Boing Boing 

Hilariously terrifying talk about security

In Not Even Close: The State of Computer Security, a talk given at the Norwegian Deveopers' Conference, Microsoft Research's James Mickens gave the most acerbic, funny, terrifying security talk I can remember seeing (and I've seen a lot of 'em!).

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For $50 in bitcoin this laboratory will analyze recreational drugs

People interested in learning what's really in the drugs they bought (or manufactured) can send a sample to Energy Control in Barcelona, Northern Spain. This lab will check for adulterants and purity levels of MDMA, speed, cocaine, and other drugs.

From Grace Caffyn's CoinDesk story, "Inside Barcelona's Bitcoin Drug Lab":

Energy Control has been carrying out drug checking in raves and at its labs since 1998. Its dark web service, introduced in April 2014, operates under the same premise: to reduce harm among users by arming them with facts.

The idea for the project can be traced back to a family physician named Fernando Caudevilla, commonly known as Dr X. Following his first post to the Silk Road forum in April 2013, six months before the market's FBI shutdown, he became a trusted source of guidance on drug safety across many dark markets.

Up until this point, Energy Control, which is over 90% government funded, had only offered services inside Spain. However, Caudevilla – who has worked with the organisation since 2000 – saw the potential for a drug checking service for the dark web – completely anonymous, of course.

Previously: Inside the Deep Web Drug Lab

Here's the one story to read to learn about Silk Road

silk-road

Joshuah Bearman wrote an epic story about the rise and fall of the black market commerce site Silk Road. He dug deep to produce a fantastic, enthralling story. Here's what he told me about it:

This was a challenging story to write, because it was an ongoing federal investigation, with a pending trial, but I (rather luckily) managed to get inside both the Silk Road, the various law enforcement agencies trying to bring it down, and people close to Ross, to understand him more. It was always a good story, but as it unfurled just got more layered and exciting. The piece is 20,000 words! Longest thing Wired has ever published. And in two-parts, which they've never done. I wrote this thing like a non-fiction novella, and people seem to be responding to it well, even the cliffhanger and waiting for Part 2.

The Rise and Fall of Silk Road, Part 1

Image: Tomer Hanuka

Ransomware decryptor


If you or someone you love has been hijacked by Coinvault ransomware -- malware that encrypts your data and won't decrypt it unless you transfer Bitcoin to criminals -- Kaspersky may be able to help you (via Hacker News)

DEA and Secret Service agent charged in Silk Road fraud schemes

silkroad-unsealed

Former DEA agent Carl Mark Force IV and former Secret Service agent Shaun W. Bridges were charged this week with money laundering and wire fraud stemming from their involvement in the Silk Road dark web undercover investigation.

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A beginner's guide to the Redpill Right

The gnostic paradox of young, tech-savvy traditionalists, who see through everything except their own conspiracy theoriesRead the rest

Bitcoin is collapsing

Barry Silbert, creator of the Bitcoin Trust, says it's because there are "more sellers than buyers." What will make it go back up? "More buyers than sellers." [via]

The ruble is sinking almost as fast as bitcoin

The falling price of oil is causing problems for Russia's economy, says Matt O'Brien of the Washington Post. The ruble is down 50% against the dollar this year. The Russian central bank raised interest rates from 10.5 to 17 percent in an attempt to prop up the value of the ruble, but this move will "send Russia's moribund economy into a deep recession."

The only asset, and I use that word lightly, that's done worse than the ruble's 50 percent fall is Bitcoin, which is a fake currency that techno-utopians insist is the future we don't know we want. And this is only going to get worse. Russia, you see, is stuck in an economic catch-22. Its economy needs lower interest rates to push up growth, but its companies need higher interest rates to push up the ruble and make all the dollars they borrowed not worth so much. So, to use a technical term, they're screwed no matter what they do.

Sorry, Putin. Russia’s economy is doomed

Finnish national broadcaster will transmit blockchain over terrestrial digital TV network

The Finnish national broadcaster has partnered with Kryptoradio to broadcast the Bitcoin blockchain over the digital television network making it accessible over a non-Internet channel to 95% of the Finnish population.

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Bitcoins.com being sold at auction by Mt. Gox founder Mark Karpeles

Mt. Gox lost $600 Million in Bitcoins, but it hopes to make good by giving half the proceeds from its upcoming auction sale of the Bitcoins.com domain to people impacted by the Mt. Gox bankruptcy. The current high bid is $185,000.

"We are hoping, with the sale of Bitcoins.com, to provide some relief to the people impacted by the Mt. Gox bankruptcy,” said Mark Karpeles, founder of the failed Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, “and will be putting at least half of the sale amount toward that purpose.”

Heritage Auctions is expecting the high bid to be at least $750,000. Let's be generous and assume Karpeles gets $1,200,000 and gives half of that to former Mt. Gox customers. They would get 1/10th of a cent for every dollar they lost. For example, someone who lost $100,000 would get $100.

Cyber-crooks turn to Bitcoin extortion


Security journalist Brian Krebs documents a string of escalating extortion crimes perpetrated with help from the net, and proposes that the growth of extortion as a tactic preferred over traditional identity theft and botnetting is driven by Bitcoin, which provides a safe way for crooks to get payouts from their victims.

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A beginner's guide to Bitcoin

Andreas Antonopoulos explains what bitcoin is, and how you can start using it.Read the rest

A bitcoin knockoff for Insane Clown Posse fans: JuggaloCoin

Fuckin' cryptocurrencies, how do they work? Fans of ICP who are fed up with using actual US dollars to pay for all-you-can-slurp Faygo and ethanol cocktails at festivals can rejoice with the news of a new, bitcoin-y cryptocurrency. "According to juggalocoin.org, the currency is designed for the group’s substantial Juggalo community, and is available to purchase now." It was created by a juggalo named Papa Nutt. [Guardian. HT: Dean Putney]

Gweek podcast 140: Understanding Bitcoin

In each episode of Gweek, Dean Putney and I invite a guest to join us in a discussion about recommended media, apps, and gadgets. Our guest is Andreas M. Antonopoulos. He has founded three bitcoin businesses and is currently the the Chief Security Officer of Blockchain. Dean and I asked him a lot of questions about bitcoin, and his answers were fascinating.

This episode is brought to you by NatureBox, makers of delicious, wholesome snacks delivered to your door. Go to NatureBox.com/gweek to get 50% OFF your your first box.

GET GWEEK: RSS | On iTunes | Download episode | Stitcher

Happy Mutant congressman: if Bitcoin should be banned, why not dollar bills?


Senator Joe Manchin delivered a grandstanding, technologically clueless, facepalm-inducing request to the Treasury Department to ban Bitcoin. In response, Rep Jared Polis (who proudly wears Boing Boing tee-shirts in his spare time, and rocks some snazzy duds on the floor of Congress) wrote a mock-serious request for dollar bills to be removed from circulation, pointing out that practically every objection that Manchin raised over Bitcoin applies equally well to paper money.

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TSA agents demand bag-search to look for "Bitcoins"

Davi Barker was flying from Manchester, NH when, he says, he was stopped by two men who identified themselves as "managers" for the TSA, who claimed they had seen Bitcoins in his baggage and wanted to be sure he wasn't transporting more than $10,000 worth. When he asked them what they thought a Bitcoin looked like, they allegedly said that it looked like a coin or a medallion. (via Hacker News)

Mt. Gox, Bitcoin exchange, files for bankruptcy

It lost 750,000 bitcoins to a "hacking attack", reports The New York Times, a haul worth some $400m at the present exchange rate. This site has some useful information on the cryptocurrency's fluctuating value.

Update: More from Cyrus Farivar at Ars:

Tsutomu Okubo, now a member of the Japanese parliament and a former banker at Morgan Stanley, told Ars that he had begun discussing new bitcoin-related regulation with the Financial Services Agency, the Ministry of Finance, and the Bank of Japan a year ago. "However, their response is that Bitcoin is neither currency nor regulated settlement in Japan," he said by e-mail. "Regarding exchanges like MtGox there is no regulation now."