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Blockchain is under threat from cyber criminals, study finds



Researchers have found cyber threats are bringing blockchain security into doubt on critical infrastructure

Miners who use computations to validate transactions through blockchain technology could be at risk, according to joint-research from Australia and Iran.

A study by Charles Darwin University (CDU) and the University of Tehran found cyber criminals are deceiving miners, who use the blockchain to power cryptocurrencies.

Miners who are given cryptocurrency as payment could be under attack by criminals who want to steal some of their computational power.

Professor Mamoun Alazab said this new attack method on blockchain was concerning because its high rates of success, particularly when the blockchain technology is used in critical infrastructure.

“The misleading attack is orchestrated by someone who redirects some miners computational power to a different chain, so that it (the attacker) can outrun the main chain and thus make its fork the dominant one,” he said.

Miners typically receive compensation for using their computational power to verify transactions on a specific blockchain.

“The chain, that miners are being misdirected to, is engineered to lose in the competition, and so is the main chain. All is for the attacker’s chain to win and become dominant.

“This vulnerability can also boost the success of other types of blockchain attacks,” Professor Alazab explained.

How does this affect cryptocurrencies?

Bitcoin, like other cryptocurrencies are not safe from any attacks, according to Professor Alazab.

“But this new misleading attack, along with some high-profile attacks that have cost millions of dollars, has shown that blockchain technology, particularly Bitcoin, is not as secure as we think, or as it needs to be for use in critical infrastructure.”

The study found Bitcoin’s blockchain technology was vulnerable, but misleading attacks are not possible on Ethereum’s blockchain technology because of its tracking system.

Dr Ghader Ebrahimpour and Dr Mohammad Sayad Haghighi were also involved in the research from the University of Tehran.

“If preventive or compensative measures are not taken, this attack can undermine the trust to a blockchain security and lower its value,” Dr Ebrahimpour said.

Blockchain miners have been warned about the impacts of their work if it is used in financial systems or critical infrastructure.

Professor Alazab said there may be different solutions to the threat.

“One is to change the design and remove the block reward. The miners then have to be rewarded out of transactions commissions.

“The concept of uncle block reward, similar to that of Ethereum, can also help in mitigating the problem,” he said.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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Disney withdraws ads from X amid tensions



Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, faces a turbulent period as he navigates through challenges including activist investor pressure, plummeting stock prices, and declining consumer interest in Disney movies.

Amidst these struggles, Iger has taken a controversial step by publicly announcing the withdrawal of Disney’s advertisements from Elon Musk’s social media platform, X (formerly known as Twitter). This move aligns with a broader trend of progressive CEOs distancing themselves from platforms associated with figures like Musk and Donald Trump.

The decision to pull ads from X marks a significant shift in the digital advertising landscape. This platform, under Musk’s leadership, aims to transform from a ‘lefty safe space’ to a hub for unrestricted free speech. This pivot includes a commitment to allowing conservative voices and resisting influence from political entities, including those in the Biden administration. However, this transformation has placed Musk, the world’s richest man, in a vulnerable position, drawing intense scrutiny and criticism.

Musk’s situation worsened following his endorsement of a controversial tweet, perceived as antisemitic, suggesting a Jewish conspiracy behind a demographic replacement theory. This incident fueled antisemitic sentiments, especially in the wake of the tragic Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Gaza. Additionally, a report by Media Matters, a Soros-supported organization, accused X of juxtaposing major company ads, like Disney’s, with harmful neo-Nazi content. This allegation led to an advertising boycott, severely impacting X’s financial stability.

At the recent New York Times DealBook conference, Iger openly criticized Musk’s actions and X’s content policies, leading to Disney’s ad withdrawal. While Musk admitted his error, he and his team have countered Media Matters’ claims, accusing them of defamation and filing a lawsuit. Amid these controversies, stakeholders are questioning Iger’s strategic decisions for Disney, especially considering his legacy as a former long-term CEO and his role in shaping the company’s current direction under his successor, Bob Chapek.

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Microsoft’s non-voting board seat in OpenAI revival



Microsoft has secured a non-voting board seat at OpenAI, marking a significant development as Sam Altman returns to helm the organization as CEO.

Microsoft’s new role within OpenAI comes as the tech giant continues to deepen its involvement in AI research and development. While the board seat is non-voting, it symbolizes Microsoft’s commitment to fostering collaboration in the AI community.

This move follows Sam Altman’s recent appointment as CEO of OpenAI, bringing him back into the fold after a brief stint at the helm of the startup in its early days.

With the resurgence of Altman as CEO, and Microsoft’s newfound presence on the board, the question arises: What synergies will this partnership unlock between two prominent entities in the AI domain?

As AI technologies continue to advance, what potential breakthroughs can we expect from this collaboration?

In summary, Microsoft has secured a non-voting board seat at OpenAI as Sam Altman returns as CEO, signaling a deepening alliance in the world of artificial intelligence.

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Elon Musk’s X faces $75M loss as advertisers exit



Elon Musk’s venture, X, is bracing for a substantial financial hit as reports suggest it could suffer losses of up to $75 million by the end of this year.

The turmoil stems from a growing exodus of advertisers, which has sent shockwaves through the company’s revenue streams.

The advertiser exodus appears to be linked to controversies surrounding Elon Musk and his unconventional approach to business and social media. Musk’s controversial statements and tweets have drawn both praise and criticism, but they seem to have alienated a significant portion of X’s advertising partners. Many companies are distancing themselves from the venture due to concerns about brand image and association with Musk’s unpredictable behavior.

This development raises pressing questions about the future of X and its ability to retain advertising partnerships. Can Elon Musk navigate these turbulent waters and win back advertisers? Will X need to reevaluate its strategies and adopt a more traditional corporate image? How might this impact the overall financial health of the venture, and what steps will be taken to mitigate losses?

In the midst of these uncertainties, it remains to be seen whether X can weather the storm and maintain its prominent position in the business world. Elon Musk’s unorthodox approach has often yielded success, but the current challenges pose a significant threat to the venture’s financial stability. As the year-end approaches, observers are closely watching to see how Musk and X respond to this critical situation.

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