Jan 31, 2018

Eye exams from your computer or smartphone? What a time to be alive!

This is not an advertisement of any kind. I just want to get that out of the way. The truth is that I've been buying my contacts from Lens.com for a few years. I've found their prices to usually be better than my local eye doctor.

Well, I just got an email from them the other day that made me chuckle a bit and I felt like I should probably share it with you. Well, at least the premise of the email anyway.

You see, up until now, in order to buy contacts from Lens.com you had to have your eyes examined by an Ophthalmologist, Optometrist or some other qualified eye doctor that could issue prescriptions for contact lenses. Makes sense right? This is pretty much the same for any other online contact lens retailer.

Well, Lens.com sent me an email the other day that says that I no longer need a prescription from my local eye doctor! They have a friggin' app now that will figure out what my prescriptions is! Can you believe that shit?!

Check out their video:



On their page, they show this simple "how it works" drawing:



Apparently they have their own in-house doctors now! Who knew?

18 years ago, the idea of taking your vision test using an app on your phone was completely unheard of! What an amazing time to be alive!

What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments!

Jan 30, 2018

Tired of Facebook? Launch your own social network site for free!

It's kind of funny. You hear a lot of people complain about Facebook, but you almost never see anyone quit Facebook. You might see some folks drop off for a while, but they inevitably come back. Hell, I was one of them!

Well, what if instead of bitching about how much someone hates Facebook they actually did something about it and launched their own alternative to Facebook?!? Well, now you can!

Introducing OSSN (Open Source Social Network)! From their about page:
Open Source Social Network (Ossn) is a rapid development social networking software written in PHP. It allows you to make a social networking website.
Ossn can be use to build different types of social apps.
  • Private Intranets
  • Public/Open Networks
  • Community
They also list the following features:
Here are some screenshots:





I even found this Youtube video showing you how to make OSSN look like Facebook. Warning, the music is annoying...



Once you have your new social networking site stood up, you are off to the races. Your next step is trying to recruit all of your friends to leave Facebook and use your new social network... How to do that is for another blog post though!

What do you think about OSSN? Let us know in the comments!

Jan 29, 2018

Earn capital for your business using blockchain technology

While many people are looking at the cryptocurrency boom as a way to make money by transferring their heavily inflated fiat currency, like the dollar, into Bitcoins or one of the many alt-coins available, others are looking at innovative ways of using blockchain technology in general.

If you haven't heard of the term blockchain, Wikipedia describes it as:
...a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. The Harvard Business Review describes it as "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way." For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority. 
Blockchains are secure by design and are an example of a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. Decentralized consensus has therefore been achieved with a blockchain. This makes blockchains potentially suitable for the recording of events, medical records, and other records management activities, such as identity management, transaction processing, documenting provenance, food traceability or voting. 
The first blockchain was conceptualized in 2008 by an anonymous person or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto and implemented in 2009 as a core component of bitcoin where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions. The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double spending problem without the need of a trusted authority or central server. The bitcoin design has been the inspiration for other applications.
One interest method of using blockchain that I recently discovered is in the use of capital investment for startup companies! The company I discovered doing this is called Chainium.

Check out their video:



From their page:
Our beliefs – we believe the equity market needs to be disrupted – We stand for any business who wants to raise capital to grow. We stand for any investor who wants to buy shares in businesses they believe in. 
Our technology – we love blockchain – It’s enabled us to create a distributed database solution that replaces the many complex, inefficient, manual processes used in the equity market today. 
Our people – we’ve been around the block – We’ve worked together for 15+ years in global equity markets with hands-on experience of blockchain, data security and financial regulation. We’re disrupting a market we know well. 
Our plan – we’re serious – We’re working with the regulators, we’ve built a working prototype, we have a proven track record of delivering global technology projects and we have a realistic roadmap for 2018 delivery.
You can read their whitepaper here (Chainium Technical Whitepaper).

If you are looking to start a business, but have struggled getting the capital you need to get your ideas off the ground, this may just be the ticket to your new venture's success.

What do you think about this? Do you think blockchain technology will continue to transform technologies in other markets? Let us know what you think in the comments!

What kind of dirt does Google have on you?

I've been posting a lot about bitcoin and cryptocurrency lately, so today I thought I'd take a break from that and talk about something different. This post will go to show you how you can find out what kind of data Google is collecting on you, and what you can do about it.

We all know that Google captures and stores a ridiculous amount of data on it's users. This is from a Wired post just last year on the subject:
It's no secret that Google knows a lot about you. A large part of the search giant's business model is based around advertising – and for this to be successful it needs to know who you are. 
But with the right know-how it's possible to track down what Google knows about you and control what it uses for advertising purposes. 
Google doesn't make a huge song and dance about its in-depth knowledge of its users, but at the same time it doesn't keep it a secret either. Here's how to find out what Google knows and take control of your data.
If you knew what Google knows about you, it can be down right scary. Well, you're going to learn today!



The following 7 links will give you an eye opening glimpse into what Google knows about you, and what your habits are:
  • History – Here is your entire Google search history.
  • Ads – Here is what Google thinks what your interests are and shows you ads based on these interests.
  • Location History – Here are the places where you used Google to do anything.
  • Takeout – Export every information Google knows about you.
  • Dashboard – An activity page that tells you about all the Google services you are using.
  • YouTube search history – YouTube saves all of your searches too.
  • Permissions – You can see here what permissions you gave to the extensions and sites you use.

The fact that Google knows all of this stuff is one thing, and kind of scary on its own, however they are mainly capturing this stuff to sell to advertisers. The real scary part is that the NSA taps into this sort of thing as a part of the PRISM program.








You might be wondering how to delete all of your Google history now. Well, if you want to remove everything Google has on you, just clearing your browser history doesn't help. You need to delete absolutely everything.

According to Google's Support page, you can clear all of your Google activity by doing the following:

  • Go to My Activity. You might need to sign in to your Google Account.
  • On the "My Activity" banner, choose More > Delete activity by.
  • Below "Delete by date," select the Down arrow > then All time.
  • Select Delete.
  • Confirm your choice.



After that, you should be all cleared from Google's systems. Obviously that won't clear what the NSA has already stored on you in their databases, and Google will certainly start the collection process all over again; but it's a start at least!

What do you think about all of the stuff that you found Google was tracking about you? Was it eye opening at all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Jan 28, 2018

#Bitcoin could hit $50,000 this year & such volatility is normal


With a market capitalization of just above $500 billion, cryptocurrency volatility is nothing unusual, portfolio manager Jeet Singh told RT at the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Singh has been operating in the cryptocurrency space for the past 6 years and claims it is common for virtual currencies to fluctuate by 70 - 80 percent or even more.

At the moment there’s a speculative bubble in the cryptocurrency market because those who “got there at very late stages are losing money.” But it doesn’t bother those who’ve been there for a very long time because they are used to the volatility, Singh explained.

Jan 26, 2018

If #Ripple (XRP) ever trades for what #Bitcoin (BTC) is currently trading for, I'm rich bitch!

There has been quite a lot of news surrounding the number three cryptocurrency in the world, Ripple. I wrote about how to buy Ripple using Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum or whatever altcoin you want on Binance just the other day. Since then, the price has gone up even more! (And yes, went back down again)

Some are speculating that Coinbase will eventually start selling Ripple as well, and when that happens the price is expected to go to the moon!

Via Bitcoinist:
Ripple has already made huge moves in the past couple of weeks, pumped largely by news of greater acceptance by banks and credit card companies. At the time of writing, it has surpassed Ethereum by market capitalization and is the second largest cryptocurrency with $87 billion. XRP surged to an all-time high of $2.80 on December 30th and is still trading high at $2.25 today. 
According to reports, Ripple could soon be joining Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash on Coinbase. Acceptance and ease of access is everything in the crypto world. The easier it is to buy something, the more demand will increase, which, in turn, increases value. Coinbase makes it simple for non-technically minded people to invest in cryptocurrencies using fiat. A number of analysts have already speculated that one of the world’s largest exchanges, servicing 32 countries, will be adding Ripple shortly. 
Ripple is the hot coin of the moment, and the likelihood of a Coinbase acceptance is high. Its blockchain is superior to Bitcoin’s in terms of speed and price, making it a better alternative to trade with. Transaction verification times for BTC are painfully slow, often taking several hours. In addition to that, the fees can be as high as $30 for Bitcoin. Compare that to just $0.0004 for XRP, and you have a good option for low cost, high speed crypto transfers.
Coinbase squashed these rumors shortly after the above article.

Via Coinbase's blog:
We wanted to give our customers details about our process for adding new assets to our trading platform. Our mission is to be the most trusted and easy-to-use digital currency exchange. We believe sharing this process with our customers is an essential part of building that trust. 
A few months ago we released our Digital Asset Framework which highlights our criteria for supporting new assets. You can read our framework here. A committee of internal experts is responsible for determining whether and when new assets will be added to the platform in accordance with our framework. These individuals — and all employees at Coinbase — are subject to confidentiality and trading restrictions. Coinbase will announce the addition of new assets only via our blog post or other official channels. 
As of the date of this statement, we have made no decision to add additional assets to either GDAX or Coinbase. Any statement to the contrary is untrue and not authorized by the company.
Although the post didn't specify Ripple precisely, Cointelegraph believed it was directed at the Ripple rumors. Still though, this is most likely a reaction  to the rumors of insider trading when Coinbase launched support for Bitcoin Cash. That being said, I'm pretty sure Coinbase will support Ripple eventually, and when they do... BANG ZOOM!


Bitcoin was trading for what Ripple is trading for now just a few years ago. At the time of this writing, that is a little over the $1.30 mark. Bitcoin is now trading for just over the $11,000 mark!

If people who have purchased Ripple this early in the game hold onto it, and Ripple ever trades for $11,000, there will be a lot of wealthy investors! Some are saying that Ripple is basically the new Bitcoin, except the banks like it. This could be interpreted to mean that there is an even greater chance of acceptance and adoption in the financial industry. At least, that is the way it looks to me. Whether this is good or bad is certainly debatable as well.

I currently own 113.38 XRP tokens. I'm really hoping that in 5 or six year it does go up to $11,000 because if that happens it will be worth $1,247,180! Certainly not a bad return if you ask me!

Now, will Ripple ever get so popular that the price will rise the same way Bitcoin did? The Economy Forcast Agency doesn't think so. At the time of this writing, they only expect the price of Ripple to get up to a high of around $31 by 2021.


If the chart above is to be believed at all, then those of us holding (Or hodling as the kids say) for the big payoff, then we may have to wait quite a while before cashing out. It did take Bitcoin roughly eight years to reach it's current height though, so the patience may very well be worth it!


What do you think about this? What do you think about Ripple in general? Let us know in the comments.

Jan 25, 2018

Blockchain explained in 5 levels of difficulty



Blockchain, the key technology behind Bitcoin, is a new network that helps decentralize trade, and allows for more peer-to-peer transactions. WIRED challenged political scientist and blockchain researcher Bettina Warburg to explain blockchain technology to 5 different people; a child, a teen, a college student, a grad student, and an expert.

Via Wired

Jan 24, 2018

Super easy to use desktop wallet for #Bitcoin and other altcoins

Many people who have been in the cryptocurrency game for a long time, and have a lot more money invested than I do, often recommend getting your bitcoins and altcoins off of the exchanges and into a desktop wallet of some sort. The main reason for this is security.

Take for instance what happened in 2014 to Mt. Gox, which at the time was the biggest bitcoin exchange around.

Via Wired:
From a distance, the world's largest bitcoin exchange looked like a towering example of renegade entrepreneurism. But on the inside, according to some who were there, Mt. Gox was a messy combination of poor management, neglect, and raw inexperience. 
Its collapse into bankruptcy last week – and the disappearance of $460 million, apparently stolen by hackers, and another $27.4 million missing from its bank accounts – came as little surprise to people who had knowledge of the Tokyo-based company's inner workings. The company, these insiders say, was largely a reflection of its CEO and majority stake holder, Mark Karpeles, a man who was more of a computer coder than a chief executive and yet was sometimes distracted even from his technical duties when they were most needed. "Mark liked the idea of being CEO, but the day-to-day reality bored him," says one Mt. Gox insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 
Last week, after a leaked corporate document said that hackers had raided the Mt. Gox exchange, Karpeles confirmed that a huge portion of the money controlled by the company was gone. "We had weaknesses in our system, and our bitcoins vanished. We've caused trouble and inconvenience to many people, and I feel deeply sorry for what has happened," Karpeles said, speaking at a Tokyo press conference called to announce the company's bankruptcy. This would be the second time the exchange was hacked. In June 2011, attackers lifted the equivalent of $8.75 million.

That's right, they got hacked and a lot of people lost their bitcoins. Since this day, many people keep pounding their fists on the desk telling people to get their money off exchanges like Coinbase, and into a desktop wallet!

Some wallets require the user to have a PHd to figure out, but I found one that is super easy to use and supports many different altcoins along with bitcoin. It's called Exodus!

From their page:
Exodus wraps solid engineering inside beautiful design. We poured our hearts into every detail, from pixel-perfect icons to subtle sounds, making a blockchain asset experience that "just works for normal people". Our goal: Remove the geek requirement to use cryptocurrency and make design a priority - we think it shows.
Check out this demo video:



Here are some screen shots:

Built-in Exchange

Portfolio View

Intuitively send and receive cryptocoins

At the time of this writing they support the following altcoins:

  • Aragon
  • Augur
  • BAT
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Civic
  • Dash
  • Decred
  • District0x
  • EOS
  • ETH Classic
  • Ethereum
  • FunFair
  • Gnosis
  • Golem
  • Litecoin
  • OmiseGo
  • SALT
Many people are wondering if Exodus will support Ripple, NEM, IOTA, NEO, Monero, Zcash or other assets. To answer that question, they point to their wallet road map.

So far I really like Exodus, and think it's very easy to use! Don't take my word for it though. Give it a try, and let me know what you think in the comments! Likewise, if there is a better wallet in your opinion, tell us about that as well!

Jan 23, 2018

Apple and Amazon were once considered to be bubbles. Stop the #bitcoin FUD!

Every time bitcoin would reach new highs, especially last year, there would be a dip and it would come back stronger than ever. As the price of bitcoin continued to grow, more and more so-called economists like Paul Krugman would proclaim that bitcoin is in a bubble and will burst at any time!

Well, let's take a look at a couple of other so-called bubbles in the past. Here are two charts that showed Apple and Amazon to be in bubbles during the big "dotcom boom" of the late 1990's, and look at where those companies are now!

H/T Reddit

Here is Krugman on bitcoin from Business Insider:

Well, the thing about bitcoin is there isn't actually a whole lot of stuff… there's not — in a way the fact that it's completely untethered to anything real means that it doesn't fall until it … it can just hang there in mid-air for a long, long time. There's no obvious real — it's not like, you know, the housing crisis. If housing prices are unrealistic, then more housing gets built and you can see it. Bitcoin — the cost of producing of new bitcoins has gone crazily high. So that's not going to happen. So we're waiting for a Wylie Coyote moment. You know, the cartoon physics, he runs off the edge of a cliff and it's only when he looks down and realizes there's nothing under him and he goes ... So we're waiting for that sort of thing to happen. And that can go on for a long time. You know, a bubble is a natural Ponzi scheme, that's how Bob Shiller puts it. That it's — as long as it's going on everybody who bought in keeps making money and it looks good, and the fact that in the end somebody's going to be left holding the bag. Everybody assumes it's not going to be them.

Is he right? I suppose only time will tell, but here is what he said about the Internet in 1998:

The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in ‘Metcalfe’s law’—which states that the number of potential connections in a network is proportional to the square of the number of participants—becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other! By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.

He was clearly wrong about that wasn't he? Cryptocoin enthusiasts, that see the value of the technology, are a lot more like the dotcom pioneers in the late 1990's than people like Krugman are considering.

Krugman was not just wrong on the Internet, he was wrong about Metcalfe's law. The interesting thing about it is, that many believe that the value of bitcoin can be measured using Metcalfe's law!

Check out this video:


With all this being said, my guess is that Krugman will be wrong about the cryptocurrency revolution just as he was about the Internet. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Jan 22, 2018

If you are ordering IT equipment, you should check out Amazon first

If your company is like mine, there are probably one or two hardware/software resellers you go through to get your stuff. I've used companies like CDW, SHI, TIG and Softchoice to name a few. There are numerous ones out there!

Sometimes using these guys can get you decent deals on hardware and software because they can sometimes work out deals with the manufacturer. Other times, their prices are just too damned high!



To give you and example, a few months ago I was asked to get a quote for a Cisco Wired Microphone Kit for a Unified IP Conference Phone 8831. One of my resellers sent us a quote for $249.99 for a pack of two!



Good Lawd hamercy! Almost $250 for a microphone kit? I decided to check for the same item on Amazon. The SKU was CP-MIC-WIRED-S, and Amazon had it for only $99!


On top of that, this product was Amazon Prime eligible! That meant free two day shipping! The same pack of two microphones for $150 cheaper with free shipping? Why wouldn't I buy it from Amazon?

There are tons of items I've seen this with. The next time you need to get a quote from one of your resellers, check the SKU with Amazon first before you buy and be a company hero!



Jan 19, 2018

History of public key cryptography: RSA Encryption Algorithm



We recently posted a video showing the history of the Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange. Today we are showing a video showing the history of the RSA Public Key Encryption Algorithm (cryptography).

How & why it works. Introduces Euler's Theorem, Euler's Phi function, prime factorization, modular exponentiation & time complexity.


Jan 18, 2018

OS Creators Have Released Patches for Meltdown and Spectre, But You May Not Get a BIOS Update

Like pretty much every IT professional out there, my company is scrambling to get our systems patched since the announcement of Meltdown and Spectre a couple of weeks ago. Just yesterday I wrote about how to tell if your Microsoft system was fully patched, and showed a screenshot from my Lenovo laptop where everything was patched. Here it is again:


Well, while going through all of my higher end systems at my day job I started to see a disturbing trend. That is that some budget systems like SuperMicro, and older HP systems either don't have a BIOS update to fix the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, or won't release one at all due to age. I'm sure other server vendors like Dell and IBM are in the same boat.

Here are a couple of examples. The first one is a SuperMicro server I have that isn't terribly old. The motherboard on it is a X9DRD-7LN4F. If you look at their support website, the last BIOS update for this motherboard was created in 2015! 

SuperMicro has said the following in regards to releasing BIOS updates for side channel speculative execution and indirect branch prediction information disclosure, however they have not given any specific dates when their systems will be patched:
We are working around the clock to integrate, test and release the updates as soon as they are made available. To address the issue systems will need both an Operating System update and a BIOS update. Please check with operating system or VM vendors for related information.
Similarly, we have several G6 HP Proliant servers that are still in operation. They have been rock solid machines, and we get third party support from Curvature for them.  Curvature's hardware replacement, and technical support has always been top notch, so why get rid of these older servers? Well, no BIOS updates is one reason now...

For instance, we still use an HP Proliant DL585 G6 for QA testing. Looking at their BIOS downloads, the last one available was created in 2014!

HP has issued a bulletin on Meltdown and Spectre, and as of now it looks like they are only going to be patching Gen 8, Gen 9 and Gen 10 servers. Those of us with older servers supported by third parties are probably going to be SOL.

If you are in a similar situation, you may need to start researching other ways to mitigate for this attack. Look into products like Sonicwall UTM firewalls with IPS built in. I specifically mention Sonicwall because they have released the following statement on their protection against exploits that use Meltdown and Spectre:
The SonicWall Capture Threat Research team is releasing protection against attacks that leverage these vulnerabilities to help defend our customers’ extended infrastructure.
  • 13149 Suspicious Javascript Code (Speculative Execution)
  • GAV: Exploit.Spectre.A (Exploit)
Long story short, if you thought you were out of the woods because your OS of choice released an update, you're not there yet. In fact, there is a good chance you will never fully get out of the woods on this one.

Jan 17, 2018

Tai Lopez NEEDS TO STOP Selling Me His #Bitcoin Course



Tai Lopez is famous for hanging out in his garage, showing off Lamborghinis, reading thousands of books, chilling with celebrities, and aggressively marketing his courses on YouTube. Unfortunately for us, he has now set his sights on the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. PLEASE STOP!

Find out if your Windows PC or Server is fully patched for Meltdown and Spectre

We posted an article from Reuters a little while ago talking about the biggest security vulnerabilities that were recently discovered that impacts pretty much every system in the wild. These vulnerabilities are collectively known as Meltdown and Spectre.

Microsoft has released a number of patches for their systems recently, but that's not quite enough. On many systems, you must also installed your hardware vendor's latest BIOS updates as well.

To see if your Microsoft Windows system is fully patched for Meltdown and Spectre, Microsoft has created a Powershell script that can tell you, and give you recommendations on getting fully patched.

Here's what you need to do to run the script:
  • Load an elevated PowerShell prompt. Tap on the Windows-key, type PowerShell, hold down the Shift-key and the Ctrl-key and select the PowerShell entry to load it.
  • Type Install-Module SpeculationControl
  • You may get a prompt stating that “NuGet provider is required to continue.” Select Y to accept that.
  • You may get a prompt stating that you are installing an “untrusted repository.” Select Y to continue.
  • Type Import-Module SpeculationControl.
  • You may get an error stating that “running scripts” is disabled. If you do, type Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned. Repeat the command Import-Module SpeculationControl.
  • Type Get-SpeculationControlSettings.
Tip: You can restore the default ExecutionPolicy setting by running the command Set-ExecutionPolicy Default.

If you are fully patched, this is what you should see:



If you see any red outputs, follow the suggested actions provided by the script.

Are you are your systems fully patched for Meltdown and Spectre yet? Let us know in the comments!

[H/T Ghacks]

Jan 16, 2018

Top 5 Computer Security Threats

With increasing cyber community and vast system users’ computer security threats have increased significantly. In this article, we can discuss some computer security threats of recent times.

In recent times computer security of users has been at stake due to increased cyber and malware attacks. Computer users are prone to these threats as attacks have increased multifold in recent times. These computer security threats come in various forms and malicious content like malware, viruses, spyware, adware, Botnet, ransomware, and others. Let’s discuss top 5 computer security threats of recent times.

Virus: A Virus can replicate itself and infect a system without the knowledge or permission of the user. This small piece of software can spread when it is transmitted by a user via the Internet or over a network. It can also infect system removable media or external devices such as CDs or USB drives. These viruses can delete your important data, reformat the system hard disk, cause system crash or other losses. Even these viruses take up system memory and may cause erratic behavior on your system. These virus threats can be prevented significantly using anti-virus programs.

Ransomware: Ransomware is a malware which attacks user’s system and gets installed on it without user’s consent. It executes a malicious Crypto virology attacks to affect user’s computer adversely. Advanced Ransomware encrypts the victim’s files and other data making them inaccessible to the user and demands a ransom payment to decrypt it. It can also encrypt the system’s Master File Table or the entire hard disk. Ransomware is a form of denial-of-access attack where it prevents users from using their own system. These attacks are generally carried out using Trojan.

Phishing: In Phishing attacks, a phony web page is created and produced by the user that looks similar to a legitimate web page. This phony web page remains on a server of the attacker thus the attacker keeps full control of the page. Using these phony web pages’ users are tricked by attackers as users think they are on the legitimate page or trusted website. These phony web pages are created to steal user’s information like their names, passwords, credit & debit card details, and other sensitive information. Phishing attacks are generally carried out by email or instant messaging where compromised links are shared with the users.

Spyware: Spyware is a small piece of software program that is secretly installed on a system without the user’s consent. Spyware programs are used to keep a tab on user’s activities. These programs can collect a lot of sensitive and personal information of user like credit & debit card details, financial transactions, website visited, usernames & passwords etc. These programs can redirect web browsers to malicious websites or can install other malware easily.  Spyware can affect system speed and performance negatively.

Botnet:  A Botnet is also known as “Zombie Army” is a collection of software robots (or bots) that run automated tasks over the Internet. The term “Botnet” is commonly used to refer to a distributed network or compromised system (called “Zombie computer”) This “Zombie Army” run programs such as Trojan horses, worms or backdoors. Recent Botnet versions can automatically scan its environment and propagate themselves using various vulnerabilities on the system. They are used to launch Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks against various websites.

Above mentioned computer security threats can affect computers significantly. These threats can cause data loss or can block user access to their own system. Apart from these threats, there are many other threats as well like Worm, Trojan Horse, Keystroke logging, Adware, Spoofing, Pharming and lot others that can make your system crawl or sometimes halt the operations on it.

Jan 15, 2018

#Bitcoin and #Ethereum plummet as South Korea decides on total crypto shutdown

The value of ethereum slid by around $60 starting its decline at 10.00pm UTC to start Tuesday in free fall.

While Bitcoin’s fortunes mirrored its competitor losing $380 in a single day.

South Korea has announced a curb on crypto futures and vowed the come down hard on any criminal activities involving illegal currencies.

The country, which had been a big player in the cryptocurrency boom, is now considering a full shutdown of all exchanges.

The government has also vowed to support research and development into the blockchain on which cryptocurrencies are based.

On Wednesday it was revealed by Justice Minister Park Sang-ki that the government was preparing a law to close all the nation’s exchanges.

AMD CEO: Our processors are more affordable than Intel's



Despite some recent concerns over security flaws in its chips, AMD (AMD) is poised for another solid year.

The Austin, Texas-based chipmaker announced half a dozen new desktop and laptop processors sporting major performance upgrades over the past year, priced at a fraction of Intel’s (INTC) chips. “Our goal is to make sure that we provide step-function improvements for our customers,” AMD CEO Lisa Su told Yahoo Finance during a wide-ranging conversation at CES 2018 last week. “If you look at our Ryzen product line, for example, at every price point we offer more threads, more multithreaded performance.”

At CES 2018 last week, AMD claimed one of its Ryzen products, which puts computer processing and graphics on one chip, offers comparable data-crunching performance to an Intel Core i5-8400 with Nvidia GT 1030 graphics card, but for $120 less, translating to significant savings for shoppers who want to save a few bucks without compromising computer performance.

History of public key cryptography - Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange



The history behind public key cryptography & the Diffie-Hellman key exchange algorithm.



Jan 14, 2018

Chinese #bitcoin miners consider setting up in energy-rich Canada

The mounting pressure by Chinese authorities on the country’s cryptocurrency industry is forcing mining companies to look for alternatives, and Canada is one of the preferred hot spots.

Bitmain Technologies, the operator of some of the largest mining farms in China, is among several companies looking to expand overseas. The company’s spokesman, Nishant Sharma, told Reuters that it is eyeing bitcoin mining sites in Canada’s Québec province, which currently enjoys an energy surplus. He added that the company is in talks with regional power authorities in the province, and that it is also planning to expand in Switzerland.

Two Chinese miners said local authorities in China are increasingly unwilling to allow expansion and had started to shut down some mines in late 2017, as China clamped down on cryptocurrencies.

“We, and from what I understand many of our peers, are already making plans to go overseas,” said Li Wei, chief executive of ZQMiner, a Wuhan-based company which sells bitcoin mining equipment and has mines in three Chinese provinces.

According to public utility Hydro Québec, the energy surplus of the province is equivalent to up to 100 Terawatt hours over the course of ten years. One Terawatt hour powers about 60,000 homes in Québec during one year.

Jan 13, 2018

Introducing The Adventures of Brizzle Fo' Shizzle

I mentioned the other day that my son has his own YouTube channel. On his channel he does all sorts of things that little boys like to do, such as play video games, build stuff, play with Nerf guns, etc!

Well, we've been doing his little hobby weekly for the last seven months, and I thought it might be a good idea to get him a dedicated website where we can better take advantage of Google search traffic for people to find his videos! The thought process here is that there are millions of other channels on YouTube, so it's very easy to get lost in the weeds.

Introducing BrizzleFoShizzle.com!

C:\Users\pbauer\Desktop\The Adventures of Brizzle Fo' Shizzle


Pretty cool right? Now whenever he publishes a new video on his YouTube channel, we'll also publish it on his website! On top of that, his website is set to auto-post every new episode to his Twitter account! How cool is that?

If you have young kids, around the age of 7 or 8, they will love The Adventures of Brizzle Fo' Shizzle! You should definitely check it out!


Jan 12, 2018

My new toy! Android tablet for less than $100

I wanted to tell you all about a new toy that I bought myself for Christmas last month! It's my new Android tablet + keyboard combo that I found for around $85! I first saw similar items at my local Walmart, so I went home to look for more online when I found my new baby! 

It's an RCA Viking Pro 10.1" tablet! Here are the specs  from Walmart:
Design: Lightweight with a sleek, compact design,RCA Viking Pro tablet with Detachable Keyboard with Trackpad can be taken with you anywhere at any time. With built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, accessing the Internet is easy. The microSD card slot lets you store photos, videos and more so you never run out of memory 
Software: Mobile office,Comes with a free subscription to Office Mobile, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote apps that are built for Windows tablets and designed for work on the go. 
Operating System: Android 5.0 OS (Lollipop) 
Display: 10.1-inch high-resolution (1280x800) IPS display 
Processor: Quad-Core processor 
Memory: 1GB 
Hard drive: 32GB onboard storage memory, additional memory via microSD card slot can be expanded to 64GB 
Webcam: Front Facing 2M pixel webcam, Rear 2M pixel webcam 
Ports: microUSB 2.0 port, USB 2.0 port, miniHDMI port, headphone jack, microphone jack, DC-in jack 
Wireless connectivity: WIFI 802.11 b/g/n 
Micro HDMI output expands your viewing: Micro HDMI 
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0 

Here are some photos of it. I purchased the blue model. It also comes in black, pink and purple!


This one has a Bauer-Power sticker!


These pictures are from Walmart:


So far I love it! In fact, I wrote this article using it! It does take some getting used to though. The mouse pad doesn't have two mouse buttons. It's more like a Mac that way. still though, standard shortcuts like control + c and control + v work just fine for copying and pasting. I can also manipulate things with the touch screen if I need to as well, since it is a tablet after all.

Overall, I think this little tablet is great, and for less than $100, you can't go wrong!

Jan 11, 2018

PlainSight: An Open Source Computer Forensics Environment

I was Stumbling around the Internet the other day and came across a really cool open source project that combines a number of computer forensics tools into one environment. If you are unfamiliar with computer forensics, Wikipedia describes it as:
...a branch of digital forensic science pertaining to evidence found in computers and digital storage media. The goal of computer forensics is to examine digital media in a forensically sound manner with the aim of identifying, preserving, recovering, analyzing and presenting facts and opinions about the digital information. 
Although it is most often associated with the investigation of a wide variety of computer crime, computer forensics may also be used in civil proceedings. The discipline involves similar techniques and principles to data recovery, but with additional guidelines and practices designed to create a legal audit trail. 
Evidence from computer forensics investigations is usually subjected to the same guidelines and practices of other digital evidence. It has been used in a number of high-profile cases and is becoming widely accepted as reliable within U.S. and European court systems.
Long story short, you use the art of computer forensics to discover destroyed data and/or compile evidence on computer systems. You see this in the movies when cops recover files from a wiped hard drive. Stuff like that...

Anyway, this open source project is called PlainSight!



From their page:
PlainSight is a versatile computer forensics environment that allows inexperienced forensic practitioners [to] perform common tasks using powerful open source tools. 
We have taken the best open source forensic/security tools, customised them, and combined them with an intuitive user interface to create an incredibly powerful forensic environment. 
With PlainSight you can perform operations such as:
  • Get hard disk and partition information
  • Extract user and group information
  • View Internet histories
  • Examine Windows firewall configuration
  • Discover recent documents
  • Recover/Carve over 15 different file types
  • Discover USB storage information
  • Examine physical memory dumps
  • Examine UserAssist information
  • Extract LanMan password hashes
  • Preview a system before acquiring it
You can see PlainSight in action in the demo section. However we think that the best way to learn about it is to download the PlainSight iso from the downloads section and boot a computer with it.
All of these tools in one place can be very handy for any IT professional. Not just for security guys, or law enforcement agencies.

Are you going to download their ISO and try out their tools? If so, let us know what you think in the comments!

Jan 10, 2018

S. Korea's major cryptoasset exchanges raided by authorities

South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges were raided by police and tax agencies this week for alleged tax evasion, people familiar with the investigation said on Thursday.

“A few officials from the National Tax Service raided our office this week,” an official at Coinone, a major cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, told Reuters.

“Local police also have been investigating our company since last year, they think what we do is gambling,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said Coinone was cooperating with the investigation.

Bithumb, the second largest virtual currency operator in South Korea, was also raided by the tax authorities on Wednesday.

What will the price be at the peak of the #Bitcoin boom?

The true answer to the question of how high in price will the Bitcoin bubble go is really anyone's guess. Renowned financial guru, Max Keiser predicts that Bitcoin will at least trade up to $400,000 per Bitcoin. John McAfee is even predicting it will go up to $1 Million! Are either of them right?

Not according to The Economic Forecast Agency. At the time of this writing, they are showing a high closing of $129,428 in January of 2021, and a high of $138,488.


After this, they show a steady decline in price all the way into 2022.

Now, how accurate is this data? Well, to be honest, it's about as accurate as using a crystal ball. Which is to say, that any kind of market prediction is like that. Nobody truly knows how things will end up in the future. This will at least give you some numbers to go with your speculation!

What do you think about this prediction? Let us know in the comments?

Jan 9, 2018

Answering three of the biggest #Bitcoin questions

As someone who has been interested in Bitcoin since around 2012 when I first discovered it, I get a lot of people asking me about it lately. That's because of the huge boom in Bitcoin we saw last year in 2017.

I figured if those people were asking, then others probably wanted to know these things too. It's like when you have a question in class, and are afraid to ask, but when someone finally asks the question you are thankful that they did!

Well, here are the three biggest questions I get asked about Bitcoin!

  1. What is Bitcoin?

    I made this video back in 2012 that explains it fairly well. Back then I didn't think about it as an investment opportunity, I looked at it as a way of buying things anonymously online...



  2.  If it's trading at tens of thousands of dollars per Bitcoin, how can I afford to Invest?

    The good news is that you don't have to have tens of thousands of dollars to invest in Bitcoin. You can actually buy fractions of a Bitcoin to get started. For instance, if you only have $50 to invest, you can buy $50 worth of Bitcoin at whatever the going price is. In return, you will own a fraction of a Bitcoin worth that amount in dollars. Get it?


  3. How do I buy Bitcoin?

    The easiest way, in my opinion, is to use Coinbase. You can easily transfer money from your bank account, and buy Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies like Litecoin, Etherium or Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin is expected to reach at least $400,000 in the future! If you can get in now, you still stand to make a lot of money!

I hope this post answers your questions. If you have any more, hit us up in the comments!

Jan 8, 2018

Google Chrome set to crack down on competitor ads in February

Just when I get excited to finally find a decent Adsense alternative in 2018, and start making real money again with Bauer-Power, I find out that Google announced something that may screw me over once again!

Apparently last month on December 19th, Google said that they were joining the Coalition for Better Ads, and will crack down on sites that fall short of industry standards starting in February. Examples are sites that repeatedly show autoplay videos, and full-page or pop-up ads.

From their announcement:

Yesterday, the Coalition for Better Ads announced the "Better Ads Experience Program." This Program provides guidelines for companies like Google on how they can use the Better Ads Standards to help improve users' experience with ads on the web. 
In June, we announced Chrome's plans to support the Better Ads Standards in early 2018. Violations of the Standards are reported to sites via the Ad Experience Report, and site owners can submit their site for re-review once the violations have been fixed. Starting on February 15, in line with the Coalition's guidelines, Chrome will remove all ads from sites that have a "failing" status in the Ad Experience Report for more than 30 days. All of this information can be found in the Ad Experience Report Help Center, and our product forums are available to help address any questions or feedback. 
We look forward to continuing to work with industry bodies to improve the user experience for everyone.

Now, my sites don't offer autoplay videos, or full-page ads. We do sometimes show overlays though for mobile users. It's unclear how this change will affect us, and that is kind of scary.

If you look at our stats, almost half of our visitors use Chrome to view Bauer-Power!



Via The Hill:
Sites will be able to appeal their status to Google after they change their advertising practices. 
The move may be popular among internet users who are annoyed by obtrusive ads, but it could also bring opposition from sites that rely on revenue streams from such ads.
As someone who has tried to use the Google appeals process after being kicked off of Adsense years ago, I can tell you that their appeals process isn't very smooth. In fact, they deny 99.999% of appeals.

It kind of makes me think that this is more of a move to squash their competition. After all, Google Adsense is still the number one advertising player in the game. If they can find a reason to not display ads from their competitors in their browser, wouldn't it make sense that they are doing this for selfish reasons?

What do you think about this news? Let us know in the comments!

Jan 7, 2018

Brazil planning to use #Ethereum to process petitions and write laws

(Cointelgraph) The Brazilian government is seeking to move popular petitions, an inefficient electoral system of the country, onto the Ethereum network, to process hundreds of millions of votes on the immutable Blockchain network.

In Brazil, popular petitions enable over 145 mln voters across the country to come to a consensus on important political decisions. But, for many decades, political experts and analysts have questioned the logistical issue of popular petitions, and political commentators have described the structural problem of the electoral system of Brazil as the basis for most of the country’s political issues.

Gabriel Barbosa, a research associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, wrote, “when people are living paycheck to paycheck, or as the common saying in Brazil goes, ‘selling their lunch to buy their dinner,’ the cost of political participation becomes high enough so that people are excluded from the political process,” emphasizing the lack of proper institutions that handle the cost of political engagement.


Reminder: We re still giving out free Powered By Ubuntu Stickers

I'm a huge fan of Ubuntu, and have been since I first discovered it in 2005. Because I am such a fan, I've been trying to spread the news of this free and robust operating system for years, and in 2008 I started handing out free Ubuntu Stickers.

Back then I was printing them out myself, but in 2014 I had some professional stickers made for this purpose and began handing them out instead! Those are the ones I've been handing out since, and I continue to get the occasional request for them. I'm hoping this fresh new post gets the Internet buzzing again that they are still available!

Sometimes I feel like I have to start over again with getting the word out that I am still giving away these stickers! Well, that is what this post is all about. Letting everyone know that these free Ubuntu stickers are still available! So come and get 'em!

To order them, head on over to stickers.bauer-power.net, and follow the instructions to either send me a self addressed stamped envelope, or just pay for postage using the Paypal buttons. Either way works for me! Please note, that if you don't include a postage stamp on the return envelope, I cannot send you your stickers!

Besides the Ubuntu stickers, you also get a free Bauer-Power bumper sticker, and Mainwashed bumper sticker and a couple of edgy "do not consent" stickers as well!

Please share this with your Ubuntu loving friends!

Jan 6, 2018

Ubuntu to release Meltdown and Spectre patches January 9th, 2018

As we posted the other day from Reuters, two major CPU vulnerabilities were discovered recently that pretty much affects every electronic system with a processor in it. These vulnerabilities are called Meltdown and Spectre.

The unfortunate problem here is that it's actually a hardware and a manufacturing issue. Since it's not practical to replace every CPU in the world in every piece of hardware going back to 1995, bandaging the problem is now the job of operating system companies. Ubuntu Linux is no different.

In a recent Ubuntu Insights post, Dustin Kirkland from Ubuntu/Canonical said the following about Ubuntu's plans to patch on January 9th:
Canonical engineers have been working on this since we were made aware under the embargoed disclosure (November 2017) and have worked through the Christmas and New Years holidays, testing and integrating an incredibly complex patch set into a broad set of Ubuntu kernels and CPU architectures. 
Ubuntu users of the 64-bit x86 architecture (aka, amd64) can expect updated kernels by the original January 9, 2018 coordinated release date, and sooner if possible.  Updates will be available for:
  • Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful) — Linux 4.13 HWE
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial) — Linux 4.4 (and 4.4 HWE)
  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty) — Linux 3.13
  • Ubuntu 12.04 ESM** (Precise) — Linux 3.2
  • Note that an Ubuntu Advantage license is required for the 12.04 ESM kernel update, as Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is past its end-of-life
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic) will release in April of 2018, and will ship a 4.15 kernel, which includes the KPTI patchset as integrated upstream. 
Ubuntu optimized kernels for the Amazon, Google, and Microsoft public clouds are also covered by these updates, as well as the rest of Canonical’s Certified Public Clouds including Oracle, OVH, Rackspace, IBM Cloud, Joyent, and Dimension Data.
Another thing to note about this patch, as mentioned in the Inisghts Post, is that these kernel fixes that they will be releasing are not Livepatch-able. Long story short, these updates will require a reboot, so you should expect and plan for some downtime after applying the patches.

Some software vendors are reporting performance related issues to their patches. Kirkland said that Ubuntu does not currently have performance analysis information at this time for the Ubuntu patches.

Are you and your company preparing for the Meltdoan and Spectre vulnerabilities? Let us know about the sorts of things you are looking into, and want to know more about in the comments!



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