Bitcoin Exchange Accidentally Allowed Customers To Buy Coins For $0

Bitcoin Exchange Accidentally Allowed Customers To Buy Coins For $0

AmiMoJo writes: “A system glitch at cryptocurrency exchange site Zaif enabled users to obtain digital money for free, with one apparently “purchasing” Bitcoin valued at $20,000,000,000,000 and then attempting to cash in on it…” according to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. “The glitch, which lasted for 18 minutes from 5:40 p.m. to 5:58 p.m. on Feb. 16, affected Zaif’s price calculation system, enabling customers to buy cryptocurrencies for nothing.” CoinDesk adds that “At least one customer attempted to resell their bitcoin, but the large amount of the cryptocurrency offered soon drew attention even outside the exchange. The firm later cancelled the transactions and corrected the users’ balances. However, a source suggests that the correction is still being agreed with one of the seven users who attempted to transfer the free bitcoin away from the Zaif platform.”

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Posted by amiller in bitcoin, Blog
GitHub Drops Support for Weak Cryptographies, Adds Emojis for Labels

GitHub Drops Support for Weak Cryptographies, Adds Emojis for Labels

An anonymous reader writes:
GitHub has quietly made a few changes this month. Labels for issues and pull requests will now also support emojis and on-hover descriptions. And they’re also deprecating the anonymous creation of “gist” code snippets on March 19th, since “as the only way to create anonymous content on GitHub, they also see a large volume of spam.” Current anonymous gists will remain accessible. But the biggest change involves permanently removing support for three weak cryptographic standards, both on github.com and api.github.com.

The three weak cryptography standards that are no longer supported are:

TLSv1/TLSv1.1. “This applies to all HTTPS connections, including web, API, and Git connections to https://github.com and https://api.github.com.”

diffie-hellman-group1-sha1. “This applies to all SSH connections to github.com.”

diffie-hellman-group14-sha1. “This applies to all SSH connections to github.com.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, programming

This Week In Techdirt History: February 18th – 24th

Five Years Ago

This week in 2013, the Harlem Shake was still taking the world by storm, and serving as a great example of selective copyright enforcement. WIPO negotiations over access to copyrighted works for the disabled were, as usual, shrouded in secrecy, while an anti-piracy group was threatening the Pirate Party with criminal charges, the RIAA was moaning about Google’s lack of an anti-piracy magic wand, and ISPs were gearing up to enact the Six Strikes program. On the other hand, the European Copyright Society was arguing against the idea that linking and framing are forms of infringement, a court tossed out an attempt to block CNET from offering BitTorrent downloads, and the CCIA was making the interesting argument that Germany should be on the Special 301 naughty list… for its attacks on fair use.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2008, torrent users were fighting back against Comcast’s traffic shaping program by amping up their encryption efforts, while Comcast was weakly defending the practice by rolling out non-experts. Australia joined the list of countries considering the idea of kicking file sharers off the internet (even as, the same week, they declared their previous $89-million internet filtering plan a failure). Meanwhile, nobody could actually explain why stopping file sharing is an ISP’s responsibility — indeed, as the US freaked out about P2P, the EU was investing in it; and as ISPs were starting to insist they can’t offer unlimited access, mobile operators were pivoting to do exactly that.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2003, the Lexmark printer ink case was waking some people up to the DMCA’s potential for abuse. The Turner Broadcasting chairman who called all TiVo users thieves was stepping down, while Hollywood was trying to recruit piracy informants, and Congress was trying to hash out a weak “compromise” on copyright. Meanwhile, the news arrived that Overture would be buying Alta Vista, in what appeared to be another nail in the erstwhile search giant’s coffin — right around the same time that people were starting to seriously talk about the idea of a Google IPO (which would arrive the following year).

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Posted by amiller in Blog
Signal, WhatsApp Co-Founder Launch 'Open Source Privacy Technology' Nonprofit

Signal, WhatsApp Co-Founder Launch 'Open Source Privacy Technology' Nonprofit

An anonymous reader quotes The New Web:One of the first messaging services to offer end-to-end encryption for truly private conversations, Signal has largely been developed by a team that’s never grown larger than three full-time developers over the years it’s been around. Now, it’s getting a shot in the arm from the co-founder of a rival app. Brian Acton, who built WhatsApp with Jan Koum into a $19 billion business and sold it to Facebook, is pouring $50 million into an initiative to support the ongoing development of Signal. Having left WhatsApp last fall, he’s now free to explore projects whose ideals he agrees with, and that includes creating truly private online services.

“Starting with an initial $50,000,000 in funding, we can now increase the size of our team, our capacity, and our ambitions,” wrote Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike (a former Twitter executive).

Acton will now also serve as the executive chairman of the newly-formed Signal Foundation, which according to its web site will “develop open source privacy technology that protects free expression and enables secure global communication.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, communications
Two More 'SWAT' Calls in California — One Involving a 12-Year-Old Gamer

Two More 'SWAT' Calls in California — One Involving a 12-Year-Old Gamer

In January an online gamer in California was arrested after at leat 20 fake emergency calls to police, one leading to a fatal shooting in Kansas. But this week in California there’s been at least two more fake calls:

A 12-year-old gamer heard a knock at his door Sunday — which turned out to be “teams of Los Angeles police officers and other rescue personnel who believed two people had just hung themselves.” The Los Angeles Police Department “said there’s no way to initially discern swatting calls from actually emergencies, so they handle every scenario as if someone’s life is in danger,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The seventh-grader described it as “the most terrifying thing in my life.”
36-year-old David Pearce has been arrested for falsely reporting an emergency at a Beverly Hills hotel involving “men with guns” holding him hostage. A local police captain later said that the people in the room had not made the call and in fact might have been asleep through much of the emergency. The Los Angeles Times reports that there’s roughly 400 ‘SWATting’ cases each year, according to FBI estimates, adding that “Some experts have said police agencies need to take the phenomenon more seriously and provide formal training to dispatchers and others to better recognize hoax callers.”

Meanwhile, in the wake of a fatal shooting in Wichita, Kansas lawmakers have passed a new bipartisan bill increasing the penalties for SWAT calls. If a fake call results in a fatality — and the caller intentionally masks their identity — it’s the equivalent of second-degree murder. “The caller must be held accountable,” one lawmaker told the Topeka Capital-Journal.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, crime
'Computer History Museum' Honorees Include Python Creator Guido van Rossum

'Computer History Museum' Honorees Include Python Creator Guido van Rossum

On Wednesday the Computer History Museum, “the world’s leading institution exploring the history of computing and its transformational impact on society,” proudly announced the three Fellow Award honorees for 2018:
Dov Frohman-Bentchkowsky — “For the invention of the first commercial erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM), which enabled rapid development of microprocessor-based systems.”
Dame Stephanie Shirley CH — “For a lifetime of entrepreneurship promoting the growth of the UK software industry and the advancement of women in computing.”
Guido van Rossum — “For the creation and evolution of the Python programming language, and for leadership of its community.”

“We are delighted to induct these outstanding new Fellows with diverse contributions in hardware, in services, and in software,” said Len Shustek, the Museum’s board chairman. “They are true heroes of the Digital Age.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Python
BuzzFeed Unmasks Mastermind Who Urged Peter Thiel To Destroy Gawker

BuzzFeed Unmasks Mastermind Who Urged Peter Thiel To Destroy Gawker

One day in 2011 a 26-year-old approached Peter Thiel and said “Look, I think if we datamined Gawker’s history, we could find weak points that we could exploit in the court of law,” according to the author of a new book. An anonymous reader quotes BuzzFeed News:
Peter Thiel’s campaign to ruin Gawker Media was conceived and orchestrated by a previously unknown associate who served as a middleman, allowing the billionaire to conceal his involvement in the bankrolling of lawsuits that eventually drove the New York media outlet into bankruptcy. BuzzFeed News has confirmed the identity of that mystery conspirator, known in Thiel’s inner circle as “Mr. A,” with multiple sources who said that he provided the venture capitalist and Facebook board member with a blueprint to covertly attack Gawker in court. That man, an Oxford-educated Australian citizen named Aron D’Souza, has few known connections to Thiel, but approached him in 2011 with an elaborate proposal to use a legal strategy to wipe out the media organization. That plot ultimately succeeded… D’Souza was aware of Thiel’s public comments likening Valleywag to al-Qaeda, and presented a brazen idea: Pay someone or create a company to hire lawyers to go after Gawker.
TechCrunch reported earlier this month that Gawker’s old posts “will be captured and saved by the non-profit Freedom of the Press Foundation,” which was co-founded in 2012 by the late John Perry Barlow. But in addition, the Gawker estate “continues to threaten possible legal action against Thiel, and hopes to begin discovery to examine the billionaire’s motivations for secretly funding his legal war,” the article concludes. If a New York bankruptcy court approves, and if the process “unearths anything of meaning, the estate may have grounds to sue Thiel on the grounds of tortious interference, the use of legal means to purposely disrupt a business.

“To head that off, Thiel bid for the remaining Gawker assets — including the flapship domain Gawker.com, its archive, and outstanding legal claims, like those against himself — though Holden has made it known that he may block any sale to Thiel, no matter how much the venture capitalist is willing to bid.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, court