Android) that don’t allow you to leave your belongings in a safe enclave

Why safety in crypto needs to be hardware-based?

The crypto universe is full of treasure, but one’s adventure should ALWAYS be safe. Here’s why our hardware wallets, Ledger Nano S and Nano X, are the most secure storage solutions for your digital assets:

  • First, they protect you against malware, by design. Our hardware wallets are independent devices that sign transactions on their own. The cryptographic materials of private keys always stay inside the device. They are never sent to the application they communicate with. Hence, your keys are kept offline where malware can’t access them. 
  • Second, our devices embed a screen allowing you to verify your actions when you interact with your secret keys. When you make transactions on a mobile phone or desktop computer, malware can access your information or even swap/modify your addresses. Our on-device authentications are very efficient countermeasures.

Offline keys and on-device authentications are critical tools for fully securing digital assets on hardware devices. 

Conclusion:

As cryptocurrencies become more common, attacks against wallets will, unfortunately, become more and more sophisticated. At Ledger, we aim to bring you the most secure experience when managing your digital assets.



PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.ledger.com/blog/pegasus-spyware-is-your-crypto-safe

Blockchain

How to Find Crypto Exchanges for Safe Transactions

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As a result of the Covid-19 epidemic, global markets have begun to appreciate the potential of cryptocurrency. Yet, it was previously seen as too volatile and fringe to embrace any sizeable corporate body or company. 

You can buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies on top crypto exchanges. You can’t get or sell digital assets unless you have access to a cryptocurrency exchange online. 

Where to find the best crypto exchanges with a fair conversion rate? Look at the list of crypto exchanges at https://coincub.com/. You can see a calculator where you can find out which converter you need to choose depending on how much you need to swap for 1 coin and your location. This way, you can see a chart with many converters that may suit your needs for safe transferring.

Choosing the proper crypto exchange for both novice and experienced advanced crypto traders has been difficult. When you find that one, you can be sure you are safe! 

What to Look for to Find the Best Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Most exchanges primarily allow you to convert Bitcoin, into other digital currencies, such as Ethereum or Litecoin. Your scope may vary when selecting an exchange to convert money for crypto. You may prefer an exchange that supports particular cryptocurrencies, trading pairings, and extra features like margin trading or over-the-counter (OTC) transactions.

How to find an exchange that satisfies your fundamental needs? Consider the following aspects to take into account:

  • Security. By far, one of the essential elements of a transaction is safety. If an exchange is not secure, your cash might be stolen, rendering any other benefits it provides useless. No one likes to lose money; therefore, consider the following factors in this regard;
  • Technology. The web URL of the top crypto exchanges should begin with HTTPS. Two-factor authentication should be used for login security. Customer deposits should be kept offline in what is known as “cold storage.” Auditing tools that monitor exchange activities 24/7 and send SMS with email notifications provide exchange clients additional security guarantees. For optimum protection, allow your IP address or withdrawal wallet addresses;
  • Legal considerations. Choose an exchange from the same nation since this can help you comply with regulatory changes. It should be noted that certain exchanges only support a restricted number of countries;
  • Transparency. The most trusted crypto exchanges reveal addresses, teams, cold storage addresses or assist in the verification of their reserves in other ways, such as audit information;
  • Liquidity. The more liquid a specific exchange is, the larger the trade volume. Liquidity allows transactions to be completed more quickly, simply, and without coping with price fluctuation. Check to determine whether an exchange offers “locked-in” pricing, which assures you the price at the time of your transfer sessions even if it does not settle right away;
  • Costs. Examine all of the fees that an exchange charges. They’re typically less than 1% of each transaction and may drop as your trading volume grows. Examine the withdrawal costs. Some exchanges are known to charge exorbitant withdrawal fees for specific cryptocurrencies. Check the deposit fees as well.

Ultimately, keep in mind that crypto and its infrastructure are still in the early stages of development so that things might change fast. Numerous decentralized exchanges are already in the works, and many experts believe they’ll permanently alter existing exchanges.

Furthermore, laws may be imposed, and new technology or issues may emerge. So keep up with the news and stay informed. The best cryptocurrency exchange is unique to each individual, so conduct your research and be cautious while doing so.

Source: Plato Data Intelligence

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Blockchain

Pound pauses after strong week

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The British pound is slightly lower in the Monday session. GBP/USD is currently trading at 1.3724, down 0.15% on the day. The currency rose 0.98% last week, its best weekly performance since late August.

BoE’s Bailey hints at rate hike

The BoE continues to signal that it is preparing to raise interest rates shortly. The Bank has been sending a stream of hawkish messages to the markets, with Governor Bailey and other policymakers hinting that a rate hike is on its way shortly. On Sunday, Bailey said that inflation would rise higher and last longer due to the surge in energy prices, and that the central bank “will have to act” via monetary policy in order to deal with the risk of high inflation. The BoE has projected that inflation will climb over 4%, which is more than twice its target. In order to curb inflation, the BoE may respond with a series of rate hikes, which could kick off as early as November.

This would be a highly significant move, as the BoE would become the first major central bank to raise rates since the start of the Covid pandemic in early 2020. With the Bank holding its next policy meeting on November 4th, any additional hawkish comments from BoE policymakers will raise expectations that the November meeting will be a live one.

Rate fever is also rising across the pond. Last week, the FOMC minutes indicated that the Fed expects to taper its bond purchases in November or December. The minutes noted that the Fed would reduce the USD 120 billion/ month gradually, until the programme was completely terminated by July 2022. The markets have brought forward the pricing of a rate hike from December 2022 to September 2022, projecting a rate hike shortly after the tapering is complete.

.

GBP/USD Technical Analysis

  • 1.3822 is the next resistance line, followed by the round number of 1.3900
  • There is support at 1.3618. Below, there is support at 1.3492

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Kenny Fisher

A highly experienced financial market analyst with a focus on fundamental analysis, Kenneth Fisher’s daily commentary covers a broad range of markets including forex, equities and commodities. His work has been published in several major online financial publications including Investing.com, Seeking Alpha and FXStreet. Based in Israel, Kenny has been a MarketPulse contributor since 2012.
Kenny Fisher
Kenny Fisher

Latest posts by Kenny Fisher (see all)

Source: https://www.marketpulse.com/20211018/pound-pauses-after-strong-week/

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Blockchain

Oil rises on coal, gold under pressure

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Coal lifts oil in Asia

Hong Kong coal futures have leapt 9.0% higher this morning, meaning that the China energy crunch has made its way back to the front of investors minds. That has lifted oil prices in Asia as well, with Brent crude surging 0.80% higher, and WTI leaping by 1.0%.

On Friday, oil prices continued to grind higher, with no sign of any inclination to open the pumps by OPEC+ or announcements by the US government on SPR releases. Brent crude finished 0.90% higher at USD 84.90, and WTI finished 1.25% higher at USD 82.50 a barrel. In Asia, Brent crude has risen to USD 85.65, and WTI has risen to USD 83.40 a barrel as coal futures rocket into space.

With no signs of the China energy crunch alleviating soon, and with the rest of northern Asia and Europe competing for scarce energy supplies, particularly gas, the price environment for oil remains constructive. Even a US or China SPR release is only likely to provide temporary relief. A rapidly reopening aviation sector, with a slew of reopening announcements from ASEAN last week, will be another price pressure point.

Brent crude should now target the October 2019 high at USD 86.80 and onto USD 90.00 barrel, with support at USD 84.25 and USD 82.00 a barrel. WTI now has meaningful resistance until the USD 89.00 regions although I expect some sellers to appear above USD 86.00 a barrel initially. Only a fall through USD 82.00 a barrel changes the bullish outlook.

If Brent crude moves to USD 90.00 a barrel, I expect the pressure on OPEC+ to step up quite a few notches from the US White House. The huge weight of speculative long positioning in oil futures means a sudden USD 5-8 a barrel drop could still occur on a headline shock. However, with the underlying fundamentals for oil so strong, any large dip will reverse just as quickly.

Nervous specs cut long gold positions

Although the US dollar finished roughly neutral on Friday, higher yields across the US curve were enough to spook speculative longs in gold. That saw the predicted rush for the exit door, and gold fell rapidly by 1.60% to close at USD 1767.50 an ounce.  In early Asia, gold has recouped some losses, rising 0.25% to USD 1771.50 an ounce.

The price action on Friday speaks volumes about the gold market now. US dollar weakness earlier last week soured gold buying and drew in fast-money speculative longs. The equally rapid unwinding of most of those gains on Friday reinforces that much of gold’s rally was built on speculative hot air and that those longs have little to no appetite to wear any pain on those long positions. In the bigger picture, the lack of staying power from gold longs suggests that it will struggle to maintain any upward momentum, even if gold reaches USD 1800.00 an ounce. Up via the stairs, down via the sixth-floor window.

Firmer US yields, should they endure this week, will be a headwind for gold rallies, especially if it leads to US dollar strength. Gold has nearby support at USD 1765.00 followed by USD 1745.00 an ounce with failure reopening a test of USD 1720.00. Gold failed for the third day in a row at the 100 and 200-day moving averages (DMAs), today at USD 1795.40 and USD 1796.60 an ounce, formidable resistance.

In the bigger picture, only a rise through USD 1835.00 an ounce would trigger a multi-month inverse head-and-shoulders technical pattern and swing gold’s outlook back to positive. The risks remain firmly to the downside.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Jeffrey Halley

With more than 30 years of FX experience – from spot/margin trading and NDFs through to currency options and futures – Jeffrey Halley is OANDA’s senior market analyst for Asia Pacific, responsible for providing timely and relevant macro analysis covering a wide range of asset classes. He has previously worked with leading institutions such as Saxo Capital Markets, DynexCorp Currency Portfolio Management, IG, IFX, Fimat Internationale Banque, HSBC and Barclays. A highly sought-after analyst, Jeffrey has appeared on a wide range of global news channels including Bloomberg, BBC, Reuters, CNBC, MSN, Sky TV, Channel News Asia as well as in leading print publications including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He was born in New Zealand and holds an MBA from the Cass Business School.
Jeffrey Halley
Jeffrey Halley

Latest posts by Jeffrey Halley (see all)

Source: https://www.marketpulse.com/20211018/oil-rises-coal-gold-pressure/

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Blockchain

The US dollar treads water

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Dollar trading sideways

The US dollar continued to tread water versus the major currencies on Friday. The dollar index maintaining a 94.00 close for the third day in a row. EUR/USD remains unchanged at 1.1590, while sterling strength was offset by yen weakness in the index. Early selling pressure on the US dollar was alleviated as US yields firmed across the curve after the strong Retail Sales data on Friday.

While EUR/USD trades sideways at 1.1590, the sterling continues to rally versus both the greenback and the euro. GBP/USD rose by 0.56% to 1.3750 on Friday before easing to 1.3740 in Asia, despite hawkish rhetoric over the weekend by the BoE Governor. Sterling’s strength is based on ever-rising hiking expectations and a rally through 1.3775 opens a retest of 1.3900. Only a fall through 1.3700 changes the bullish outlook. USD/JPY rose 0.56% to 114.20 on Friday after resistance at 113.80 gave way. With US yields firming across the curve the only way was up for USD/JPY. In the absence of any haven buying of yen from domestic investors, USD/JPY remains at the mercy of the US/Japan rate differential and a test of 115.00 is likely this week.

Elsewhere, the improvement in investor sentiment on Friday after the Retail Sales data saw the US dollar mostly retreat. AUD/USD remained firm at 0.7410, but NZD/USD rose 0.55% to 0.7070 on RBNZ hiking expectations. Today’s New Zealand inflation print boosted the kiwi to a high of 0.7105, as that noise increased. However, all those gains have now gone as spiralling Covid-19 cases in Auckland have led to speculation that the Auckland region (New Zealand’s largest population centre) could re-enter level 4 lockdown this afternoon. A government announcement is expected at 1600 NZT. With a lot of speculative longs out there, NZD/USD could fall quickly to 0.7000 if a tightening of restrictions is announced.

Regional Asian currencies also enjoyed a positive back end of last week thanks to a weakening US dollar and some judicious intervention by a few regional central banks. The Malaysian ringgit and Indonesian rupiah have outperformed thanks to high energy and commodity prices as well firmer investor risk sentiment. This week looks rather less clear though as despite US equities rallying on Friday, US yields also firmed across the curve. If that status quo remains, or yields move higher, the pressure will once again come on ASEAN currencies as well as the yen and the won.

In the bigger picture, we are starting to see a pattern emerging in the developed market space of currency outperformance from those on a nearer-term hiking path. The key remains the Fed taper and the list of Fed speakers this week will probably give more clarity in this respect. Ever rising energy prices are also supportive of the US dollar. I am still expecting prolonged US dollar strength in Q4, although this week, may see more sideways action as speculation long US dollar open interest is culled.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Jeffrey Halley

With more than 30 years of FX experience – from spot/margin trading and NDFs through to currency options and futures – Jeffrey Halley is OANDA’s senior market analyst for Asia Pacific, responsible for providing timely and relevant macro analysis covering a wide range of asset classes. He has previously worked with leading institutions such as Saxo Capital Markets, DynexCorp Currency Portfolio Management, IG, IFX, Fimat Internationale Banque, HSBC and Barclays. A highly sought-after analyst, Jeffrey has appeared on a wide range of global news channels including Bloomberg, BBC, Reuters, CNBC, MSN, Sky TV, Channel News Asia as well as in leading print publications including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He was born in New Zealand and holds an MBA from the Cass Business School.
Jeffrey Halley
Jeffrey Halley

Latest posts by Jeffrey Halley (see all)

Source: https://www.marketpulse.com/20211018/us-dollar-treads-water/

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