$31M+ stolen in cryptocurrencies, new blockchain challenges & Japan sent a drone to space!

Bitcoin swings as civil war looms

As the cryptocurrencies slowly mature, problems arise and we are on the verge of a schism that could hurt Bitcoin.

The popularity of the financial technology has caused transactions to be processed slower, with some users complaining of having to wait three days or more for confirmation of trades when the backlog was at its worst, in May. (…) fees have also risen, hitting a high of $5 per transaction at the start of June. That makes it too costly to justify its use for some purchases, such as buying a pint of lager in a Bitcoin-accepting pub. There are ways around the problem, but the cryptocurrency’s community has been split over which solution to adopt. The risk is that Bitcoin could effectively split in two, with one type becoming incompatible with another, ultimately undermining confidence in the project altogether.

Canada unveils as an AI powerhouse

More and more money being invested in AI in Canada and particularly in Montréal.

And now this month (June, 2017) those moves by the government where soon matched by VC and corporates with the $102M initial round to create Element.ai in Montreal in collaboration with MILA and just this week, Google’s AI research arm, DeepMind announcing the opening of its first non-London research facility in Edmonton in partnership with Richard Sutton and Amii. Government, corporate and VC money is indeed moving quickly to create AI “superclusters” in Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton, but as Bengio himself calls for in a recent article, this is just the beginning, as the innovation from labs must now be transferred into innovation by startups and corporates alike.

Android Backdoor GhostCtrl can Silently Record Your Audio, Video, and More

Not a week goes by without a new ransomware or worm. This week’s winner is ANDROIDOS_GHOSTCTRL.OPS / ANDROIDOS_GHOSTCTRL.OPSA (also name Android backdoor GhostCtrl as it can stealthily control many of the infected device’s functionalities).

The information-stealing RETADUP worm that affected Israeli hospitals is actually just part of an attack that turned out to be bigger than we first thought — at least in terms of impact. It was accompanied by an even more dangerous threat: an Android malware that can take over the device.

Technology / AI / Blockchain

A hacker stole $31M of Ether — how it happened, and what it means for Ethereum

This week a hacker pulled off the second biggest heist in the history of digital currencies by exploiting a critical flaw in the Parity multi-signature wallet on the Ethereum network, draining three massive wallets of over $31,000,000 worth of Ether in a matter of minutes. See how it happened (and the heroes who kinda stopped it) and why it matters (especially for the Ethereum developers community).

Given a couple more hours, the hacker could’ve made off with over $105,000,000 from vulnerable wallets. But someone stopped them (…) a group of benevolent white-hat hackers from the Ethereum community rapidly organized. They analyzed the attack and realized that there was no way to reverse the thefts (…) so they saw only one available option: hack the remaining wallets before the attacker did. By exploiting the same vulnerability, the white-hats hacked all of the remaining at-risk wallets and drained their accounts, effectively preventing the attacker from reaching any of the remaining $77,000,000.

Hacker Steals $7 Million Worth of Ether From CoinDash Platform

Earlier this week an unknown hacker has taken over the official website of the CoinDash platform and modified an Ethereum wallet address during the company’s ICO (Initial Coin Offering), gaining $7 Million Worth of Ether in a few minutes.

The company says it received around $6 million worth of Ethereum in the first three minutes, before the hack. The hacker’s Ethereum wallet shows a balance of 43,438 Ethereum, which is around $7.8 million. CoinDash estimates that around $7 million of these funds came from its users.

How to Protect Your Cryptocurrency: Cold Storage & Paper Wallet Guide

It seems like a good moment to give this article a good read if you own cryptocurrencies.

With Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a host of other cryptocurrencies once again making headlines following an incredibly bullish year, crypto security has never been more important, this guide will teach you how to protect your cryptocurrency with a paper wallet and cold storage.

Daimler Uses Blockchain to Issue Bonds

Very interesting to see huge companies experiment with blockchain.

Daimler AG, the German car manufacturer, floated part of its €100 million ($114.1 million) German bond using blockchain technology at the end of June. (…) The borrower, the bank and the investors all receive access to a decentralized customer portal. Drawing certificates and contracts are confirmed in there. A so-called smart contract (…) automates the management of the order book. A [digital] token is generated on the blockchain once the loan contract is signed. The smart contract then allocates a number of tokens to investors. Compared with a conventional bond issuance, blockchain can significantly speed up the process.

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

Another significant move in the direction of blockchain technology!

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) announced today that 34 organizations have joined the blockchain industry group since late May. This brings total membership to over 150 organizations added since the group’s launch in February of this year. EEA is now the world’s largest open-source blockchain initiative. EEA’s newest members represent a wide variety of business sectors, including technology, banking, government, healthcare, energy, pharmaceuticals, marketing, and insurance, as well as a number of fast-growing Ethereum startups.

Development / Design / DIY projects

How to Code for a Cause using the Open Source for Good Directory

Learn more about the Code for a Cause initiative and their new Open Source for Good Directory.

With the creation of Open Source for Good last September, I used our past experience running these projects to take it up a notch. After just ten months, Open Source for Good already contains 7 new robust open source tools that any number nonprofits can deploy and benefit from. (For comparison, Atlassian — a publicly traded software company — offers 12 products total.)

Open Container Initiative Specifications are 1.0

Important step towards an industry standard for containers. The OCI includes people from CoreOS, Red Hat, Docker, Microsoft, Google, and the Linux Foundation.

After two years of work with major stakeholders in the community, we’re excited to announce that the Open Container Initiative (OCI) image and runtime specifications have now hit version 1.0. This means there is now a stable industry standard for application containers that has been created and approved by leaders in the container industry. This is an important milestone for the OCI community, and we look forward to working with our partners to further facilitate standards and innovation.

Cracking the code behind Apple’s App Store promo card design

Did you ever try to print out your own Apple Promo codes and realized it didn’t work? Follow this article to create your own scannable promo codes.

The app seems to recognize two things: A surrounding box and a code in the middle of this box. Once the app recognizes this pattern, it draws an on-screen box and tries to identify the code inside the box. The box itself isn’t enough: the app only kicks off its code recognition engine as soon as it finds specific characteristics of the specific font.

How the Twitter App Bypasses Paywalls

See how Twitter bypasses paywalls (and how you could too).

Wall Street Journal ended its practice of allowing special access for search engines. This means that a human visitor can no longer bypass the paywall by spoofing Google’s HTTP request headers. However, subscription-based publications face a problem when users click on a link through Twitter or Facebook on a mobile device. Social media apps implement their own in-app browser, which generally do not retain cookies. Websites that require a user login must request the login every time the app is reopened. This makes for a cumbersome user experience. Thus, publications like the Wall Street Journal disable login checks when a page request appears to come from Twitter.

A real world guide to WebRTC

It’s all in the title.

Bits and pieces

Japan’s cute zero-gravity little drone sends first pictures from ISS! Interesting perspective on password managers and why it’s important to use a local vaults instead of a cloud based system.

Discover The Hunting of the SNARK, a treasure hunt consisting of cryptographic challenges that will guide you through a zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) learning experience.

And check out those images created to reliably fool neural network classifiers when viewed from varied scales and perspectives.