Led 29

Iran May Unveil State-Backed Cryptocurrency This Week

Iran is reportedly expected to announce its state-backed digital currency at the annual Electronic Banking and Payment Systems Conference which starts on January 29th. The move is an attempt to bypass US-imposed economic sanctions. 


Iran-Backed Cryptocurrency

Iran first announced its intentions to launch a state-backed digital currency in the summer of 2018.

The move was occasioned by the fact that the country was set to undergo renewed economic sanctions from the US.

Since then. the country was also kicked out of the Society for Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), which has highlighted the need for an alternative way of moving money even more.

According to a new report by Al Jazeera, the country may be announcing the state-backed cryptocurrency on January 29 at the annual Electronic Banking and Payment Systems conference, which this year has a  “blockchain revolution” theme.

The cryptocurrency is expected to roll out in two different phases. The first phase will reportedly involve the issuance of a rial-backed digital token, which shall facilitate payments between local banks and other actively participating institutions.

The other phase will include the launch if an instrument that will enable retail use, i.e. currency.

Alternative to SWIFT?

While it’s currently unclear whether ‘IranCoin’ will be used to facilitate payments between Iran and other countries, it could be positioned by the Iran government as an alternative to SWIFT as Bitcoinist reported last year that Iran and Russia may use cryptocurrencies to bypass US sanctions.

It also wouldn’t be the first time countries are cooperating on creating a joint cryptocurrency. Recently, the UAE and Saudi Arabia announced a joint effort in this regard.

However, it’s questionable whether a state-backed cryptocurrency will provide regular Iranians with access to the global monetary system.

Additionally, the report notes that because ‘IranCoin’ will be nothing like Bitcoin and entirely centralized, it will likely fall short of circumventing any sanctions. This is because the US will guarantee it has no place in any credible international exchange just like the rial.

Speaking on the matter, blockchain and cryptocurrency developer, Yashar Rashedi explained:

They certainly can’t replace the likes of bitcoin due to their centralized nature, but their existence is harmless. […] Even as CBCCs may never find widespread everyday use among the general public, they may be able to offer some new features to startups and developers that had to work with centralized bank APIs before them.

Do you think a state-backed cryptocurrency will help Iran combat US-imposed sanctions? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Dub 15

Global Banking System Under Threat As Hackers Crack NSA, SWIFT Again

· April 15, 2017 · 2:00 pm

Hacker group Shadow Brokers has allegedly proved the US National Security Agency (NSA) hacked SWIFT international banking network.


NSA ‘Documents And Files’ Show SWIFT Transactions ‘Monitored’

In “documents and files” released Friday, Reuters reports, the group said it had evidence the NSA used SWIFT to “monitor money flows among some Middle Eastern and Latin American banks.”

The news marks the second time Shadow Brokers has laid claim to compromising NSA secrets. In August 2016, the group said it had entered an agency affiliate and taken details of cyberweapons, which it planned to auction for one million bitcoins.

If true, it is also a further blow to SWIFT, which last year recorded several high-level security failures worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

“NSA hacked a bunch of banks, oil and investment companies in Palestine, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen, more,” Mustafa Al-Bassam, computer science researcher at University College London, commented on the findings.

Bitcoin Core Dev: Implications Beyond Spying ‘Burning Question’

Reactions from within the cryptocurrency community meanwhile focussed on the broader implications of Shadow Brokers’ latest attack.

Core developer Wladimir van der Laan wrote on Twitter “(finding) indication of tools for manipulation of banks/markets, more than spying” was now the “burning question.”

As the traditional financial system comes under increasing threat from cyber criminals, Bitcoin could emerge as the go-to method for storing wealth thanks to its decentralized blockchain and SHA 256 encryption, especially when compared to the ‘honeypot’ of banks’ centralized databases.

Microsoft Back In Spying Spotlight

The released data does not only focus on SWIFT, but also on Microsoft. Having been outed as involved in NSA spying activities by Wikileaks’ Vault 7 dump in March, the corporation this time is facing stolen code for compromising Windows, “at least some of which still work.”

In a responsorial statement, Microsoft protested ignorance. No official correspondence regarding the threat had been received.

“Other than reporters, no individual or organization has contacted us in relation to the materials released by Shadow Brokers,” it told Reuters.

Windows 10

Regarding the specifics of the SWIFT hack, it appears Dubai-headquarted service bureau Eastnets could be a major target.

Like Microsoft, the SWIFT intermediary denied any malicious activity had occurred.

The reports of an alleged hacker-compromised EastNets Service Bureau network is totally false and unfounded,” the BBC quotes a spokesperson as saying. “The EastNets Network Internal Security Unit has run a complete check of its servers and found no hacker compromise or any vulnerabilities.”

NSA spying activities are claimed to have affected not just companies, but politicians and even everyday consumers.

As part of Vault 7, WikiLeaks suggested end-user electronic devices such as smartphones and smart TVs could have become microphones for intelligence officers to listen in on.

Even Donald Trump and his family may have fallen victim.

What do you think about the Shadow Brokers’ latest claims? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Swift, Twitter, Shutterstock

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US Banking Regulators Warn About Imminent Swift Attacks

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Swift Breaches

US Regulators are scrutinizing the Swift payment network in light of the recent heists which have taken place. That is not a complete surprise, as there is plenty of cause for concern. Things have gotten so dire; the US regulators have warned banks about more imminent threats to their cyber security.

Also read: Hacker Sells Twitter Data Dump On Deep Web For 10 Bitcoin

Ever since the various attacks made against banks connected to the Swift network became public knowledge, there has been a lot of concern among financial regulators. Albeit the hackers used smaller banks to gain access to the Swift network, regulators feel the interbank protocol is no longer safe.

Swift Is Not Adequately Protecting Its Partners

Moreover, they feel all connected banks should do their due diligence and fortify cyber security as they see fit. This is a lot easier said than done, though, considering how smaller banks do not have the budget nor staff to counter these cyber threats in an efficient manner.

Several vulnerabilities have been exposed during these breaches. Given the diversity of the Swift system, patching all of these critical flaws will take a lot of time and effort. Until these fixes are implemented, the protocol remains vulnerable to attack, and it is not unlikely new attacks will follow.

If it were up to Swift officials, however, they would rather cut off smaller banks with subpar security standards. Ever since the small bank breaches were announced, the interbank network has done everything they can to put the blame on their partners. This has caught the attention of regulators all over the world, and especially in the United States.

Note from the author: It remains unclear who is the “guilty party” in these incidents. The investigations are still ongoing as we speak. 

The US Federal Financial Examination Council issued a warning to all Swift-connected banks. This assortment of banking regulators strongly feels Swift cannot protect its partners in an adequate manner, and banks should take matters into their own hands.

But that is not all, as the FFIEC warned how unauthorized transactions will cause losses to the originating bank, as well as result in compliance breaches penalties. So far, the FBI has been investigating various security breaches. However, regulators and banks are on high alert ever since the attempted heist in April of 2016.

Do you think there will be more attacks against the Swift interbank network? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Finance Magnates

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, FFIEC

The post US Banking Regulators Warn About Imminent Swift Attacks appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

US Banking Regulators Warn About Imminent Swift Attacks

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