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Popular Crypto Data Sites Targeted With Phishing Attack

Etherscan, CoinGecko, DeFi Pulse and other sites displayed a suspicious pop-up asking users to connect their wallets......»»

Category: forexSource: coindeskMay 13th, 2022

A hacker just stole over $600 million in crypto. Experts explain the historic swindle — and why cyberattacks shouldn"t discourage adoption of digital assets

Experts said the $600 million crypto swindle that hit Axie Infinity's Ronin Network isn't the blockchain's fault but is a cybersecurity failure. Axie Infinity media kit Three experts explain how a hacker stole over $600 million of tokens from Axie Infinity's Ronin Network last month.  They attributed the attack to human error and social engineering rather than any fault in the blockchain technology.  "If consumers aren't protected from things like this, the industry is going to fail." The massive Ronin Network crypto heist shouldn't be a deterrent to widespread crypto adoption, according to experts, who faulted a lack of cybersecurity rather than a flaw in blockchain technology.Ronin is a blockchain protocol linked to Axie Infinity, a popular play-to-earn game with $4 billion in NFT sales that sees over 2.8 million players logging on each day. Ronin said in a Tuesday blog post that the attacker stole roughly $625 million in crypto, draining 173,600 ether and 25.5 million USDC.The heist, which wasn't detected until almost a week after it occurred, is believed to be one of the biggest in the history of crypto and highlights the sector's immense risks."A hack used to mean loss of passwords and usernames, but in the age of crypto it means the loss of life savings," Ari Redbord, head of legal and government affairs at blockchain research firm TRM, told Insider. "Bank robbery at the speed of the internet."Crypto heist exploited key oversightSky Mavis, the developer behind Axie Infinity, built a "side chain" — a secondary blockchain for faster, cheaper transactions — since transactions on the ethereum blockchain are expensive.The side chain had nine so-called validator nodes, which are proof-of-stake tools that confirm transactions. At least five are necessary to approve each transaction. Sky Mavis oversaw five, and Axie Decentralized Autonomous Organization controlled four. Sky Mavis said it discontinued its agreement with the DAO in December but never revoked the permissions it allowed.The hacker took over four of Sky Mavis' validator nodes and one from Axie DAO, enabling access to the crypto and eventually the massive theft. Sky Mavis said it has since replaced all of its validators and is working to reimburse the stolen funds. Max Galka, CEO of crypto forensics firm Elementus, pointed to the lapsed DAO deal as a major oversight, noting that vulnerabilities arise when cryptocurrencies are stored in side chains rather than native blockchains."They never removed what was meant to be a temporary measure. It was an outright error," he told Insider.Social engineeringThe Ronin Network said all evidence suggests the attack was socially engineered, meaning individuals were targeted via emails or phishing and tricked into giving a hacker access. "It was pure human error," Amber Ghaddar, founder of decentralized finance firm AllianceBlock, told Insider, adding that social engineering is one of the most common drivers of cybercrimes. "If consumers aren't protected from things like this, the industry is going to fail," she said.Hackers will keep using social engineering until it stops being effective, but this isn't reason to be skeptical of cryptocurrency as a technology, said Redbord.All three experts agreed that the blame doesn't lie in the blockchain, as it's already an extremely secure mechanism that offers traceable transactions, transparency, and decentralization. "Really what we're seeing is a cybersecurity issue, not a cryptocurrency issue," Redbord said. "The government is calling for crypto regulation, but really what would help is a hardening of cyberdefenses, rather than focusing on crypto." Solutions could include funding for additional intelligence tools as well as more robust and pervasive cybersecurity networks, he said. Ghaddar added that educational outreach for companies and individuals could bolster existing defense systems. "Attacks like this are concerning, but I believe in the promise of crypto," Redbord said. "We need to focus on building out a trust layer in the crypto economy — anti-money laundering infrastructure, compliance controls, cybersecurity — so that people will interact with this new online financial system."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 2nd, 2022

Hackers target bestselling NFT artist Beeple"s Twitter account and make off with $438,000 from followers through a phishing scam

"Stay safe out there," the NFT artist told his followers after the targeted scam. Beeple in 2021 sold one of his NFTs for $69 million. Beeple"Human One" NFT and sculpture Christie's auction cryptoChristie's Hackers targeted NFT artist Beeple's Twitter account to lure followers into a phishing scam.  A security analyst at MetaMask alerted followers on Sunday about the attack.  The scam was took advantage of Beeple's previous work with luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton.  Beeple, the artist who made history by selling one of his non-fungible tokens for $69 million, was targeted on Twitter by hackers who took more than $400,000 from some of his followers. Beeple said in a Sunday post on Twitter he had regained control of his account, confirming the hack in a message to his 673,000 followers. "Stay safe out there, anything too good to be true IS A FUCKING SCAM," wrote Beeple, who caught the attention of the crypto world last year by when his "Everydays: The First 500 Days" NFT sold for $69.3 million at an auction held by Christie's.The message from Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, arrived hours after security analyst Harry Denley at cryptocurrency wallet MetaMask alerted Beeple's followers about the attack. Denley under his harry.eth account on Twitter said Beeple's account had been compromised "to post a phishing website to steal funds." The hackers took advantage of Beeple's collaboration with Louis Vuitton last year under which the artist designed collectible NFTs for a game commemorating the 200th year of the luxury fashion house.Hackers put links in Beeple's account that looked like it was a raffle connected to a Beeple-Vuitton collection. But if clicked, the links siphoned off money from users' crypto wallets.  The "bad actors" through two scams captured $438,000 within about five hours, from followers on Beeple's account, wrote Denley."And as side note," wrote Beeple, "there will never be a SURPRISE MINT I mention one time in one place starting at 6am Sunday morning."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 23rd, 2022

Social Media Companies Vowed To Stop Videos of Terror Attacks. Buffalo Showed They Have More Work To Do

Three years after social media platforms committed to put an end to viral videos of terrorist attacks on their platforms, the attack in Buffalo, New York, has revealed that their efforts are still a work in progress. A self-professed white supremacist targeted Black shoppers at a Buffalo supermarket on Saturday, killing 10 people and injuring… Three years after social media platforms committed to put an end to viral videos of terrorist attacks on their platforms, the attack in Buffalo, New York, has revealed that their efforts are still a work in progress. A self-professed white supremacist targeted Black shoppers at a Buffalo supermarket on Saturday, killing 10 people and injuring three others, in what authorities said was a racist attack. He livestreamed his rampage via Twitch, a streaming platform owned by Amazon. Twitch said it took down the broadcast within two minutes of the violence starting—but that was enough time for copies of the video to be downloaded and shared widely on social media platforms over the weekend. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Many versions of these videos had been edited—with added text or blurring or cropping—in apparent successful attempts to evade the platforms’ automated removal systems, according to Jacob Berntsson, the head of policy and research at Tech Against Terrorism, a U.N.-backed project for countering online extremism. Copies of the video were circulating on Twitter and Facebook on Saturday and Sunday, according to multiple media reports. “He knew that as long as there was time for people to watch and download, then this would spread [online] regardless of how quickly Twitch took it down,” said Berntsson in an interview on Monday, referring to the attacker. “Clearly an audience was ready and prepared to download this kind of stuff.” The Buffalo shooter had openly shared his plans to target people of color in a livestreamed mass shooting for months on the chat app Discord, according to Bloomberg. He used the app to point people toward his livestream on Twitch, the report said. Discord did not respond to a request for comment. Inspired by previous attacks Live-streamed attacks by white supremacists are a potent radicalization tool for future extremists, and platforms have struggled to remove edited copies of the videos of past attacks. In March 2019, a white supremacist gunman in New Zealand massacred 51 people at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, livestreamed on Facebook. Months later, a man with a camera on his helmet attacked a synagogue in Halle, Germany, killing two and injuring two others, livestreamed on Twitch. Videos of both attacks were shared widely on social media platforms, prompting a game of whack-a-mole between tech companies and users. Read More: ‘A Game of Whack-a-Mole.’ Why Facebook and Others Are Struggling to Delete Footage of the New Zealand Shooting The Buffalo shooter was directly radicalized by those videos. In a manifesto posted online shortly before the attack, seen by TIME, the Buffalo shooter said that he was inspired by the Christchurch attacker’s politics, and that he decided to live stream his own attack in order to inspire others. He also said he chose to stream on Twitch because it had taken the platform 35 minutes to remove the livestream of the Halle attack. Compared to the Halle attack, the two minutes that it took Twitch to remove the video of the Buffalo attack speaks to the progress tech companies have made since 2019. “That’s a very strong response time considering the challenges of live content moderation, and shows good progress,” Twitch said in a statement to TIME on Monday, adding that it was working hard to stop copies of the video being uploaded. Facebook’s parent company, Meta, and Twitter said that they had designated the videos under their violence and extremism policies shortly after the shooting, and were removing copies of it from their platforms, as well as blocking links to external sites where it was hosted. Read More: ‘There’s No Such Thing As a Lone Wolf.’ The Online Movement That Spawned the Buffalo Shooting Still, despite their progress, tech companies’ work so far has not been enough to stop the spread of these videos—either before they occur, during the livestream, or in the places where copies of the video are being reuploaded. “I’ll blame the platforms when we see other shooters inspired by this shooter,” says Dia Kayyali, the associate director for advocacy at digital rights group Mnemonic. “Once something is out there, it’s out there. That’s why the immediate response has to be very strong.” How platforms are cooperating to stop terrorist content The biggest platforms are now collaborating far more closely than they were at the time of other livestreamed terror attacks. In the immediate wake of the New Zealand attack, many of the world’s biggest social media platforms signed onto the “Christchurch Call,” a commitment to stamp out the spread of terrorist content online. Through an industry group, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), the platforms are sharing identifying data about the Buffalo shooter’s video and manifesto between them in order to make it easier to remove from their sites. Through GIFCT, platforms share encoded versions of of terrorist content, known as hashes, that they have removed from their sites, allowing, for example, Facebook to quickly and easily remove a copy of a terrorist video that had only appeared on Twitter up to that point. Hashing is an efficient way of representing a video, photograph or other document as a string of numbers, instead of sharing the file itself. It is impossible to recreate a piece of content from its hash code, but identical content will always return the same hash code if run through the same hashing algorithm. If the hash code of a new piece of content is matched to an entry in a hash database of known illegal content, the tech companies can remove the content even if their own staff have never come across it before. This makes hashing a good way for different platforms to share information about illegal content, such as terrorist propaganda or child abuse imagery, without having to distribute these files among themselves. Members include Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Twitter and Discord. The problem with hashing, however, is that a bad actor only needs to alter the file a small amount—for example by changing its color profile, or cropping the picture—to return a totally different hash code, and thus evade the platforms’ automated removal mechanisms. So, three years after the Christchurch attack, the only tool required to fool the platforms’ automated systems for removing terrorist content is basic video editing software, plus some persistence. This is known as “adversarial” behavior and makes the problem of scrubbing terrorist content from the internet far more difficult, according to Kayyali and Berntsson. Read More: These Tech Companies Managed to Eradicate ISIS Content. But They’re Also Erasing Crucial Evidence of War Crimes While hashing’s shortcomings are not the root cause of the problem, some counterterrorism experts say they are one of the core weaknesses in the platforms’ current joint approach to terrorist content. “The patchy response from various platforms that are [members] of the hash-sharing database arguably suggests that improvements can be made,” Berntsson says. “Platforms should be able to handle this, but it still speaks to the fact that there are groups of people who are quite committed to circumventing the moderation tools that are in place.” In a statement, a Meta spokesperson said that hash-sharing is only a small part of the company’s approach to dealing with the Buffalo video. The company has teams of human moderators looking for copies that have slipped through, and has also uploaded copies of the video and manifesto to its own internal databases. The company says it uses machine learning tools to catch lookalike copies of videos in the database even if they have been altered—although it’s clear from the video’s proliferation that these tools are not 100% accurate. But beyond hash sharing, the gains made by Meta’s computational resources and workforce will only help remove copies of the video from Meta’s own platforms, not other social media sites like Twitter, Twitch or TikTok. This means many companies are duplicating the work needed to identify and take down altered copies of the videos, at a time when human bandwidth is often the bottleneck in terms of enforcement against terrorist content. A GIFCT spokesperson told TIME on Monday that the group was exploring ways other than hashing of sharing information about terrorist content between platforms, but said that those explorations had not progressed past their earliest stages. Some in the sector have lost patience with the platforms. “I’m sure there’s issues with people remixing content and only posting a clip of it, and all of the tricks that we know to try to evade automatic detection,” says Kayyali, who sits on civil-society advisory boards for both the Christchurch Call and GIFCT. “But still, I want to hear exactly the technical explanation from GIFCT about how it was possible that hours after [they shared hashes of the video among the platforms] the video was still out there.” A wider problem Even if big tech platforms could scrub terrorist content entirely, it still flourishes on smaller platforms. As the shooter’s open planning on Discord showed, many of the people circulating the video are likely collaborating through private messaging channels and smaller social networks. Only 22 people watched the Buffalo attacker’s Twitch stream in real time, according to the Washington Post. But this was all it took for some of them—presumably directed to the stream by the attacker himself on Discord—to download and spread the video far and wide. Most experts say that in addition to the big platforms, governments and the media also have a role to play. Under current U.S. law, domestic terrorists are not designated as terrorists in the same way that, for example, Islamist extremists are. This means platforms don’t have the legal certainty that they do when dealing with content from Al Qaeda and ISIS, which they have largely succeeded in scrubbing from their platforms. “Designation can help provide some more legal certainty and clarity for companies,” says Berntsson. His organization Tech Against Terrorism has its own tool similar to GIFCT for alerting platforms to terrorist content. And while the shooter said in his manifesto that he had been radicalized by the video circulating online of the Christchurch attack, racist conspiracy theories have entered into the political mainstream via other channels, including cable television. The Buffalo shooter spoke in his manifesto about his belief that white people were being intentionally replaced in the U.S. by people of other races—a conspiracy theory that has recently been picked up, and amplified, by the Fox TV show host Tucker Carlson and Republican politicians. “It doesn’t start when this individual presses ‘stream’ on Twitch,” says Berntsson. “It starts long before.” – WITH REPORTING BY VERA BERGENGRUEN/WASHINGTON, D.C......»»

Category: topSource: timeMay 17th, 2022

Proton’s CEO Wanted to Fight Dictatorships. Now He’s Fighting Big Tech Too

Andy Yen stands at a panoramic window in his headquarters in Switzerland, surveying what on a clearer day would be a beautiful view. Ahead on the horizon, the Alps are shrouded in gray rain clouds. So Yen points down instead, at Proton’s neighbors in this nondescript business park near Geneva: several wristwatch companies and a… Andy Yen stands at a panoramic window in his headquarters in Switzerland, surveying what on a clearer day would be a beautiful view. Ahead on the horizon, the Alps are shrouded in gray rain clouds. So Yen points down instead, at Proton’s neighbors in this nondescript business park near Geneva: several wristwatch companies and a dairy factory. “The surroundings are very Swiss,” he says with a laugh. “It’s a weird location for a tech company. But we have our reasons.” Among Geneva’s benefits: strict privacy laws, and proximity to the world’s largest particle physics lab, out of which Yen hires much of his company Proton Technologies’ top talent. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Proton has quietly risen to become one of the most vital tech companies for people who need to communicate without government surveillance, such as political dissidents and journalists. Its most well-known offerings are ProtonMail, its encrypted email service, and ProtonVPN, its virtual-private-network. Originally founded to erode the power of oppressive dictatorships, Proton’s tools are now used widely around the world, including in Ukraine and Russia as the current war rages. Proton’s products are end-to-end encrypted, meaning that in transit and in storage on Proton’s servers, users’ data are scrambled so that—with mathematical certainty—they can only be decoded by the intended recipients. The team at Proton could not read the messages even if they wanted to. Neither can state authorities. It’s the same technology that banks use to make sure your credit card details can’t be stolen while you’re shopping online, and the way that encrypted instant messaging apps like Signal and WhatsApp ensure the contents of your texts remain private. Read More: How Signal Became the Private Messaging App for an Age of Fear and Distrust Proton’s offering is also proving important for Russians seeking to evade the Kremlin’s web censorship. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, ProtonVPN has become one of the most popular tools for internet users to access blocked independent news sites and social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The app is currently the third-most popular iOS VPN in Russia, according to data shared with TIME by the analysis firm data.ai, which also shows that the app was downloaded 1.1 million times during March 2022. “It has been one of the most popular VPN services with our Russian users since the invasion,” says Simon Migliano, the head of research at the VPN comparison site Top10VPN. “It’s also among the most popular globally over the same period.” Pushing for privacy Proton offers versions of all of its apps for free, but provides extra features to users who pay a fee equivalent to several dollars per month. As a result, the company has found a path to profitability that doesn’t require surveilling users for ad dollars. “Our model is different,” Yen says. “We’re serving users and not advertisers.” The model appears to be working. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Proton counted around 100 staff around the world. Today it has more than 400, a number predicted to double in the next two years. Yen gestures to a wall in Proton’s headquarters that he says will soon be knocked down to accommodate new employees in the neighboring space. In the last year, Proton has also launched two major new products intended to compete with Big Tech: Proton Drive and Proton Calendar, two apps that are end-to-end encrypted, unlike the equivalent tools offered by Apple and Google. (Apple and Google both say they encrypt users’ mail data in transit, and their calendar and drive data both in transit and in storage. But the companies retain the ability to decrypt and process the data themselves, meaning the data is not encrypted from “end-to-end,” like Proton’s services are.) Yen says Proton’s new calendar and drive apps are part of a concerted push to build a privacy-focused “ecosystem” to rival the less private offerings from the Big Tech companies, many of whom profit from mining the personal data of users to sell targeted ads. Yen believes that if users had more privacy-protecting alternatives, they’d use them. “One of the reasons privacy doesn’t really exist online today is because there’s no competition,” Yen says. “For a long time, people looked at antitrust and privacy as separate issues. What is becoming more and more clear, is that these are actually one issue.” Read more: Democracy Can Still End Big Tech’s Dominance Over Our Lives As a result, Proton has become an increasingly vocal player in Washington, D.C., where some lawmakers want to rein in Big Tech. Earlier this month, Proton publicly lent its support to two draft antitrust bills in the U.S. Congress, which if passed would prevent Apple and Google from preferencing their own services (such as Google Drive or iCloud) on the phone operating systems that they own—or from taking cuts of payments made through their app stores. “By making it easier for companies like Proton to compete on a level playing field, Google will have to respond and provide more privacy in order to stay competitive,” Yen says. Apple spokesperson Hannah Smith declined to comment on the record, and Google did not respond to a request for comment. Both companies have previously rejected the argument that their app store rules are bad for competition and have said the antitrust bills would harm user privacy and security. “For many years,” Yen says, “the accepted common knowledge was that the only way to make money online was to adopt Google’s model—that surveillance capitalism was the way to go if you wanted a profitable and sustainable and scalable business. We have proven that there is another path.” Changing course Yen never set out to run a tech company. He grew up in Taiwan, obtained a PhD in particle physics from Harvard, then came to Switzerland to take a job at CERN—the nuclear research facility where a young computer scientist named Tim Berners-Lee had first sketched out a prototype for the World Wide Web in 1989. Yen always thought he’d be a physicist for life, but his background has influenced his views about internet freedom. He says that the experience of watching Beijing exert greater control over Hong Kong, Taiwan’s neighbor, revealed to him that privacy could quickly disappear in the face of authoritarian regimes. “Being from Taiwan, that does inform your worldview and your opinion,” he says. “ The reason I created Proton, and the reason that I’m very deeply committed to our mission, is because there is a direct link between what we do and what I see as ensuring that democracy and freedom can survive in the 21st century.” In 2013 Yen was knocked off his course as a particle physicist, down the path to becoming a tech CEO. That summer, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) was routinely surveilling the internet activity of millions of people around the world, aided by compliant technology companies. To Yen, it was apparent that “the internet had moved in a very different direction from what the founding principles were when it was created at CERN,” he says. “Today, what we think of as the free and open internet is controlled by a small number of governments and an even smaller number of tech giants that really dominate and control every aspect of our lives. The motivation for creating Proton was that there had to be a different way for technology and the internet to evolve.” Yen references an obscure maxim from particle physics, perturbation theory, to explain his career trajectory. It is a method used for finding an approximate solution to a large, complex problem by first finding the exact answer to a related—but simpler—problem. In Yen’s view, the overarching problem laid bare by Snowden’s revelations was the lack of privacy-focused communications technologies that would make wholesale surveillance impossible. To arrive at an approximate solution to that problem, fixing email would be a simpler first step than stopping online surveillance altogether. The level of public enthusiasm took him and his nascent company by surprise. Within days of its launch in 2014, ProtonMail’s servers crashed due to unprecedented user demand. The company turned to a crowdfunding site, asking users for $100,000 to cover the costs of new infrastructure. Five days later, users had pledged double that number, and in the end the fundraiser collected some $550,000 from more than 10,000 supporters. Yen says the initial funding has helped Proton avoid giving control of the company away to external investors. Instead, he says, shares in the company are distributed almost entirely among employees. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, however. Last year, ProtonMail was hit with a round of bad press after it handed over data about one of its users to French police, in response to a legal request. Police investigating a group of climate activists in Paris had sought information about the identity of a person behind a specific ProtonMail address linked to the illegal occupation of a property. Swiss authorities approved the request, meaning Proton was forced to begin logging, and then hand over, the user’s IP address. It gave the police enough evidence to arrest the activist. ProtonMail users were outraged, with some questioning why a service committed to privacy would comply with such a request. Yen’s answer at the time was that, although he had chosen to base Proton in Switzerland due to the country’s strict privacy protections, the company still had to comply with Swiss law. And while generally protective of an individual’s privacy, the law does not guarantee it in all cases. Looking back several months later, Yen says that despite all the bad press, in some ways the case helped Proton to demonstrate just how little data it holds on its users. “This case very clearly demonstrated that Proton’s encryption cannot be bypassed—there was no way in which we could hand over the encrypted messages,” he says, noting that the only data the company had access to was the user’s IP address. With a smile, he confirms that Proton would not have been capable of even providing authorities with that, had the user been masking it with a VPN. A work in progress There’s no denying that today, Proton’s email, file-sharing and calendar services lack the bells and whistles of the alternatives by Apple and Google. Yen says that a key avenue of current work for Proton is making its existing services, which are available through app stores, more convenient. “If you ask anybody, ‘Do you want more privacy and security?’ the answer is never ‘No,’” he says.“The lower that [convenience] barrier goes, the more people are going to make the jump.” It’s a work in progress, just like the antitrust bills that Proton has lent its support to, which appear unlikely to make it into law any time soon due to inertia in Congress. But the company’s strategy has already paid an unexpected dividend. Today, many of Proton’s newest employees are arriving from the Big Tech companies themselves, determined to work toward a different vision of the internet, Yen says. “At the end of the day, employees face a choice,” he says. “Do you want to spend the rest of your life furthering the selling of advertisements, or would you like to work on something that is essential for defending democracy in the twenty-first century?”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeMay 12th, 2022

The US won"t give Ukraine intel that would help it kill Russia"s most senior commanders over fears it could provoke a wider war, report says

Intel that could help Ukraine go after Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia's general staff, or Sergey Shoigu, Russia's defense minister, is off limits. Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by the Ukrainian forces on the side of a road in Luhansk region on February 26, 2022.ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images US officials told the Washington Post there are limits on what intelligence can be shared with Ukraine.  Intel allowing top Russian commanders and ministers to be targeted is off limits, they said. US officials are wary that oversharing intelligence could lead to a wider confrontation with Russia.  US intelligence agencies are not providing Ukraine with information that would enable its forces to assassinate Russia's most senior commanders and ministers or attack Russia itself, officials told The Washington Post.The officials told the publication about guidelines over what kind of intelligence can be shared with Ukraine, with two key forms of information sharing prohibited. Firstly, the US will not share information that could be used to assassinate Russia's most senior military officials or government officials, including Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia's general staff, or Sergey Shoigu, Russia's defense minister, the US officials said.The second form of banned intelligence sharing is anything that would enable Ukraine to attack targets in Russia itself. According to the officials, it is this rule that led the US in March to withdraw support from plans for Poland to supply Ukraine with more fighter jets. The claims come after a series of fires and explosions at sensitive fuel storage depots and other sites throughout Russia, and speculation that these incidents may be part of a sabotage campaign in Russia by Ukraine.The intelligence sharing ban does not extend to all Russian military officers, according to the report, with several Russian generals having been killed by Ukraine in targeted assassinations. However, the official said specific location data is not being shared. In remarks to the Post, one defense official pushed back against a New York Times report claiming that US intelligence had enabled Ukraine to kill the generals, saying that is US is not "actively helping them kill generals of any kind."According to the report, there are concerns that if the US is seen to be directly targeting Russia or its top commanders it could provoke a retaliation from the Kremlin and cause a wider conflict.The report follows controversy over briefings given by US officials to publications including the Post and Times claiming that US intelligence had been used by Ukraine to assassinate Russian generals, and in the sinking of Russia's Black Sea flagship the Moskva.President Joe Biden was reportedly furious about the leaks, and made calls to officials including CIA chief William Burns to warn that they risked undermining US operations in Ukraine. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 12th, 2022

Coinbase Is The Most Popular Crypto Trading Site  

Coinbase is the most popular crypto trading site, receiving 6,655,000 monthly searches worldwide Kraken is the second most popular trading site with 1,780,000 searches per month Gemini narrowly misses out on second place with 1,730,000 monthly searches Coinbase Is The Most Googled Trading Site Worldwide New research has revealed that Coinbase is the most Googled trading site […] Coinbase is the most popular crypto trading site, receiving 6,655,000 monthly searches worldwide Kraken is the second most popular trading site with 1,780,000 searches per month Gemini narrowly misses out on second place with 1,730,000 monthly searches Coinbase Is The Most Googled Trading Site Worldwide New research has revealed that Coinbase is the most Googled trading site worldwide, for cryptocurrency. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The study by AskGamblers has found that Coinbase receives the most Google searches per month at 6,655,000 nearly four times the second most popular trading site. Coinbase has more than 73 million verified users and is available in more than 100 countries; the most common cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin are available here. Kraken is the second most searched for Crypto trading site at 1,780,000 average Google searches per month. It is one of the largest and oldest Bitcoin exchanges in the world and has more than 6 million clients. Gemini places third in the rankings with 1,730,000 searches per month. Gemini offers more than 50 cryptocurrencies and as well 21 crypto trading pairs. Etoro places fourth with 1,710,000 average searches per month, globally. Gemini offers more than 50 cryptocurrencies and as well 21 crypto trading pairs. Robinhood comes in fifth in the rankings with 1,680,000 average searches per month. Robinhood currently offers seven cryptocurrencies, available to buy and sell. It is a well-established stock market site that is now venturing into the Crypto market. Blockchain comes in sixth place with 1,620,000 Google searches per month. The seventh most popular Cryptocurrency trading site is Wazirx as it sees 1,210,000 searches for it per month, double the amount seen in January, and has over 7.3million users. Kucoin receives 991,000 Google searches per month, placing this trading site as the eighth most popular. In ninth place is Binance tr with 866,000 searches per month. It offers more than 500 cryptocurrencies for crypto-to-crypto trading. In tenth place is Indodax with 701,000 searches per month. It is an Indonesian cryptocurrency exchange with over 2 million users. The top ten Crypto trading sites receive a combined 18,938,000 searches per month, each site having an average of above half a million searches. A spokesperson for AskGamblers commented on the findings: “The popularity of cryptocurrency trading has exploded and as of March 2022, there are 18,000 types of cryptocurrencies, up 10,000 from January. Some of these cryptos have low trading volume whilst others are skyrocketing in popularity. Coinbase has seen a breakout in interest in 2021 and it could have potential for exponential growth in the future. The figures shown in this research are phenomenal numbers and truly represent the global interest in cryptocurrencies and how to trade.” The Top 10 Most Popular Trading Sites  Coinbase 6,650,000 Kraken 1,780,000 Gemini 1,730,000 Etoro 1,710,000 Robinhood 1,680,000 Blockchain 1,620,000 Wazirx 1,210,000 Kucoin 991,000 Binance tr 866,000 Indodax 701,000 Updated on Apr 28, 2022, 11:07 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkApr 28th, 2022

Want Free Money? 15 Sign-Up Bonuses You Can’t Ignore

A signing bonus, once only available to professional athletes and corporate executives, is now available to everyone, notes Bloomberg. Truck drivers, trash collectors, warehouse workers, and other in-demand workers are being paid thousands of dollars upfront by giants like Amazon during this incredibly challenging labor market. But, did you know that this recruiting tactic has […] A signing bonus, once only available to professional athletes and corporate executives, is now available to everyone, notes Bloomberg. Truck drivers, trash collectors, warehouse workers, and other in-demand workers are being paid thousands of dollars upfront by giants like Amazon during this incredibly challenging labor market. But, did you know that this recruiting tactic has a long, rich history dating back to Ancient Rome? While signing bonuses have changed considerably over the years, it’s still an effective strategy. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more In fact, this concept works so well that companies are offering the average person, like me and you, sign-up bonuses to become a customer. In other words, you don’t have to be an elite athlete or corporate bigwig to receive a hefty financial incentive to join an organization. Instead, you can simply sign up for an app or service to snag some of that free cash. At the same time, with so many businesses enticing you to become sign up for their services, it can be overwhelming. And, in some cases, the incentive really isn’t worth downloading another app or joining a new service. But, the following sign-up bonus can pay handsomely. With that in mind, here are some of the most generous sign-up bonuses currently available. Bank Sign Up Bonuses I remember my grandparents telling me that back in the day, banks would give away toasters and other gadgets like radios to attract new customers. I also recall more recently when banks would offer iPods — you know that thing that played music before the iPhone. Nowadays? Banks are extending solid financial incentives to open up a new checking or saving account with them. How solid? Well, you’re looking at the $200 to $300 ballpark. However, promotions frequently change so this might fluctuate. As of this writing, here are the best bank account bonuses according to Bankrate. 1. Citi Priority (Up to $1,500) Customers who open new checking accounts by July 17 can receive a substantial cash bonus of up to $1,500 from Citibank. You must deposit funds within 20 days after opening an account in order to be eligible for the bonus. The bonus will be calculated based on the balance in your account on the 20th day. Depositing between $15,000 and $4999 and maintaining a minimum balance can earn you $300 You can earn $700 by keeping your minimum balance between $50,000-$199,999 Keeping a minimum balance of $200,000 or more, and making a deposit of at least that amount, will earn you $1,500 There are a few other important details about this offer; The offer is not available to customers who closed their Citibank checking accounts within the last 180 days. Offers may not be available in your area. You must enroll on Citibank’s website, which contains details about the offer. If you wish to qualify for a bonus, you must maintain a balance of $15,000 for 60 days after the 20th day of opening your account. You have until July 17 to take advantage of this offer. A checking account must be opened by July 17 if it was opened before Jan. 5. 2. BMO Harris (Up to $350) BMO Harris offers $25 to $350 bonuses to new consumers who open either Smart Money Accounts, Smart Advantage Accounts, or Premier Accounts. Here’s the fine print; To qualify for the $200 bonus, you must make at least $4,000 in direct deposits within 90 days with both the Smart Money and Smart Advantage accounts. The Premier Account comes with a $350 welcome bonus, as long as $7,500 is deposited within 90 days of signing up. Employers, pensioners, and Social Security recipients are eligible to receive direct deposits. Further details are as follows: There is only one bonus per customer. You must open the account between Feb. 1 and June 3. For either bonus, you will need a promo code, which you can find on the BMO Harris website. And, speaking of BMO Harris, you also might want to check them if you’re looking for a new savings account. By depositing $200 each month in a new Savings Builder account for a year, new customers earn up to $5 a month ($60 a year). 3. M&T Bank (Up to $250) If you open a personal checking account with M&T Bank by May 31, you can earn up to $250. What’s the catch? To qualify for the bonus, at least $500 must be deposited into the checking account within 90 days of the account opening. Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses Arguably, the most well-known sign-up bonuses are associated with credit card companies. In addition to the bonus, using a credit card reasonably can boost your credit score. The downside, of course, is high APRs. Moreover, there are generally two types of credit card sign-up bonuses; Points and miles are often awarded as travel rewards on travel cards. The value of a mile will depend on the program, but it’s roughly equal to 1 cent. Cashback bonuses are also offered by many credit cards. Through gift cards, you can get cashback much faster than anticipated. But, with so many credit card promotions out there, which credit card sign-up bonuses are the cream of the crop? Well, here are three that deserve serious consideration. 4. Citi Premier Card (60,000 bonus points) “The best credit card sign-up bonus is the Citi Premier® Card’s offer of 60,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening,” writes John Kiernan, Credit Card Editor for WalletHub. “That bonus is worth $600 in gift cards at thankyou.com. Citi Premier also gives 1 – 3 points per $1 spent on purchases. This card has a $95 annual fee.” Here are the additional details you should know; You will earn 60,000 ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of opening your account Spend $1 at a restaurant, supermarket, gas station, hotel, or air travel and earn 3 points Annual Hotel Savings Benefit You can redeem 60,000 points for $600 in gift cards when you redeem them at thankyou.com This card has no expiration date and no restrictions on how many points can be earned However, there are some drawbacks to be aware of as well. For starters, there’s a $95 annual fee. Also, the regular APR is high at between 16.24% – and 24.24% (V). And, there are no 0% intro rates. 5. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (60,000 bonus points) You can get 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months when you apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Additionally, there is a 2x reward rate for dining and travel; a 1x reward rate for everything else. The offer is timely as we are entering the upcoming summer travel season. What’s more, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are extremely valuable because you can use them in a variety of ways. For instance, you can convert these points into cash, gift cards, or get a bonus for booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. But, I’m not big on the annual $95 fee. 6. Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card (40,000 Rapid Reward points) Do you frequently fly Southwest Airlines? Then you are eligible for one of the best signup bonuses. With a $1,000 spending requirement in the first three months, you can earn 40,000 Rapid Rewards points. The total could be more than $600 in airfare (assuming points are valued at around 1.66 cents each). In addition, you can earn 2x points on Southwest Airlines purchases and 1x points on all other purchases. On top of that, you’ll get 3,000 points when you reach Cardmember status. Southwest does offer some great benefits, but it does charge an annual fee of $69 for its membership. Rewards Site Sign Up Bonuses Rewards sites pay you for the things you already do on the Internet. For instance, you can watch videos, read emails, and take surveys. You will also often find that many companies will offer you something extra just for signing up with them. To be completely honest, though, these sign-up bonuses are nothing to brag about. Moreover, the time spent taking surveys, as an example, may not be worth your time. Regardless, free money is free money. 7. Acorns w/ Swagbucks Hack ($50) Users who link their bank accounts to Acorns receive a $5 sign-up bonus when they sign up. However, Acorns’ best feature is the ability to automatically invest spare change. Acorns will automate the deposits when your spare change reaches $5 (for example, if you spend $4.25 at Starbucks, 75 cents will be deposited). Not bad if you want to automate your savings. Before signing up with Acorns, though, you should first sign up with Swagbucks, suggests R.J. Weiss, CFP. You can search for Acorns in the search bar once you’re signed up. For signing up through their site, you’ll get 5,000 SBs (the site’s reward points). At 1 cent each, this is a quick trick you can use to make $50 in a minute or two. Within seven days, Swagbucks gift cards can be redeemed for PayPal gift cards. 8. Rakuten ($30 sign-up bonus/referral offer) Originally known as eBates when founded in 1998, Rajakuten gives rebates on online purchases. It’s often considered the best cashback site and this little bonus might tempt you to jump on board. If you sign up for a new Rakuten account and make at least $30 in purchases within the first 90 days, you’ll get a $30 bonus. In addition, you receive a $30 bonus credit via your referral link for each person who signs up for a Rakuten account using that link and spends $30 or more within the first 90 days of joining. For joining and spending the required amount, your referrals will also receive a bonus. Even better, there’s no limit on how many referrals you can earn. 9. Ibotta ($20 sign-up bonus) With Ibotta, you get cashback rewards every time you make a purchase. By buying groceries, shopping online, eating out, and more, you can earn money. But, when you’ll also land a $20 bonus when you redeem featured offers on the app after signing up. But, I’ve got another tip for you. If you do a little digging, you might be able to find referral links from Ibotta partners. These codes can get you an additional ten bucks for signing up. Stock Brokerage Sign Bonuses In today’s world, a variety of apps allow free commission-free trading with additional perks to make investing enjoyable and accessible. Sign-up bonuses are also available with these apps to encourage you to start investing. 10. Ally Invest (up to $3,500) Investors of varying levels of experience can invest their money on Ally Invest’s website. Better yet, opening a new account with them and making a qualifying deposit will earn you a bonus of up to $3,500. You will receive a bonus based on the deposit amount you make. Specifically, you will receive: $50 bonus: Deposit between $10,000 and $24,999 $200 bonus: Deposit between $25,000 and $99,999 $300 bonus: Deposit between $100,000 and $249,999 $600 bonus: Deposit between $250,000 and $499,999 $1,200 bonus: Deposit between $500,000 and $999,999 $2,500 bonus: Deposit between $1,000,000 and $1,999,999 $3,500 bonus: Deposit $2,000,000 or more Ally Invest will review your account 60 days after you open the account in order to determine whether you are eligible for the bonus. Within ten business days of reviewing your account, you will receive the bonus. As a final point, Ally Investments does not charge a minimum balance, does not charge maintenance fees, and does not charge commissions on trading stocks, ETFs, and options. They will also reimburse you the ACAT fee whereas other brokerages will charge you $150 for this. 11. Webull (free stock worth up to $1,400) Webull is a relatively new stock trading platform that is available on IOS and Google Play. This platform enables users to trade in all stocks in one place. What’s more, there are no deposit or platform fees. And, Webull doesn’t charge commissions. After signing up and making an initial deposit of $100 or more within 30 days, the free stock you get from the promotion will be randomly selected. Webull states the value of these stocks is between $8-$1000. It’s more likely to get a cheaper stock than a more expensive one. Specifically, you have a 1:1.02 chance of getting a stock worth between $5 and $10. A share worth $300 to $1,000 would have a 1:10,00 chance of being worth that much. Fortunately, free stock can increase in value. 12. Robinhood (free stock worth up to $250) With Robinhood, you can invest in stocks, funds, options, and crypto without paying a commission. If you don’t have a lot to invest, you can buy fractional shares to build a more balanced investment portfolio. When you sign-up, you’ll be the recipient of free stock. How much? Well, Robinhood states, that the “shares of free stock are chosen randomly from our inventory of settled shares. Because the shares are chosen randomly, you may not receive the same stock as others.” “The value of the share at the time of purchase may be anywhere between $3 and $225, and fluctuates based on market movements. We choose companies based on the price of each share, from the most popular and highest total value (market capitalization) companies on Robinhood. Keep in mind there is an approximately 98% chance of the stock bonus having a value of $2.50-$10.00.” You can also invite friends to Robinhood so that you can maximize the promotion. Your eligibility for free stock can increase to $500 per calendar year when you do this. You must claim free stock within 60 days after receiving it. For your information, any free stock received will appear in the 1099-Misc as Other Income. The difference will be reported as a capital gain if you sell the stock for a profit. In the event of a loss, you will report it under Capital Losses. Other Sign Up Bonuses 13. Lyft (new driver bonus up to $2,000) Looking for a side hustle? Then the flexibility of ride-sharing might be the ticket. To incentivize you, however, Lyft is offering a promotion where you’ll get a lucrative new driver bonus of up to $2,000. There is a catch though. You have to complete 170 rides within your first 30 days. 14. BlockFi ($250 in Bitcoin) Wanted to get into the crypto game? Then you might want to consider opening a BlockFi cryptocurrency wallet. I know that they’ve had some trouble as of late. But, if you do, you’ll get up to $250 in Bitcoin. 15. Verde Energy ( $150 in prepaid cards for signing up) The company offers green energy with no deposit fees, cancellation fees, or long-term contracts. As part of their signup bonus, they are also offering a $150 bonus – $100 when you switch to their energy plan, and $50 when you sign up for their Natural Gas plan. Within one month, you’ll receive half of the rebate and after six months, you’ll receive the other half. VerdeEnergyUSA expects you to remain with them for more than six months in order to receive the full amount. A form is available on their website that you need to download and complete. Your VerdeEnergyUSA bill needs to be included with this form. After six months, you will need to repeat this process to receive the second half of the sign-up bonus. After four to six weeks, a prepaid card is mailed to the record holder of the account. Honorable mention: SoFi SoFi can best be described as your one-stop for your finances. The reason? The app literally offers everything we need. This includes checking, savings, credit cards, personal loans, investing, and student loan refinancing. To entice you to switch over, SoFi has some juicy promotions that rotate throughout the year. Currently, you could get up to $610. For example, you’ll get $300 if you open a checking or savings account, as well as $100 for student loan refinancing, trading crypto, and opening a line of credit. Frequently Asked Questions About Sign-Up Bonuses What is a sign-up bonus? Most likely you have come across an advertisement for a credit card welcome bonus on a website or in mail offers. The language promises “bonus points” or a certain amount of cashback when you sign up for a credit card and use it. Sign-up bonuses, which are also known as welcome bonuses, are meant to entice you into applying for and using a credit card immediately. While often associated with credit cards, other companies including banks, brokerage firms, energy companies, and cash back apps offer sign-up bonuses. How do sign-up bonuses work? Most of the best companies offer attractive bonuses that can return hundreds of dollars to your wallet, but you need to spend money to receive them. This has the advantage of making the bonuses you receive non-taxable income when you do your taxes since they were earned through spending money. Rebates are not considered income, but bonuses are. Welcome bonuses come with both a minimum spend and a time requirement, in addition to a minimum spend. Most credit cards, for example, require a minimum of $500 to $5,000 in spending within the first three months after the account is opened (or within 90 days). Your card issuer determines how quickly your points or miles post to your account after meeting the minimum spending requirement to earn a welcome bonus. How much money can I make from sign-up bonuses? You will have a limit on how much you can earn from each promotion, but technically, you can sign up for as many promotions as you like. Generally, sign-up bonus promotions have spending requirements that you must meet. As such, it’s possible that you cannot sign up for all promotions due to the spending requirements. In addition to making money from bonuses, you can also save money on things like traveling. With many new credit cards, sign-up bonuses include travel rewards or travel credit, which means you do not have to spend any of your own money on airfare or hotels. Can I exchange my sign-up bonus for cash? Honestly, it depends. In some cases, companies will offer a direct cash deposit. Others will offer points or something in the middle. The terms and conditions for every sign-up bonus promotion will be different as well. They explain how you can and cannot use the sign-up bonus. Article by John Rampton, Due About the Author John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old while attending the University of Utah he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine, Finance Expert by Time and Annuity Expert by Nasdaq. He is the Founder and CEO of Due. Updated on Apr 25, 2022, 3:40 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkApr 25th, 2022

The Ultimate Guide to Setting Up a Digital Presence for a New Business

Starting a new business is hard enough — but doing it in the digital age can be even more daunting. There are so many things to do, and it can be tough to know where to start. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need […] Starting a new business is hard enough — but doing it in the digital age can be even more daunting. There are so many things to do, and it can be tough to know where to start. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to create a unique digital presence for new business. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more We'll show you how to work on your website design, develop an online marketing strategy, automate your processes with software, and much more! Establish Your Digital Brand Your digital brand is an essential part of your digital presence for new business, and it's crucial to make sure it is well thought out. When establishing your digital brand, it can be helpful to write out brand guidelines to share with your marketing team. Brand guidelines should contain your brand color palette, logo, font styles, and cohesive, on-brand graphics. These will be the features that give your brand an identity and help you stand out to consumers. If you are new to branding, you may want to consider using an online logo maker for your logo design, or outsourcing to a professional branding service. They can help ensure that your end product looks modern and professional. However, if you have it in your budget you can keep it all in-house. You can hire and train a team to establish and manage your digital brand. Put together a group of online creatives to help with blog content and social media. Online experts can help you develop your brand voice and bring paying customers to your service. When working with an online team, it's important to keep identity security in mind. Working online exposes your business to cybercriminals who target companies to steal their customer data. Over 85% of companies have suffered a cybercrime attack. You need to protect your company and customers' data from potential breaches. For example, enable two-factor authentication or set up a new firewall for the office network. Work on Your Online Marketing Strategy In order to drive traffic to your website, you'll need a solid online marketing strategy. This includes SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising. Figure out which channels work best for your business and focus on those. To create fantastic content, you should use resources such as Freepik, which gives you access to graphic design resources that can help you impress potential customers. The website gives you access to hundreds of free vector images and photos to create visually appealing content that helps with engagement and conversions. Use an online photo editor to make the content your own by including your branding. A strong digital presence means getting your brand in front of potential customers. Editing your online content to show your company's name is a must in a competitive environment. Automate Your Processes With Software One of the best ways to improve your digital presence for new business is by automating your processes with software. This will free up your time to work on other aspects of your business. Social media tools can help you schedule posts in advance instead of working on sites like Facebook and Twitter every day. You can create an entire campaign and designate when posts come out in the future. Another great way to automate your online marketing is by using email marketing software. This will allow you to create beautiful emails, track who opens them and clicks on links, and even automatically unsubscribe people who don't open them. Software such as Stack's Spatial Browser allows you to open to monitor your digital presence with ease. Using Stack means you can open all of your apps in split-screen cards which means you don't have to flick between different tabs. The more organized you can make your backend, the stronger your digital presence for new business will be. For this purpose, setting up an online database for your website is always a good idea to keep all your information in one place. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the different tools available, you can work on your strategy in one place and schedule your marketing ahead of time. This helps your business save on costs and resources. Start Producing Branded Content In order to really stand out from the crowd, you need to start producing branded content. This means developing a content strategy that aligns with your brand values and creating exciting and engaging content for your audience. You can do this by creating blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media posts. Make sure the tone and style of your content are in line with your brand and that you're using the same fonts, colors, and overall design. When it comes to branded content, quality is key. If you put out low-quality content, you'll only be hurting your business. So make sure you have a team of people who can help create amazing visuals and create valuable content that furthers your thought leadership. Hire Influencers to Market Your Business Another great way to market your business online is by hiring influencers. These are people with a large following on social media who can promote your product or service to their audience. Influencers have their own audience, which you can pay to access by having an online persona demonstrate your product. Some influencers will create custom content that appeals directly to your audience. Alternatively, you can send ready-made adverts for them to share. A great way to find influencers is by looking at your competitors. Find the biggest accounts promoting similar products and reach out to them with an offer to promote yours as well. When you work with influencers, make sure you have a clear agreement outlining what they will and won't do. Also, make sure you have a budget in place so you're not taken advantage of. Your influencer strategy should include a wide range of followings. While it may seem better to only target accounts with millions of followers, this is not always the case. A smaller influencer who has a highly targeted niche can lead to more conversions as they have a more engaged audience. Build Your Online Network The best way to strengthen your digital presence for new business is by building your online network. This means connecting with other businesses and professionals online and sharing content with them. You can do this by joining online communities, following other businesses on social media, and reaching out to them with blog posts and articles. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with like-minded companies and create a beneficial partnership. When you connect with other businesses, make sure you offer something of value in return. Don't just promote your own content; share content from others as well. This will help you build trust and relationships with other businesses. One thing you can do is work together on micro virtual events such as webinars. To do this, you will need to use good webinar software which can amplify inclusion and diversity in your marketing. Co-hosting events can help you connect with another company's audience while providing value to a larger crowd than you could on your own. To support your online events, you may need to enlist a courier service to ensure the safe delivery of your products or sensitive documents. If you're teaming up with a separate company, sending them your products for a real-life demonstration can help convert new customers. Conclusion Having a solid digital presence is essential for any business. By using the tips in this guide, you can work on creating an impressive online presence that will drive conversions and growth. Make sure to focus on creating high-quality branded content, automating your processes, and building your online network. These are the foundations of a successful digital presence. Updated on Apr 20, 2022, 1:59 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkApr 20th, 2022

A blockchain expert explains how North Korea"s $625 million crypto hack presents a new national security threat — and why it marks a shift in the global "digital battlefield"

An expert explains how North Korea's historic crypto hack proves it can compete on the digital battlefield with global powers like the US and China. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting a North Korean military special-operation forces event in a photo released April 14, 2017.STR/AFP via Getty Images North Korea's huge crypto hack marks a new era in cybersecurity threats.   "If there was ever a doubt that hacks were not tied to national security, that's been resolved," a blockchain expert told Insider.  Ari Redbord of TRM broke down how the hack signifies the emergence of a new kind of cyber warfare. US authorities this week tied North Korean hackers to the historic $625 million Axie Infinity crypto swindle, with the massive hack signifying the emergence of a new type of national security threat, according to a blockchain expert.On Thursday, the US Treasury Department added an Ethereum wallet address to its sanction list after the wallet facilitated transfers for more than $86 million of the stolen funds.The hacking outfits Lazarus and APT38, both linked to North Korea, were behind the theft, the FBI said in a statement, and the funds are generating revenue for Kim Jong Un's regime.Ari Redbord, head of legal and government affairs at blockchain research firm TRM, says the attack shows that even a nation as isolated as North Korea can participate in new-age cyber-warfare."Over the last few years many hacks have been perpetrated by North Korea," Redbord told Insider. "But the magnitude of this one shows things have moved from small exploits to true national security concerns. It's staggering — bank robbery at the speed of the internet." For years, North Korean actors have been responsible for cyberattacks, including a high-profile hit against Sony in 2014. But groups like Lazarus have grown increasingly sophisticated and ambitious. Meanwhile, businesses within the nascent crypto sector are still finding their footing when it comes to cybersecurity, which makes them vulnerable to hacking groups which are continuously honing their tactics. "North Korea realized a hack against an online retailer was one thing, but going after crypto exchanges is a more effective way to fund destabilizing activity at a very low cost to them," Redbord said. The country was an early adopter of cryptocurrency money laundering, he added, and there's no sign it's bad actors will slow their efforts since it's proven to be extremely profitable. What's more, Redbord noted that social engineering attacks, such as the Axie Infinity infiltration, are becoming more advanced. These hacks aren't a consequence of simple, mass-phishing emails, he explained, but nuanced and targeted strikes on specific individuals. The new digital battlefieldWhile North Korea has an extremely small economy and limited infrastructure, it has proven it can participate in cyber-warfare at a scale similar to global superpowers like the US and China. The Axie Infinity hack in particular reinforced Redbord's belief that the scale of digital attacks are climbing at such a rate that a new type of warfare is emerging. "Over the last year or so, we've moved from a post 9/11 world into a new digital battlefield," Redbord said. "Nation-state actors know to go after crypto businesses to fund real weapon proliferation, it's not just some hackers trying to fund a lifestyle."North Korea's use of the group Lazarus confirms that the country's isolated status and lack of modern infrastructure doesn't hold it back from participating in cyber warfare on the world stage, Redbord explained.The cryptocurrency industry is an excellent target for these attacks because of the volume of transactions and funds being moved every day, but also because the businesses aren't fully mature and may still be developing their own cyber security protocols. Unfortunately, this means many firms often do not have the most up to date security measures in place, Redbord said. "It comes down to hardening cyber defenses. We're still in a world where these companies are learning how to protect themselves, and now we've seen that a small group is responsible for crypto's largest hack." he said. "If there was ever a doubt that hacks were not tied to national security, that's been resolved."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 16th, 2022

‘The Idea Exposes His Naiveté.’ Twitter Employees On Why Elon Musk Is Wrong About Free Speech

Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter for $43 billion on April 14, in what he claimed was a move that would allow him to change the platform to promote more “free speech.” The world’s richest man calls himself a “free speech absolutist” and has criticized Twitter’s increasing usage of content moderation. “I invested in Twitter… Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter for $43 billion on April 14, in what he claimed was a move that would allow him to change the platform to promote more “free speech.” The world’s richest man calls himself a “free speech absolutist” and has criticized Twitter’s increasing usage of content moderation. “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk said in an SEC filing disclosed Thursday. “However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] But many on the frontlines of the fight for democratic spaces online have questioned whether Musk’s move – if it is indeed serious, and if he can raise the required cash, and if the offer is accepted by the Twitter board – would undermine, rather than bolster, democracy. Employees of the platform and other experts have also spoken publicly about their fears that Musk may try to erode Twitter’s recent moves to protect marginalized users and tackle harassment and misinformation. Since the explosion of social media usage more than a decade ago, researchers and technologists have forged an understanding of the ways that the design of social media sites has an impact on civic discourse and, ultimately, democratic processes. One of their key findings: sites that privilege free speech above all else tend to result in spaces where civic discourse is drowned out by harassment, restricting participation to a privileged few. That finding has informed much of Twitter’s recent work. Among its current stated priorities are pledges to facilitate “safe, inclusive, and authentic conversations,” and to “minimize the distribution and reach of harmful or misleading information, especially when its intent is to disrupt a civic process or cause offline harm.” A Twitter employee on the health team, which focuses on keeping Twitter a safe, user-friendly space, agreed to speak with TIME on condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly. “In a way, [Musk’s] goals are aligned with ours in that we are certainly interested in protecting democracy. But the idea of bringing more free speech to the platform exposes his naiveté with respect to the nuts and bolts of content moderation,” the person told TIME a few hours after Musk’s offer was made public. “If you look historically, there have been a lot of platforms founded on this free speech principle, but the reality is that either it becomes a cesspool that people don’t want to use, or they realize that there is actually the need for some level of moderation.” It is unclear what specific changes Musk seeks to make to the platform beyond a popular pledge to introduce an edit button to the site, and the desire to make Twitter’s algorithm more transparent. But some employees have spoken out about their fears that Musk would undermine the company’s commitments to ending targeted harassment and facilitating what it calls “conversational health.” “From a health perspective, there’s a lot of data scientists and policy researchers at Twitter who all have deep expertise in grounding policies in trying to create this environment where inclusive conversations can be had,” the Twitter employee on the health team said. “Musk doesn’t have the background in doing this kind of work, but believes he has the solution… Health is seen internally as a big priority. If Musk were to gain control, there’s the sense that this health work would be deprioritized.” Other experts in the field have criticized Musk’s apparent desire to roll back Twitter’s content moderation. “Effective moderation is not inherently in conflict with free speech,” said Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook’s former head of civic integrity, in a tweet on Thursday. “It is required for people to feel free to speak. Anyone who doesn’t get this has a high school stoner level grasp of societal issues and has never spent [five minutes] working on trust & safety.” “Musk has implied that he wants Twitter to allow more of what might be considered harassment on the platform,” Tracy Chou, the founder of Block Party, a third-party app for muting harassment on Twitter, said in a statement to TIME on Thursday. “No matter what free speech advocates declare, some moderation is always going to be necessary or users leave. The question is where the platform draws the line at what it wants to enforce.” Read more: Elon Musk Offers to Buy Twitter for $43 Billion Musk does not seem to be proposing anything radically new – rather, a return to an earlier, less-regulated Twitter. Before the dying months of the Trump era, Twitter was a platform that regularly cast itself as free speech absolutist. For years, former CEO Jack Dorsey pushed back against calls to take stricter action against the rise of misinformation, harassment and conspiracy theories on his site by saying he was committed to freedom of expression. But as Trump’s presidency tested the limits of social media platforms’ ability to tolerate unfettered speech, especially by those to whom it gives the largest megaphones, Twitter came increasingly to rely on content moderation – deleting tweets and accounts that violate its rules – along with more subtle tweaks to the site’s design that are intended to bolster the health of public conversation and the spread of reliable information. That pivot to a more interventionist approach was encapsulated by Twitter’s eventual decision, on Jan. 6, 2021, to permanently ban Trump from the platform for trying to undemocratically overturn the results of the 2020 election. (Some onlookers wonder whether Musk would seek to reverse Trump’s ban. In a live TED interview on April 14, Musk said he would generally prefer Twitter prioritize “time outs rather than permanent bans.”) Today, Twitter’s employee base is largely liberal, and many have spoken out publicly – via tweet – against Musk’s recent attempts to influence the company’s approach to content. Rumman Chowdhury, Twitter’s head of responsible machine learning, said in a tweet that she had already observed a chilling effect on the freedom of speech of Twitter employees after Musk’s public pronouncements. “Twitter has a beautiful culture of hilarious constructive criticism, and I saw that go silent because of his minions attacking employees,” she wrote. (She subsequently muted her notifications on the thread “because the trolls have descended.”) Others engaged in the time-honored Twitter tradition of sh-tposting. “Dudes will try to buy companies instead of going to therapy,” said Amro Mousa, another engineering manager at Twitter, on Thursday, in a tweet that was retweeted by several of his colleagues. Many are still holding out hope that CEO Parag Agrawal and the Twitter board will reject Musk’s offer to buy the company, which some financial analysts have suggested undervalues it. Another employee, who also spoke with TIME on the condition of anonymity, said: “I cannot wait for Twitter to say no.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeApr 14th, 2022

Bored Ape Yacht Club told users not to mint any NFTs after its Discord was hacked briefly

A phishing attack infiltrated the Discord group and tried to bait users into minting fake Bored Ape NFTs. Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT #7990.Bored Ape Yacht Club, OpenSea Bored Ape Yacht Club's official Discord channel was briefly compromised, the company tweeted Friday.  A phishing attack infiltrated the Discord group and tried to bait users into minting fake Bored Ape NFTs. Other collections the attacker targeted with the phishing tool included Doodles, Shamanzs, and Nyoki.  Bored Ape Yacht Club warned against minting sham NFTs after a malicious tool infiltrated its official Discord channel in an attempt to swindle users of the popular collection."Do not mint anything from any Discord right now. A webhook in our Discord was briefly compromised," Bored Ape Yacht Club tweeted early Friday. "We caught it immediately but please know: we are not doing any April Fools stealth mints/airdrops etc. Other Discords are also being attacked right now."—Bored Ape Yacht Club (@BoredApeYC) April 1, 2022A ticket tool that is responsible for verifying users in the channel and that sends out channel-wide notifications was compromised. Any users who received a malicious link and clicked on it would be susceptible to hacking, researchers concluded.The link tried to dupe people into minting fake NFTs from the popular Bored Ape collection, potentially allowing the hacker to steal the contents of a user's NFT wallet.  So far, only one Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT has been stolen, Coindesk reported. Other Discord channels for popular NFT collections — including Doodles, Shamanzs, and Nyoki — were also hacked, likely by the same attacker, according to famous Twitter sleuth zachxb, who is known to uncover digital asset scandals. —zachxbt (@zachxbt) April 1, 2022  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 1st, 2022

About half of the crypto donation campaigns for Ukraine were scams, says blockchain research report

"They raised anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple thousand, before being taken down," said research firm TRM in a report. Robert Michael/picture alliance via Getty Images About half of Ukraine crypto donation campaigns were scams, a new report.  TRM analyzed data from 50 distinct campaigns for Ukraine humanitarian relief or military support. Another report published this week found that hackers have stolen $700 million of crypto this year.  Millions of dollars worth of crypto donations have flooded into Ukraine since Russia invaded last month, but about half of the purported humanitarian campaigns were scams, according to a new report by blockchain research firm TRM. Based on data TRM collected from 50 distinct crypto-donation campaigns to send funds to humanitarian or military efforts in Ukraine, "obvious scam" campaigns comprised about half of them. TRM researchers noted that the surge in global attention and people's eagerness to donate to Ukraine created an opportunity for scammers to promote fake fundraisers. Organizations used mock-campaign names like Support Ukraine, Ukraine-Fund, and Ukraine NOW to lure donations. "Most of these scams were quickly identified as such by researchers and hosting providers, and their sites were taken down," TRM wrote. "They raised anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple thousand, before being taken down."The report highlighted which indicators they used to identify sham donation campaigns. Twitter revealed many of these, with things like unverified accounts managing campaigns, bot-like activity, or the deletion of a Twitter handle hours within launching. Meanwhile, a new report by Atlas VPN found that crypto blockchain hackers have stolen almost $700 million in just three months this year. Just this week, a hacker exploited popular play-to-earn game Axie Infinity for over $600 million in tokens. TRM documented over $135.7 million in cryptocurrency sent to Ukraine between February 22 and March 28, with novel campaign types emerging like those conducted on Twitter or Discord, or through the minting of non-fungible tokens.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 31st, 2022

Crypto blockchain hackers have stolen almost $700 million in just 3 months this year, with solana and Binance smart chain hit hard

Attacks on the solana and Binance smartchain ecosystems accounted for well over half of the amount lost, according to Atlas VPN. Blockchain and crypto conceptGetty Images stock photo Hackers stole almost $700 million in 72 attacks in the first quarter of 2022, Atlas VPN said. Attacks on the solana and Binance Smart Chain ecosystems accounted for over half of these losses. NFTs were the top targets for hackers, leading to a near-$49 million loss. Crypto blockchain hackers stole almost $700 million in 2022, and attacks on the solana and Binance smart chain ecosystems accounted for well over half of that total, according to a report on Tuesday from Atlas VPN said.Cybercriminals stole $682 million from 72 attacks in the first three months of the year, the report said. Hacks of the solana and BSC networks led to almost $500 million in stolen funds, with $400 million stolen from solana and $100 million from Binance smart chain, according to Atlas VPN's data, which was based on figures from Hacked Slowmist.NFTs were the top target, with the highest number of hacks at 20, netting a near-$49 million loss. Some attackers used phishing attacks on Discord to steal victims' NFTs, the report said."With the rise of new crypto ecosystems, cybercriminals get more targets they can exploit. In addition, the surging NFT trend attracted even more scammers to the industry," Atlas VPN said.Monetary losses were calculated based on the conversion rate of a particular cryptocurrency when the attack took place.The BSC ecosystem had 12 hacks while the solana ecosystem was hacked 4 times. Wormhole, a communication bridge between solana and other decentralized finance (DeFi) networks, was the target of the biggest hack in February of this year."An attacker exploited a signature verification vulnerability in the network to mint 120K Wormhole-wrapped ether on solana, worth about $334 million," Atlas VPN said.The ethereum ecosystem experienced 16 hack attacks in 2022 and lost nearly $25 million. It experienced the same number of hackings in the first quarter of last year, making it the top target for hackers.Exchanges were hacked three times, losing $42 million. Other types of hacks on blockchain caused $52 million in losses in 9 instances.Most blockchain-related hacks occur when cybercriminals exploit flaws in the project code. Successful hack can cause massive losses to creators and investors on crypto platforms.Blockchain-related hacks have reached a record-high in the first quarter of 2022, showing an 118% increase compared with the same quarter last year, the data showed."The growing market of cryptocurrencies entices not only legit people interested in the technology, but also cybercriminals who want to exploit it," Atlas VPN said.Hackers stole with more than $4 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in 2021, according to a report by Crystal Blockchain, almost triple the amount stolen in 2020.And last week, a crypto hacker pulled off one of the largest heists in history, stealing $625 million worth of ether and stablecoin USDC after targeting Axie Infinity's Ronin Network.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 31st, 2022

Axie Infinity"s owner vows to reimburse victims of $600 million theft after a hacker pulled off one of the largest crypto heists in history

Users who lost tokens during the massive Ronin Network crypto heist will be reimbursed, according to Axie Infinity's owner. Play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity allow users to make real money by earning tokens, creating NFTs, and selling them.Axie Infinity Axie Infinity's owner said it will reimburse users who lost tokens during the $600 million hack.  "We are fully committed to reimbursing our players as soon as possible," an executive told Bloomberg.  Axie Infinity is one of the most popular play-to-earn crypto games.  The parent company of Axie Infinity that just fell victim to a historic, $625 million crypto-hack said it will reimburse users who lost money in the heist. "We are fully committed to reimbursing our players as soon as possible," Aleksander Leonard Larsen, chief operating officer of Sky Mavis, told Bloomberg. "We're still working on a solution, that is an ongoing discussion." The Ronin Network published a blog Tuesday explaining that a hacker compromised its network, exploiting the company for 173,600 ether and 25.5 million USDC stablecoins. It impacted the Ronin Network validator nodes for the gaming studio, Sky Mavis."We are working with law enforcement officials, forensic cryptographers, and our investors to make sure all funds are recovered or reimbursed," Ronin Network wrote. "The attacker used hacked private keys in order to forge fake withdrawals."Funds stolen in the crypto hack include "deposits of players and speculators and the Axie Infinity Treasury revenue," Larsen said. The attack happened on March 23, but the company only discovered it Tuesday. Axie Infinity remains one of the most popular play-to-earn games, and users continued to log on Wednesday after news of the crypto heist. Hackers targeted a vulnerability in the bridge — or a software mechanism for exchanging types of crypto tokens — to drain funds in two separate transactions. "The easiest way to look at this is like the bridge is the bank for the Ronin Network," Larsen said. "The heist that happened took out all the ETH and USDC. So the ETH/USDC on Ronin Network is not currently backed by anything. But we are looking at other options."In August 2021, hackers targeted Poly Network, swiping more than $600 million from the cross-chain protocol, although most of those funds were eventually returned.  The native token used on the Ronin blockchain, RON, was down about 20% following the attack.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 30th, 2022

ETFs to Watch in a Week Packed With Events

This week is full of events starting from the Fed meet to the upcoming producer price inflation numbers and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Investors should keep a close eye on ETFs that are most exposed to these events. This week is full of events starting from the Fed meet to the upcoming producer price inflation numbers and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. As such, investors should keep a close eye on ETFs that are most exposed to these events.Some of the ETFs include SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF KRE, Vanguard Energy ETF VDE, iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF ITA, Invesco DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund DBC and Vanguard Value ETF VTV.Fed MeetFed Chair Jerome Powell is expected to raise the key interest rate from near zero for the first time since 2018 at the Mar 15-16 monetary policy committee meeting to fight a historic surge in inflation. The move would mark an end to the central bank’s extraordinary coronavirus crisis-era stimulus.Powell proposed a quarter-point hike instead of a half-point, indicating uncertainty related to the ongoing war. But he could move “more aggressively” if four-decade inflation does not abate substantially. Powell called the labor market “extremely tight” and said inflation has risen well above the Fed’s 2% target. According to CME Group’s FedWatch, investors expect seven times rate hikes this year in each of the seven meeting scheduled.Producer Price Inflation NumberProducer price data for February is due this week. U.S. producer prices increased the most in eight months in January amid skyrocketing inflation. The latest data from the consumer price index, reflects a 40-year high inflation. The Consumer Price Index, the most widely used measure of inflation, rose 0.8% in February – the highest level in 40 years (read: 4 Sector ETFs to Win From February Inflation Report).Russia-Ukraine CrisisThe conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been worsening as sanctions from the Western countries started to hurt many segmnets of the market.In the latest round of sanctions, the West has targeted the energy sector. The United States will ban all Russian oil and gas imports while the UK will phase out Russian oil by the end of 2022. The European Union, which gets a quarter of its oil and 40% of its gas from Russia, said it will switch to alternative supplies and make Europe independent from Russian energy "well before 2030." Germany halted the approval of a major gas pipeline project, Nord Stream 2, in Russia.Further, the United States is banning imports of Russian alcohol and seafood, as the White House looks to ratchet up punishment over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. This follows a series of significant sanctions actions against Russia in recent weeks.ETFs in FocusSPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE)Banks will be the most advantageous position when Fed rates hike as they seek to borrow money at short-term rates and lend at long-term rates. If interest rates rise, banks would earn more on lending and pay less on deposits. This would expand net margins and bolster banks’ profits. SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF provides exposure to the regional banks’ segment by tracking the S&P Regional Banks Select Industry Index. It holds 137 stocks in its basket, with each accounting for no more than 3% of the assets.SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF has AUM of $5.3 billion and charges 35 bps in annual fees. It trades in an average daily volume of 11.6 million shares and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy) with a High risk outlook.   Vanguard Energy ETF (VDE)Energy stocks performs well in high-inflation environments. Vanguard Energy ETF is one of the popular choices in the energy space, having accumulated $8.7 billion in its asset base. It provides exposure to a basket of 103 energy stocks by tracking the MSCI US Investable Market Energy 25/50 Index.Vanguard Energy ETF sees a good volume of about 2 million shares and charges 10 bps in annual fees. VDE has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a High risk outlook.iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (ITA)The aerospace and defense sector has been showing immense strength, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is especially true as the attack in Ukraine has raised the prospect of higher military spending, pushing the stocks higher. iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF provides exposure to U.S. companies that manufacture commercial and military aircraft and other defense equipment by tracking the Dow Jones U.S. Select Aerospace & Defense Index. It holds 33 stocks in its basket with AUM of $3.2 billion and an expense ratio of 0.42% (read: Aerospace and Defense ETFs Rallying on Russia-Ukraine War).iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF trades in an average daily volume of around 363,000 shares. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a Medium risk outlook.Invesco DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund (DBC)Geopolitical tension has pushed commodity prices to levels not seen since the financial crisis, thereby benefiting commodity ETFs. Invesco DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund follows the DBIQ Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Index Excess Return, which is composed of futures contracts on 14 of the most heavily traded and important physical commodities in the world (read: 5 ETFs to Tap the Commodity Rally Amid Russia-Ukraine Conflict).With AUM of $4.2 billion, Invesco DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund trades in volume of 4.8 million shares per day on average and charges 87 bps in annual fees.Vanguard Value ETF (VTV)Amid the volatility, value products got a boost. Value stocks have strong fundamentals — earnings, dividends, book value and cash flow — but trade below their intrinsic value and are undervalued. These have the potential to deliver higher returns and exhibit lower volatility compared with their growth and blend counterparts. Vanguard Value ETF targets the value segment of the broad U.S. stock market and follows the CRSP US Large Cap Value Index. It holds 351 stocks in its basket with key holdings in financials, healthcare and industrials.Vanguard Value ETF has AUM of $98.3 billion and charges 4 bps in annual fees. The product trades in volume of 4.4 million shares per day on average and has a Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy) with a Medium risk outlook. Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Value ETF (VTV): ETF Research Reports Invesco DB Commodity Index Tracking ETF (DBC): ETF Research Reports iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (ITA): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Energy ETF (VDE): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksMar 14th, 2022

U.S. Companies Should Prepare for Putin’s ‘Gangster Diplomacy’ As Risk of Russian Cyberattacks Grows

(To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Chris Krebs may be best known for being fired as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in a tweet by then-president Donald Trump after he refuted Trump’s claims of election fraud in Nov. 2020. Since that… (To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Chris Krebs may be best known for being fired as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in a tweet by then-president Donald Trump after he refuted Trump’s claims of election fraud in Nov. 2020. Since that dubious dismissal, Krebs, a respected voice in cybersecurity, has joined with former Facebook Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos to run Krebs Stamos Group, a cybersecurity consultancy. Two weeks ago, Krebs joined CISA’s Shields Up campaign, to raise awareness of Russian hacking as tensions around Ukraine escalated and provide resources to businesses to ward off cyberattacks. While the U.S. government is most concerned with potential attacks on vital infrastructure, Krebs says private businesses large and small are at just as much risk—and can be just as damaging to the U.S. economy. As the U.S. ramped up sanctions on Putin and Russia, Krebs spoke with TIME about likely counter-attacks and how business leaders best protect their companies. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] (This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.) Experts have been warning that the conflict in Ukraine poses an unprecedented cyber risk even for U.S. and Western companies and organizations. Why is that? Well, for one, we know that the Russian security services are very capable in the cyber arena. Ukraine has the unfortunate designation as being Russia’s test kitchen for some of their cyber tools—the Russians have taken down the Ukrainian electrical grid twice, both in 2015 and 2016. And then they launched the most destructive cyberattack in history, the NotPetya attack [ransomware widely attributed to the Russian military that targeted Ukraine’s government, financial, and energy institutions, as well as global companies with offices in Ukraine] in June of 2017. So we know that they’re not afraid to use their tools, generally speaking, but also specifically in coordination with a military assault and invasion. In 2008, when they went into Georgia, they used destructive attacks against government agencies in Georgia. As well as their classic technique of spreading disinformation and false flag type operations. We also have an unfortunate history of cyberattack experience with the Russians, of course. A couple years ago they were targeting some of our energy companies, and then you have the espionage cases from last year with SolarWinds [a malware attack that gave Russian intelligence officials access to data from thousands of US government agencies and private companies]. So when you combine the capability, their willingness to use it, and their prior targeting of American businesses and Western businesses in general, there’s a nonzero chance that something could happen. There’s no specific credible intelligence or information that I’ve reviewed, but there is a nonzero chance. Business leaders need to be taking this situation seriously—beyond the fact that of course there’s a tragic war in Ukraine—because there could be spillover effects here in the U.S. and in the West. What sectors do you think are the most likely targets for Russian cyberattacks right now? Given the information we have available to us—and that tends to be history, so the sectors they’ve gone after in the past, as well as the incitement that we may see from sanctions—then I would say our experience with Russia in what we could anticipate would include banks, because we’ve sanctioned a number of their banks. They have gone after energy companies here in the past. And they’ve also gone after transportation and the aviation sector. So when we pull this all together, it’s critical lifeline vectors with engagement between government and industry. But every organization could be affected here. Or should at least plan to be prepared, because we’ve seen ransomware actors in the past not necessarily be as strategic in their targeting, instead being incredibly opportunistic. If part of the objective is not necessarily to be disruptive to the economy but instead disruptive to the psyche of the American people, then you could see schools and hospitals being targeted. What kind of cyberattacks are we already seeing so far in the past few days? Well, first is directly targeting organizations that are in Ukraine. We’ve seen some of the denial of service attacks. There’s the HermeticWiper [malware that destroys data] from earlier this week. Now, the challenge here is that operational control of malware can sometimes be difficult. The internet is a globally connected ecosystem. The HermeticWiper was apparently deployed and installed in Ukraine, but due to the network architecture, and the policy that was embedded in the execution instructions, the malware spreads wherever the network has connections. In this case, that included Lithuania and Latvia. I think average Americans and small business owners hear things about malware and cyberattacks, and it feels very far away. What kind of impact could some of these things have on American businesses in a very tangible way? If we’ve learned anything in the last 12 to 14 months, it’s that the kind of mythical cyberattacks that we’ve all heard about are perhaps not as rare or uncommon or distant as we previously thought. For a lot of Americans, the 2016 election was a bit of a wake up that cyber manipulation is a truly geopolitical tool or weapon that can be used not just against Washington, D.C., but middle America. And then last year with the ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and JBS Meats—ransomware actors are not discriminating necessarily, they’re not falling in line under a targeting list, going after big banks and government agencies. They’re opportunists. So if you have a network that’s not configured properly, or a system that hasn’t been patched, that could be a gateway for a ransomware actor to come in and encrypt and lock up your network. What that leads to is a loss of network control. You could miss payroll. You can default on contracts and agreements. I live in the D.C. area and when Colonial Pipeline was hit I couldn’t get gas for a few days last summer. Those are real business risks. And it puts the economy at risk. Read More: Pipeline Hack Sets Off Scramble for Gasoline Do you think overall that American companies and organizations are prepared for this kind of threat? We’re as good as we’ve probably ever been. And we’re getting better every day. Because of ransomware attacks in the last year, we’ve seen a significant increase in cybersecurity awareness and improvement prevention services. After Colonial last summer, I got a lot more interest from executives and boards. But we have to continue making cybersecurity a business risk management priority. We need boards of directors and executives right now, in this very moment, to talk to their information security department and their chief information security officers, ask them what support they need, what more the organization needs to do to be secure. We can’t pretend that it’s business as usual right now. You’ve been promoting a campaign called #ShieldsUp. What does Shields Up mean? Shields Up is about changing how you, as a business, are optimized. So most of the time you have to optimize for the bottom line, so you can sell your product or services and deliver for customers. And sometimes security can be seen as a hindrance to releasing a new product feature or communicating with clients and customers. Right now, in this moment where there is conflict, where we know the adversary has used these sorts of techniques before, we need to give security the support they need to help defend the organization. That means implementing multi-factor authentication broadly across an organization. Every CEO and every board should ask their information security team, “Are we at 100% multi-factor authentication across the organization?” If the answer is no, the question is, “How long is it going to take us to get there?” Deploy security monitoring services, like an endpoint detection and response (EDR) capability. Make sure that everybody on the team knows who they need to call if they see something. And then if you do encounter an event, or some kind of incident, call CISA, call the local FBI office, they can help. If there’s something happening or coming, the government needs to know because we’re in a national security crisis. Is there anything aside from standard phishing email awareness that is maybe a trademark of Russian cyberattacks that business leaders should be aware of? They tend to be economic rational actors just like the rest of them. And so if the easy, basic stuff still works, they’re going to maximize it. The Russian intelligence services have used password spraying and phishing emails and all sorts of other basic tricks. They’ll go out on the internet criminal forums and buy password dumps that have been stolen from organizations. Lock down identity. CISA has a great resource known as the known exploited vulnerabilities catalog. That shows you what they’re doing, how they’re getting into systems. Is there a threat to everyday people’s online accounts and cloud services? Or does Russian intelligence typically go after organizations and businesses where they can have broader impact? Well, I certainly think that the government is acutely focused on protecting critical infrastructure that leads to some of the national security and economic security implications that could come along with an attack, but every American needs to be aware of the information that’s been being served up to you on social media. Don’t just don’t just retweet or share a video or a picture or some sort of post, just because it claims something. I’ve seen a bunch of these over the last couple days, trying to make claims about certain things that have gone on in Ukraine. Look for trusted sources to verify. Usually, when you see something on social media and you get excited about it, that’s when you need to start asking, “Why am I excited about it? Is this real? Is this from two years ago? Or is this in fact from right now? And how do I verify that?” Read More: How Open Source Intelligence Became the World’s Window Into the Ukraine Invasion Now that there are additional sanctions packages being considered, are you seeing an increase in cyber threat each time a sanction package is released? I do think that there will be an asymmetric threat posed to organizations or governments that impose sanctions, and the more painful those sanctions get, the more duress and stress that the Russians feel, they will start acting out and lashing out. The Russians historically have also targeted international organizations and non-governmental organizations that have called them out on their bad behaviors. Think about the Russian Olympic doping scandal. And the Russian GRU went directly after the anti-doping lab in Europe. They attacked the South Korea Olympic games and they went after, to a certain extent, the Tokyo summer games as well. So when I see things like Formula One canceling the Russian circuit, when I see Eurovision canceling or taking out any Russian participants, when I see UEFA moving the Cup games from St. Petersburg to Paris, I would probably be looking for some sort of response, whether it’s from a government agency, a nationalistic hacker, or a ransomware hacker. They use some of their more asymmetric tools, their gray zone, to enforce as I’ve called it a little bit of “gangster diplomacy.” They use things available to them to make their displeasure known......»»

Category: topSource: timeFeb 26th, 2022

Magnite (MGNI) Adds Nth Party Team, Strengthens Service Offerings

Magnite (MGNI) adds Nth Party team that boosts of its ability to build identity and audience solutions for sellers and buyers. Magnite MGNI recently announced that it is adding the Nth Party’s team of seven employees, which includes five engineers, to its employee base. The addition of Nth Party team is expected to boost Magnite’s ability to build identity and audience solutions for sellers and buyers.Nth Party develops cryptographic software for secure audience data sharing and analysis. Considering the growing importance of first-party audience data in the advertising space, the addition of Nth Party employees will help Magnite accelerate its data activation efforts instantly.Magnite believes that first-party publisher data collected in a privacy-compliant manner will be the future of identity solutions. First-party publisher data, which is much more accurate than third-party data, refers to the information collected by publishers about their sites’ visitors. This data can include behaviors, actions or interests demonstrated across their sites.First-party data provided by publishers is considered the most valuable data by advertisers. Supply side platforms (SSPs) like Magnite are a driving force behind the ongoing transition from third-party based to first-party data. The addition of Nth Party’s team further strengthens Magnite’s capabilities in this respect. Magnite, Inc. Price Magnite, Inc. price | Magnite, Inc. Quote Connected Television Footprint Drives ProspectsMagnite is riding on continued strong recovery in the digital advertising market. A strong product portfolio, thanks to Unified Decisioning products and the Demand Manager offering, as well as steady traction in targeted advertising, is driving top-line growth.Steady momentum across all formats and device types, which include Connected Television (“CTV”), mobile, non-CTV video and display, drives prospects.Acquisitions, SpotX and SpringServe have expanded Magnite’s addressable market. The addition of SpringServe is helping Magnite capture and gain share in CTV due to the addition of a strategic ad server.Magnite is anticipated to have benefited from increased cord cutting and growing traction of ad-supported programmatic CTV, led by a shift from direct sales to programmatic ad-spending. Healthy demand for the company’s CTV addressability capabilities — that offer data-driven audience-targeting capabilities to advertisers — is expected to have driven the top line.In third-quarter 2021, Magnite’s CTV revenues, excluding TAC, jumped 51% year over year to $43.1 million. CTV represented 38% of revenues, ex TAC, and now represents the largest portion of Magnite’s business.Magnite’s expanding customer base has been a growth driver. fuboTV FUBO and Quigley Simpson selected Magnite as their preferred SSP.CTV is fuboTV's most popular streaming platform. As fuboTV’s preferred SSP, Magnite facilitates access to fuboTV’s highly sought-after CTV inventory, including 50,000 live sports events per year as well as more than 100 premium sports, news, and entertainment channels for the entire household.However, Magnite is expected to have suffered from supply-chain-related ad cancellations and tough year-over-year comparisons in the fourth quarter of 2021.Continued weakness in political, automotive, hobbies, travel, and food and beverage end-markets is expected to have hindered top-line growth in the fourth quarter.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderMagnite currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).Magnite shares are down 38.7% in the past year, underperforming the Zacks Internet Software industry’s decline of 26.9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 is pegged at 82 cents per share, down by a penny over the past 60 days.Arlo Technologies ARLO and Cloudflare NET are better-ranked stocks in the same industry. Both carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Arlo shares are up 21.2% in the past year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 is pegged at 1 cent per share, up from a loss of 3 cents over the past 60 days.Cloudflare shares are up 34.1% in the past year. The consensus mark for 2022 is pegged at 1 cent per share, unchanged over the past 60 days. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through November, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks gained an impressive +962.5% versus the S&P 500’s +329.4%. Now our Director of Research is combing through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank to handpick the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these stocks when they’re released on January 3.Be First To New Top 10 Stocks >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Arlo Technologies, Inc. (ARLO): Free Stock Analysis Report Cloudflare, Inc. (NET): Free Stock Analysis Report fuboTV Inc. (FUBO): Free Stock Analysis Report Magnite, Inc. (MGNI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 6th, 2022

The real risk posed by China"s "carrier-killer" missiles

Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles are a threat to US warships, and their use would escalate any conflict. USS George Washington.US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Declan Barnes China's anti-ship ballistic missiles have caused concern among US military officials. Chinese anti-ship weapons are a threat to US warships, and their use would escalate any conflict. Those weapons are an important part of China's arsenal, but their impact is more incremental than revolutionary. Could China's missiles really sink a US Navy aircraft carrier? The DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) has generated a tremendous amount of interest over the past several years.If it works, it poses a very serious threat to US Navy (USN) carriers, as well as to the other advanced warships of the USN, of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, and others.An anti-ship ballistic missile is more than just a missile; it requires a broad, sophisticated support system. Unlike a missile launched at static targets, a carrier-killing ASBM requires terminal guidance, as it must revise its flight path after reentering the atmosphere.From launch to strike, the flight of an ASBM can take 15 or so minutes, at which time the carrier in question will have more than likely moved its position on the open ocean. The missile thus needs to be adjusted remotely or needs to have the capacity to identify the carrier on its own.Both of these processes depend on the operation of a sophisticated set of sensors, as well as a communication system capable of integrating these sensors and transmitting information to shooters.Chinese DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles in a military parade in Beijing, September 3, 2015.REUTERS/Andy Wong/PoolAs Andrew Erickson emphasizes, "the successful achievement of high-quality, real-time satellite imagery and target-locating data and fusion as well as reliable indigenous satellite navigation and positioning would facilitate holding enemy vessels at risk via devastating multi-axis strikes."The USN is very concerned about the DF-21D, which is one reason it's working so hard on ship-borne anti-ballistic missile (ABM) technology. The USN is also working on other countermeasures, including strikes on DF-21 launch sites at the onset of war (potentially delivered from nuclear cruise missile submarines (SSGNs), and electronic warfare.This is why it's so important to emphasize the importance of the ancillary ISR and communication system that make the DF-21D possible. The US doesn't need to destroy every launcher or shoot down every missile in flight.Both of those represent important capabilities, but the key task is to disrupt the system that supports the missile, making it hard for China to identify, target, and strike US carrier groups.No one knows what would happen if the Second Artillery launched a salvo of DF-21Ds at a US carrier battle group. Some percentage (depending on reliability) would invariably go astray without US help. US escorts would shoot down some percentage with ship-board ABM systems.Electronic disruption would cause some to plunge harmlessly into the ocean. And finally, some might hit a carrier or hit carrier escorts. A successful hit will almost certainly result in at least a "mission kill," disabling a US carrier for the remainder of the conflict.Anti-access system of systemsChinese navy YJ-62 anti-ship cruise missiles in a military parade in Beijing, October 1, 2009.Nir Elias / REUTERSIt bears emphasis that Chinese carrier-killing capabilities constitute a system of systems, not dependent upon any particular weapon. The rest of China's system of systems includes nuclear and conventional submarines, medium- and long-range strike aircraft, surface warships, and land-based cruise-missile installations.These platforms can launch a wide array of weapons, most importantly China's vast arsenal of cruise missiles.In sufficient numbers, all of these can threaten to kill a carrier. In a shooting war we could expect China to use all of these systems or to graduate their use depending on political and military developments.Some of these are more easily countered than others, while some pose greater costs to the Chinese. For example, any surface ship launching a cruise missile at a USN carrier group can likely expect quick destruction. Similarly, both aircraft and submarines would face a high rate of attrition while making attacks on US ships and installations.ASBMs have some obvious advantages over these other systems. Operating from land bases, the DF-21D can strike carrier groups at greater range (1,000+ miles) than any cruise missile. US air-defense systems were designed to defend against Soviet cruise-missile attacks, but a ballistic-missile attack is a different prospect entirely.While the US can strike land bases, China can defend these targets more heavily through active and passive measures that it can protect relatively fragile ships and aircraft.US responsesUS Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Preble, USS Halsey, and USS Sampson behind the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Persian Gulf, March 24, 2018.US NavyThe development of the DF-21D may have contributed to the USN's decision to focus on air-defense ships (such as the Arleigh Burke Flight III) capable of ballistic-missile interception, at the expense of such platforms at the Littoral Combat Ship and the DDG-1000.But as suggested earlier, the United States has also looked into other options, including SSGN-launched cruise missiles and hypersonic strike vehicles designed to attack Chinese bases before the Second Artillery can launch the missiles.The United States is also, presumably, working on cyber, electronic, and physical means of disrupting China's recon and communications systems.Nevertheless, some have suggested that the DF-21D has rendered the supercarrier obsolete. While it depends on how we use the term "obsolete," it's probably too early to make that claim.China has expended vast time and resources determining how to kill US carriers, which suggests that the Chinese military takes carrier capabilities seriously. Moreover, the number of countries with both the interest and technical capability to develop the system of systems necessary to operate an ASBM is probably limited to two for the foreseeable future, with only Russia joining China.Still, efforts to diversify US capabilities surely make some sense. SSGNs, equipped with land-attack cruise missiles, can pick up a great deal of the slack while remaining relatively safe from attack. Amphibious assault ships, the term the USN uses for its light carrier fleet, can ably carry out much of the "strategic influence" mission that the supercarriers currently provide.Strategic relevanceSailors watch the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis sail alongside the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Pacific Ocean, May 5, 2015.US NavyJust because China has ASBMs doesn't mean that it will use them, even in a shooting war. The point of the "system of systems" is not to use it but instead to deter the US from going to war. Failing that, it is to deter the USN from aggressively using its carrier groups in combat.Sinking a carrier could kill 6,000 Americans in a few minutes, the prospect of which could make the US president reconsider intervention in any dispute with China. Moreover, ASBMs and the other assorted systems would make USN admirals very leery about sailing its primary assets into danger.Aircraft carriers don't just symbolically represent national power, they ARE national power, and the loss of two or three would dramatically cut US capability to intervene anywhere in the world.However, The DF-21D will suffer from the same problem as the variety of global strike weapons that the United States and others have considered over the years. A credible threat to kill a US carrier at range is great, but no one has any idea what will happen when the Second Artillery first lets loose with a salvo of ASBMs.Any medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBM) launched could carry a nuclear warhead, targeted either at a carrier or some other target. Chinese leadership will have to count on very cool heads in Washington for the 15 minutes between launch and impact.China's DF-26 missiles at a military parade in Beijing, September 3, 2015.Xinhua/Cha Chunming via Getty ImagesMuch will depend on the extent of contact between Beijing and Washington during the process of escalation; if this process has involved multiple misunderstandings, then launching a missile could lead to a degree of escalation that China has not prepared for.At the extreme, launching at a US carrier represents an enormous risk, because it could start a decision-process that would bring full nuclear retaliation from the United States. That China still lacks a secure second-strike capability against the US (and would struggle, in context of a conflict, to safely deploy its ballistic missile submarines) makes the situation even less stable, because the Americans might suspect the PLA of engaging in "use it or lose it" thinking.Even if the US correctly assesses the nature and purpose of the attack, the destruction of a carrier could serve to commit the United States, rather than scare it off.The United States also faces escalatory problems. In the past, Air-Sea Battle, the emerging "operational toolkit" that has dominated many discussions of US Pacific strategy, apparently envisions pre-emptive strikes against Chinese land-based missile installations.Such strikes, which make a great deal of sense from an operational perspective, represent a grave danger of strategic escalation. Again, China must recognize the intent behind US attacks and refrain from reacting inappropriately, a problem exacerbated by China's nuclear deficit.ConclusionMilitary vehicles carrying DF-17 hypersonic missiles in a military parade in Beijing, October 1, 2019.REUTERS/Jason LeeThe ASBM is essentially a sea-denial/anti-access weapon, not a sea-control weapon. It cannot prevent the USN from killing Chinese ships, only change the method by which the Americans do so.The use of such a weapon in anger would carry the potential for grave escalatory consequences on both sides. It's difficult to imagine what, besides Taiwan, China and the United States might be willing to tolerate such risk for.As such, it's not entirely clear how transformative the weapon really is. It certainly marks an important contribution to China's arsenal, and a harbinger of China's growing power. It's impact, however, is more incremental than revolutionary, especially in context of the steady growth of China's other anti-access options.One implication of the development of this system is the need for establishing a reliable crisis hotline between the US and Chinese governments, along with norms about how leadership will handle such communication in a crisis setting.This may prove a tall order for a pair of governments that remain committed to the public position that war is extremely unlikely.Robert Farley is a senior lecturer at the Patterson School at the University of Kentucky.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 4th, 2022

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2020, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as there "could not have been more regime shifts, volatility moments, and memes than 2020." And yet despite the exceedingly high bar for 2021, the year did not disappoint and proved to be a successful contender, and if judging by the sheer breadth of narratives, stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments, 2021 was even more memorable and event-filled than 2020. Where does one start? While covid was the story of 2020, the pandemic that emerged out of a (Fauci-funded) genetic lab team in Wuhan, China dominated newsflow, politics and capital markets for the second year in a row. And while the biggest plot twist of 2020 was Biden's victory over Trump in the presidential election (it took the pandemic lockdowns and mail-in ballots to hand the outcome to Biden), largely thanks to Covid, Biden failed to hold to his biggest presidential promise of defeating covid, and not only did he admit in late 2021 that there is "no Federal solution" to covid waving a white flag of surrender less than a year into his presidency, but following the recent emergence of the Xi, pardon Omicron variant, the number of covid cases in the US has just shattered all records. The silver lining is not only that deaths and hospitalizations have failed to follow the number of cases, but that the scaremongering narrative itself is starting to melt in response to growing grassroots discontent with vaccine after vaccine and booster after booster, which by now it is clear, do nothing to contain the pandemic. And now that it is clear that omicron is about as mild as a moderate case of the flu, the hope has finally emerged that this latest strain will finally kill off the pandemic as it becomes the dominant, rapidly-spreading variant, leading to worldwide herd immunity thanks to the immune system's natural response. Yes, it may mean billions less in revenue for Pfizer and Moderna, but it will be a colossal victory for the entire world. The second biggest story of 2021 was undoubtedly the scourge of soaring inflation, which contrary to macrotourist predictions that it would prove "transitory", refused to do so and kept rising, and rising, and rising, until it hit levels not seen since the Volcker galloping inflation days of the 1980s. The only difference of course is that back then, the Fed Funds rate hit 20%. Now it is at 0%, and any attempts to hike aggressively will lead to a horrific market crash, something the Fed knows very well. Whether this was due to supply-chain blockages and a lack of goods and services pushing prices higher, or due to massive stimulus pushing demand for goods - and also prices - higher, or simply the result of a record injection of central bank liquidity into the system, is irrelevant but what does matter is that it got so bad that even Biden, facing a mauling for his Democratic party in next year's midterm elections, freaked out about soaring prices and pushed hard to lower the price of gasoline, ordering releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and vowing to punish energy companies that dare to make a profit, while ordering Powell to contain the surge in prices even if means the market is hit. Unfortunately for Biden, the market will be hit even as inflation still remain red hot for much of the coming year. And speaking of markets, while 2022 may be a year when the piper finally gets paid, 2021 was yet another blockbuster year for risk assets, largely on the back of the continued global response to the 2020 covid pandemic, when as we wrote last year, we saw "the official arrival of global Helicopter Money, tens of trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus, an overhaul of the global economy punctuated by an unprecedented explosion in world debt, an Orwellian crackdown on civil liberties by governments everywhere, and ultimately set the scene for what even the World Economic Forum called simply "The Great Reset." Yes, the staggering liquidity injections that started in 2020, continued throughout 2021 and the final tally is that after $3 trillion in emergency liquidity injections in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to stabilize the world, the Fed injected almost $2 trillion in the subsequent period, of which $1.5 trillion in 2021, a year where economists were "puzzled" why inflation was soaring. This, of course, excludes the tens of trillions of monetary stimulus injected by other central banks as well as the boundless fiscal stimulus that was greenlighted with the launch of helicopter money (i.e., MMT) in 2020. It's also why with inflation running red hot and real rates the lowest they have ever been, everyone was forced to rush into the "safety" of stocks (or stonks as they came to be known among GenZ), and why after last year's torrid stock market returns, the S&P rose another 27% in 2021 and up a staggering 114% from the March 2020 lows, in the process trouncing all previous mega-rallies (including those in 1929, 1938, 1974 and 2009)... ... making this the third consecutive year of double-digit returns. This reminds us of something we said last year: "it's almost as if the world's richest asset owners requested the covid pandemic." A year later, we got confirmation for this rhetorical statement, when we calculated that in the 18 months since the covid pandemic, the richest 1% of US society have seen their net worth increase by over $30 trillion. As a result, the US is now officially a banana republic where the middle 60% of US households by income - a measure economists use as a definition of the middle class - saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. Yes, the 1% now own more wealth than the entire US middle class, a definition traditionally reserve for kleptocracies and despotic African banana republics. It wasn't just the rich, however: politicians the world over would benefit from the transition from QE to outright helicopter money and MMT which made the over monetization of deficits widely accepted in the blink of an eye. The common theme here is simple: no matter what happens, capital markets can never again be allowed to drop, regardless of the cost or how much more debt has to be incurred. Indeed, as we look back at the news barrage over the past year, and past decade for that matter, the one thing that becomes especially clear amid the constant din of markets, of politics, of social upheaval and geopolitical strife - and now pandemics -  in fact a world that is so flooded with constant conflicting newsflow and changing storylines that many now say it has become virtually impossible to even try to predict the future, is that despite the people's desire for change, for something original and untried, the world's established forces will not allow it and will fight to preserve the broken status quo at any price - even global coordinated shutdowns - which is perhaps why it always boils down to one thing - capital markets, that bedrock of Western capitalism and the "modern way of life", where control, even if it means central planning the likes of which have not been seen since the days of the USSR, and an upward trajectory must be preserved at all costs, as the alternative is a global, socio-economic collapse. And since it is the daily gyrations of stocks that sway popular moods the interplay between capital markets and politics has never been more profound or more consequential. The more powerful message here is the implicit realization and admission by politicians, not just Trump who had a penchant of tweeting about the S&P every time it rose, but also his peers on both sides of the aisle, that the stock market is now seen as the consummate barometer of one's political achievements and approval. Which is also why capital markets are now, more than ever, a political tool whose purpose is no longer to distribute capital efficiently and discount the future, but to manipulate voter sentiments far more efficiently than any fake Russian election interference attempt ever could. Which brings us back to 2021 and the past decade, which was best summarized by a recent Bill Blain article who said that "the last 10-years has been a story of massive central banking distortion to address the 2008 crisis. Now central banks face the consequences and are trapped. The distortion can’t go uncorrected indefinitely." He is right: the distortion will eventually collapse especially if the Fed follows through with its attempt rate hikes some time in mid-2020, but so far the establishment and the "top 1%" have been successful - perhaps the correct word is lucky - in preserving the value of risk assets: on the back of the Fed's firehose of liquidity the S&P500 returned an impressive 27% in 2021, following a 15.5% return in 2020 and 28.50% in 2019. It did so by staging the greatest rally off all time from the March lows, surpassing all of the 4 greatest rallies off the lows of the past century (1929,1938, 1974, and 2009). Yet this continued can-kicking by the establishment - all of which was made possible by the covid pandemic and lockdowns which served as an all too convenient scapegoat for the unprecedented response that served to propel risk assets (and fiat alternatives such as gold and bitcoin) to all time highs - has come with a price... and an increasingly higher price in fact. As even Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett admits, Fed's response to the the pandemic "worsened inequality" as the value of financial assets - Wall Street -  relative to economy - Main Street - hit all-time high of 6.3x. And while the Fed was the dynamo that has propelled markets higher ever since the Lehman collapse, last year certainly had its share of breakout moments. Here is a sampling. Gamestop and the emergence of meme stonks and the daytrading apes: In January markets were hypnotized by the massive trading volumes, rolling short squeezes and surging share prices of unremarkable established companies such as consoles retailer GameStop and cinema chain AMC and various other micro and midcap names. What began as a discussion on untapped value at GameStop on Reddit months earlier by Keith Gill, better known as Roaring Kitty, morphed into a hedge fund-orchestrated, crowdsourced effort to squeeze out the short position held by a hedge fund, Melvin Capital. The momentum flooded through the retail market, where daytraders shunned stocks and bought massive out of the money calls, sparking rampant "gamma squeezes" in the process forcing some brokers to curb trading. Robinhood, a popular broker for day traders and Citadel's most lucrative "subsidiary", required a cash injection to withstand the demands placed on it by its clearing house. The company IPOed later in the year only to see its shares collapse as it emerged its business model was disappointing hollow absent constant retail euphoria. Ultimately, the market received a crash course in the power of retail investors on a mission. Ultimately, "retail favorite" stocks ended the year on a subdued note as the trading frenzy from earlier in the year petered out, but despite underperforming the S&P500, retail traders still outperformed hedge funds by more than 100%. Failed seven-year Treasury auction:  Whereas auctions of seven-year US government debt generally spark interest only among specialists, on on February 25 2021, one such typically boring event sparked shockwaves across financial markets, as the weakest demand on record hit prices across the whole spectrum of Treasury bonds. The five-, seven- and 10-year notes all fell sharply in price. Researchers at the Federal Reserve called it a “flash event”; we called it a "catastrophic, tailing" auction, the closest thing the US has had to a failed Trasury auction. The flare-up, as the FT put it, reflects one of the most pressing investor concerns of the year: inflation. At the time, fund managers were just starting to realize that consumer price rises were back with a vengeance — a huge threat to the bond market which still remembers the dire days of the Volcker Fed when inflation was about as high as it is today but the 30Y was trading around 15%. The February auaction also illustrated that the world’s most important market was far less liquid and not as structurally robust as investors had hoped. It was an extreme example of a long-running issue: since the financial crisis the traditional providers of liquidity, a group of 24 Wall Street banks, have pulled back because of higher costs associated with post-2008 capital requirements, while leaving liquidity provision to the Fed. Those banks, in their reduced role, as well as the hedge funds and high-frequency traders that have stepped into their place, have tended to withdraw in moments of market volatility. Needless to say, with the Fed now tapering its record QE, we expect many more such "flash" episodes in the bond market in the year ahead. The arch ego of Archegos: In March 2021 several banks received a brutal reminder that some of family offices, which manage some $6 trillion in wealth of successful billionaires and entrepreneurs and which have minimal reporting requirements, take risks that would make the most serrated hedge fund manager wince, when Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management imploded in spectacular style. As we learned in late March when several high-flying stocks suddenly collapsed, Hwang - a former protege of fabled hedge fund group Tiger Management - had built up a vast pile of leverage using opaque Total Return Swaps with a handful of banks to boost bets on a small number of stocks (the same banks were quite happy to help despite Hwang’s having been barred from US markets in 2013 over allegations of an insider-trading scheme, as he paid generously for the privilege of borrowing the banks' balance sheet). When one of Archegos more recent bets, ViacomCBS, suddenly tumbled it set off a liquidation cascade that left banks including Credit Suisse and Nomura with billions of dollars in losses. Conveniently, as the FT noted, the damage was contained to the banks rather than leaking across financial markets, but the episode sparked a rethink among banks over how to treat these clients and how much leverage to extend. The second coming of cryptos: After hitting an all time high in late 2017 and subsequently slumping into a "crypto winter", cryptocurrencies enjoyed a huge rebound in early 2021 which sent their prices soaring amid fears of galloping inflation (as shown below, and contrary to some financial speculation, the crypto space has traditionally been a hedge either to too much liquidity or a hedge to too much inflation). As a result, Bitcoin rose to a series of new record highs that culminated at just below $62,000, nearly three times higher than their previous all time high. But the smooth ride came to a halt in May when China’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency and its production, or “mining”, sparked the first serious crash of 2021. The price of bitcoin then collapsed as much as 30% on May 19, hitting a low of $30,000 amid a liquidation of levered positions in chaotic trading conditions following a warning from Chinese authorities of tighter curbs ahead. A public acceptance by Tesla chief and crypto cheerleader Elon Musk of the industry’s environmental impact added to the declines. However, as with all previous crypto crashes, this one too proved transitory, and prices resumed their upward trajectory in late September when investors started to price in the launch of futures-based bitcoin exchange traded funds in the US. The launch of these contracts subsequently pushed bitcoin to a new all-time high in early November before prices stumbled again in early December, this time due to a rise in institutional ownership when an overall drop in the market dragged down cryptos as well. That demonstrated the growing linkage between Wall Street and cryptocurrencies, due to the growing sway of large investors in digital markets. China's common prosperity crash: China’s education and tech sectors were one of the perennial Wall Street darlings. Companies such as New Oriental, TAL Education as well as Alibaba and Didi had come to be worth billions of dollars after highly publicized US stock market flotations. So when Beijing effectively outlawed swaths of the country’s for-profit education industry in July 2021, followed by draconian anti-trust regulations on the country's fintech names (where Xi Jinping also meant to teach the country's billionaire class a lesson who is truly in charge), the short-term market impact was brutal. Beijing’s initial measures emerged as part of a wider effort to make education more affordable as part of president Xi Jinping’s drive for "common prosperity" but that quickly raised questions over whether growth prospects across corporate China are countered by the capacity of the government to overhaul entire business models overnight. Sure enough, volatility stemming from the education sector was soon overshadowed by another set of government reforms related to common prosperity, a crackdown on leverage across the real estate sector where the biggest casualty was Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer. The company, whose boss was not long ago China's 2nd richest man, was engulfed by a liquidity crisis in the summer that eventually resulted in a default in early December. Still, as the FT notes, China continues to draw in huge amounts of foreign capital, pushing the Chinese yuan to end 2021 at the strongest level since May 2018, a major hurdle to China's attempts to kickstart its slowing economy, and surely a precursor to even more monetary easing. Natgas hyperinflation: Natural gas supplanted crude oil as the world’s most important commodity in October and December as prices exploded to unprecedented levels and the world scrambled for scarce supplies amid the developed world's catastrophic transition to "green" energy. The crunch was particularly acute in Europe, which has become increasingly reliant on imports. Futures linked to TTF, the region’s wholesale gas price, hit a record €137 per megawatt hour in early October, rising more than 75%. In Asia, spot liquefied natural gas prices briefly passed the equivalent of more than $320 a barrel of oil in October. (At the time, Brent crude was trading at $80). A number of factors contributed, including rising demand as pandemic restrictions eased, supply disruptions in the LNG market and weather-induced shortfalls in renewable energy. In Europe, this was aggravated by plunging export volumes from Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed monopoly pipeline supplier, amid a bitter political fight over the launch of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. And with delays to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, analysts say the European gas market - where storage is only 66% full - a cold snap or supply disruption away from another price spike Turkey's (latest) currency crisis:  As the FT's Jonathan Wheatley writes, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once a source of strength for the Turkish lira, and in his first five years in power from 2003, the currency rallied from TL1.6 per US dollar to near parity at TL1.2. But those days are long gone, as Erdogan's bizarre fascination with unorthodox economics, namely the theory that lower rates lead to lower inflation also known as "Erdoganomics", has sparked a historic collapse in the: having traded at about TL7 to the dollar in February, it has since fallen beyond TL17, making it the worst performing currency of 2021. The lira’s defining moment in 2021 came on November 18 when the central bank, in spite of soaring inflation, cut its policy rate for the third time since September, at Erdogan’s behest (any central banker in Turkey who disagrees with "Erdoganomics" is promptly fired and replaced with an ideological puppet). The lira recovered some of its losses in late December when Erdogan came up with the "brilliant" idea of erecting the infamous "doom loop" which ties Turkey's balance sheet to its currency. It has worked for now (the lira surged from TL18 against the dollar to TL12, but this particular band aid solution will only last so long). The lira’s problems are not only Erdogan’s doing. A strengthening dollar, rising oil prices, the relentless covid pandemic and weak growth in developing economies have been bad for other emerging market currencies, too, but as long as Erdogan is in charge, shorting the lira remains the best trade entering 2022. While these, and many more, stories provided a diversion from the boring existence of centrally-planned markets, we are confident that the trends observed in recent years will continue: coming years will be marked by even bigger government (because only more government can "fix" problems created by government), higher stock prices and dollar debasement (because only more Fed intervention can "fix" the problems created by the Fed), and a policy flip from monetary and QE to fiscal & MMT, all of which will keep inflation at scorching levels, much to the persistent confusion of economists everywhere. Of course, we said much of this last year as well, but while we got most trends right, we were wrong about one thing: we were confident that China's aggressive roll out of the digital yuan would be a bang - or as we put it "it is very likely that while 2020 was an insane year, it may prove to be just an appetizer to the shockwaves that will be unleashed in 2021 when we see the first stage of the most historic overhaul of the fiat payment system in history" - however it turned out to be a whimper. A big reason for that was that the initial reception of the "revolutionary" currency was nothing short of disastrous, with Chinese admitting they were "not at all excited" about the prospect of yet one more surveillance mechanism for Beijing, because that's really what digital currencies are: a way for central banks everywhere to micromanage and scrutinize every single transaction, allowing the powers that be to demonetize any one person - or whole groups - with the flick of a switch. Then again, while digital money may not have made its triumphant arrival in 2021, we are confident that the launch date has merely been pushed back to 2022 when the rollout of the next monetary revolution is expected to begin in earnest. Here we should again note one thing: in a world undergoing historic transformations, any free press must be throttled and controlled, and over the past year we have seen unprecedented efforts by legacy media and its corporate owners, as well as the new "social media" overlords do everything in their power to stifle independent thought. For us it had been especially "personal" on more than one occasions. Last January, Twitter suspended our account because we dared to challenge the conventional narrative about the source of the Wuhan virus. It was only six months later that Twitter apologized, and set us free, admitting it had made a mistake. Yet barely had twitter readmitted us, when something even more unprecedented happened: for the first time ever (to our knowledge) Google - the world's largest online ad provider and monopoly - demonetized our website not because of any complaints about our writing but because of the contents of our comment section. It then held us hostage until we agreed to implement some prerequisite screening and moderation of the comments section. Google's action was followed by the likes of PayPal, Amazon, and many other financial and ad platforms, who rushed to demonetize and suspend us simply because they disagreed with what we had to say. This was a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which resembles the dystopia of 1984 more and more each day, and we have since taken measures. One year ago, for the first time in our 13 year history, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us again. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year. That said, whether the story of 2022, and the next decade for that matter, is one of helicopter or digital money, of (hyper)inflation or deflation: what is key, and what we learned in the past decade, is that the status quo will throw anything at the problem to kick the can, it will certainly not let any crisis go to waste... even the deadliest pandemic in over a century. And while many already knew that, the events of 2021 made it clear to a fault that not even a modest market correction can be tolerated going forward. After all, if central banks aim to punish all selling, then the logical outcome is to buy everything, and investors, traders and speculators did just that armed with the clearest backstop guarantee from the Fed, which in the deapths of the covid crash crossed the Rubicon when it formally nationalized the bond market as it started buying both investment grade bonds and junk bond ETFs in the open market. As such it is no longer even a debatable issue if the Fed will buy stocks after the next crash - the only question is when. Meanwhile, for all those lamenting the relentless coverage of politics in a financial blog, why finance appears to have taken a secondary role, and why the political "narrative" has taken a dominant role for financial analysts, the past year showed vividly why that is the case: in a world where markets gyrated, and "rotated" from value stocks to growth and vice versa, purely on speculation of how big the next stimulus out of Washington will be, the narrative over Biden's trillions proved to be one of the biggest market moving events for much of the year. And with the Biden stimulus plan off the table for now, the Fed will find it very difficult to tighten financial conditions, especially if it does so just as the economy is slowing. Here we like to remind readers of one of our favorite charts: every financial crisis is the result of Fed tightening. As for predictions about the future, as the past two years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected. And so while many themes, both in the political and financial realm, did get some accelerated closure courtesy of China's covid pandemic, dramatic changes in 2021 persisted, and will continue to manifest themselves in often violent and unexpected ways - from the ongoing record polarization in the US political arena, to "populist" upheavals around the developed world, to the gradual transition to a global Universal Basic (i.e., socialized) Income regime, to China's ongoing fight with preserving stability in its gargantuan financial system which is now two and a half times the size of the US. As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from the KGB either, although now that the entire Russian hysteria episode is over, those allegations have finally quieted down), and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine. Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website. In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to accelerate in the coming year when key midterm elections will be held, especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2021 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch out of fear of repercussions, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an orchestrated information vacuum and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which the public relations arm of established media outlets refused to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation. We are grateful that our readers - who hit a new record high in 2021 - have realized it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news." * * * And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 11-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year. In 20th spot with 600,000 reads, was an article that touched on one of the most defining features of the market: the reflation theme the sparked a massive rally at the start of the year courtesy of the surprise outcome in the Georgia Senate race, where Democrats ended up wining both seats up for grabs, effectively giving the Dems a majority in both the House and the Senate, where despite the even, 50-seat split, Kamala Harris would cast the winning tie-breaker vote to pursue a historic fiscal stimulus. And sure enough, as we described in "Bitcoin Surges To Record High, Stocks & Bonds Battered As Dems Look Set To Take Both Georgia Senate Seats", with trillions in "stimmies" flooding both the economy and the market, not only did retail traders enjoy unprecedented returns when trading meme "stonks" and forcing short squeezes that crippled numerous hedge funds, but expectations of sharply higher inflation also helped push bitcoin and the entire crypto sector to new all time highs, which in turn legitimized the product across institutional investors and helped it reach a market cap north of $3 trillion.  In 19th spot, over 613,000 readers were thrilled to read at the start of September that "Biden Unveils Most Severe COVID Actions Yet: Mandates Vax For All Federal Workers, Contractors, & Large Private Companies." Of course, just a few weeks later much of Biden's mandate would be struck down in courts, where it is now headed to a decision by SCOTUS, while the constantly shifting "scientific" goal posts mean that just a few months later the latest set of CDC regulations have seen regulators and officials reverse the constant drone of fearmongering and are now even seeking to cut back on the duration of quarantine and other lockdown measures amid a public mood that is growing increasingly hostile to the government response. One of the defining political events of 2021 was the so-called "Jan 6 Insurrection", which the for America's conservatives was blown wildly out of proportion yet which the leftist media and Democrats in Congress have been periodically trying to push to the front pages in hopes of distracting from the growing list of failures of the Obama admin. Yet as we asked back in January, "Why Was Founder Of Far-Left BLM Group Filming Inside Capitol As Police Shot Protester?" No less than 614,000 readers found this question worthy of a response. Since then many more questions have emerged surrounding this event, many of which focus on what role the FBI had in organizing and encouraging this event, including the use of various informants and instigators. For now, a response will have to wait at least until the mid-term elections of 2022 when Republicans are expected to sweep one if not both chambers. Linked to the above, the 17th most read article of 2021 with 617,000 views, was an article we published on the very same day, which detailed that "Armed Protesters Begin To Arrive At State Capitols Around The Nation." At the end of the day, it was much ado about nothing and all protests concluded peacefully and without incident: perhaps the FBI was simply spread too thin? 2021 was a year defined by various waves of the covid pandemic which hammered poor Americans forced to hunker down at home and missing on pay, and crippled countless small mom and pop businesses. And yet, it was also a bonanza for a handful of pharma companies such as Pfizer and Moderna which made billions from the sale of "vaccines" which we now know do little if anything to halt the spread of the virus, and are instead now being pitched as palliatives, preventing a far worse clinical outcome. The same pharma companies also benefited from an unconditional indemnity, which surely would come in useful when the full side-effects of their mRNA-based therapies became apparent. One such condition to emerge was myocarditis among a subset of the vaxxed. And while the vaccines continue to be broadly rolled out across most developed nations, one place that said enough was Sweden. As over 620,000 readers found out in "Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition", not every country was willing to use its citizens as experimental guniea pigs. This was enough to make the article the 16th most read on these pages, but perhaps in light of the (lack of) debate over the pros and cons of the covid vaccines, this should have been the most read article this year? Moving on to the 15th most popular article, 628,000 readers were shocked to learn that "Chase Bank Cancels General Mike Flynn's Credit Cards." The action, which was taken by the largest US bank due to "reputational risk" echoed a broad push by tech giants to deplatform and silence dissenting voices by literally freezing them out of the financial system. In the end, following widespread blowback from millions of Americans, JPMorgan reversed, and reactivated Flynn's cards saying the action was made in error, but unfortunately this is just one example of how those in power can lock out any dissenters with the flick of a switch. And while democrats cheer such deplatforming today, the political winds are fickle, and we doubt they will be as excited once they find themselves on the receiving end of such actions. And speaking of censorship and media blackouts, few terms sparked greater response from those in power than the term Ivermectin. Viewed by millions as a cheap, effective alternative to offerings from the pharmaceutical complex, social networks did everything in their power to silence any mention of a drug which the Journal of Antibiotics said in 2017 was an "enigmatic multifaceted ‘wonder’ drug which continues to surprise and exceed expectations." Nowhere was this more obvious than in the discussion of how widespread use of Ivermectin beat Covid in India, the topic of the 14th most popular article of 2021 "India's Ivermectin Blackout" which was read by over 653,000 readers. Unfortunately, while vaccines continue to fail upward and now some countries are now pushing with a 4th, 5th and even 6th vaccine, Ivermectin remains a dirty word. There was more covid coverage in the 13th most popular article of 2021, "Surprise Surprise - Fauci Lied Again": Rand Paul Reacts To Wuhan Bombshell" which was viewed no less than 725,000 times. Paul's reaction came following a report which revealed that Anthony Fauci's NIAID and its parent, the NIH, funded Gain-of-Function research in Wuhan, China, strongly hinting that the emergence of covid was the result of illicit US funding. Not that long ago, Fauci had called Paul a 'liar' for accusing him of funding the risky research, in which viruses are genetically modified or otherwise altered to make them more transmissible to humans. And while we could say that Paul got the last laugh, Fauci still remains Biden's top covid advisor, which may explain why one year after Biden vowed he would shut down the pandemic, the number of new cases just hit a new all time high. One hope we have for 2022 is that people will finally open their eyes... 2021 was not just about covid - soaring prices and relentless inflation were one of the most poignant topics. It got so bad that Biden's approval rating - and that of Democrats in general - tumbled toward the end of the year, putting their mid-term ambitions in jeopardy, as the public mood soured dramatically in response to the explosion in prices. And while one can debate whether it was due to supply-issues, such as the collapse in trans-pacific supply chains and the chronic lack of labor to grow the US infrastructure, or due to roaring demand sparked by trillions in fiscal stimulus, but when the "Big Short" Michael Burry warned that hyperinflation is coming, the people listened, and with over 731,000 reads, the 12th most popular article of 2021 was "Michael Burry Warns Weimar Hyperinflation Is Coming."  Of course, Burry did not say anything we haven't warned about for the past 12 years, but at least he got the people's attention, and even mainstream names such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey agreed with him, predicting that bitcoin will be what is left after the dollar has collapsed. While hyperinflation may will be the endgame, the question remains: when. For the 11th most read article of 2021, we go back to a topic touched upon moments ago when we addressed the full-blown media campaign seeking to discredit Ivermectin, in this case via the D-grade liberal tabloid Rolling Stone (whose modern incarnation is sadly a pale shadow of the legend that house Hunter S. Thompson's unforgettable dispatches) which published the very definition of fake news when it called Ivermectin a "horse dewormer" and claimed that, according to a hospital employee, people were overdosing on it. Just a few hours later, the article was retracted as we explained in "Rolling Stone Issues 'Update' After Horse Dewormer Hit-Piece Debunked" and over 812,000 readers found out that pretty much everything had been a fabrication. But of course, by then it was too late, and the reputation of Ivermectin as a potential covid cure had been further tarnished, much to the relief of the pharma giants who had a carte blanche to sell their experimental wares. The 10th most popular article of 2021 brings us to another issue that had split America down the middle, namely the story surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse and the full-blown media campaign that declared the teenager guilty, even when eventually proven innocent. Just days before the dramatic acquittal, we learned that "FBI Sat On Bombshell Footage From Kyle Rittenhouse Shooting", which was read by over 822,000 readers. It was unfortunate to learn that once again the scandal-plagued FBI stood at the center of yet another attempt at mass misinformation, and we can only hope that one day this "deep state" agency will be overhauled from its core, or better yet, shut down completely. As for Kyle, he will have the last laugh: according to unconfirmed rumors, his numerous legal settlements with various media outlets will be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  And from the great US social schism, we again go back to Covid for the 9th most popular article of 2021, which described the terrifying details of one of the most draconian responses to covid in the entire world: that of Australia. Over 900,000 readers were stunned to read that the "Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts To Quarantine Camps." Alas, the latest surge in Australian cases to nosebleed, record highs merely confirms that this unprecedented government lockdown - including masks and vaccines - is nothing more than an exercise in how far government can treat its population as a herd of sheep without provoking a violent response.  The 8th most popular article of 2021 looks at the market insanity of early 2021 when, at the end of January, we saw some of the most-shorted, "meme" stocks explode higher as the Reddit daytrading horde fixed their sights on a handful of hedge funds and spent billions in stimmies in an attempt to force unprecedented ramps. That was the case with "GME Soars 75% After-Hours, Erases Losses After Liquidity-Constrained Robinhood Lifts Trading Ban", which profiled the daytrading craze that gave an entire generation the feeling that it too could win in these manipulated capital markets. Then again, judging by the waning retail interest, it is possible that the excitement of the daytrading army is fading as rapidly as it first emerged, and that absent more "stimmies" markets will remain the playground of the rich and central banks. Kyle Rittenhouse may soon be a very rich man after the ordeal he went through, but the media's mission of further polarizing US society succeeded, and millions of Americans will never accept that the teenager was innocent. It's also why with just over 1 million reads, the 7th most read article on Zero Hedge this year was that "Portland Rittenhouse Protest Escalates Into Riot." Luckily, this is not a mid-term election year and there were no moneyed interests seeking to prolong this particular riot, unlike what happened in the summer of 2020... and what we are very much afraid will again happen next year when very critical elections are on deck.  With just over 1.03 million views, the 6th most popular post focused on a viral Twitter thread on Friday from Dr Robert Laone, which laid out a disturbing trend; the most-vaccinated countries in the world are experiencing  a surge in COVID-19 cases, while the least-vaccinated countries were not. As we originally discussed in ""This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit": mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries", this trend has only accelerated in recent weeks with the emergence of the Omicron strain. Unfortunately, instead of engaging in a constructive discussion to see why the science keeps failing again and again, Twitter's response was chilling: with just days left in 2021, it suspended the account of Dr. Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA technology. Which brings to mind something Aaron Rogers said: "If science can't be questioned it's not science anymore it's propaganda & that's the truth." In a year that was marked a flurry of domestic fiascoes by the Biden administration, it is easy to forget that the aged president was also responsible for the biggest US foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, when the botched evacuation of Afghanistan made the US laughing stock of the world after 12 US servicemembers were killed. So it's probably not surprising that over 1.1 million readers were stunned to watch what happened next, which we profiled in the 5th most popular post of 2021, where in response to the Afghan trajedy, "Biden Delivers Surreal Press Conference, Vows To Hunt Down Isis, Blames Trump." One person watching the Biden presser was Xi Jinping, who may have once harbored doubts about reclaiming Taiwan but certainly does not any more. The 4th most popular article of 2021 again has to do with with covid, and specifically the increasingly bizarre clinical response to the disease. As we detailed in "Something Really Strange Is Happening At Hospitals All Over America" while emergency rooms were overflowing, it certainly wasn't from covid cases. Even more curiously, one of the primary ailments leading to an onslaught on ERs across the nation was heart-related issues, whether arrhytmia, cardiac incidents or general heart conditions. We hope that one day there will be a candid discussion on this topic, but until then it remains one of the topics seen as taboo by the mainstream media and the deplatforming overlords, so we'll just leave it at that. We previously discussed the anti-Ivermectin narrative that dominated the mainstream press throughout 2021 and the 3rd most popular article of the year may hold clues as to why: in late September, pharma giant Pfizer and one of the two companies to peddle an mRNA based vaccine, announced that it's launching an accelerated Phase 2/3 trial for a COVID prophylactic pill designed to ward off COVID in those may have come in contact with the disease. And, as we described in "Pfizer Launches Final Study For COVID Drug That's Suspiciously Similar To 'Horse Paste'," 1.75 million readers learned that Pfizer's drug shared at least one mechanism of action as Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic used in humans for decades, which functions as a protease inhibitor against Covid-19, which researchers speculate "could be the biophysical basis behind its antiviral efficiency." Surely, this too was just another huge coincidence. In the second most popular article of 2021, almost 2 million readers discovered (to their "shock") that Fauci and the rest of Biden's COVID advisors were proven wrong about "the science" of COVID vaccines yet again. After telling Americans that vaccines offer better protection than natural infection, a new study out of Israel suggested the opposite is true: natural infection offers a much better shield against the delta variant than vaccines, something we profiled in "This Ends The Debate' - Israeli Study Shows Natural Immunity 13x More Effective Than Vaccines At Stopping Delta." We were right about one thing: anyone who dared to suggest that natural immunity was indeed more effective than vaccines was promptly canceled and censored, and all debate almost instantly ended. Since then we have had tens of millions of "breakout" cases where vaccinated people catch covid again, while any discussion why those with natural immunity do much better remains under lock and key. It may come as a surprise to many that the most read article of 2021 was not about covid, or Biden, or inflation, or China, or even the extremely polarized US congress (and/or society), but was about one of the most long-suffering topics on these pages: precious metals and their prices. Yes, back in February the retail mania briefly targeted silver and as millions of reddit daytraders piled in in hopes of squeezing the precious metal higher, the price of silver surged higher only to tumble just as quickly as it has risen as the seller(s) once again proved more powerful than the buyers. We described this in "Silver Futures Soar 8%, Rise Above $29 As Reddit Hordes Pile In", an article which some 2.4 million gold and silver bugs read with hope, only to see their favorite precious metals slump for much of the rest of the year. And yes, the fact that both gold and silver ended the year sharply lower than where they started even though inflation hit the highest level in 40 years, remains one of the great mysteries of 2021. With all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2022, and the next decade? We don't know: as frequent and not so frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try despite endless allegations that we constantly predict the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2021 (even the Fed admitted it is clueless when Powell said it was time to retire the term "transitory"), which destroyed the reputation of central banks, of economists, of conventional media and the professional "polling" and "strategist" class forever, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of the "expertise class" with their bungled response to the covid pandemic. We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it. We do know, however, that after a record $30 trillion in stimulus was conjured out of thin air by the world's central banks and politicians in the past two years, the attempt to reverse this monetary and fiscal firehose in a world addicted to trillions in newly created liquidity now that central banks are freaking out after finally getting ot the inflation they were hoping to create for so long, will end in tears. We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will eventually be revealed as fully naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 13, we will be there to document every aspect of it. Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2022, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2021 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken system. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 03:44.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 2nd, 2022

Spiderman Mines Crypto: New Torrent Malware Discovered

Hackers and digital criminals are smart. They know how to ensnare today’s consumers and online browsers in their web – by grabbing their attention with the latest trends. Perhaps this is why around 714 million attempted ransomware attacks (134% more than in 2020) were recorded for 2021. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more […] Hackers and digital criminals are smart. They know how to ensnare today’s consumers and online browsers in their web – by grabbing their attention with the latest trends. Perhaps this is why around 714 million attempted ransomware attacks (134% more than in 2020) were recorded for 2021. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Digital access to new movies is one of the most exciting lures today’s malware minions can get their hands on. Spiderman: No Way Home is an excellent example. The movie is one of the most talked-about in the cinematic industry right now. It opened to an official $260 million in earnings, making it the second-biggest box office debut in history. Viewers are keen to get their hands on the movie any way they can, including downloading “leaked” versions from the web. Unfortunately, many desirable files on the internet are often too good to be true. That’s what researchers from ReasonLabs discovered when they uncovered hidden crypto-mining malware threaded into the code of a torrent download for No Way Home. Mining Cryptocurrency With Spiderman ReasonLabs, a cybersecurity detection and prevention software company, reports that the Spiderman malware is intended to mine Monero (XMR), a kind of untraceable, anonymous cryptocurrency commonly used in the Dark Web. Like most clever criminal files, the malware identifies as spiderman_net_putidomoi.torrent.exe, which basically translates from Russian to the no_wayhome torrent. Currently, the malware isn’t signed and written for .net, and it isn’t active in the Virus Total listings. When a user downloads the file, assuming it’s a Spiderman torrent, the code gets to work with svchost.exe, adding exclusions to Windows Defender, spawning watchdogs to help maintain activity, and creating persistence strategies. While you might not be able to see anything happening, the attack will instantly force your computer to start mining cryptocurrency without your knowledge. You might notice the damage in your electricity bill, as your devices draw more power to mine. Miners also generally require high CPU usage, which means your computer functionality will likely slow down too. You might not notice anything until your PC starts to lag, and your electricity bill shoots through the roof. How Did ReasonLabs Find The Malware? ReasonLabs discovered the Spiderman malware (full report here) during a routine search of the files in their database. The company has an astronomical malware database and frequently comes across suspicious files during routine checks. When a suspicious file is encountered, ReasonLabs flags them and cross-checks their presence with other databases. A ReasonLabs user downloaded the Spiderman file, and it was instantly recognized by the database as a new threat. According to ReasonLabs, it’s difficult to say for certain how many times the torrent file has been downloaded, but there’s some evidence the technology has been around for quite some time. Before masquerading as Spiderman, this malware was previously disguised as things like Discord, the Windows Updater, and so on. ReasonLabs is now actively researching the origins of the miner and hopes to provide some additional insights to the public soon. However, there’s a good chance a number of people have already been affected by the issue. Crypto-Miners Becoming A Major Issue The marketplace is becoming more heavily saturated with security issues in today’s digital world, as people spend more time online. Attaching crypto-miners to blockbuster movie files isn’t exactly a new concept. It’s something miners have been using for years to try to trick people into downloading their files. “We’re constantly seeing miners deployed in the guise of common programs, interesting files, popular apps and so on,” ReasonLabs wrote. “Crypto-miners hidden in this technology got very popular in the past few years because they offer easy money.” Attaching malware designed for crypto-mining in the background is called “cryptojacking.” Cybercriminals attach their malware to popular files like the Spiderman film so that they can exponentially increase their crypto mining capability. The more computing power a miner has, the more cryptocurrency they can generate. It’s much cheaper to cryptojack a bunch of computers than it is to invest in a large number of expensive crypto mining rigs. Additionally, Trend Micro warns that the threat to cryptojacked computers goes beyond performance issues, drastically increased power consumption, and wear and tear on the affected machines. The firm said that between January 1 and June 24, 2017, its sensors detected almost 4,900 bitcoin miners that triggered over 460,000 bitcoin-mining activities. Trend Micro found that over 20% of the miners also triggered web- and network-based attacks. Files like those promising to be torrents of Spiderman: No Way Home give hackers access to as many victims as possible for their crypto efforts by fooling them into thinking they can get their hands on something they desperately want. Updated on Dec 23, 2021, 4:12 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 23rd, 2021