Short explanation of Bitcoin and why its value has just been halved the second time in its history

The Bitcoin is unlike any other legal currency printed by governments. The origins date back to 2008 and is one of the first iteration of the crypto-currency. The Bitcoin is decentralized, in opposition to the regular centralized bank system. While a government decides when to print money and is ultimately responsible for printing it, the bitcoins are created at a known rate and its distribution is limited. We’re going to look at some of the basics behind the Bitcoin to better understand what this change means.

The Bitcoin network is based on the so called blockchain. It’s a public and shared registry in which are contained informations regarding the transactions between the users in chronological order. From here descends the term of bitcoin mining in which the word “mining” may even be kind of misleading. Each time a transaction is made, it has to receive confirmations in order to not lead to phenomena like double-spending where someone would spend the same amount of bitcoin twice (imagine going to the baker and buy 1 euro worth of bread; rather than handing it over to the baker you keep it along with the bread to buy something else). Larger transactions are more likely to get confirmed first, with 6 confirmations regarded as a good spot at which the transaction is considered to be relatively safe. Read More…

IBM launches a quantum computer as a cloud service

IBM launches a quantum computer as a cloud service

Every current computer, tablet or smartphone uses processors. They may have different architectures, but they all share the fact they’re made with silicon. Data is processed as a series of 0 and 1, corresponding to off and on states of tiny transistors inside the chips. To give you an idea of how small these transistors are, inside a modern day chip there can be billions of them. That’s how binary computers work, through the bit, but today IBM made a quantum computer available through the web as a cloud service to give a taste of its power to the public… and it’s not quite your average consumer device. Read More…

The Apple vs FBI opens up again as the latter requests again the tech giant to unlock another iPhone

The last debate regarding the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone 5C has been closed just hours before the beginning of the legal trial. The FBI had claimed to have found a way to unlock the phone even without the help of Apple through third parties. We still don’t know how it did happen, although some suggest a technique called NAND mirroring, but soon after the FBI closed the case and seemingly ended it there.
Turns out that whatever technique they used to decrypt the locked iPhone 5C is not universal for every other iPhone. After having arrested a drug dealer in New York, thus sequestrating his newer iPhone, they found out it could not be accessed at all.

As FBI has claimed, they have a way to unlock iPhones that are older than the iPhone 5 (included). Up from the 5s the security measures in place are too good to overcome (should be noted that when Apple transitioned from the 5 to 5s, the CPU architecture moved from 32 bit to 64 bit). Read More…

Why Apple shouldn’t develop a backdoor for iOS as requested by the FBI following San Bernardino events

FBI (a.k.a. USA Federal Bureau Investigation) wants one of the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5C unlocked by Apple; even though it seems an easy matter, Apple doesn’t want to comply. And they have more than good reasons to do so.

First of all, Apple isn’t siding with terrorists: many big tech companies like Google and Microsoft have expressed their support. They already provided their stored backups of the device and did everything they could to help the investigators: however Cupertino does not want to decrypt the device itself by breaking its passcode protection. Since iOS 8, Apple deleted the encryption keys of their customer’s devices from their servers: in other words, not even they can access the stored data because they don’t have any way to do so anymore. As a result, the FBI is locked out of the phone and so is Apple… more or less.

Due to the security measures of iOS, FBI has requested Apple to develop a very particular version of their mobile operative system by introducing a backdoor that would let them brute force the passcode with the speed of modern computers, something they can’t do with the iOS we all know. By “brute forcing” we mean trying to input every possible combination electronically: Apple doesn’t let this happen in two ways: by wiping the data after 10 failed attempts, or by repeatedly disabling the device after too many wrong attempts. Read More…

Apple’s iOS 9 update may render your iPhone 6 useless

When iOS 9 launched some users had been hit with an “error 53” message at the end of the process. Rather than updating the device, it made some Apple iPhone 6’s owners a brick. Little was known about this cryptic error: Apple only knew that it was an unrecoverable system failure and the fix was to change the device with a new one (paying for it of course).

Error 53 would show up if the home button assembly had been repaired by a third-party rather than Apple itself: this is common practice among users as third-parties ask a fraction for the service compared to Apple. A large number of users found themselves forced to pay for a replacement when iOS 9 was made publicly available, and now we know why.

The home button on the iPhone 6 also houses the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. While it is extremely handy for unlocking the device, it’s also used for more important things like purchases on the App Store, Apple Pay and sometimes to access sensible information. The Touch ID sensor that comes with the iPhone has a unique pairing with the device itself: replacing the component causes this pair to fail, and locks you out permanently from using this feature at all, including all of those that depend on it. It’s meant to be a security feature to prevent that somebody could replaced the original Touch ID with a malicious one. When updating the device to a newer release of iOS additional security checks are the cause of the fatal error 53 that permanently makes the iPhone useless. Read More…

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