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Tor Developers Pursuing ‘Anonymous Tokens’ to Stop Hacks and DoS Attacks

Tokens could be included in a users traffic request, which would allow websites accessible through the Tor network to “intelligently prioritize which requests it answers.”

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The privacy-oriented browser Tor (The Onion Router) is researching ways “anonymous tokens” could counter Denial of Service (DoS) attacks – a pressing issue for the network. 

Tor has been subject to DoS attacks, degrading its performance. While there are technical fixes Tor has worked to implement, the nature of the network and the anonymity of the traffic on it make it particularly susceptible to DoS attacks. 

In August, Tor introduced the idea of using anonymous tokens to counter such attacks, allowing them to differentiate between “good” and “bad” traffic, and to avoid implementing user accounts, which most sites and networks use to identify traffic and bad actors. 

During last week’s “State of the Onion” address, when the Tor team gave updates on projects and forecasted new developments for 2021, the team reinforced their interest in developing these anonymous tokens. 

“Memory is an amazing thing,” said George Kadianakis, a Tor Network team developer. “It allows us to experience the world, remember the things we’ve been to and remember the nice food we ate.

“It’s also particularly important in our digital life. At Tor, we don’t have the concept of memory. The Tor network does not keep track of its clients, does not use cookies or anything, and every claim that comes in and comes out we forget about it. So Tor is memoryless. It’s stateless. And this fact causes some issues.”

A DoS attack is one such issue. 

What is a DoS attack?

A DoS attack disrupts a website by initiating thousands of connections to it, overwhelming it and causing it to crash. 

Tor is particularly vulnerable to such attacks because of its emphasis on anonymity. While a normal network would have your identity tied to an account or the like, Tor does not; therefore, it doesn’t have a great way of differentiating malicious traffic from non-malicious traffic. 

The process of navigating the Tor network to secure a connection between a server and remote user also requires intensive work by a central processing unit (CPU), which can get to a state where it’s maxed out and unable to accept new traffic, a feature DoS attacks exploit. 

Read more: Tor Project Launches Membership Program to Boost Agility, Funds

“The attacks exploit the inherent asymmetric nature of the onion service rendezvous protocol, and that makes it a hard problem to defend against,” reads a post that examines solutions to DoS attacks.

“During the rendezvous protocol, an evil client can send a small message to the service while the service has to do lots of expensive work to react to it,” the post reads. “This asymmetry opens the protocol to DoS attacks, and the anonymous nature of our network makes it extremely challenging to filter the good clients from the bad.”

How anonymous tokens could help

Rather than implementing accounts or cookies, both of which would undermine Tor’s mission, Kadianakis proposed tokens that could be included in a user’s traffic request. These tokens would allow websites accessible through the Tor network to “intelligently prioritize which requests it answers.”

“We could use anonymous tokens. Tokens are a part of the internet that use blockchains and other protocols like Cloudflare’s Privacy Pass,” saids Kadianakis during the presentation. “It’s basically like a train ticket. By having a train ticket you can show that you’ve done some effort to acquire it, but it doesn’t tie to your identity. So if you drop it on the floor and someone else picks it up they cannot impersonate you and they don’t know who you are.”

The scenario he envisioned is one where the onion service could issue these tokens and give them to clients who have already demonstrated their trustworthiness (in ways yet to be determined). These trusted clients would then give their tokens to the onion service when they connect and, in doing so, get service before an untrusted user (eg., a potential attacker). 

Read more: ‘Digital Mercenaries’: Why Blockchain Analytics Firms Have Privacy Advocates Worried

Kadianakis said tokens could also be used to design a secure name system so people can register names for their own use with tickets, which could help encourage audience activities. 

“The anonymous nature of our network makes it challenging to filter the good clients from the bad. There is no one established attacker, but rather an ongoing challenge,” according to Isabela Bagueros, executive director of the Tor Project.

“That is why we are focused on investigating methods to rate limit or otherwise reduce the ability of clients to make large numbers of connections to an onion service without violating a client or service’s privacy,” she said. 

Users could also apply their tokens toward acquiring private bridges and exit nodes, which would potentially provide additional security. Private bridges are how users access the Tor network in places where censors have blocked access to public Tor relays by blocking their IP addresses. They have a collection of private bridges that are not publicly available; these can be handed out a few at a time to clients in order to impede enumeration and IP address-blocking by censors.

Tokens may help with one crypto hack

Another attack vector for hackers are “relays.” Relays route traffic and obscure traceable and identifiable IP addresses, with an exit relay being the final one that connects users to a site. 

As CoinDesk reported in August, a hacker was using his or her position as a “major exit relay host to stage sophisticated person-in-the-middle attacks, stripping websites of encryption and giving her/him full unrestricted access to traffic passing through her/his servers.” The hacker was using this access to steal cryptocurrencies. 

When asked what impact tokens might have on mitigating such an attack, Bagueros said a token-based approach could improve usability in a way that makes phishing attacks like this infeasible, but it all depends on the integration. 

Read More: Start9 Labs Pitches a Private At-Home Server. And It Works

“Another approach to this issue, one that we’re already taking, is to strengthen the onion services ecosystem and encourage more service and sites to use onions, as onion services do not use exit nodes and therefore bypass this kind of attack completely,” she said in an email to CoinDesk. 

For exits and exit safety, the Tor Project is investigating ways of creating a trusted set of exit relays with known and verified operators, to reduce the incidence of attack from exit usage, said Bagueros.  

“We are also looking into requiring captcha-issued tokens in order to use these exits. In this way, these exits should be used less for automated scraping and spam, which should reduce the rate at which their IP addresses are banned from sites, and generally improve their IP address reputation,” she said. 

The team is still researching tokens and does not have a timeline for development. 

Proof-of-Work

Another approach the original blog post lays out is a proof-of-work system to acquire tokens. 

Onion services can ask the client to solve a proof-of-work puzzle before they’re allowed to connect. 

“With the right proof-of-work algorithm and puzzle difficulty, this can make it impossible for an attacker to overwhelm the service, while still making it reachable by normal clients with only a small delay,” read the post. 

In the case of DDoS attacks, Kadianakis said Tor could employ proof-of-work tokens created by the clients themselves and sent directly to the service.

Read more: How a Hacker Launched a Decentralized Network to Track Internet Censorship

“Proof-of-work is one way to make it more expensive for clients to consume service resources in bulk that we’re investigating,” said Bagueros. “We’re also looking into … a token that signifies the quantity of work spent compactly without impacting privacy.”

Tor has not yet found a privacy-oriented blockchain it sees as sufficient for this, but remains hopeful one will be found. 

In terms of other ways of earning these tokens, Tor lays out a number of options, such as allowing connected sites to award tokens to trusted users or giving users tokens with every donation they make to the project. It is also in the midst of brainstorming what additional benefits tokens could offer, how they could interact with each other and what wallets for them might look like, including a Tor Browser wallet integration.   

There is currently no discussion about monetizing tokens. 

Disclosure

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/tor-anonymous-tokens-stop-hacks-dos-attacks

Blockchain

Crypto Irrational, but Not in Bubble, Says UBS Analyst

Not your grandma’s bubble The crypto market jumps back and forth hundreds of billions of dollars a day. In recent months, the net movement has been upward. When BTC’s price passed $20,000, few thought that it would double in only a few weeks’ time. But don’t sell the farm just yet. UBS analyst Mark Haefele … Continued

The post Crypto Irrational, but Not in Bubble, Says UBS Analyst appeared first on BeInCrypto.

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The crypto currency market has surged past a $1 trillion market cap. But is this fair valuation or is it a bubble? UBS thinks they know the answer.

Not your grandma’s bubble

The crypto market jumps back and forth hundreds of billions of dollars a day. In recent months, the net movement has been upward. When BTC’s price passed $20,000, few thought that it would double in only a few weeks’ time.

But don’t sell the farm just yet. UBS analyst Mark Haefele said that while the risk of the bubble may be real, everything is (probably) going to be okay.

In a note on Friday Jan. 15, 2021, Mr. Haefele said that, “all bubble preconditions are in place.” Financing costs are at record lows. New participants are entering the market (perhaps from Robinhood?), and low interest rates have left market participants thirsty for returns.

The result is that investors have nowhere to turn but equities (and cryptocurrency). With interest rates negative in parts of Europe, and CD’s scraping the bottom of the barrel, not investing in equities is little better than holding cash.

That’s not to mention the stimulus money pumping out of the USgovernment, to businesses and investors’ pockets, and then back into businesses, valuations and skyrocketing.

Inflated currency, but inflated valuation?

Haefele said that crypto markets, as well as IPOs and SPACs, are the hottest they’ve been, “in two decades.” Investors eagerly awaited recent IPO launches by Airbnb (which jumped 155% on the first day of trading) and DoorDash (which opened 78% higher than launch price) despite the lull in the hospitality industry.

SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies) are companies that do not have any operations, but work like a shell allowing investors to buy-in on private equity. These entities are often used in acquisitions and mergers.

Nonetheless, Haefele says that the “irrational exuberance” seen in these markets is not out of control.

The chief investment officer of global wealth management says the likes of Guggenheim’s Scott Minerd have predicted Bitcoin may hit $400,000. Despite this incredible jump in price, almost 10x the current Bitcoin valuation, a bubble has yet to set in.

On a Historical Backdrop

Haefele points out that the overall price growth of the market is driven by large-cap companies. Take out the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon and other major tech giants, and the S&P 500 only rose 6% in 2020. This means that room for growth across many sectors remains.

Likewise, taking into account low interest rates and other indicators, stocks should be valued high, and they still look cheap compared to bonds.

Still, the executive warned about buying into narratives. Though sector narratives may be accurate, they do not always predict the price of individual companies.

Remember 2000

Haefele gave the example of the dotcom bubble in 2000. The narrative that the internet would change life as we know it was spot on. That didn’t stop the industry from crashing. In this way, narratives can be, “deceptive.”

Crypto Investors Chris Burnsike on Stocks vs Crypto. Twitter.

One can only be reminded of the promises of bankless, decentralized finance and egalitarian equity promised by blockchain technology. Just because a technology may change the world, it does not mean individual companies or coins are actually worth their valuations.

Finding Alpha

Haefele reiterated that the excitement was based in fact. He said investors may catch the upside of the IPO/SPAC/Crypto trends, but they must diversify for safety’s sake.

Of course, there are few industries with great potential for growth. He pointed out fintech (which includes crypto), greentech, and healthtech. UBS is also bullish on emerging markets, he said.

Since cryptocurrency is international, permissionless, and new, one could argue it is emerging.

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Harry Leeds is a writer, editor, and journalist who spent much time in the former USSR covering food, cryptocurrencies, and healthcare. He also translates poetry and edits the literary magazine mumbermag.me.

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Source: https://beincrypto.com/crypto-irrational-but-not-in-bubble-says-ubs-analyst/

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Bitcoin Worth $140 Billion Lost Says UK Council

Keys lost, coins lost The UK’s National Cyber Security Council broached the topic of unreachable BTC in its weekly threat report. The report attributes the loss to password or key deletion caused by mistaken hard drive disposal or reformatting.  They go on to cite the recent story of a programmer in the United States who … Continued

The post Bitcoin Worth $140 Billion Lost Says UK Council appeared first on BeInCrypto.

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The UK’s National Cyber Security Council says over $140 billion worth of Bitcoin is “lost or inaccessible” in its weekly threat report.

Keys lost, coins lost

The UK’s National Cyber Security Council broached the topic of unreachable BTC in its weekly threat report. The report attributes the loss to password or key deletion caused by mistaken hard drive disposal or reformatting. 

They go on to cite the recent story of a programmer in the United States who lost the password to a hard drive that contained roughly $200 million in Bitcoin.

The programmer has a couple of attempts at guessing the password remaining before he is permanently locked out. 

Stories like this are common in the UK too. Computer engineer James Howells recently offered his local council a share of the Bitcoins stored in a hard drive he threw away if they help him excavate a landfill site. 

The Bitcoins on the hard drive are worth over $312 million, which could mean Newport Council receiving a $78 million collection fee.

A liquidity crisis

Users lost access to 20% of all bitcoins in existence, according to a blog post from cryptocurrency data company Chainalysis.

The report says that the majority of these losses occur because of misplaced private keys or erroneous transactions (transactions made to the wrong address). 

At the top cryptocurrency’s current value, this represents over $134 billion in unrecoverable value. 

As the bitcoin in circulation nears 89% of its total supply, some in the cryptocurrency community forecast an impending liquidity crisis. Demand for the top cryptocurrency, they say, will far outstrip its supply. 

Recent investments from large institutions such as Grayscale and MicroStrategy compound the potential crisis. Grayscale recently revealed it owns just over 3% of all the Bitcoins in existence.

Some in the community warn of the effect on decentralization. Others point out that such a crisis will only lead Bitcoin to future highs. For those who lost considerable Bitcoin fortunes, this comes as little consolation. 

However, there are an increasing number of custodial service providers who purport to offer a way for cryptocurrency owners to store their holdings with ease of mind.

Are custodial services the answer?

Maybe. Custody services like that offered by Coinbase, put the task of storing and securing cryptocurrencies into the hands of professionals. 

This bears a resemblance to the traditional approach to storing value. People trust institutions such as banks and funds to use their in-house expertise to keep their savings safe.

One could argue that in the cryptocurrency space, where things can become quite technical, there is even more of a need for professional handling what sometimes could be massive fortunes. 

However, this contrasts starkly with Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision. Bitcoin’s principal purpose is to wrestle away the control such institutions have over an individual’s finance. 

This motivates a common saying in the crypto-world that warns users against reliance on centralized exchanges; not your keys, not your coins. 

Nevertheless, 20% of the top cryptocurrency’s supply is lost. Maybe a slow transition between trusting third parties and trusting ourselves is needed before individuals can truly be in control.

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Emmanuel entered the cryptocurrency space in 2013 as a cryptocurrency broker. He is a crypto-enthusiast, entrepreneur, and investor, who has built and led several projects and communities in the space. Interests include: DeFI, CBDCs and investing.

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Source: https://beincrypto.com/bitcoin-worth-140-billion-lost-says-uk-council/

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Litecoin, VeChain, Ethereum Classic Price Analysis: 17 January

Litecoin struggled to break above its current resistance, and sellers pushed prices towards $133.03 support. VeChain retested $0.026 and moved lower as buyers struggled to maintain control of the pric

The post Litecoin, VeChain, Ethereum Classic Price Analysis: 17 January appeared first on AMBCrypto.

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Litecoin struggled to break above its current resistance, and sellers pushed prices towards $133.03 support. VeChain retested $0.026 and moved lower as buyers struggled to maintain control of the price while ETC traded within a restricted channel and relied on broader market cues for its path forward.

Litecoin [LTC]

Source: LTC/USD, TradingView

Most of Litecoin’s gains since the start of the month were negated after Bitcoin’s correction dragged LTC towards its $124.7 support. In fact, LTC’s weekly fall of over 22% was the highest among the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap. At the time of writing, LTC’s price was trading between $133.03 and $150.2 and seemed bearish. On the flip side, a broader market rally could boost its price above the upper ceiling and push them towards $155.5.

The Relative Strength Index was moving lower from the neutral zone, a sign of the price being bearish.

The Bollinger Bands indicated that the price could remain constricted over the next few sessions, as the bands were compressed.

VeChain [VET]

Source: VET/USD, TradingView

After a breakout from the $0.026 resistance, VeChain retested the level once again. For now, sellers seemed to be in control and the price moved back towards its $0.024 support. On the other hand, a bullish scenario could see prices head towards the next resistance mark at $0.030.

Although the Awesome Oscillator registered two points of bearishness, it indicated a potential shift of momentum towards the market bears.

Lastly, Chaikin Money Flow suggested that capital inflows could keep prices from falling below their present support level.

Ethereum Classic [ETC]

Source: ETC/USD, TradingView

At press time, Ethereum Classic was trading at $7.43, up 1.48 percent in the past 24 hours. Despite the move into green territory, ETC has been largely uneventful in the last few days. Prices have traded between a thin channel of $9.66 and $8.34, with momentum resting with neither the bulls nor the bears. The period of inactivity could perhaps be justified by slow growth in market leaders BTC and ETH, since the correction. A broader market trend could define a path forward for ETC, but for now, prices could continue to trade within their present channel.

The MACD was bearish-neutral as the red bars stayed below the zero line.

If the Stochastic RSI continued its trajectory into the oversold zone, and prices could fall and test the next support at $$7.77.

Source: https://ambcrypto.com/litecoin-vechain-ethereum-classic-price-analysis-17-january

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Bitcoin Cash Price Analysis: 17 January

Disclaimer: The findings of the following analysis are the sole opinions of the writer and should not be taken as investment advice Bitcoin Cash’s price has been noting a fall that began on the 16

The post Bitcoin Cash Price Analysis: 17 January appeared first on AMBCrypto.

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Disclaimer: The findings of the following analysis are the sole opinions of the writer and should not be taken as investment advice

Bitcoin Cash’s price has been noting a fall that began on the 16th of January and as the Bitcoin market fell under $35k, the BCH’s price has also mirrored this drop on the charts. At press time, BCH was trading at $473, however, it may note a further drop.

Bitcoin Cash one-hour chart

Source: BCHUSD on TradingView

The above chart indicated that the price of BCH has been sloping down within a descending channel, while the 50 moving average moves above the price bars. This highlighted the downtrend of the coin and the current price has remained close to the support at $472 with growing bearishness that could push the price even further down.

This provided the market an opportunity to short the asset, but as the price is already falling it may not provide a good enough margin to profit from.

Reasoning

As Bitcoin continued to fall lower, the BCH price is likely to mirror its price and fall by a larger margin. Meanwhile, the Awesome Oscillator suggested that the momentum had already shifted from favoring the short-term trend to favoring the long-term trend. As the selling continued, the momentum may favor the sellers even more, as has been highlighted by the indicator.

Meanwhile, the Awesome Oscillator suggested that the momentum had already short-term from favoring the short-term to the long-term. As the selling pressure increases the momentum may favor the sellers’ as noted earlier in the market.

Crucial levels

Entry: $472.48
Stop-Loss: $479.97
Take-Profit: $459.78
Risk-to-Reward: 1.7

Conclusion

As the market sides with the bears at the given time, the selling of BCH may increase. This could provide an opportunity to short and make a profit. The traders may want to enter the market as the coin breaches the support at $472, and the downward push may result in the asset’s value to hit the $459 price level.

Source: https://ambcrypto.com/bitcoin-cash-price-analysis-17-january

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