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NEVER Forget The Lessons From The Bitconnect & One Coin Scams

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Coin One and Bitconnect Scam

Disclaimer: We are calling Bitconnect and One Coin as scams in this article as a matter of opinion based on how many people lost their life savings.  We are not in a position to determine whether or not these are indeed scams from a legal point of view.

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

There is a scene in the movie ‘V for Vendetta’ in which V says “Remember, remember, the fifth of November”.  

That whole movie’s premise was that people are generally courageous – they just need a way to remember what they have forgotten or grown numb to.

Crypto space is facing such an apathy and numbness to the scammers and shillers that sprout like the filthy fungi they are, everywhere.  

These filthy shitheads steal the money from hard working folk who come to Crypto as an alternative to the injustices of the mainstream, only to find out that the cure is worse than the disease.

For this very reason, remembering the past scams and how they were carried out will serve as a warning sign for the newbies and a friendly nudge for the crypto veterans.  

When we talk about the scams of scale in the crypto space then nothing really comes close in grandiosity and elaborate schematics than One Coin and Bitconnect.

We should forget the scams of the past but not the lessons they left behind.  In that spirit, this entire post is a recap of the two big scams that crypto verse has seen and the lessons that they left behind.  These lessons, if remembered, will serve everyone well.

Bitconnect scam in brief

Bitconnect Scam

Bitconnect’s lure was that investors could buy Bitconnect Coin (BCC) in exchange for their Bitcoin and other crypto (including USD stablecoins) and lock their BCC with the platform to earn a ridiculous amount of interest.  

For instance, they promised 40% per month interest and .25% daily interest on deposits exceeding $10,000.  

Essentially, investors gave up Bitcoin and real money in exchange for BCC in the hope of earning crazy interest.  One of their promises actually meant turning $1000 into $50 Million dollars within 3 years, if their compound interest model was to be believed.  

Another hallmark of this project was the ‘referral’ system where those who bring new investors will stand to gain a handsome 7% referral fees in addition to earning a cut from those referred by their referrals.  A classic pyramid ponzi.

Even with such ridiculous warnings on the wall, investors were blindsided by the FOMO and YouTube shillers they trusted.  

The elaborate scheme came to a screeching halt when the Texas Securities Board and North Carolina Board issued ‘cease and desist’ orders to Bitconnect.

The price of Bitconnect which was coasting at $377 on January 7th, 2018 came crumbling down to $8 by January 28th, 2018.  A fall of 98%.   

This left the investors in a shock.

Since the unfolding of this elaborate scam, the FBI has been investigating the Bitconnect.  They have issued a statement and soliciting information from the victims: “The entire market for BCC crashed in late January 2018, after two U.S. state-level securities regulators issued public letters warning investors of the Ponzi-type nature of Bitconnect. This led to Bitconnect completely shutting down its exchange for BCC, eliminating the market for the cryptocurrency and stranding investors with near-worthless cryptocurrency.”

Bitconnect’s scam had the hallmarks of a classic ponzi scam including:

  • Crazy rate of return without any actual product or service
  • Pyramid referral system
  • Lack of transparency about the core team
  • Lack of reliable backers or advisors on the platform
  • Too many shillers promoting the project for affiliate commissions

NOTE: If you are a victim of the Bitconnect scam, you can help the FBI with their investigation by completing a brief questionnaire.

One Coin scam in brief

One Coin Scam

OneCoin is one THE biggest exit scam in the crypto space costing investors an estimated $4 Billion.  Yet, the signs were not apparent with the OneCoin.  

OneCoin claimed itself to be a cryptocurrency that people could mine and use it as a payment system.  

Their official channel and the video is still available:

Because people were given the option to mine the coins, it was difficult to suspect a foul play.  However, the mining was not a Proof of Work where you use your computer to mine the coins, they used a Proof of Stake model.  

How do you stake if you don’t have the coins?

You cannot.  

Here is where the evil genius was incredible. OneCoin offered various packages with different staking output rates.

For instance, check the rate of staking output in below table:

One coin rate of staking output

Not just that, some packages were listed for insane price:

Coinone Package

Here is Ruja herself selling a package on top of existing packages as a ‘special time sensitive’ deal to the innocent investors.

“The bitch of Wall Street meets MLM”

The true success of OneCoin was clubbing the OneCoin staking model with a pyramid like Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) model. 

Dr. Ruja’s ingenious plan took a moonshot when she involved the who’s who of the MLM industry who were quickly lured into selling OneCoin to their network to tap into the insane gains.  Some of them even made millions in just commissions.

These MLM marketers then bought more OneCoin to qualify for a higher payouts and potential of minting millions when OneCoin hits €100.

She not only convinced the most successful businessmen from the MLM world to work for OneCoin, she even got them by the chops by luring them to invest their own profits back into the OneCoin.

Dr. Ruja referred to herself as ““the bitch of Wall Street, meets MLM”.   And she indeed was.

Evils beyond control of Dr. Ruja

The BBC expose describes that Dr. Ruja never wanted the OneCoin scam to grow as big as it did.  But once it did, she couldn’t stop it because she was not let to.  

BBC article reveals that “People involved at the early stages have told him it was never supposed to be a billion-dollar scam. She tried to close it down, he says, but the dark forces wouldn’t let her.”

At the end, Dr. Ruja’s brainchild helped many shillers, scammers and evil forces to become filthy rich while leaving many innocent investors who were looking to become rich with OneCoin were burnt and left to ashes.

Dr. Ruja’s brother was arrested in the US on money laundering charges.  Dr. Ruja is still at large. 

In summary, here is how OneCoin scam unfolded:

  • Dr. Ruja introduced OneCoin as the ‘bitcoin killer’
  • Investors were required to buy into packages to be able to mine OneCoin
  • Packages ran from €140 to €55000 (and more)
  • Investors inviting others to the platform were paid commissions
  • These commissions were paid in 60% cash and 40% OneCoin
  • Many people re-invested their commissions back into OneCoin in the hope of becoming millionaires
  • Dr. Ruja has been missing since 2017 although her brother was arrested in the US on Money Laundering charges
  • The total scam is estimated to be over $4 Billion although many people believe it might be in the ballpark of over $10 Billion

Lessons learned from One Coin and Bitconnect debacle

Every ponzi-pyramid-scam scheme has a few themes that can help you identify them before losing money or FOMO in.

Here are a few:

crypto Scam Alert

  • Salesmen or confidants?

One determining factor that seems to work almost every time is the gut feeling.   

Are you getting a sense of dealing with an old car salesman or are you feeling like you’re talking to someone who is passionate about what they are doing.  

This key distinction is what your gut is great at picking on.  

Do not ignore it.  

We run away whenever we are dealing with salesy folks, even if the project sounds ok.  Prime example:  

We stayed away from Bidao ICO project because of their salesy ICO structure.  

Don’t ignore your gut feeling, it is right most of the time. 

  • Too good to be true

If it is too good to be true, then it probably is a scam.  

While there are exceptions to this rule when it comes to Bitcoin and seed investment, they take incredible patience and they never promise anything.  Contrast to that, the ponzi-pyramid-scams all promise the sky and beyond.  If it sounds too good to be true – think again before handing your wallet over.

  • Stinks like a ‘get rich quick’ scheme rather than an investment

Retire within 6 months  |  Make a year’s worth salary over a weekend | This is next bitcoin, but better | Plug and play, watch your income multiply without any work | No work or experience needed, we will do it for you, just give us your money.

All of these statements are designed to do one thing and one thing only: separate you from your hard earned money.

  • No actual product or solution

If all you see in a business is a ‘promise’ to pay you exorbitant amounts of returns on your investment but they have no product or service in place, that is a clear indication that they are a ponzi.

Even if you do see a product or service and if that is mediocre at best or looks like it has been mashed up together to lure people – dig more before you part with your money.

  • Lure of Insider information

Crypto gurus are experts at this.  

Their pitch always starts something like “we have just uncovered this massive movement that no one is seeing, and this could turn your $1000 to $1 Million in 6 months” or something in those lines.  

If you read such hyperbole – know that they are out to get you.

  • Tier systems

Tier system: Invest $100 get 5% free, Invest $1000 get 15% free and so on, these are classic tier systems.  They also take shape of ‘invite 5 friends and get this benefit, invite 15 friends and become a VIP, etc.,’ 

Not all tier systems are a scam. Most are.

If the program structure is such that you get a cut from every new ‘victim’ you introduce then it is most probably a scam waiting to happen.

The people who get involved early in this pyramid scam do get money and that is why they honestly believe that they have discovered a gold mine and it is difficult for most of them to believe that they are innocently perpetuating a scam.  

This lure of making boat loads of money pushes them to pimp the project even harder making the inventors of the scam super rich.

  • FOMO offers

FomoInvest in the next 3 hours and get this bonus | Leave everyone behind by investing early |  First 1000 investors will be elite members eligible for special dividends | Difference between investing now and a month later is $150000000000 | and so on.

If the pitch is designed to appeal to your greed and instigates a Fear of Missing Out response, take a deep breath.  Are you about to take a plunge into scam-verse?

  • Glitter, lots of it

One of the hallmarks of an elaborate scam is the grand events and expensive venues.

Why not, it’s not their hard earned money that they are splurging.  

These events usually take place in grandiose settings, blasting music, food and beverages flowing freely and glamor is everywhere.  

People fall for the glamor in the hopes that they too will be living this shiny life themselves one day.  

That lure for glamor is the kiss of death for their hard earned money.   If you see too much glitter – run away before it sticks on you.

  • Lock in your capital, no thanks

One of the giveaways of a scam is the promise to pay you interest and your capital back after a specified term.  

For instance, a company could promise to return your Bitcoin with a 50% interest if you lock in for 6 months or a year or so.  

If they can convince enough people to do the same, they can just return the money from the people who invested after you to make the market believe that they are indeed paying the crazy interest promised and thus creating a FOMO in the unassuming investors.  

Once it scales – they can shut the door without raising the flags since everyone would be waiting for the time to lapse.  

  • Lack of reliable backers/advisors

You will not find people with great reputation involved in the projects.  The people who do lend their name or become part of the team will be the ones with hard to verify history or they appear on the world scene suddenly.  

If you think about it, we did not know who Vitalik Buterin was, however, we saw many reliable crypto industry veterans backed his idea and got involved with the project.

Bitconnect had no intellectual or upright backers. 

In fact, Vitalik called them out as Ponzi at the outset, albeit, his warnings fell on deaf ears.

  • FREE, Free, freeeeeee!

Free CryptoInvest today to get 50% free.  

Invite your friends and we will give 50% of their investment, for free.  

Share our news on YOUR social feed and we will give you XX for free.  

Email your friends about us and for every single email that gets read, you will get $$.  

The list goes on.  

Whenever you see ‘FREE’ offers to invite more people – it probably is a scam that is preying on greed.  

Run away at once.

Common factors in One Coin and Bitconnect scams

There were some striking resemblances between these two scams.  Look at the below summary table:

Warning signs
BitConnect
Comments
OneCoin
Comments
Affiliate commissions for bringing new investors
Yes
People were paid handsomely for bringing new investors onboard
YesPerpetual commissions were promised to 'shillers'
Tiered structure investment plans
YesPlans ranged from Euro 140 to Eur 55,000 or more
Yes
Interest based on investment amount from $1000 to $100000+
Too good to be true offers
YesSold on the hope of OneCoin reaching Euro 100 one day
YesPromise of interest of over 40% per month
Pyramid scheme
YesMLM combined with cryptocurrency
YesMulti-level referral system from commissions of .5% to 7%
Lack of experts and industry professionals
YesNo known experts were onboard
YesNo known experts were onboard

Why should you not trust influencers?

In the cases of Bitconnect and One Coin, the so called media influencers (bloggers, YouTubers, Twitter celebrities, Facebook groups, etc.,) have all been duped into FOMO and they in turn created a FOMO in their followers.  

It is not clear whether or not these influencers were actually aware of the schematics of the elaborate plan to scam people of their money, nevertheless, they have played a BIG role in people losing their hard earned money.

The entire crypto space is less than 10 years old.  It actually got serious followers in the last 5 or so years.  For someone to claim that they are experts in the field is utterly misleading.  

We have always been telling our readers – never trust anyone on the internet, especially shillers. Do your own research and use the information on the internet to gain multiple perspectives.  

Force yourself to search for the negative point of view when you are in the grips of FOMO.

That one strategy of forcing yourself to search for multiple POVs seems to work excellently from our own experience.

Are you FOMOing?  use our FOMO/FUD checker to find out!

Enjoy.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.

Stay safe and healthy!

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

best Crypto Tax Software

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

CryptoSpace

A Beginner’s Guide on How to Build a Steem Bot

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How to build steem bot

Steemit is the first blockchain-based blogging and social media website that rewards its content creators with the cryptocurrency STEEM when they publish or curate content. 

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

Bots were first introduced in the Steem ecosystem in 2016, and have since then come a long way. The most common Steem bot development is done for upvoting posts – in simple as well as complex conditions. A Steem bot developer can create an application over blockchain to perform tasks that are simple, but structurally repetitive. There can be certain pre-programmed conditions under which the bot functions and produces results. If too many conditions are levied, it creates complexity and the bot could run for long periods of time until the specific criterion is met and satisfied. 

Steem bot development involves real-time automation over Steem blockchain with the help of simple APIs. The Steem bot developer can simply bootstrap an automated task with Steem without having much understanding about the node’s mechanism and tricky API.

Steem Bot Development – How to Build a Steem Bot

There are plenty of operations that you can simplify by learning how to make a bot for Steemit. In fact, you can even make money with a Steemit bot if you are adept at building one. This tutorial guides you on how to build a Steem bot that can perform the function of auto-voting. 

  • Outline

An auto-voting bot can automatically upvote posts from the selected list of usernames. When new people join your platform, you can upvote their milestone to encourage them with the help of this Steemit bot. 

  • What You Need

A plain text editor

Your private posting key – this is available in your wallet which can be accessed through the permissions tab on steemit.com. The private key feature allows the bot to vote.

Goals

  • specify a list of usernames (your friends)
  • connect to the Steem-js API
  • check when a new post is posted to the Steem network
  • check if the post belongs to any of your friends
  • send a vote to that post

Once that the basics are outlined for you, let us begin with the development:

Step 1: Set Up

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will have the bot run in the web browser (However, a more effective way to use this bot would be on the command-line, but this one is simpler and a good place to start from for a beginner).

Set up a blank HTML file and link it to the steem.js library. The library does most of the work as most of the commands are already present in it, talks to the Steem network, and means that we need to write very little code ourselves.

<html>

<head>

<script src=”https://cdn.steemjs.com/lib/latest/steem.min.js”></script>

<script></script>

</head>

<body></body>

</html>

You can go ahead and save this file as bot-tutorial.html. Although, if you run this file right now, it’ll only show you a blank screen.

Step 2 – Create a list of Friends

This step will enable you to store a list of names to the code. Whether the names should be up-voted or not can be decided later.

const FRIEND_LIST = [‘June’, ‘Zoe’, ‘Karen’, ‘Sarah’]

Once the bot is running, the list of names cannot be changed. So create an expansive list.

Step 3 – Connect to the Steem-js API

Connect to the Steem network and check all new transactions. Each block on the Steem blockchain holds transactions which can be anything – transfers, votes, comments, profile updates, and many more. Once we connect to the Steem network, we’re sent new data from the blockchain every few seconds. 

The API is very consistent and follows the same set of rules.

Whenever you interact with the steem-js library, specify steem.api and then the action that you want taken. In some cases, actions need to provide extra information. This information is called arguments. 

SteemBot constructor after declaration will provide some methods as events, which you can use to trigger different behaviors for different users. The first argument of every event method is always targetUsers and the second one is handler function. If you omit targetUsers the first one will be handlerfunction.

Targetusers could simply be a string with the username of a Steem account, or it could be an array of usernames. Omitting this parameter will require the event to trigger all users.

Step 4 – Check for the Names in Your Friend List

Once you’ve connected to the Steem-JS library, you need to check if the names that you get from the blockchain match those in your list of friends. To do this, create a function. Functions allow us to create blocks of code that we can reuse over and over.

The function can be created like this:

Friend(name){

  return (FRIEND_LIST.indexOf(name) > -1);

}

Out function takes one piece of data ‘name’ and returns us a yes/no or a true/false answer. 

With the help of this code we are taking our FRIEND_LIST and looking for the index (the position) of the name we entered. If the friend name that we ask for is in the list, it will say 1 or 3 (to show the position at which the name is at) for example if not it says -1. checking if the answer is > -1 gives us our true/false for friends. 

Step 5 – Send Votes

Once the above steps are completed and the structure set up, the final step includes coding to send votes. For this, use the following command:

function sendVote(author, permlink){}

We can create another function which is slightly more complex and specific. In this function, the data we need is the author and the permlink. This function will specify the author and the post that you shall vote on.

function sendVote(author, permlink){

steem.broadcast.vote(ACCOUNT_POSTING_KEY, ACCOUNT_NAME, author, permlink, 10000, function(err, result) {

        console.log(result);

   });

}

With this function, you can enable a ‘steem.broadcast’. The data that you need to share includes the posting key, account name, the author, the link and a voting weight. Note the voting weight does not use percentages so 10000 is the same as 100%.

Finally, you can update the function to add the sendVote function instead of just a message. We’re taking the data from the transaction and using it in our send vote function.

That’s it! With the help of this simple tutorial on how to build a steem bot, your friend’s post will automatically get upvoted in your post.

You can use this simple exercise to create simple function and for steem bot development to help you in making your programs a lot more personalised. The bot will automate repetitive tasks of upvoting content each time without the need for your assistance. The bot will automatically start scrolling and fetching more content, then analyze everything and eventually upvote. Then it will refresh and do it again, and again, and again, and again.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.

This is a guest post by Vin Boris.

Author Bio:

SteembotVin Boris is a Social Media Marketer and Content Writer at Steem Blockchain Experts , a Blockchain and Steem currency based development, consulting and marketing firm. Vin Boris has been Outshining in the Blockchain Tech. industry for more than 10 years.

 

Stay safe and healthy!

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

best Crypto Tax Software

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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FOMO and FUD

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Fomo and FUD

What you can expect to learn?

  • FOMO and FUD Test
  • What is FUD, FOMO and factors causing them
  • Strategies to tackle FOMO and FUD 

Before we begin the article, let’s do something fun. It will take less than a minute. Give a shot at this quick FUD/FOMO test and see how you score.

Fomo Fud Calculator

There are two arch enemies in life in general and trading in particular, and more so specifically in crypto trading life:  Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt (FUD).

What is FOMO?

When we think that the train is going to leave the station and try to jump on it at any cost, that is parallel to acting out of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).  

We forget, temporarily, that there are more trains to catch and that the market is here in the long run.

When you fall for the hype and do not follow the facts, like this guy that Jordan Belfort is seen conning in Wolf of Wall Streets.

What is FUD?

When we let negativity and false information drive us out of the market or keep away from good opportunities, we are facing Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD).

A real life example could be, letting some false information blind us completely from reality and lead us to make irrational decisions.

For instance, this gentleman who is reacting to a VR immersion to a totally false reality.

Difference between FOMO and FUD

Crypto trading, for that matter any trading, is a zero sum game.

What that means is, for you to win, someone has to lose.  For you to sell at a profit, someone has to be willing to buy at a higher price.

Is FOMO and FUD bad?

Not all situations of FOMO or FUD bad when they are backed by a process.

For instance, when Chainlink dropped to $1.8 we jumped on the opportunity to buy a few.  At this point, Chainlink was already 600% from its initial listing price a year back.

Because we had done our research and have established our target entry points, buying into an asset that is already 600% high was not a bad decision.

Similarly, when you get disillusioned through research and new information that the project you thought was going to the moon is actually a piece of scrap, it is ok to FUD out.

As long as we keep our rational hats, FOMO and FUD can help us make timely decisions.

What causes FUD and FOMO?

Following blindly

When you choose to simply follow someone’s advice without validating the facts just because someone said it, then you become a victim of FOMO or FUD, depending on what is fed to you.

For instance, take the News channels.  In this day and age, they are mere propaganda promoters.

Many people either are clutched by fear or act carelessly based on what is fed to them.

If these channels say that the market is heading for a crash, people following these sources will take hasty decisions.

When they report something rosy – market responds by going euphoric, irrespective of facts.

This is exactly what we are witnessing today with COVID crippling the economy while the stock market is rallying to new heights each day.

Greed

FOMODuring the 2017 crypto bull run, some people who made millions of dollars couldn’t exit the market because they thought they could time the market.

So they kept playing and lost their gains and in some cases capital to the crash.

Greed generally makes people make irrational decisions that ultimately lead to their own peril. 

Lack of research

Who wants to read a boring 30 page whitepaper when you could let a YouTube influencer give you his opinions?

This convenience has resulted in relying on influencers without understanding the underlying intentions.

Do you know if the influencer has any conflict of interest?

Are you getting an unbiased view of facts or are you just getting biased opinions?

Lack of research is one of the biggest reasons why people are forced into making irrational decisions.

Sensation for facts

In the world that floods us with millions of bytes of information, the one that grabs your attention wins. 

In this race for attention, we have become victims of ‘clickbait’ headlines.

I have read in some forums that people have executed a wrong trade by just reading a clickbait headline only to realize that the actual news was not as rosy or dire.

In the online world of stimulation, sensation sells.

Unfortunately, we cannot make investment decisions based on sensation.

Investment is mostly a boring activity.  It involves reading a lot of dry sources, following through on due diligence, carrying out research, executing decisions and being patient for the right time.

How to tackle FUD & FOMO?

Curiously, the tools to tackle FUD and FOMO are the same, that means, you tackle one and you tackle the other.

Using FOMO and FUD against one another

When you are faced with FOMO, go out and seek negative information on the project that has you in the FOMO grips.  

Create deliberate FUD for yourself.

If you are suffocated by the clutches of FUD, then remind yourself why you were interested in the project in the first place.  

Has anything changed about the project that got you interested in the first place?  

If yes, then you have to simply take the next logical action.  If nothing changed, you can motivate yourself by seeking FOMO angle.

This strategy will help you remain sane while the market goes nuts.

Breath

I am not going all spiritual on you but trust me when I say this helps.

When you are running after or away from something you take short breaths, this is a good indication that you are going to make some hasty decision.

When you are faced with a FUD or FOMO situation: BREATH. 

Consume the information without reacting.  To stay rational, practice conscious breathing and then put your head down to ‘dig for the facts’ before you take the decision.

Research

There are over 6000 projects in the market.  You cannot learn about every project fully.

However, you can learn about a few projects as fully as you can.  This research will help you gain insights that will help you to make the right decisions.

Fundamentals

Technology has changed but us humans have remained the same blob of biology. 

Human nature, gravity, north pole, south pole, have remained unchanged.  

Similarly, the fundamentals of a good project are the same whether you are looking at  a company in the crypto space or traditional space.

Look for these solid fundamentals. If your project has these fundamentals – then the temporary ups and downs should not bother you. 

This will help you sleep better at night.

Beware of confirmation bias

We usually seek out what we want to validate.

Read that again.

We as creatures of habit want to reduce the world to fit our view.  

This is particularly true about our investments.  It is important to consciously seek out contrarian views that of yours.

This will help you gain greater perspective and make all round decisions.

Follow the money

More often than not, mainstream media will be saying one thing and the big money is doing something else entirely.  

Even if the news of FOMO or FUD is true, it is usually an ‘after-the-fact’. 

No one will actually let you in on the secret before they place their bets.  

For instance, someone will talk about how this startup is going to change the world AFTER that company has already gone public.  

This means, the VCs are ready to dump their stocks onto unassuming noobs while they 1000x their seed investment.  

A classic example of this in the crypto space is when JP Morgan publicly condemned Bitcoin and threatened to fire anyone at the firm who buys bitcoin.

Secretly, JP Morgan was buying boat loads of Bitcoin and shortly they even introduced their own cryptocurrency.

In this short video Teeka Tiwari reveals all the hypocrisy of these big players who manipulate the market into FUD and FOMO depending on what benefits their deep pockets.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.

Stay safe and healthy!

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

best Crypto Tax Software

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

 

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CryptoSpace

Crypto & Ransomware Attacks: What to do Before you Become a Victim

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Crypto ransomware

Imagine losing access to all your wallets and keys on your computer and in a flash losing all of your digital valuables.

If you think it is a wild thing to imagine, think again.

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies 2020

With over 88% organizations in Saudi Arabia and 54% of US organizations reporting Ransomware attacks in 2019 it is never too early to be cautious.

Especially, if you are in the habit of storing wallet keys and account passwords on your computer (or tablet).

In this article, we provide you some tactics that you can use to treat Ransomware attack as an inevitability and prepare for it in advance.

If it sounds morbid, that was the effect we were going for. 

What to do to avoid becoming a victim of Ransomware?

avoid ransomware

Be vigilant

The best antidote to Ransomware is to not get one. To avoid being a victim of Ransomware, you have to know how it attacks.  

Here are the top ways Ransomware attacks take place:

Phishing through email

This one method accounts for over 60% of Ransomware attacks.  Phishing is simply trying to lure victims to click on a link or download an attachment.

The creativity that goes into phishing attempts is quite sinister.

For instance, if you received an email from Coinbase.com and if you have an account with them, it is easy to click on the link without verifying the actual source.  

As an example, look at below link:

www.coinbase.com/verify

It is easy to think that this is a genuine link, however, if you hover over the link you will see it will take you to a different website entirely, in this case, we have directed the link to our own website.

Crypto specific:

Be very careful about clicking any links on emails telling you about any free airdrops or giveaways or security compromises.

Greed and fear are common triggers that scammers use to lure you into clicking links or installing Ransomware.

Ads

phishing

When we had a problem with the Binance account, we were trying to call the Binance customer support.

The problem is, we were looking for Binance support on google and astonishingly all the top slots were bought by scammers.

If you called any of these numbers they will listen to your problem like professionals and ask you for your ID, password, 2FA, etc.,

This is a dead give away.  No genuine company requests this information via phone (or even email).  

Hangup at once and go to their official website to find the customer support details.

Crypto specific:

As much as possible, try to type in the website address.  If you do use google, make sure you do not click on paid ads as some of them are bought by scammers sometimes.

Calls & spoofing

Many of my friends who are in the US on visa received a call during 2018 and 2019 threatening that police officers are on their way to their homes to arrest them unless they are ready to cough up $$s.

The callers were so intelligent that they actually spoofed the local sheriff’s number when they called so that at an off chance that you google the number – you will be even more convinced about the threat.

During one such event, I called the Sheriff’s office directly and the lady on the other end said that she was the only one who worked at the Sheriff’s office and they have no guys, and that the Sheriff (or any agency for that matter) will never contact anyone via phone about any legal matters.

Crypto specific:

Exchanges will never call you to tell you about hacks or security issues.  Never give away any passwords or 2FA on the phone.

Shady websites – look for the shield

If you have to access any shady websites, make sure you have a separate device for that other than the one that you use to access your emails and store files.

General rule of thumb is to look for the ‘secure’ key on the browser to make sure that the sites you are visiting are safe to visit.

Take regular offline backups

It is important to have backups either on an offline system or harddrive. To ensure you don’t lose data due to damage to the drive, strive to take 2 backups.

Crypto specific:

Hardware wallets are a great way to secure your crypto wealth. Do not store wallet keys or passwords to your accounts on your computer.

Redundancy is important but not too much

Have important files, keys and other information on offline devices that are not connected to the internet.

Use anti-virus and anti-malware software

Some anti-virus and anti-malware software warn you every time you try to install something to grant explicit permission.

This helps if some Ransomware tries to silent-install itself.   

What to do if you become a victim of Ransomware?

how to avoid hack

If you do end up becoming the victim of a Ransomware, do not panic and follow the following steps (these steps are assuming you are an individual and not an organization).

Disconnect from internet

Turn off your wifi, unplug your modem and internet connection.  Some of the 

ransomwares have worms (which is a fancy way of saying they install themselves on all connected devices on the network) and distancing the infected computer from the network is the first step.

Disconnect all devices from the network

Computers, printers, any device that uses the internet from the same network (devices connected via wi-fi is a good place to start). 

Wipe the system clean

The best bet when your files get locked is to clean up your harddisk and reinstall the entire system before you start using the device.

Restore the computer using original software

Try to use OEM sources to reinstall your original software onto the wiped system.  Do not login to any financial accounts from the computer until you have re-run a security scan using the latest version of antivirus.

Do NOT pay the ransom

Ransom looks like a tempting solution, however if you pay ransom, you run into following issues:

  • You may not get the access to the files despite paying the ransom
  • You will be encouraging internet terroris*s by paying them
  • You might get marked as someone they can bully into paying

It is always better to reach out to respective authorities for help. 

Special areas of concern for Crypto folks

Mining software

Many of the mining software files are flagged by the anti-virus and anti-malware software as suspicious.

You are forced to shut-down the firewall to complete the installation of these mining files.

Do you completely trust the source of these mining software? 

As a general rule, we try to use apps for mining that are available on popular platforms like AppStore.   

These companies have stringent protocols that the app needs to adhere to before it can be listed on the store.

However, when you download a mining software directly from websites – be sure that there is nothing phishy.

Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is a method in which the malware sits silently on your computer and uses your computer (and any other device connected to the same network) to mine cryptocurrencies.

Any device that is connected to the internet is vulnerable to cryptojacking.

Because there are no alerts or ransom demands, it is difficult to detect if you have been a victim of Cryptojacking, this is why having a reliable anti-virus and anti-malware software could help.

In conclusion

Most, if not all, of our funds are in digital form.  This is especially true for cryptocurrencies. Unlike the traditional banking system where you can lodge a complaint or tap into insurance, crypto is our own responsibility.  

As such, the onus lies on each of us to make sure we are prepared for any potential attacks including Ransomware.

We hope this piece has given you some things to think about your crypto security.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.

Stay safe and healthy!

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IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

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We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information and claims made.

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