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Ecuador Data Breach: Records of Over 20 Million Users Exposed

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Ecuador Data Breach: Records of Over 20 Million Users Exposed

Following the outbreak of a number of cybersecurity mishaps in recent times. Ecuador as at Monday, 16th September, experienced a major data breach baring the personal information of almost all the population of Ecuador to unlicensed third-party agents. The leaked 18Gigabyte-sized data contained research documents and statistics on over 20 million individuals.

The leaked data encompasses such information as names, addresses, employment status, phone numbers, and national identity numbers. Derived from about 7.5 million personage financial and banking records, 2.5 million car ownership logs as well as detailed information on infant demography in the region, to the tune of 6.7 million children data.

According to the report released by ZDNet, this data infringement is believed to be as a result of carelessness on the part of the administrators of the IT consulting firm who allowed entry to the Elasticsearch server unchecked and without a password. Otherwise granting access to these records to anyone on the Internet.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society on Monday. The Minister of telecommunications – Andrés Michelena Ayala announced that Novaestrat – the data analytics and IT consulting firm directly involved with the leaked data, and its employees are been placed under investigation upon the charges of privacy violation and distribution of private information to the general public without due authorization.

Subsequently, the Ecuadorian authorities swooped down on Williams Roberto G. – Director of Novaestrat. As the management at Novaestrat is been slapped with the allegations of accumulating these data illegally. Although a government-endorsed data analytics firm, since Novaestrat boasts of a number of contracts been awarded by the Ecuadorian government between 2015 to 2017. What is not actually known is whether the employees at Novaestrat intentionally broadcasted this data or perhaps it was a glitch on the company’s server-side handling. 

However, one certainty stands to be that these data are originally not supposed to be in the possession of the company who might have come across such data while working extensively with the government in the past. Inclined by the gravity of the data breach, the Ecuadorian government is set to take a giant leap towards implementing a stricter data privacy law with plans to pass this new law to the parliament within the next three days.

Cryptocurrency

Crypto Researchers Concerned About The ‘Centralized Structure’ Of The Binance Smart Chain

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Crypto Researchers Concerned About The 'Centralized Structure' Of The Binance Smart Chain

Binance Smart Chain has been rising in popularity as interest rates from different parts of the world, including South Korea, sent the network’s transaction records to new highs. However, this has not deterred analysts’ from pointing out the increasing level of centralization within the network. Ryan Watkins, a Messari analyst recently addressed the influence that Binance has on the entire Binance Smart Chain, explaining that most of the commendable progress made on the network is not the result of the implementation of innovative concepts. Rather, it is a product of Binance’s control over the BSC network.

“The reason why BSC is faster and more scalable is not because of some magical technological innovation. No, it’s instead the magic of centralization. BSC is an Ethereum fork with a centralized validator set. That’s it. Nothing more.” He wrote on Twitter.

Unlike some other networks, the Binance Smart Chain has a total of 21 validators (people who verify the transactions and confirm their legitimacy, before adding them to the Blockchain). These validators are handpicked by the Binance Chain, further strengthening the notion that the network may be more centralized than it shows itself to be. 

Wilson Withiam rolls out some points to consider, starting with the pattern of resetting active validators, which is determined by the voting power of each validator. He notes that BNB staking and delegation is carried out on the Binance Chain, by Binance Chain validators as well.

In essence, Withiam argues that the pattern of validator distribution across the Binance Smart Chain is questionable as the identities of those behind the nodes in the validator sets are not made transparent. As he puts it “BSC now supports several third-party validators, although at least 5-6 others have close ties to Binance. The distribution of validator accounts is far less clear for Binance Chain.”

To dispute that Binance’s user experience is not ahead of other networks is false, and Withiam agrees with this. Even Watkins acknowledges this as he noted that BSC has fueled mainstream adoption of DeFi “Binance has incredible reach and influence and has used that to funnel a boatload of new users in DeFi. Binance executes period. That’s why BSC is winning.” He asserted. 

However, he argues that speed and scalability outside Ethereum without sharding or a centralization can only be legitimately found on the Solana Blockchain. Conclusively, Withiam urges BSC users to poke into the network, enough to understand where the loopholes are. 

“For those using BSC, take the time to understand the topology of the network. Sure, the fees and speed (both UX factors) are undoubtedly preferable. But strong censorship resistance and fault tolerance are not part of the package.” He wrote in conclusion.

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Elon Musk Promises to Literally Take Dogecoin to the Moon with SpaceX

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Elon Musk Promises to Literally Take Dogecoin to the Moon with SpaceX

Elon Musk spiked the price of Dogecoin by 3% after tweeting that SpaceX will take the meme-themed cryptocurrency to the literal moon.

“SpaceX is going to put a literal Dogecoin on the literal moon.”

Traders often use the term “to the moon” when expecting prices of a certain stock or digital currency to surge.

Elon Musk is a self-appointed Dogecoin and Bitcoin advocate and frequently tweets witty statements about the Japanese dog Shibu Inu, the central appeal and logo of the meme-themed cryptocurrency. The last time tweeted about Dogecoin was in mid-March:

“I’m getting a Shiba Inu #restistanceisfutile.”

The tweet also comes a month after Elon tweeted a meme of a Shiba Inu standing on the moon in a spacesuit while holding a Dogecoin flag, followed by the words, “literally” and “on the actual moon.”

Elon Musk and Dogecoin

Elon’s ability to influence bitcoin and Dogecoin’s price actions by merely tweeting about it has been both acclaimed and criticized for boosting crypto adoption and hindering mainstream acceptance, respectively.

Dogecoin has a total circulating supply of 129 billion Doge and an undefined maximum supply, unlike Bitcoin. Analysts including Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao have warned investors against exposing themselves to assets with infinite amounts of supply.

However, Elon’s influence and Dogecoin’s price action in the past 6 months have inspired its developers to revamp its development. Speaking during an interview, Dogecoin’s lead developer Ross Nicoll said the team is working to make changes to Doge.

“People say it’s a joke coin but we’re very careful to take care of the code. When it took off there was a resurgence in attention and we want to keep the currency operational.” 

SpaceX was founded in 2002 with the goal of reducing the cost of space transportation by using relaunchable rockets to enable the colonization of Mars.  The company’s first commercial trip around the moon on its Starship rocket will take place in 2023.

Elon Musk previously said that he is highly confident that SpaceX will have reached orbit many times with Starship before 2023, and that it will be safe enough for human transport by 2023.

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