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Ransomware encounters declined by 60% in 2018: Microsoft report

Machine learning is declining the risks of phishing attacks, but the number of such attacks are still on the rise, finds the 24th edition of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR).

Microsoft analyzes over 6.5 trillion security signals every day to get a wide and unique perspective into latest trends in the cybersecurity arena. The company has been releasing the security intelligence report for more than a decade now to share its expert insights with the enterprises.

The SIR this year is reflected on security events in 2018, including overview of security landscape, lessons learnt from it, and best practices that need to be followed. Some of the cybersecurity trends in 2018 included rise in cryptocurrency mining and supply chain compromises, decline in ransomware, and more.

Attackers are increasingly mining cryptocurrency in the background of user systems, without their permission and awareness. This activity significantly consumes bandwidth and causes security risks to users.

Having said that, let’s have a deep dive into the key findings of the Microsoft’s latest security report.

Key takeaways from Microsoft Security Intelligence Report:

1. Ransomware encounters declined significantly in 2018

Ransomware attacks like WannaCrypt and Petya were the biggest security events in 2017. Such attacks locks or encrypt computers and then demands money from users to restore access. It was anticipated that these ransomware attacks will increase in future.

However, the latest report says that ransomware encounter rates have declined by around 60% between March 2017 and December 2018.

The main reason behind this decline is improved detection and education among enterprises. This made it tough for cybercriminals to get what they were intending.

ransomware encounter rate in 2018

Highest ransomware encounter rate:

The highest average ransomware encounter rate per month were found in Ethiopia (0.77%), followed by Mongolia (0.46%), Cameroon (0.41%), Myanmar (0.33%), and Venezuela (0.31%).

Lowest ransomware encounter rate:

On the other hand, the lowest ransomware encounter rates per month were found in Ireland (0.01%), Japan (0.01%), the United States (0.02%), United Kingdom (0.02%), and Sweden (0.02%).

2. Cryptocurrency mining is becoming prevalent

Since the cybercriminals found it difficult to conduct ransomware attacks, they shifted their efforts to cryptocurrency mining. As a result, the cryptocurrency mining is increasing.

While the average ransomware encounter rate in 2018 was just 0.05%, the same for cryptocurrency coin mining encounter was 0.12%.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum work as digital money and can be used anonymously. However, the cryptocurrencies require users to perform some calculations that are resource intensive. While new cryptocurrency coins are released very frequently these days, the calculations are becoming more difficult.

Mining of top cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is almost impossible, if the immense computing resources are not accessible. As a result, the cybercriminals have turned to a malware that helps them gain access to the computers of victims and then mine cryptocurrency coins. By this way, they can leverage the processing power of hundreds of thousands of computers, rather than one or two.

Highest cryptocurrency mining encounter rate:

Ethiopia (5.58%), Tanzania (1.83%), Pakistan (1.47%), Kazakhstan (1.24%), and Zambia (1.13%) are the five locations with the highest cryptocurrency coin mining encounter rates in 2018.

Lowest cryptocurrency mining encounter rate:

The lowest average monthly coin mining encounter rate was approx. 0.02% in 2018. Ireland, Japan, the US, and China were the locations with lowest rate during the period.

3. Browser-based cryptocurrency mining comes to the scene

Typically, the cryptocurrency miners are installed on the computers of victims in the form of malware. But a new kind of threat has come to scene, where the malware is based entirely within web browsers, which doesn’t need to be installed on the computers.

What cybercriminals are doing is offering a number of services that promise website owner to monetize traffic to their websites without need of advertising. The site owners are asked to add JavaScript code to their webpages. This code starts mining cryptocurrency in the background. When a website is compromised, the attackers can take advantage of the users who visit that website.

These are browser-based cryptocurrency miners that don’t need to compromise the computers. Such miners can impact the computer performance and waste electricity while the users browse the compromised websites.

According to the report, Brocoiner was the most prevalent browser-based cryptocurrency in 2018.

Brocoiner encounter rate

4. Software supply chains are at risk

Attackers try to compromise the development or update process of a legitimate software to gain access to the software and systems of people who use the compromised software.

By injecting the malicious code into the software, attackers can easily gain the same trust and permissions as the software. This has become a primary concern for IT leaders as these attacks are increasing and can make the enterprise IT departments vulnerable.

software supply chain at risk

For example, the first major software supply chain in 2018 was found in March. Microsoft’s Windows Defender ATP blocked a massive campaign that was delivering Dofoil trojan, also called Smoke Loader.

The attackers had replaced the update package of an application with malicious code. This trojan had carried a coin mining payload and exhibited advanced cross-process injection techniques, persistence mechanisms, and evasion methods.

Windows Defender Antivirus had blocked over 400k infection attempts, in the first 12 hours of the campaign.

Suggested reading: Carelessness of employees leading to enterprise security concerns: Microsoft report

5. Email phishing is still a preferred attack method

Office 365 is the most popular enterprise productivity available out there. Microsoft said that it analyzes over 470 billion email messages per month to scan phishing and malware. In 2018, the phishing messages in inbound emails increased by 250%.

It shows that email phishing is still one of the most preferred attack methods for cybercriminals. Microsoft is rapidly strengthening the email security with anti-phishing protection, detection, and investigation. But, since the emails involve human decisions and judgement, it is a problem to completely get rid of the phishing.

email phishing in 2018

Suggested reading: Office 365 is now the most effective solution at mitigating phish emails

Email phishing lures can come in these forms:

  • Domain spoofing— the email message domain is an exact match with the original domain name.
  • Domain impersonation— the email message domain is a look alike of the original domain name.
  • User impersonation— the email message appears to come from someone you trust.
  • Credential phishing links—the email message contains a link to a page that resembles a login page for a legitimate site, so users will enter their login credentials.
  • Phishing attachments—the email message contains a malicious file attachment that the sender entices the victim to open.
  • Links to fake cloud storage locations— the email message appears to come from a legitimate source and entices the user to give permission and/or enter personal information such as credentials in exchange for accessing a fake cloud storage location.

For full Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR), click here. Microsoft has also created an interactive website to allow users dig into the data specific to the regions.

Articles Cloud

Top security trends that will impact consumers and enterprises in 2019: Trend Micro report

The advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are going to be the top trends in 2019 to impact technology and security. These trends will be driven by growth in data volume that is processed and analyzed, rapid adoption of cloud, and development of smart products. Additionally, the fifth generation of internet (5G) that is expected to roll out in 2020, will also impact the technology and security.

Trend Micro, the leading cybersecurity and defense firm, released a new report titled “Mapping the Future: Dealing With Pervasive and Persistent Threats” which includes security predictions for 2019 and beyond. For these predictions, the experts at Trend Micro analyzed progress of current and emerging technologies, user behavior, market trends, as well as their impact on threat landscape.

Top Cyber Security Predictions for 2019

Among the cybersecurity predictions for 2019, Trend Micro mentioned the rise in actual fraud using stolen credentials, more lives will be claimed because of sextortion, and countries will witness more collateral damage. Further, cyber propaganda and fake news will decide the future of countries.

Having said that, following are the key findings and highlights of the Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2019.

  • Cases of phishing to rise in 2019

Phishing attacks are those cyber threats where attackers try to win trust of users by pretending to be a trustworthy person. They get sensitive information from users and carry out the attack. Over the years, these attackers are trying to carry out phishing attacks without much activity from users, so that they can do their work easily.

As per the report, phishing attacks are on the rise and will continue to increase in 2019. The phishing attacks will be observed in emails, SMS, messaging accounts, online banking credentials, and accounts used for cloud services.

  • Cybercriminals will target famous YouTubers and other social media personalities

Attackers will target the social media accounts of users having millions of followers. Accounts of famous YouTubers, brand influencers, and other famous personalities with several million followers are more likely to be compromised using phishing attacks.

Cybercriminals will use these accounts to attack the followers by making them join campaigns for DDoS (distributed denial of service) or cryptocurrency mining.

The stolen credentials can also be used to register in various rewards programs that can make money for attackers. The report highlights that attackers can also use stolen accounts for registration of trolls on social media for cyber propaganda.

If the attackers get access to numerous social media accounts, they can use it to add fake votes to polls, and other nasty purposes.

  • Work-from-home devices will become entry points for attackers to enterprise network

Remote-working culture is trending nowadays among enterprises, as more employees are choosing to work from home. In 2016, around 43% employees in America were working from home, up from 39% in 2012, finds Gallup.

This culture affects the visibility of enterprises to handle data movements. When employees use internet from home for using cloud-based applications and collaboration software, the IT team of the company can’t control them the way they do for devices within the company.

Hence, the remote devices sometimes become a mix of personal and enterprise network. Since, the personal devices don’t exhibit as strong security as the enterprise devices, attackers can enter the enterprise network from these remote devices.

  • Non GDPR-compliant enterprises will be penalized

EU’s General Data Regulation Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into effect this year hasn’t exercised all its new powers as most of the companies needed more time to comply with the law. But these regulations will needed to be strictly followed in 2019, or the companies will be penalized the full 4% of their annual revenue.

To properly comply with all the points of GDPR, the companies will need to rethink of the data privacy and security technologies. Trend Micro expects that by 2020, around 75% of new enterprise apps will need to choose between compliance and security.

“While privacy and security are not mutually exclusive, efforts to ensure data privacy compliance will have a detrimental effect on a company’s ability to adequately determine the source and details of a security threat,” explained Trend Micro in its report.

  • Emails of C-level executives will be compromised

One of the primary ways for attackers to make money is to compromise business emails. As a result of this, they will get deep down to the hierarchy of the company. They will focus on the assistants or secretary of C-level executives, or a manager of finance department.

Suggested reading: Organizations have 14 misconfigured public cloud services running at any given time
  • Cybercriminals will blackmail non-compliant enterprises

GDPR will open new source of income for cybercriminals. How? Well, they will look out for companies that are not compliant with the regulations. If any non-compliant company is found, they will blackmail them and demand ransom, or the non-complaint status will be exposed.

These are some of the key findings of Trend Micro’s Security Predictions for 2019.  The full report is available here.

Image source: Trend Micro

Event News

Calling all blockchain experts in the largest blockchain conference of South East Asia – Blockchain Indo

The volume of Indonesia’s digital economy has been predicted to reach about $130 billion by the year 2020, making it one of the leaders in digital development among the South-East Asian countries, as stated by the country’s authorities.

Blockchain, an advanced technology will play a major role in developing Indonesian digital economy. The Blockchain INDO conference to be held between 11th-12th May in Jakarta, Indonesia will be discussing about blockchain opportunity present in the country and will stand as the first international level blockchain event in Indonesia.

Jakarta is amongst the top ten crypto-capitals of the world in the year 2017, per International Decentralized Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (IDACB). Despite Indonesian government’s skeptical views on digital money, the business communities have been showing great interest in the new opportunities lying in the digital economy.

The Blockchain Indo conference will bring together the entire cryptocurrency community including blockchain experts, blockchain, ICOs (Initial Coin Offering), investors and bitcoin miners, witnessing more than 1000 participants from 20 countries.

Over 40 + blockchain experts – CEOs of leading companies, blockchain platform innovators and owners, ICO project owners, lawyers and blockchain analysts, will discuss the future of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, transformation of current economic structure, ICO marketing and information security. The list of prominent speakers include but is not limited to the following:

  • Gebhard Scherrer – Co-founder, DATUM
  • Martin (Director General blossom of Finance)
  • Ville Oehman (Investment funds registered with the monetary authority of Singapore)
  • Robert Ryu (the Korean company crypto-Fund)
  • Dr Zaharuddin A. R (Malaysia Shariah ICO)
  • Matthew Joseph Martin (CEO of Blossom Finance)

The market of financial technology in Indonesia is very prospective. Indonesia is the third country in the world, after China and India, that has the biggest rate of the technology growth. Moreover, Indonesian e-commerce market is growing rapidly,” – said Nikolay Volosyankov, CEO of CryptoEvent – the organizer of various blockchain events in Europe and Asia and the initiator of Blockchain Indo conference.

He also added, “Therefore, bitcoin as one of the financial instruments of technology will be quickly accepted by the people of Indonesia and according to our predictions there will be approximately 100 thousand bitcoin users in Indonesia in the next 6 months.”

The participants can have real-life insights into the various ICO-projects to be presented in the conference. There will be over 30 booths hosting exhibition of cryptocurrency companies.

DHN as the official media partner of Blockchain Indo is offering 30% discount on registration. Use promo code: PROMO-INFOPARTNER-30 while registering.

Event News

World Satoshi Summit and NASSCOM Blockchain SIG team up to promote blockchain adoption across enterprises

South Asia’s leading blockchain conference – World Satoshi Summit, recently announced partnering with NASSCOM blockchain SIG to promote adoption of blockchain across various sectors and industries.

With exactly one month remaining for World Satoshi Summit, it is time to gear up for getting some latest updates on the revolutionary blockchain technology. The conference recently announced a strategic partnership with the apex body of the USD 154B IT-BPM industry – NASSCOM, through its NASSCOM Blockchain SIG.

The partnership aims to accelerate the move towards a much connected and transparent India, where every industry and sector will be able to leverage blockchain technology for their betterment. With this, blockchain ecosystem in India will get a tactical direction through proper architectural support, which will serve as a base for the Indian corporates and startups who can benefit from the blockchain technology.

Blockchain innovations like bitcoin and distributed ledger have the potential to renovate the entire economy.

World Satoshi Summit is a series of events that will be taking place across the world. Its first event is going to be held in India in the capital city of New Delhi between 12th – 13th May, 2018 at the JW Marriott Hotel Aerocity.

The conference will bring together over 3500 blockchain believers under one roof.

With World Satoshi Summit we are providing stakeholders of the Blockchain community a universal platform to ideate and innovate around the revolutionary technology. We firmly believe that India, world’s largest democracy, will serve as the proving ground for the emergent technological revolution. Tying up with NASSCOM is indeed an exhilarating opportunity for our team as the partnership will enable us to give the required support to the Blockchain community of this Region.” – Harmeet Singh Monga, Founder, World Satoshi Summit.

Also read: Calling all the blockchain enthusiasts in the largest blockchain conference: World Satoshi Summit 2018

The event will have some expert speakers who will deliver keynotes on the impact of the distributed ledger technology on the world economy. The list of speakers includes:

Sally Eaves – CTO, Emergent Technology, Forbes Technology Council. Top 100 Blockchain Influencer.

Devie Mohan – Founder of Turya, Co-Founder and CEO at Cashaa. Among top 100 blockchain influencer.

Ajeet Khurana – CEO at Zebpay.

Kumar Gaurav – Founder & CEO at Cashaa, Blockchain expert/speaker. Top 100 blockchain influencer.

Leanne Kemp – Founder & CEO at Everledger. Mapped 1M + diamonds on Blockchain.

Roger Ver – CEO,

Richard Kastelein – Co-Founder at Crypto-assets Design Group. Top 100 Blockchain Influencer.

Ross Smith – Director of Engineering at Microsoft.

Ted Lin – Head of International Markets, Binance.

Lawrence Lerner – CEO at Rchain.

Janina Lowisz – VP Marketing, Cashaa. Amongst top 100 Blockchain Influencer.

Vinod Tiwari – GM, Business Development and Sales, Powerledger.

Summit’s key highlights

Blockchain for Enterprises

The conference will have dedicated sessions for multiple industries like Travel, Insurance, Healthcare, FinTech etc. The sessions will help enterprises understand the benefits that can be leveraged through successful deployment of the ledger based technology in organizations’ core processes.

Smart Contracts

The onset of distributed ledger and other blockchain innovations is redefining transactions. Smart contract is one such example that has eliminated dependence on intermediaries and minimized costs that existed in the traditional contracts. They are much more secure and time saving than their previous counterparts. At WSS, developers stand a chance to attend special workshops and learn the specifics of a smart contract and know how to build one.


At Blockathon, developers will be seen solving real life blockchain problems and queries. This will be a golden opportunity for the organizations to identify the right talent for their enterprise.

Nova-Stride for Startups

The event has a special focus on the startups who can showcase their blockchain skills and talents and get the opportunity to get on the spot funding by attracting the panel of investors IBs, VCs, HNIs and Angels through their blockchain skills.

Women empowerment at World Satoshi Summit

WSS aims to focus on the development of underprivileged in order to make them a part of the technological revolution. As a part of this, they have initiated Women Economic Empowerment program, under which they will train 250+ underprivileged women from across the globe in technical and non-technical blockchain skills by the year 2020. This will help them to be future ready for the huge opportunities that will be created in the decentralized industry.

DHN readers get a premium offer

Being the official media partner for the event, DHN provides its readers 18% discount during registration, which they can avail by using the code WSSDRV18. So, grab your slot now!

Stay tuned to get latest updates straight from the event.

Note: The event stands cancelled/postponed due to unavoidable circumstances. We regret the inconvenience caused.


Calling all the blockchain enthusiasts in the largest blockchain conference: World Satoshi Summit 2018

South Asia’s largest conference on blockchain – World Satoshi Summit 2018, is all set to revolutionize the technology underpinning cryptocurrency, through its global series of events.

The first event of the series will debut in the capital city of the world’s largest democracy – New Delhi, between 12th -13th May 2018, at JW Marriott Hotel Aerocity.

The distributed ledger technology, better called blockchain, forms the basis of Bitcoin and other present and up-coming cryptocurrencies, and is all set to disrupt the way the internet did in the 1996.

Since 2008, when Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the world with the concept of digital currency, blockchain has evolved to be much more than a simple technology. It is a revolution that can bring radical shifts in the global financial infrastructure.

Blockchain can enable individuals or corporations around the world to do business, without establishing trust with any third-party intermediary. This can erode any chances of fraud or loss and help societies become more secure in their transactions.

Blockchain has been the hot topic of discussion at various global events.

The folks at WSS (World Satoshi Summit) aim to bring together students, leaders, blockchain enthusiasts and developers under one roof to ideate, discuss and exchange information on this evolving technology.

WSS promotes a global vision where each community, organization, economy and country can operate in an environment that is full of trust – free of corruption and any inefficiency that can be caused by human error or greed.

The event will address multiple issues prevalent in the present systems and will draw out conclusions for further discussions.

The team behind WSS

WSS is organized by leading blockchain experts – Harmeet Singh Monga and Rajeesh Dhuddhu. While Harmeet is the chief business officer at Blocksmiths, Rajesh is the senior vice president at Quatrro and a TEDx speaker.

Summit highlights

  • 50+ speakers
  • 100+ influencers
  • 50+ VCs
  • 3500+ attendees
  • 100+ global organizations
  • 40+ startups

Speaker line-Up

The speaker list includes the leaders and experts of blockchain:

Roger Ver – CEO, Bitcoin Billionaire & Founder Bitcoin Cash

Devie Mohan – Founder at Turya, Co-Founder and CEO at Burnmark,

Leanne Kemp – Founder and CEO, Everledger,

Kumar Gaurav – Blockchain Expert/Speaker, Founder and CEO at Cashaa,
and many more.

Special Highlights

Nova Stride: The startups at WSS will be given the opportunity to display their product and receive direct feedback from the investors/users. They also stand the chance to receive direct funding from the VCs/HNIs/ and IBs.

Women empowerment: More than 250 underprivileged women will be imparted knowledge on blockchain to prepare them for the upcoming job opportunities that can arise in the decentralized economy.

What makes WSS 2018 a must-attend event?

For Entrepreneurs: Get the chance to network with the best blockchain influencers and present your brand.

For Startups: Showcase your novel products to the panel of investors and increase your chances to get funded.

For Traders: Learn and network with the world’s best traders of blockchain.

For Public Organizations: Learn how government can use the rising blockchain technology and increase operational efficiency.

For Corporates: Know how to leverage blockchains for efficiency gains in MNCs through live sessions and case studies.

For Learners: Ultimate platform to meet blockchain experts and learn the specifics of mining cryptocurrencies.

Exclusive discount codes for DHN readers

The readers of Daily Host News can use the code WSSDRV18 for 18% discount as we are the official media partners for the event. Book your slot now.

Stay tuned to get latest updates from the event.

Note: The event stands cancelled/postponed due to unavoidable circumstances. We regret the inconvenience caused.

Cloud News News Web Security

Lazarus hacking group now attacks crypto currency and global banks

Lazarus Group, the North Korean hacking group responsible for WannaCry ransomware attack last year, is back again with a new campaign targeting crypto currency and financial organizations.

The new campaign, dubbed HaoBao, has been discovered by cybersecurity researchers at McAfee. From April to October 2017, the Lazarus Group posed as Hong-Kong based job recruiters and targeted individuals with malicious emails in English and Korean language. Using these malicious emails, Lazarus accessed the environment of victims, and obtained insights to key programs.

Now, the hacking group is using its phishing-emails-experience to attack bitcoin users and global banks. They send the emails with a Dropbox link attached to them.


This Dropbox link contains malicious payloads, present in the document as encrypted string arrays. When auser click on the link, the payloads are decrypted in memory, written to disk and launched in sequence.

Simply said, if the user clicks the link, a malware is installed on the system which scans the computer for cryptocurrency activity. In case, some activity is detected, it establishes a secondary implant to gather data for long-term.

“The dropped implants have never been seen before in the wild and have not been used in previous Lazarus campaigns from 2017. Furthermore, this campaign deploys a one-time data gathering implant that relies upon downloading a second stage to gain persistence. The implants contain a hardcoded word “haobao” that is used as a switch when executing from the Visual Basic macro,” wrote Ryan Sherstobitoff, McAfee Analyst in a blog post.

The attached documents in the emails had the last author named ‘Windows User’, and it was created using Korean language resources on January 16th. McAfee noted that a few more documents with the same author appeared between January 16 to January 24, 2018.

Also read: India faced over 53,000 cyberattacks in 2017: CERT report

Lazarus has a history of malicious activities and cybercrimes. Along with the WannaCry ransomware attack that crippled banks, hospitals and other business in May last year, Lazarus Group is also said to be involved in hacking Sony Corporation in 2014.


New cryptocurrency-mining bot spreading through Facebook Messenger

A new cryptocurrency-mining bot called Digmine is spreading through Facebook Messenger, according to cybersecurity and defense expert, Trend Micro.

Digmine, coded in Autolt, is sent in the form of a video file, and manipulates the Messenger if the automatic log in is enabled. The attackers then have access to your account and friends’ list, which means they share the video file further to your friends and hack their account as well, and the chain goes on. The more systems they attack, the more cryptocurrency they earn.

First surfaced in South Korea, the Digmine rapidly spread and attacked users in other countries including Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, and Venezuela, and will reach other countries as well.

But the cryptocurrency miner can spread only through the desktop version of Messenger used in Google Chrome. The so-called video file won’t affect the Messenger’s mobile app users.

These cryptocurrency-mining bots are pushed from the C&C (command-and-control) server, which reads its configuration and download several components. The Digmine intends to stay in the system of victims for long to infect the other machines as well.   

Last year, at the time of a similar attack, a spokesperson from Facebook had said, “We maintain a number of automated systems to help stop harmful links and files from appearing on Facebook and in Messenger. If we suspect your computer is infected with malware, we will provide you with a free anti-virus scan from our trusted partners.”

Also read: Hidden cryptocurrency mining malware found in apps and WordPress sites

To protect its users from Digmine, Facebook has shared some tips and links, which can be found at Facebook has advised users not to click on the random links they don’t recognize.


Bitcoin price might hit $60,000 mark in 2018

2017 has been a remarkable year for cryptocurrencies, especially for Bitcoin whose value rallied to a record high above $19,800 during third and fourth week of December.

However, the value of Bitcoin fell down by over a third in just few days last week, sinking to only $11,000, where cryptocurrency market lost around $200 billion.   The current value of Bitcoin is around $16,000, as per Coindesk.

“I think we’re going to see bitcoin hitting the $60,000 mark, but I also think we’re going to see bitcoin hitting the $5,000 mark,” said Julian Hosp, co-founder of fintech company TenX, to CNBC. “The question is though, ‘Which one is it going to hit first?'”

Many cryptocurrency experts and governments have already warned the people investing in Bitcoin, because it can cause a huge loss which the market participants refer to as “bubble bursting”. Moreover, nobody is accountable for Bitcoin, neither there is any central bank behind it. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, called Bitcoin a fraud.

But Julian Hosp, who sees Bitcoin more as digital gold, called the recent lows a perfect opportunity to buy more Bitcoins.

“For experts that have been in the market, this was actually a welcome dip. This dip for us was very, very healthy, and some of us have used it to buy a little bit more because suddenly we had 40-45 percent discount to all-time highs,” he added.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a bubble that’s just going to burst and everyone is going to lose their money, but I think it’s going to be that all the coins and all the assets with very little use or value are going to get sorted out. The money is going to flow into those assets in this cryptocurrency space that really deliver value, have new technology, and are being used by people.”

Also read: Hidden cryptocurrency mining malware found in apps and WordPress sites

According to a report by Fortune, the jobs on LinkedIn related to Bitcoin and blockchain have risen by around 300% after Bitcoin rebounded past $16,000. Bitcoin has attracted a lot of investors to the digital currency, and Bitcoin’s next year price is heavily anticipated.


Ledger partners with Intel to enhance Blockchain apps security 

Ledger, the leading cryptocurrency hardware wallet manufacturing company, recently announced a partnership with the giant technology firm Intel, with an aim to bring greater security to blockchain applications. 

Ledger will integrate its BOLOS (Blockchain Open Ledger Operating System) into Intel SGX (Software Guard Extensions), and this solution will initially be deployed within cryptocurrency software wallets Electrum and MyEtherWallet.  

“We have seen an increasing demand from the market for secure solutions to manage crypto assets over the past couple of years. Following the launch of a line of hardware wallets based on our operating system integrated in a secure chip, working with a leading player like Intel is a unique opportunity to keep providing our growing client base with innovative solutions for cryptocurrency and blockchain applications,” said Eric Larchevêque, CEO, Ledger. 

Intel SGX is a security extension built into Intel processors that secures the applications code and data by storing them in a secure area on the device called Intel SGX enclave. With integration into Ledger’s BOLOS, Intel SGX will now secure private keys and protect the digital assets from software attacks by securing all the sensitive information within the Intel SGX enclave instead of on the application.  

“Intel applauds Ledger’s focus on protecting user privacy and security. In deploying Intel SGX, Ledger security for blockchain solutions gain instant scalability across Intel 8th Generation Core™ Platforms,” commented Rick Echevarria, Vice President, Software and Services Group, Intel.  

The private keys will be generated automatically and all the cryptocurrency transactions will be signed within Intel SGX enclave. For third party developers, Ledger has a Software Development Kit (SDK) to allow them to utilize Intel SGX enclave for their blockchain use cases.  

Also read: Bitcoin records high with rising demand from Japan 

Ledger is maintaining its focus on secure storage and it partnered with well-known security firm Gemalto earlier this month. The company also recently raised $7 million in series A round with an intention to build a new factory in China.  


Microsoft’s new addition to Blockchain-as-a-Service to improve its utility for enterprises

Microsoft recently introduced Enterprise Smart Contracts to make it easier for enterprises to build powerful blockchain applications.

Two years back, the company launched Azure “Blockchain-as-a-Service.” The goal was to give developers an environment to build useful apps using blockchain.

Blockchain is a technology that stores bitcoin or other cryptocurrency transactions and acts as a digital ledger. It interests the banking and finance sectors, who can use it for secure and private transactions.

Since the launch of Blockchain as a service, Microsoft was trying to understand what else customers needed to build applications.

In a blog, Marley Gray, Principal Program Manager, Azure Blockchain Engineering said, “Our customers and partners often say to us – Ok, you’ve made it easy for me to stand up these blockchain networks, but what do I do now?

With Enterprise Smart Contract, Microsoft aims to help enterprises analyze what to build on top of blockchain platform.

Also Read: Microsoft Office adopts blockchain technology through new add-in

The framework provides the tools and infrastructure required to build on the given platform. Through this, enterprises can make use of the existing investment on enterprise development skills.

The Enterprise Smart Contract framework includes four important components. (See the graphic below)

Image Credit: Microsoft

The framework’s ability to execute terms and conditions off-chain is one of the distinguishing feature, per Microsoft.

It gives it improved flexibility, scalability, privacy and an architecture and development environment that is enterprise friendly.

The logics can be kept private within the framework. The results can be encrypted before being posted on the ledger for improved privacy.

The Enterprise Smart Contract will be an added privacy and trust model, above the blockchain platform.

Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft also launched a technical whitepaper for those seeking in-depth information.

The company launched Project Bletchley last year as an additional layer to its Blockchain-as-a-Service.

Microsoft believes that such innovations will help enterprises unlock the power of blockchain-based applications, with the flexibility of cloud.