Understanding what is Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, Dash) and Blockchain technology – A personal view

There has been a lot of hype in the last year over Cryptocurrency, going from nothing to a stellar US$20,000 + and back down again.

Not many people know what it is and what it’s for. Here’s my 2 cents worth.

Blockchain as the name implies is a “block of information relating to a transaction” chained to previous blocks of information relating to other transactions in the past (or chronologically)“.

Cryptocurrency is a subset of blockchain, e.g. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Dash etc. are all virtual currencies that uses blockchain technology.

The blockchain technology was created to provide “transparency” in the transactions i.e. You will know who last owned or had this currency before it got into your hands, and scouring back through the digital ledger in the chain, you will be able to see where it originated from.

In layman’s terms… It is basically a method oftracking the movement of wealth or currency transactions“.

Now that we know the meaning of blockchain and where Cryptocurrency sits within it…

Heres a fact that a lot of people do not understand or haven’t considered…

Because the blockchain is a tracking method that shows information about previous owners of the “currency” (be it Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Dash or any other cryptocurrency), it allows the history of the transaction to be seen and it can literally be traced back to its original owner, or who initiated (or started) the transaction.

The information held within the blockchain transaction, is extremely valuable information to the governments and it’s authorities.

The blockchain information will allow them to know where you’ve “hidden your wealth” or who you’ve dealt with to obtain your wealth (whether legally or illegally).

This is why some (if not most) governments are interested in the blockchain technology. They’re not particularly interested in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Dash or any other cryptocurrency, but in the blockchain technology itself.

So, why would this be the case?

Governments lose a lot of taxes out of the cash trade and “creative accounting” practices. But if they manage to adopt the blockchain technology and replace cash, with a “pay pass”, “tap/tag & pay” or any other virtual payment system, it will allow them to track your earnings, payments and wealth movements.

This can also be used to divulge your tastes and habits i.e. If you like eating at McDonald’s or luxury dining, or if you like betting on horses, gambling, or pokies. Or if you’ve visited certain places or questionable establishments etc. etc. The blockchain can hold sufficient information to keep these transactions “transparent”.

A classic example of this, actually appears in “Back to the Future 2”, when Marty “paid his share” by swiping his card, and was in with “Needles” plan. Immediately after, “Fujitsu san” appears on screen and announces that he was “monitoring the transaction” and fires Marty.

Watch the YouTube video snippet from “Back to the Future 2” below…

Marty McFly gets fired over “Cryptocurrency” type transaction

Imagine you’re Marty, and Fujitsu was the taxman, CIA, FBI or other authority…

In a similar scenario, this will allow governments or authorities to effectively monitor you, and make sure whatever you earn is legal and properly taxed, and whatever you claim from taxes can be justified as well. All the information will be held in the blockchain i.e. Who paid you… Who you bought goods or services from… What they used it for…etc etc… With each transaction the block of information grows and is chained together.

This is good because it helps in fighting corruption, money laundering and terrorism as well, because authorities will be able to trace the original transactions back to its source and perhaps capture the “bad guys” or freeze their assets, or figure out where they’ve stashed or hidden their wealth.

Technically…with a press of a button, all linked transactions within the blockchain can be traced, including all associates (or members) who have been included, or “had a hand”, in the deal or transaction.

That being said, will cryptocurrency survive?

Yes, it probably will.

But personally, I doubt it will be in its current forms or names. It is more likely that governments adopt the blockchain technology and create their own cryptocurrency, or just replace cash with blockchain transactions making it easier for “big brother” to keep an eye on you.

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Spectre and Meltdown – new hacking vulnerability revealed in CPU’s made in last ten years.

News has come out that that computer processors and CPU’s made within the last 10 years, have 2 major flaws in them that allow hackers to exploit computers. These exploitable flaws have been named Spectre and Meltdown. 

Software security updates are being implemented, however, this is a hardware flaw, and though impractical, can really only be fully remedied by replacing the hardware.

Forbes – available fixes for Spectre and Meltdown.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2018/01/04/google-microsoft-apple-updates-for-meltdown-spectre-intel-processor-vulnerabilities/#75e77b855c31

For further information and news about Spectre and Meltdown, please follow the news link below.

ABC News: Apple says all Mac and iOS devices affected by Meltdown and Spectre bugs.

http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwkrbyqzc

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wishing all our valued patrons and friends a very

Merry Christmas and

a Safe and Prosperous New Year.

From the Team at Proceed Tech.

We will be closed during from the 20th Dec 2017 till the 4th of Jan 2018, but will be available for emergency callouts on 0433 424 737. Thank you and keep safe.

A reaction to the reaction to the Samsung ”Growing Up” ad.

Recently Samsung released an ad in typical fashion roasting Apple

https://youtu.be/R59TevgzN3k

I showed it to my nephew who then responded with the video below…

https://youtu.be/_Lt21JTO6U0

I thought that’s a good one, and it’s a great reaction video, and as it’s maker implies, done to appease the Apple Sheep in the name of fun.

Here’s my two cents worth on why Apple is starting to lose fans, of whom I am (or was) one as well…

I’m NOT an Apple hater.

I have a nephew, a brother in law, a sister in law, a wife, a mother, a father, and yes, even I, have iPhone.

Apple make excellent products and I know the Samsung ad is just a marketing strategy.

What I am disappointed about with Apple is this –

Apple know they can do all the things that Samsung or any of their competitors can do, but Apple purposely withhold doing it, so that they can make more money by ‘forcing’ their loyal fans (including myself) to buy more hardware and upgrade when Apple decide it’s time to make more profits.

Buying anything should be a “choice” made by the consumer and not forced due to an avoidable redundancy or marketing strategy.

For example: look whats happening with the iPhone 8. It is virtually redundant in less than 2 months because of iPhone X, forcing loyal customers to upgrade almost immediately.

Apple knew they had the iPhone X but went ahead and released the iPhone 8, to try to discourage people from buying the Samsung Note 8 at that time.

Then the fans who lined up and waited for the iPhone 8, just to feel they didn’t waste their time, bought the iPhone 8. And now probably will end up buying the iPhone X about two months later.

Anyway, don’t get me wrong.
I love Apple products, and will probably get iPhone X at some point.

I just don’t like the fact that Apple are “milking” their loyal fans for profit, instead of bringing out something better or more innovative to encourage users from other platforms to migrate to Apple.

This is something that Samsung is doing. They push the boundaries to build a better product with more features (SD card, stylus, waterproofing, better camera, latest technologies, etc) to encourage Apple users to migrate to Samsung.

They took big risks in the Note 7 with latest battery technology, which very unfortunately failed, filling the internet with exploding Samsung Note 7 memes.

So yes, I know Samsung’s ad, though titled “Growing Up”, is actually quite a childish way of poking fun at the competition, but I still commend Samsung on working hard and pushing the boundaries to bring out something better and being innovative.

** Ransomware warning – “Bad Rabbit” masquerades as Adobe Flash update

Early reports of a new RansomWare that is spreading across the globe at the moment codenamed “Bad Rabbit”

The RansomWare masquerades as an “Adobe Flash” update/upgrade.

If you are asked to update your Adobe on any websites, please refrain from doing so, or, if an icon appears next to your time on bottom right, please refrain from updating.

The “Bad Rabbit” ransomware encrypts your files and requests half a Bitcoin (approximately US$400) to decrypt.

This is on a per PC basis and can be very damaging to organisations with large numbers of PC’S/laptops.

If you have been affected already, shutdown your PC and remove it from the network then contact PROCEED Tech immediately on 6424 8385.

KRACK Security vulnerability found in WPA2 – a protocol that secures “ALL” modern protected Wi-Fi networks.

This is an advisory to notify you that in the last 24 hours a security vulnerability has been found in the WPA2 Protocol – a protocol that secures ALL modern day protected WiFi networks.

Please refer to the articles below for more information.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-17/wi-fi-vulnerable-to-hacks-after-flaw-discovered/9056334

https://www.wired.com/story/krack-wi-fi-wpa2-vulnerability/

It is advised that if you are working on sensitive information, please revert to using your ‘blue network cable’ to be physically connected to the internet.

Please note that this affects all WiFi devices or all devices that have WiFi capabilities – smartphones, laptops, routers, smart TV’s and fridges, iPads and WiFi Tablets, Xbox, PlayStation etc etc. It is a vulnerability within the protocol and no ‘single vendor’ is responsible for it.

If you have any concerns about this, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information but in the meantime, limit your use on WiFi wherever possible, revert to cabled networking, or use your phone data 4G, 3G GPRS network to access the internet. Note that using 4G/3G/GPRS will increase your data usage on your mobile phone, so be aware.

NB: connecting your laptop to your phone via ‘WiFi’ is using the WiFi and is susceptible to the same vulnerability, this includes using your mobile phone as a ‘HOTSPOT’ .

Using your mobile data ‘Dongle’ or Telstra Dongle should be OK, as long as it is physically plugged in (via USB or USB Cable) and not connected using the WiFi protocol.