Bitcoin to Bithumb & more

Friday 28th July 2017
Pick a crypto coin. Courtesy Google

July's meeting at Edinburgh Napier, Merchiston Campus held recently, sychronised happily, or perhaps unhappily with a report of a major breach at Bithumb, one of the world's largest Bitcoin and Ether crypto currency exchanges. This resulted in the loss of more than $1 Million in crypto currencies after a number of user accounts were compromised.

In this case, according to Bithumb, the breach itself was of data stored outside of the company’s assets on a personal computer. That brings up the question of data security in organisations, and the ability for employees to take sensitive information with them when they’re working out of the office. Part of this is due to the rapidly changing work environment, where employees get more remote access to company resources which in itself poses a challenges to IT security departments."

 Addressing the "Future, Blockchain, Smart Contracts & Zero Knowledge Proofs" Bill Buchanan,  (right) Professor in the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University, and a Fellow of the BCS and the IET,  appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to cyber security., He currently leads the Centre for Distributed Computing, Networks, and Security and The Cyber Academy

Susan Ramonat, CEO, Spiritus Partners also contributed to the sesssion. Always driven to provide "over the horizon leadership:" she brings Wall Street experience from over 25 years of executive work there and in banking.  She established the Blockchain program strategy for a leading technology service provider to global wealth and investment managers and is a frequent speaker about Blockchain, cybersecurity and operational resilience for audiences ranging from healthcare, financial services, and other critical infrastructure industries to academic researchers and government agencies in the US and UK.

The  next, August meeting at Edinburgh Napier, Merchiston Campus will be held at 6.00pm  Thursday, August 24, 2017 6:00 PM Edinburgh Napier, Merchiston Campus  (10 Colinton Road, Edinburgh EH10 5DT, Edinburgh ) The School of Informatics is offering a new Bitcoin course for both 4th year students and also 1st year graduates.

  • Scaling blockchain protocols and make energy efficient
  • Evolving blockchain protocols
  • Side-chains
  • Reconciling utility and privacy
  • Privacy preserving transaction processing the block chain.
  • As a service, hardware assisted

The July Blockchain Meetup August was on  Building The Future: Blockchain, Smart Contracts and Zero Knowledge Proofs. Overall  Professor Buchanan has published over 250 academy papers and 27 textbooks, and has a number of patents. His main research focus is around information sharing, such as using Trust and Governance Policies, threat analysis, cryptography, Blockchain, e-Health, and triage within digital forensics.

This has led to several World-wide patents, and in three highly successful spin-out companies: Zonefox; Symphonic Software; and Cyan Forensics ().  Buchanan regularly appears on TV and radio related to computer security, and given evidence to both the UK and Scottish Parliament. He has been named as one of the Top 100 people for Technology in Scotland for every year since 2012, and was also included in the FutureScot "Top 50 Scottish Tech People Who Are Changing The World". Recently his work on Secret Shares received “Innovation of the Year” at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, for a research project which involves splitting data into secret shares, and can then be distributed across a public Cloud-based infrastructure. He was included in the JISC Top 50 Higher Education Social Media Influencers in 2015. 

With amazing synchronicity, the USA report emerged  on a breach at Bithumb, claimed as one of the world's largest Bitcoin and Ether cryptocurrency exchanges. This resulted in the loss of more than $1 Million in crypto currencies,  after a number of its user accounts were compromised.

Commenting (left) Ben Hertzberg, research group manager at Imperva, said "The last few weeks have been dramatic for cryptocurrency and its traders when the market volatility gave opportunities to both honest investors and criminals alike. This is due to the surges in demand for Bitcoin (bringing it to over 2.7K USD, which has now stabilised over the last couple of days at around 2.5K USD) and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum which spiked from “almost 0” to 400$ in a very short while, are now steadied at around 270$.

Attackers can make a lot of money when attacking crypto exchanges due to factors such as the anonymity of the cryptocurrencies, hence the ability to “get rid” of the stolen goods with limited risk, and also by speculating on market prices (especially in specific exchanges or markets) and causing dramatic changes. In many cases this is done by Denial of Service attacks, which are hugely popular against cryptocurrency exchanges.


Announced just now from Bithumb, Korea’s largest bitcoin and digital currency exchange is news that Ethereum Classic (ETC) is preparing to get listed starting next week. The announcement follows last week’s news of the exchange adding support for Litecoin (LTC). Bithumb is not done though, stating “after Etherium Classic opens, another new coin will also be launched.” ETC has performed exceptionally well alongside Ethereum (ETH). Beginning 2017 at $1.50 USD to now $6.35 USD at the time of writing, ETC has increased by more than 300%

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