Blockchain Browser Brave Files Adtech Complaints Against Google for User Data Practices

Privacy-oriented Brave browser has filed complaints against Google for violating E.U. regulations on user data privacy.

Brave browser, developed by Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich, has filed privacy complaints in Ireland and Britain against Google, Reuters reported September 13.

Brave is an open-source blockchain-powered browser, which blocks ads and website trackers. The browser is designed to improve online privacy by sharing less personal data with advertising customers, yet targeting web ads by analyzing anonymized user browsing behavior.

The complaint reportedly states that Google and the advertising technology (adtech) industry practice “wide-scale and systematic breaches of the data protection regime” in the way they publish personalized online ads.

The complaint further explains that while a user is visiting a website, “tens or hundreds” of companies receive their personal data in order to place ads without making users aware that their data is being shared.

Thus, the plaintiffs are trying to trigger provisions in the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which would require a European Union (E.U.) investigation into Google’s data collection practices. The GDPR is designed to ensure that individuals have greater control over their personal data within the E.U., as well as addressing the export of personal data outside the union. Johnny Ryan, Brave’s chief policy officer, told Reuters:

“There is a massive and systematic data breach at the heart of the behavioral advertising industry. Despite the two-year lead-in period before the GDPR, adtech companies have failed to comply.”

While the complaint argues that Google is violating the GDPR’s requirement for personal data collection and distribution, Google has reportedly implemented strong privacy protections under consultation with E.U. regulators in order to comply with the regulations.

In April, Brave browser partnered with the Dow Jones Media Group to test blockchain technology in digital advertising, where users earn Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) by engaging with ad content from verified publishers.

Eich said then that Brave seeks to eliminate the middleman in the ad industry, stating that they are “trying to reconnect the funding that comes in gross payments after the fact from advertisers and gets chopped down by a bunch of middle players—notably Google—and the remnants are given to publishers.”

Continue Reading

Report: Crypto Not Effective for Financing Terrorist Groups

A recent report from the U.S. Foundation for Defence of Democracies has revealed that crypto is not well-suited for financing terrorism.

The crypto and blockchain industry is “not innately illicit and should not be feared,” the director of analysis for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Center stated in an official press release from the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee September 7.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, during a Sept. 7 U.S. Congressional hearing of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, FDD CSIF director of analysis Yaya Fanusie claimed that crypto is a “poor form of money for jihadists” and “cold hard cash is still king.” According to Fanusie’s conclusions in the report, terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and others have not had great success in raising funds through cryptocurrency.

In the recently published testimony, Fanusie urged that cryptocurrencies and blockchain use should not be considered as illicit activity, since they can be deployed both “for good or ill,” just like “most technological innovations.” The CSIF director further pointed out that both government and non-governmental bodies are deploying blockchain tech in order to “advance their interest,” which obliges the U.S. to “keep up” with the technology to address the associated risks.

The study mentions the “first” terrorism funding campaign — “Jahezona” conducted in 2016 in the Gaza Strip — which was publicly visible on a blockchain. The fundraising campaign was managed by a group of jihadists called Mujahideen Shura Council and aimed to raise $2,500 per fighter, giving an option to pay in Bitcoin (BTC). The group reportedly gained “a little over $500 in Bitcoin.”

Another example addresses a militant group in Syria called Malhama Tactical, which sought to raise funds on Twitter. The group was found by an Uzbek who served in the Russian military before leaving to join rebels in Syria in 2013. The campaign reportedly received a few transactions and contained less than $100 worth of BTC.

Fanusie further explained that managing large amounts of cryptocurrencies requires specific skills, such as being “extremely savvy in cyber security, ” which terrorists may currently lack. He added that price volatility and vulnerability to hackers make the use of crypto a “fringe activity both among the general public and within the population of global jihadists.”

Continue Reading

Watchout! Satori Botnet Targets Exposed Ethereum Miners

Yesterday, BleepingComputer brought to light recent reports that have Ethereum miners worried, as enslaved internet-connected devices have been targeting miners worldwide.  Evidence filed by multiple internet security companies have shown that the Satori botnet, a system of IoT devices which number in the tens of thousands, has been trying to infiltrate Ethereum miners through a 3333 port exploit. This specific port has often been a way in which miners can remotely control their mining equipment,

The post Watchout! Satori Botnet Targets Exposed Ethereum Miners appeared first on

Continue Reading

New ‘Snobbish’ Cryptojacking Malware Infected 500k Users in 3 Days, Report Says

WinstarNssmMiner, a new type of malware script used to mine Monero, has spread to half a million devices in 3 days, cyber researcher reports.

A new piece of so-called cryptojacking malware used half a million computers to mine 133 Monero (XMR) tokens (about $25,000) in three days, Finance Magnates reports today, May 18.

New research published by cyber security firm 360 Total Security May 16 found that the malware, referred to as WinstarNssmMiner, presents a fresh challenge to users, due to its ability to both mine and crash infected machines at will.

Malicious software that engages in cryptojacking – the use of another’s device to mine crypto without their knowledge – has become a common phenomenon in recent months.

As Cointelegraph reported, instances have risen dramatically in 2018.  A warning from Microsoft highlighted only 644,000 infected devices in the period September 2017 to January 2018 – only slightly more than WinstarNssmMiner’s three-day progress.

Commenting on the latest threat, 360 said it was “surprised” that in addition to mining Monero, the malware could also force a user’s PC to crash if it detected the presence of certain antivirus software, writing:

“This malware is very hard to remove since victims’ computers crash as soon as they found and terminate the malware.”

A twist comes in the form of what 360 describes as “snobbish” behavior regarding antivirus brands: the presence of well-known products from companies such as Kaspersky Lab and Avast! cause WinstarNssmMiner not to activate at all. Other brands are ignored, resulting in mining and crashes.

Earlier this month, Cointelegraph also reported on how code for crypto-mining program Coinhive was found on over 300 governmental and university websites worldwide.

Continue Reading