Friday, February 23, 2018

GDAX Announce Full SegWit Support, Network Fees Continue to Fall


Colorado Department of Transportation, CDOT, Completely Offline After Ransomware Virus


GDAX Announce Full SegWit Support, Network Fees Continue to Fall

GDAX, the trading arm of cryptocurrency brokerage Coinbase, announced today that they will implement full SegWit support for Bitcoin transactions in the coming days. The protocol upgrade aims to make transactions quicker and cheaper for users of BTC.

GDAX Joins Coinbase and Bitfinex

GDAX are the latest of the cryptocurrency industry’s major players to offer support for SegWit. They follow their parent-company Coinbase and Hong Kong-based exchange Bitfinex in rolling out the upgrade. GDAX made the announcement earlier today via their blog:

“We are excited to announce that GDAX now supports Segregated Witness (SegWit) transactions on the Bitcoin network. Over the coming days, full support for SegWit transactions will be rolling out to 100% of our customers. SegWit is a critical step forward in the development of Bitcoin and we are thrilled to support it on GDAX.”

The post went on to explain how the SegWit (or Segregated Witness) upgrade works. Put simply, the transaction data is split using SegWit. This makes it possible to only store necessary transaction data on the blockchain. With transactions requiring less information be included on-chain, more of them can fit into each block. This, in turn, reduces the need for users to increase their transaction fees. Previously, when the blockchain was full, users would be required to use a large fee if they wanted the network to validate their transaction before others also waiting. This forced users to continually increase their fees until they reached the point where some declared the network as “broken“.

Later in GDAX’s post, they state that the address format that they will use will be compatible with all existing BTC addresses. All withdrawals from GDAX will, therefore, be sent using SegWit.

The company are careful to point out that the new format will no longer be the same as Bitcoin Cash (BCH) addresses, however. This means that if BCH is sent to GDAX’s BTC address, the funds will be lost forever. To reduce the likelihood of this occurring, an additional warning will be displayed when making deposits to the exchange. It will read:

“Only send Bitcoin (BTC) to this address.

Sending any other digital asset including Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or Tether will result in permanent loss of funds.”

GDAX go on to state their commitment to providing customers with the latest Bitcoin upgrades. They claim to be currently working on additional scalability improvements to help further reduce fees and increase the network’s capacity. These include “transaction batching and UTXO management.”

Finally, GDAX are appealing to anyone interested in working on scalability protocols such as the Lightning Network to contact them. They are currently hiring staff in New York, London, and San Francisco.

Since the announcement earlier this week that both Coinbase and Bitfinex have also implemented SegWit transactions, transaction fees on the Bitcoin network have fallen to historic lows.

Evidently, SegWit is helping to ease congestion on the Bitcoin network and this in turn is restoring the original cryptocurrency’s usability. As additional companies and wallet providers begin to integrate the upgrade, and more scaling techniques become available, the utility of the Bitcoin network is only set to grow.

The post GDAX Announce Full SegWit Support, Network Fees Continue to Fall appeared first on NewsBTC.

Rick D.

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Colorado Department of Transportation, CDOT, Completely Offline After Ransomware Virus

Employees at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) spent the second day offline today, while security officials — including the FBI — continue to investigate a ransomware virus that hijacked computer files and demanded payment in Bitcoin for their return.

According to Amy Ford, a CDOT spokeswoman, only employee computers running Windows and equipped with McAfee security software were impacted.

“No one is back online. What we’re doing is working offline. All our critical services are still online — cameras, variable message boards, CoTrip, alerts on traffic. They are running on separate systems,” Ford said. “The message I’m sharing [with employees] is CDOT operated for a long time without computers so we’ll use pen and paper.”


The ordeal began on Wednesday morning when CDOT shut down more than 2,000 employee computers and began investigating the attack. The malicious code was a variant of ransomware called SamSam, according to Brandi Simmons of the Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT). Later in the day, in attempts to prevent further damage, McAfee, the security software used by the CDOT computers, provided a software patch to stop the execution of the ransomware.

“This ransomware virus was a variant and the state worked with its antivirus software provider to implement a fix today. The state has robust backup and security tools and has no intention of paying ransomware. Teams will continue to monitor the situation closely and will be working into the night,” said OIT chief technology officer David McCurdy in a statement.

The OIT, which reached out to the FBI for assistance, are still investigating the attack and have not paid a cent to attackers — nor do they plan to according to Simmons:

“No payments have been made or will be made. We are still investigating to see whether or not files were damaged or recovered,” she said in an email.

As noted, the ransomware was a variant of SamSam, which last made headlines in January after targeting the healthcare industry. It encrypted files and renamed them “I’m sorry,” according to a report by security firm TrendMicro. One hospital in Indiana, Hancock Health, paid $55,000 to get its files back. To make things worse, a growing problem is that paying cyber-jackers in itself isn’t always easy— sometimes other hackers hijack the ransom payments before they are received and redirect them into their own cryptocurrency wallets.

These remote hacks are becoming more and more common — just last week Elon Musk’s cloud was hacked. In this case, though, the cyber-attackers didn’t steal information: They used his computer system’s power to mine cryptocurrencies, deeming it more profitable than extracting files and demanding ransom.  

The post Colorado Department of Transportation, CDOT, Completely Offline After Ransomware Virus appeared first on NewsBTC.

Thomas Delahunty