Phantom Squad hackers extort Bitcoins

Phantom Squad hackers extort Bitcoins from hundreds of companies around the world
25 September

A group of hackers from Phantom Squad threatens hundreds of companies around the world with DDoS-attacks, demanding ransom in Bitcoins.

As reported, mass spam-campaign has begun on September 19th. The extortionists demand to transfer 0.2 BTC (slightly more than $750 at the current rate) to their Bitcoin-wallet until September 30th, and promise that after this date the amount will increase to 20 BTC, increasing by 10 BTC daily.

For now, it's rather difficult to count the exact number of the letters sent by the hackers. However, in social networks plenty confirmations of the mass character of the mailing can be found.

In addition, the network security experts at Radware doubt that the threat group is a genuine Phantom Squad, since the latter is known primarily for attacks on Xbox Live, PSN and Steam game services. On top of that, malicious users may simply not have enough resources for a DDoS attack on such a number of targets, experts say.

It is also noteworthy that the "Sender's Name" line of the hacker mailing lists a certain Mr. Smith, which may be a reference to the recent attack on HBO.

Ethereum network is still unstable

Byzantium had executed on Monday, but developers aren't ready to call the software transition complete
18 October

Organizations and developers are better off refraining from launching large projects until the Ethereum network is fully stable after the recent Byzantium update. This is said by the Gavin Wood, Parity Technologies head and reported by the Coindesk.

Since new versions of the software were released just days before the fork, much of the network has not yet been updated. So, at the time of press, slightly more than 25% of Parity customers updated, in Geth this indicator is slightly higher - about 59%. So, in total, the update was made about 45% of the network.

Another aspect that should also be taken into account is the short time for testing. In particular, the developers recalled previous versions of the software, discovering critical errors that could make the network vulnerable to DoS attacks or lead to incompatibility between nodes and, as a consequence, network sharing.

Therefore, the question of how safe the network is at the moment is fully justified and, taking into account what has been said above, remains open. This is exactly what Gavin Wood warned, recommending at this stage to refrain from launching large-scale projects.

In addition to the nodes that have yet to update, there is also a possibility that in the current Byzantium software there may be bugs that endanger the security of the Ethereum network. The most dangerous among them is a bug of consensus, in which nodes can not communicate. Its result can be the separation of the block-man into several incompatible chains.

As far as is known, at the moment developers are conducting extensive tests, trying to detect such bugs before they are active. As Gavin Wood says, if the network does contain such a bug, it will take several days to prove itself.

I don't think anyone believed the network was going to self-combust on block 4,370,000.

Gavin Wood
Head, Parity Technologies

The head of Parity Technologies is also convinced that if problems are discovered, the Ethereum development team will quickly release new updates designed to prevent any harm to the platform.