The Skim for May 12th to May 17th

The major story of this last week was of course the ransomware attack that sent shock waves all around the world, especially in Asia and Europe. If you are not familiar with ransom ware, it’s basically malware that gets onto your computer and encrypts all or most of your hard drive and then extorts you for some sort of payment which is usually bitcoin. While some rushed to blame bitcoin for this attack, others pointed out the fact that this particular attack would have not been possible if it had not been for the NSA. Shadow Brokers broke the story a while back that the NSA had been sitting on exploits that they have been using for some time to get access to Windows machines with a windows exploit known as Eternal Blue. This is the particular exploit that this instance of ransomware used to carry out this attack. There is a great technical analysis of this attack being dubbed “WannaCry” here. Here are the 3 known BTC addresses that the attackers have been using 12t9YDPgwueZ9NyMgw519p7AA8isjr6SMw, 13AM4VW2dhxYgXeQepoHkHSQuy6NgaEb94, 115p7UMMngoj1pMvkpHijcRdfJNXj6LrLn. If you take any of these BTC address and go to blockchain.info and paste then into the search bar, you can see all the funds they have been able to collect. The url that acted as a kill switch for this attack is iuqerfsodp9ifjaposdfjhgosurijfaewrwergwea.com. I like what Andreas M Antonopoulos had to say on this matter,”blaming bitcoin for this ransomware attack is like blaming a duffle bag full of cash for a kid napping”. Just something to keep in mind. Bitcoin’s price seemed to dip on this news but has since bounced back to around the $1800 range.

 

Is Bitcoin broken? It may seem so if you have tried to use bitcoin in the last few weeks or days. Bitcoin is certainly not broken, but what is happening is a real big backlog of unconfirmed transactions waiting to be confirmed and wed into the ledger. This has happened because of two things. 1st bitcoin is becoming more and more popular, which is great news! Secondly there is currently a cap on how much data or transactions that can be put into each 10 minute block, which is only 1mb. When you put these 2 things together you get a huge backlog. Currently at the time of this writing the backlog is sitting at around 200,000 transactions! You can view this in real time here. Because of this a fee market has sprung up with fees running anywhere from 3 to 10 dollars. If you want to send BTC right now, I advise you attach the higher fee with whatever wallet you are using. Otherwise your transaction might get stuck in limbo for a while. But don’t worry there is an ongoing debate of how they will fix this problem. There are solutions ready, we just need to reach consensus for them to become part of the protocol. They will fix this problem in time and fees will come back down.

7 thoughts on “The Skim for May 12th to May 17th

  1. Vin Armani had a great explanation of the bitcoin addresses and how they relate back to Mt Gox. Other anomalies included that ransom payments sent to these three addresses were from odd addresses that went back to apparent wallets with billions of dollars in transactions that are batched every five minutes to one another. Long story short, it appears that someone controlling huge wallets, that are not exchanges, are intentionally bogging down the network by sending funds from one giant water to another huge wallet…and they are not exchanges, so. It appears that btc is being assaulted in a very clever way. Therefore, you have to ask the question who would attack btc, tor (which is apparently involved part of the ransomeware code), and blame North Korea for the whole thing? Oh, and US Congress to Announce Study on Virtual Currency Link to Terrorism Today – Altcoin Today via BTCnews on iOS
    http://www.altcointoday.com/us-congress-announce-study-virtual-currency-link-terrorism-today/

    • Very interesting indeed. I would like to hear his argument of the evidence he has linking these wallets to MT. GOX wallets. Funny I was just think right before all of this happened, that its prime time for a big high profile hack somehow involving BTC to try and knock back sentiment in the currency and the movement in general with cryptocurrencies. Funny how no major US companies were affected all that much either. Who knows, but if Wikileaks has taught us anything, it’s that we cannot trust our intelligence agencies as they are the worst perpetrators when it comes to hacking and keeping exploits in the wild. So i certainly would not put this past them to be at least involved in some way if not altogether.

  2. Great analysis Brandon..
    Just a thought, have you considered a Patreon? I can’t keep up with all the blockchain news. Please dont hate money.

    • Bryan,
      Hey thanks for commenting. Forgive my ignorance but I didn’t even know what a Patreon was, lol. It looks super cool! I will definitely have to set one up, thanks for the tip/reminder!

  3. One major US company… FedEx. Sorry for the typos too. I am a doctor after all and if you didn’t have trouble reading what I’m saying, then something must be wrong.

      • The only reason I remembered is because it was pointed out to me that FedEx is a part of the infrastructure… That is to say transportation. Just like the health care in Great Brit and telecoms in Spain were affected. And if one attacks infrastructure, then one might get on the ‘terror’ list. So let’s see who gets blamed.

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