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Signs that you’re addicted to Social Media

Signs that you're addicted to Social Media

         

A new survey reveals that Instagram

is the worst social media site in terms of its impact on the mental health of young people. A survey of 1,479 youngsters aged 14 to 24, found Instagram was positive in terms of self-expression and self-identity but the #StatusofMind survey found that the photo-sharing app can negatively impact people's body image, sleep and fear of missing out.

Celebrity ‘selfies’: (clockwise from top left) Miley Cyrus, Conan O'Brien and Ricky Gervais, Helen Flanagan and Tom Hanks. In addition, many youngsters today say they feel “panic-stricken and physically sick” if they do not post dozens of ‘selfies’ a day on Facebook. In fact, Facebook addiction shows up in brain scans of those who can’t stay off the site, affecting the grey matter in a similar way that cocaine does.

Here are 12 signs that you too could be addicted to social media.

  1. You can’t get beyond the main course in a restaurant before you get out your phone and Instagram the duck confit. In fact, you are itching to snap away by the time the first course arrives. Ideally, you would chronicle the bread basket within three minutes of arriving. Because, frankly, a romantic meal for two isn’t a romantic meal for two unless you have shared it with all your followers. Course by course.
  2. The very first thing you do when you wake up is in reach for your phone (always by the side of your bed, in fact — usually under your pillow) and check how many times your witty comment from the night before has been retweeted or liked. You do this before you have left the bed, let alone rolled over and kissed your loved one.
  3. Your children catch you trying to post Facebook updates while reading their bedtime stories. You know it’s seriously bad when you agree that you will pay them 20p every time they bust you. It has got out of control when they can buy an XBox with the proceeds.
  4. You greet friends at a party by their Twitter handle. “Hey, @bobcat100, how are you?” It’s really bad when, after the second Aperol Spritz, you forget their real name. Do they even have a real name? Who knows?
  5. You can not visit the lavatory without using the 23 available seconds to investigate how many people have liked your photo. Snapchatting a selfie while sitting on the loo is a proof you have stopped understanding basic decent behaviour. Rather sadly, social media has killed off the immensely valuable and intrinsically British “loo book” market. We now swipe, tap, scroll, wipe.
  6. Brian from accounts, on a Monday morning, asks how was your weekend. And your first reaction is “What? did you not see all the amazeball photos I posted on Instagram? How can you not know that I had a *totes* great time?” You say: “Er, it was nice. Thanks.” And then think, I must unfollow Brian, the ungrateful idiot.
  7. You “like” your own updates on Facebook. You “favourite” your own Tweets. You “like” your own Iinstagram pics. You “pin” selfies on Pinterest. Stop it. Now.
  8. You “check in” at tube stations on the way to work. You “check in” when you go out to get your lunchtime Pret salad, you “check in” at the pub after work. You want to “check in” when you get home, but you suddenly realise that though you have remembered your phone (of course), you have forgotten your keys.
  9. The first thing you do on hearing that someone famous has died is to Wiki their career and urgently, in a panicky rush, find the most obscure fact you can find about them so that you can post an update. “So sad about David Frost. Of course, his greatest achievement was being offered a contract at Nottingham Forest FC. #RIP”
  10. Someone tells you a joke, and instead of laughing out loud, you use the phrase “lol”. As in, you actually open your mouth and instead of uttering the purest, most instinctive proof of humanity, you say “lol.” And then you laugh at your own cleverness.
  11. Watching the Great British Bake Off/Game of Thrones/X-Factor your anxiety levels rise to almost unbearable levels as you desperately try to be the first person on your timeline to tweet “Soggy Bottom/Jon Snow's Eyes/Has Simon had too much work done?”
  12. You use the phrase “hashtag” in normal conversations. #fail. Or rather “Hashtag fail”.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Your Addiction to Social Media Is No Accident

Your Addiction to Social Media Is
No Accident
 
  

They're using manipulative tricks from casinos, among other things.

On February 9, 2009, Facebook introduced the like button. Initially, the button was an innocent thing. It had nothing to do with hijacking the social reward systems of a user's brain. "The main intention I had was to make positivity the path of least resistance," explains Justin Rosenstein, one of the four Facebook designers behind the button. "And I think it succeeded in its goals, but it also created large unintended negative side effects. In a way, it was too successful."

Today, most of us reach for Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with one vague thought in mind: Maybe someone liked my stuff. And it's this craving for validation, experienced by billions around the globe, that's currently pushing platform engagement in ways that in 2009 were unimaginable. But more than that, it's driving profits to levels that were previously impossible. "The attention economy" is a relatively new term. It describes the supply and demand of a person's attention, which is the commodity traded on the internet. The business model is simple: The more attention a platform can pull, the more effective its advertising space becomes, allowing it to charge advertisers more.

But the problem is that attention isn't some non-sentient resource like wheat or oil. Attentiveness is a human state, and our reserves of attention are finite. They're hemmed in by sleep, work, children, and relationships with friends who find it rude when we're on our phones. So ideally we'd want to invest our limited supply of attention on things that make us happy. But as Facebook observed, social feedback induces a burst of happiness so brief it's addictive, causing us to return more and scroll further.

"The like button, simple as it was, tapped into a bottomless font of social feedback," explains Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. "And I don't think social media companies are trying to make 'addictive' platforms, per se. But since they're all competing for our (limited) time and attention, they've always been focused on making the most engaging experience possible."

Following the introduction of Facebook's like button in 2009, YouTube moved to a binary like/dislike format in 2010. Instagram launched that same year and came ready-made with a like function shaped as a heart. Twitter adopted this same heart-shaped system in 2015, while, in the years since, Silicon Valley has come up with a multitude of new ways to gamify our need for social validation.

Former Google designer and ethicist Tristan Harris lays out the most common ways we're being manipulated on his blog. And as he explains, all of them use something called intermittent variable rewards. The easiest way to understand this term is by imagining a slot machine. You pull the lever to win a prize, which is an intermittent action linked to a variable reward. Variable meaning you might win, or you might not. In the same way, you refresh your Facebook updates to see if you've won. Or you swipe right on Tinder to see if you've won.

This is the most obvious way social feedback drives platform engagement, but others are harder to spot. You know when you open Instagram or Twitter and it takes a few moments to load updates? That's no accident. Again, the expectation is part of what makes intermittent variable rewards so addictive. This is because, without that three-second delay, Instagram wouldn't feel variable. There's no sense of will I win? because you'd know instantly. So the delay isn't the app loading. It's the cogs spinning on the slot machine.

Another piece of psychology hijacked by social platforms is that of social reciprocity; if someone pats your back, you'll feel pressure to pat his or hers. Facebook exploits this by alerting you when someone has read your message, which encourages the receivers to respond—because they know you know they've read it. And at the same time, it encourages you to check back to read the inevitable response. The same bits of your brain get a rush on Facebook as a set of wavy dots appear as someone writes a message. You might not exit if you think you're getting a message, or at the very least you're more likely to come back. And while Apple also employs this feature, at least it allows you to turn it off.

All this might seem a little underhanded, but it's nothing compared to some of the design features currently showing up on Snapchat. Of these is the one causing the most concern, and uses elongating red lines to display the number days of since two users interacted. According to Adam Alter, this design feature is so effective that he's heard of teens asking friends to babysit their streaks while on vacation. "It's clear here that the goal—keeping the streak alive—is more important than enjoying the platform as a social experience," he says. "This is a clear sign that engagement mechanisms are driving usage more than enjoyment." We asked like button co-creator Justin Rosenstein what he thinks is the most insidious form of social media manipulation, and according to him, it's the humble push notification.

"The vast majority of push notifications are just distractions that pull us out of the moment," he says. "They get us hooked on pulling our phones out and getting lost in a quick hit of information that could wait for later, or doesn't matter at all." And of course, all these little efforts to keep us hooked are having a very real impact. As Facebook's current head of marketing bragged in this speech, the average millennial checks his or her phone 157 times daily. That's a total average of 145 minutes every day that we're trying to feel connected, validated, and liked.

The increasingly time-absorbing nature of the internet is one of the reasons Justin Rosenstein left Facebook to start his own company. Today he's the co-founder of Asana—a web and mobile app that tracks work app that tracks work and allows collaboration without distractions like email. But according to author Adam Alter, change will only come from the bottom up. He claims the social media business model, built around the needs of marketing agencies instead of lives, are already far too entrenched and profitable for self-governing.

"It might diminish a bit," he says. "But as long as companies have an incentive to make their platforms as engaging as possible, the arms race forcing them to 'manipulate' users will continue." He encourages users to try and curb their own addictions or to install phone apps that will do that for them. He also says that by demanding more ethical design practices from companies—in the same way that we demand ethical environmental practices—we'll force change and claw back our free time. Because as Like button co-creator Justin Rosenstein highlights, "These are our lives. Our precious, finite, mortal lives. And if we're not vigilant, computers and mobile devices will guide our attention poorly."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Instagram worst social media app for young people’s mental health

Instagram worst social media app for young people's mental health

 

 How social media affects the teenage brain
 
Researchers at UCLA's Brain Mapping Center found that when teenagers' photos get lots of "likes" on social media apps, such as Instagram, their brains respond in a similar way to seeing loved ones or winning money.While social media has the potential to influence teenagers in good ways, it's important for parents to be aware of who their teens are interacting with online, says Lauren Sherman, lead author of the study.Thirty-two teenagers took part in the experiment, with brain scans showing how their nucleus accumbens — the part of their brain linked to rewards — became especially active.

Story highlights

  • Young people's mental health was negatively affected by Instagram and Snapchat use
  • The report calls for changes such as "heavy usage pop-up warnings"

(CNN)Instagram is the most detrimental social networking app for young people's mental health, followed closely by Snapchat, according to a new report by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK.Their study, #StatusofMind, surveyed almost 1,500 young people aged 14 to 24 on how certain social media platforms impact health and well-being issues such as anxiety, depression, self-identity and body image.

YouTube was found to have the most positive impact, while Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter all demonstrated negative effects overall on young people's mental health.Instagram — the image-saturated app with over 700 million users worldwide — topped the list in terms of negative impact, most notably among young women, stated the report, published Friday.Instagram draws young women to "compare themselves against unrealistic, largely curated, filtered and Photoshopped versions of reality," said Matt Keracher, author of the report.
 
"Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren't good enough as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look 'perfect,' " an anonymous female respondent said in the report.To tackle the problem, the Royal Society for Public Health has called for social media platforms to take action in order to help combat young users' feelings of inadequacy and anxiety by placing a warning on images that have been digitally manipulated.
 
"We're not asking these platforms to ban Photoshop or filters but rather to let people know when images have been altered so that users don't take the images on face value as real," Keracher said."We really want to equip young people with the tools and the knowledge to be able to navigate social media platforms not only in a positive way but in a way that promotes good mental health," he added.
 
The survey concluded that while Instagram negatively affected body image, sleep patterns and added to a sense of "FOMO" — the fear of missing out — the image app was also a positive outlet for self-expression and self-identity for many of its young users.Professional YouTuber Laci Green, a health vlogger with 1.5 million subscribers, said that education surrounding mental health issues in a digital age is an educational imperative for young people.
#StatusofMind rankings

The impact of five social media sites were evaluated in the following order:

  1. YouTube (the only platform with a positive net impact)
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook
  4. Snapchat
  5. Instagram (most negative)
"Because platforms like Instagram and Facebook present highly curated versions of the people we know and the world around us. It is easy for our perspective of reality to become distorted," she said. "Socializing from behind a screen can also be uniquely isolating, obscuring mental health challenges even more than usual."Green added that it is important we lay the groundwork now to minimize potential harm as the first generation of social media users become adults.Teens: This is how social media affects your brain.
 
YouTube was the only social media platform that demonstrated an overall positive impact on young people's mental health in the study.The report also found that it's not just what young people are engaging with on social media but also how long they are engaging with it.Young people who spend more than two hours per day connecting on social networking sites are more likely to report poor mental health, including psychological distress, according to the report."Platforms that are supposed to help young people connect with each other may actually be fueling a mental health crisis," Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the royal society, noted in the report.

See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.To address this, the society has also recommended the introduction of a pop-up warning to alert users that they have been online for too long.Seven in 10 young people surveyed supported the recommendation, but with experts describing social media use as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, it's not clear whether a "heavy usage" pop-up would be enough to break through that barrier.

Sir Simon Wessely, president of the UK's Royal College of Psychiatrists, supports an education-based approach and warns that demonizing social media is not the answer."I am sure that social media plays a role in unhappiness, but it has as many benefits as it does negatives," he said. "We need to teach children how to cope with all aspects of social media — good and bad — to prepare them for an increasingly digitized world. There is real a anger in blaming the medium for the message."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Things Small Businesses Should Do to Succeed with Inbound Marketing

Things Small Businesses Should Do to Succeed with Inbound Marketing

Small business marketing has turned a corner, and traditional outbound marketing efforts such as direct mail, TV ads, and telemarketing are becoming less and less effective. In fact, 86 percent of people skip TV ads, more than 200 million Americans are on the do-not-call list, and 90 percent of execs ignore cold calls. Consumers are in control. They can tune out your marketing efforts and search online for products and services. To capture their attention, small businesses need a more effective permission marketing-based strategy to attract, engage, and convert more visitors into lifelong customers.

Inbound marketing utilizes that permission-based approach, reaching people organically through SEO, blogs, and social media. Instead of interrupting consumers with cold calling and ads, inbound marketing leverages captivating content that solves a real problem for your target market, ultimately guiding potential customers directly to your website where you can pull them into your sales process. And it really works. Inbound marketing delivers

54 percent more leads than traditional marketing at much lower costs.

           

So how can your small business tap into inbound marketing

to capture and convert more customers without spending more money? Here are a few things you should do to make inbound marketing work for you:

Develop your content strategy

The first step to an inbound marketing strategy is to provide valuable content to your audience. Think about who your ideal customer is and understand their needs, wants, and interests to create the content that drives inbound marketing for your small business.For example, Marcus Sheridan, owner of River Pools and Spas, stopped investing in ads and direct mail and instead started blogging and distributing content that answered his audience’s burning questions about inground pools. By positioning his business as a thought leader in the inground swimming pool industry, Sheridan was able to cut costs associated with outbound marketing and drive more traffic to his website than any other pool website in the world.

Build your social media following

Once the content is created, it needs to be released in engaging and entertaining ways that encourage sharing. Creating a quality social media following is one of the most impactful ways to spread content. Through market research, you’ll find that your audience gravitates towards certain platforms and tends to engage with social media at different times of the day. Once you’ve settled on the two or three main social media channels you’re going to use to distribute content and interact with your audience, social media tools can help you organize and intelligently time distribution.

Much like the shift from outbound to inbound marketing, the way we post has changed. Research has shown that visually stimulating posts are drastically increasing. Short videos, pictures, and infographics are much more likely to be viewed and shared. In fact, photos and videos will soon account for almost

70 percent of content published on Facebook.

The variety of visual options

also, means that content can be reformatted and recycled. For instance, a popular infographic can be transformed into a whiteboard animation video without having to start from square one.

Capture prospects with form submissions

Attracting and engaging interest from prospects is only the first step in converting customers and fueling sales. When content is trusted and is viewed consistently, it becomes easier to create leads by using resources and form submissions. When prospects view the website is an excellent opportunity to get their information by offering additional content or an email subscription to be updated with content. To acquire this information, send prospects to a landing page where they will enter their personal details (such as name and email) to access a stream of quality content they’ll find useful or engaging.

There are numerous programs and companies that offer automated email response systems to streamline this process. These systems can also collect information, tracking clicks as well as the types of emails each prospect has been most responsive to. Using this information, targeted emails can be sent to the most engaged prospects converting them into customers.

Nurture prospects into customers

Whether your inbound efforts generate leads from social media, organic search, or your blog, lead nurturing can help you get a higher return on investment (ROI) from your inbound marketing efforts by turning more leads into customers.

Not everyone is ready to become a customer after interacting with your content, but email marketing can help you continue to educate prospects and keep your business top-of-mind when the time does come for them to buy.

Small business marketing automation and customer relationship managed software provider, Hatchbuck, advises that small businesses nurture new leads with a series of touchpoints. As contacts are nurtured, the actions they take can indicate their level of interest and readiness to buy. Actions such as visiting a link, watching a video, or filling out a form can impact lead score so that marketers can systematically determine when

A lead is ready to be sent to the sales team.

  

With lead nurturing,

instead of burning through every lead right away only to have few convert, your business can nurture them over time, increasing your conversion rate. If your company hasn’t invested in inbound marketing, it’s time. It’s been shown that adopting inbound marketing strategies doubles website conversions rates from 6 percent to 12 percent. The future of marketing will rely heavily on creating trust and relationships with customers through content and getting found through inbound channels such as SEO, blogs, and social media.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing creates a platform for companies to emerge as trusted solutions.

Our POV

Inbound marketing is holistic, data-driven, and customer-focused. Marketing is more than promotion. A well crafted inbound marketing execution enhances every online touchpoint of the customer experience. It approaches a visitor with information that is helpful, not intrusive. A holistic, data-driven, and customer-focused marketing strategy attracts visitors with engaging content. It converts visitors into qualified leads. It closes leads into customers. It delights customers with remarkable experiences.

Marketing Services

  • Marketing Plan Development
  • Persona Development
  • Social Media Strategy & Management
  • Email Marketing
  • Content Planning & Development
  • Lead Generation
  • Automated Lead Nurturing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Social Listening
  • Lead Segmentation
  • Google AdWords Strategy & Management
  • Infographics
  • Survey Development & Analysis
  • Long-Form Copywriting
  • Social Advertising
  • Website Analytics
  • Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Graphic Design
  • Campaign Creation
  • Goal Setting & Benchmarking
  • Sales Playbook & Development
  • Social Analytics
  • ROI Modeling
  • Customer Lifetime Value Analysis
  • Copy Editing

Holistic

Inbound marketing is multi-channel by nature. It approaches customers through the channels that they want to be found on. Every company will play on a different online field. We make it our goal to translate a consistent message on every platform. In return, our clients emerge as thought leaders in their industries. Our holistic marketing process optimizes every online channel and creates a hole-proof platform for companies to stand out online.

Data Driven

Strategic marketing decisions arise from consistent analysis of data. All inbound marketing tactics are quantifiable. We use data to help us make decisions for our clients from the very beginning of working with them. Data determines what, where, and how we will publish content. It justifies marketing campaigns and motivates us to continuously optimize the channels our clients are competing on.

Customer Focused

The customer is at the center of every strategic marketing decision. Customers want to be heard. The digital space creates a platform to hear their voices and cater content to what they are looking for. A successful marketing strategy nurtures customers through every stage of the buyer’s journey. Our inbound marketing strategic process develops robust buyer personas for each of our clients. We believe in continuously learning about the audiences we are speaking to.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about
Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Movers & Shakers: Anna Braun, JT Mega, director of business development

Movers & Shakers:
Anna Braun, JT Mega, director of business development

             

ANNA BRAUN – Director of business development

Anna Braun is helping to build a course for future growth as director of business development at Minneapolis-based food advertising agency JT Mega. Braun said the agency has been interested in adding leadership to build on its strong organic growth, which led to the creation of the new role that she has taken. "The thing that's exciting about JT Mega is there is so much opportunity for continued smart growth," Braun said. "To work with a great foundation and start carving out what some of the next business opportunities look like is really exciting to me."

Braun's responsibilities also include developing new business strategy, leading business acquisition efforts and establishing industry relationships. She previously led brand business initiatives as a marketing manager at Polaris and worked as an account supervisor at Periscope. "I really love the combination of business management and agency creativity and agency strategic work," Braun said. "For me, this role is a perfect mix of that."

JT Mega, founded in 1976, is an independent agency whose clients include Hormel Foods, Land O'Lakes, and the Schwan Food Co.

Q: What's driving the agency's focus on business development?

A: It's been on the forefront of the owners' and the leaders' minds here. They realized that as organic growth opportunities were coming there's a big opportunity for someone to come in and be able to focus specifically on this (new business) effort and help lead that. This industry is changing so rapidly and there's a lot of growth in different areas within the business. You see where the industry is going and now it's: "How do we proactively start carving out space where the industry is growing?"

Q: What are some possible growth areas?

A: The two areas of focus are absolutely expanding our foundation in food service and building on the retail space. We work a lot with clients selling into K-12, into the commercial space. A handful of clients sell directly into retail and direct to consumers. We're looking at where some opportunities in the retail space that would make sense for us.

Q: Why should a company work with JT Mega?

A: We work as an extension of the client's team, bringing a different point of view to the table. We understand the nuances of what it means to be in the [food and beverage] industry. The other thing is our scalability. We work with small, medium and big companies both in the B2B and B2C space. That's something that we really enjoy especially with how quickly this industry is evolving.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about
Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

The technology and economic determinants of cryptocurrency exchange rates: The case of Bitcoin

The technology and economic determinants of cryptocurrency exchange rates: The case of Bitcoin

  

We theoretically discuss the technology

and economic determinants of the Bitcoin exchange rate We use the ARDL model with bounds test to address co-integration of a mix of stationary and non-stationary time series We find Bitcoin exchange rate relates more with economic fundamentals and less with technology factors as Bitcoin evolves We find the impact of computational capacities on Bitcoin is decreasing as technology progresses

Abstract

Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, have ignited intense discussions. Despite receiving extensive public attention, theoretical understanding is limited regarding the value of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, as expressed in their exchange rates against traditional currencies. In this paper, we conduct a theory-driven empirical study of the Bitcoin exchange rate (against USD) determination, taking into consideration both technology and economic factors. To address co-integration in a mix of stationary and non-stationary time series, we use the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) model with a bounds test approach in the estimation. Meanwhile, to detect potential structural changes, we estimate our empirical model on two periods separated by the closure of Mt. Gox (one of the largest Bitcoin exchange markets). According to our analysis, in the short term, the Bitcoin exchange rate adjusts to changes in economic fundamentals and market conditions. The long-term Bitcoin exchange rate is more sensitive to economic fundamentals and less sensitive to technological factors after Mt. Gox closed. We also identify a significant impact of mining technology and a decreasing significance of mining difficulty in the Bitcoin exchange price determination.

Xin Li

is an associate professor in the Department of Information Systems at the City University of Hong Kong. He received his Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Department of Automation at Tsinghua University, China. His research interests include business intelligence & knowledge discovery, social network analysis, social media, and applied econometrics. His work has appeared in the MIS Quarterly, INFORMS Journal on Computing, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems, IEEE Intelligent Systems, among others, and in various conference proceedings.

Chong Wang

is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems at the City University of Hong Kong. He received his Ph.D. in Information Systems from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He received his Master's degrees from the Department of Finance at Tsinghua University, China, and his Bachelor's degree from the Department of Applied Mathematics at Peking University, China. His research focuses on understanding the social and economic impacts of information technology. His research projects cover topics in the areas of online social networks, crowdsourcing platforms, and financial information technologies. His work has appeared in the Information Systems Research, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, and in various conference proceedings.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

After WannaCrypt, world faces massive cryptocurrency attack

After WannaCrypt, world faces massive cryptocurrency attack

"Adylkuzz attack" for cryptocurrency began on or before May 2, more than a week before "WannaCry" that hit 150 countries, including India

  An alternative to Bitcoin, cryptocurrency is being used for trading in drugs,

stolen credit cards and counterfeit goods. After facing a massive “WannaCrypt” ransomware attack that exploited a vulnerability in a Microsoft software and hit 150 countries, the same Windows vulnerability (MS17-010) has also been exploited to spread another type of malware that is quietly but fast generating digital cash from machines it has infected.

According to a report in The Registrar on Wednesday, tens of thousands of computers globally have been affected by the “Adylkuzz attack” that target machines, let them operate and only slows those down to generate digital cash or “Monero” cryptocurrency in the background. “Monero” — being popularized by North Korea-linked hackers — is an open-source cryptocurrency created in April 2014 that focuses on privacy, decentralisation, and scalability.

It is an alternative to Bitcoin and is being used for trading in drugs, stolen credit cards and counterfeit goods. “Initial statistics suggest that this attack may be larger in scale than WannaCry[pt], because this attack shuts down SMB networking to prevent further infections with other malware (including the WannaCry[pt] worm) via that same vulnerability,” US-based cyber security firm Proofpoint researchers were quoted as saying in the report.

How a cryptocurrency attack works?

The hackers need to mine cryptocurrency using computers/computing devices (IoT included). “Mining of cryptocurrency simply means solving complex cryptography problems designed within the algorithm of a cyber-currency that requires a lot of computing,” Saket Modi, CEO and Co-founder of Delhi-based IT risk assessments provider Lucideus, told IANS. To draw a parallel, there can only be 21 million Bitcoins that can be mined out of which 16 million have already been mined, informed Modi. “Monero”, on the other side, is slightly different than Bitcoin but for simplification’s sake, it can be assumed that it follows a similar architecture and similar mining process.

“Hence, there is a new wave of cyber attacks where the hacker is least interested in the personal information of the victim and instead his only motivation is to gain access to the CPU of the victim’s computer/mobile/IoT device so that they can use it to mine more currencies (and correspondingly make more money),” Modi told IANS. This looks like something more dangerous than “WannaCrypt” as the victim doesn’t come to know that they have been hacked, but, on the other side, “the good part is that the hacker here is not interested in the victim’s personal data,” Modi told IANS.

To achieve this, the hackers find a vulnerability in one of the servers in the targeted organization or they would infect a website which employees of a targeted organization often visit. “They would then infect the IT infrastructure of the target with malware and would identify where a server running SWIFT software is installed. They would download additional malware to interact with SWIFT software and would try to drain the organization’s accounts,” Altaf Halde, Managing Director of Kaspersky Lab (South Asia), told IANS. According to Proofpoint, the “Adylkuzz” attack is still growing.

“Once infected through use of the ‘EternalBlue’ exploit, the cryptocurrency miner ‘Adylkuzz’ is installed and used to generate cybercash for the attackers,” Robert Holmes, Vice President of products at Proofpoint, was quoted as saying. According to experts, the “Adylkuzz” began its attack on or before May 2, more than a week before “WannaCrypt” arrived and hit 150 countries, including India. “Indications are that the crooks behind ‘Adylkuzz’ have generated a lot more money than the ‘WannaCrypt’ ransomware fiends,” The Registrar report noted. According to cyberscoop.com, “Monero” doubled in price over the last month to around $23 while other digital currencies, including bitcoin, saw a mixed month. “Cybercriminals intrigued by the currency’s promises of greater anonymity are using it more often on black markets,” it said.

How to save your organizations from cryptocurrency attacks?

“If your organisation has software tools for conducting money transactions like SWIFT software, invest into additional protection and regular security assessment in addition to standard protection measures implemented in all other parts of the organization’s network,” Halde informed. Protect backup servers as they contain information that can be of use for attackers: passwords, logins, and authentication tokens. “When deploying specialized software for money processing follow recommendations and best security practices from your software vendor and security professionals,” Halde added. In a case of suspicion of intrusion, request for professional assistance with incident response.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Top Reasons Why Bitcoin’s Price is Rising Right Now

Top Reasons Why Bitcoin’s Price is Rising Right Now

While Bitcoin’s market has been uncertain in the past week,

there is no doubt that the price is holding support surprisingly well. Even though there are quite a few issues that are hindering Bitcoin’s growth, there are also other events which are contributing to the cryptocurrency’s global adoption. This article will discuss the top 3 reasons why Bitcoin’s price is currently rising.

 Wanna Cry Ransomware

I am sure you have heard of the recent world’s largest ransomware attack by the name of Wanna Cry, aka Wana Decryptor. The aggressive ransomware has infected over 200,000 machines and so far has collected over $80,000, according to @actual_ransom – a twitter bot set up to track the ransomware. While it is unfortunate that Wana Decryptor has plagued cyberspace, its coverage in the media has brought attention to Bitcoin, the only payment method accepted by the malware. Furthermore, the fact that the ransomware attack began amid Bitcoin’s price rally only contributed to the positive momentum, which is probably why the current support at $1700 is holding so strong.

Even though using a ransomware to spread awareness about Bitcoin might not be beneficial to the cryptocurrency’s reputation, the idea that Bitcoin is used by criminals is not a new revelation by any means. Most people who know about Bitcoin already know that it is used on dark net markets for illicit purposes, so any more news about it being used by criminals most likely won’t have much of an affect on the market.

The Flippening

Altcoins existed ever since Bitcoin’s creation. Up until this year, they have been considered second-rate projects as they were perceived to be simply clones of Bitcoin. However, as Bitcoin’s scaling debate intensified and users sought a solution, alternative cryptocurrencies started to flourish. The Flippening is a paradigm shift where investors are starting to look at altcoins as having value in different ways compared to Bitcoin. While at first that may seem like bad news for Bitcoin, the whole ecosystem shares the benefits.

While Bitcoin’s dominance among altcoins is dropping, according to cornmarket cap, cryptocurrencies’ overall market cap has been rising exponentially, it benefits Bitcoin as well. Just like altcoins benefited from new money flowing into Bitcoin, BTC benefits from the curious investors interested in the cryptocurrency niche as a whole.

Japan’s Adoption

Last but not least, one of the biggest driving forces behind Bitcoin’s meteoric price rise is Japan’s adoption and legislation of crypto. After passing official KYC / AML laws regulating exchanges in Japan, the government essentially green-lighted the legal operation of cryptocurrency exchanges.

The new legislation increased Bitcoin’s popularity in the country and also invited Chinese investors who were looking to escape the country’s tight grip on the sector. In fact, withdrawals for Chinese exchanges have been suspended for a few months now. There is a light in the tunnel as the PBoC released a statement which hints that withdrawals may resume soon. While there is no definitive date, rumors have it that things may settle in June. Chinese news resource cnLedger had the inside scoop.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Bitcoin to rocket to $4000 as blockchain infrastructure sets agenda for cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin to rocket to $4000 as blockchain infrastructure sets agenda for cryptocurrencies

ANALYSTS say the cryptocurrency Bitcoin could hit values of $4000 within the year after a new player entered the market.

  

The introduction of Litecoin,

another electronic online currency is adding to investor appetite as the rolling out of blockchain infrastructure gets set to revolutionize the future of the financial sector. Bitcoin has been making gains since April and is rallying in London has risen over 33 percent days, according to the Coindesk bitcoin price index. It comes after Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) and the World Economic Forum looked at how cryptocurrencies can be aided by distributed ledger technologies.

Bitcoin is leading the cryptocurrency market

It is better than currency because you don't have to be in the same place and of course for large transactions currency can be inconvenient

Bill gates

Global regulatory challenges continue to affect the market with a test case before The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) throwing up some new challenges. A bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss was declined by the US sector watchdog as Donald Trump looks at deregulating markets. However, the sector is gaining appeal, particularly in Japan, which legalized cryptocurrency as a payment method recently and is

Helping to get the yen involved.

  

France invented a cryptocurrency dispenser

Aurelien Menant, founder, and CEO of Gatecoin, a regulated blockchain assets exchange based in Hong Kong says confidence is strong in Asia. Meanwhile, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates is keen on distributed ledger technology. He said: "Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be, it is better than currency because you don't have to be in the same place and of course for large transactions currency can be inconvenient.” bitcoin was created in 2009 and has a current Market Capitalization of $29,753,633,028.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about TCC-Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member