Bitcoin network difficulty has risen 5.89% to 120033340651.23696899 today. This is a more modest increase than many recent adjustments, but this difficulty period has been marked variance between block suggesting a full exahash per second of mining as well as multi hour stretches with substantially longer time between blocks. Miners appear to remain bullish on Bitcoin even as various agents of fiat attempt to inject artificial crises of their own imagining.
Obamacare firm Centene is reportedly searching for six missing hard drives which contain personal financial and health information on up to a million Americans (archived). Because of the peculiar way the fiat financial system does business without strong cryptographic certainty, the kind of personal information contained on these drives is likely of supreme interest to all manner of thieves.
Robert Falcone and Jen Miller-Osborn of Palo Alto Networks have published a write up on the Scarlet Mimic series of attacks carried out against various activist groups (archived). This campaign carried out over at least four years largely against Tibetian and Uyghur activists is another reminder of the serious danger presented by small scale social engineering efforts like spear phishing, which demand different mitigation and risk reduction strategies than macro scale social engineering attacks.
A massive malware strike affecting three Indian banks and a pharmaceutical company has at a ransom of 1 Bitcoin per machine incurred a total ransom equivalent to multiple millions of United States dollars at fiat/Bitcoin interface reported exchange rates (archived). Apparently only select machines operated by executives had their ransoms paid, but as the source article notes even with the files decrypted malware may remain allowing for easier insertion for future penetrators. Paying ransomware demands is the recovery method officially endorsed by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The particular piece of ransomware used in this strike goes by the name LeChiffre (archived). It does not propagate automatically and its windows executable needs to be initiated manually. These means that to be deployed on this scale the entire network infrastructure of these enterprises was thoroughly penetrated and brought to submit to the ransomers.
The pain being felt in the United States corn belt continues as low prices have reduced the flow of grain into the market to a trickle (archived). Archer Daniels Midland and other buyers are finding it necessary to raise their basis bids to get any new grain at all into their supply chains while farmers are forced to weigh how much of a loss they are willing to sell their crop for in order to plant the next crop. It remains to be seen how much to hodl farmers can muster and whether it will be enough to save their fortunes from the malaise affecting commodities on fiat markets. Sorry for your loss.
As the build up to the Ross Ulbrict's appellate hearing continues, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has filed an amicus brief criticizing the unconstitutionality of the investigation which lead to the persecution of Ross Ulbricht. The move comes as militia operations motivated by other breaches of the United States constitution by the Federal government have resulted in the liberation of substantial portions of Oregon. Whether the appellate court follows Judge Katherine Forrest in rejecting sanity and constitutional limits remains to be seen. Continue reading
Peabody coal, the largest coal mining concern in the United States, faces concerns that it could follow its smaller competitors into bankruptcy (archived). Patriot Coal, Walter Energy, and Alpha Natural resources filed for bankruptcy last year while Arch Coal filed for bankruptcy on January 11th of this year. While oil has dominated the mainstream news cycle, the energy extraction industry as a whole is leading the fiat march to suffering. Continue reading