Crypto shock for investors after CEO dies with passwords for USD145 mn kitty
Highlighting the risks in the poorly-regulated cryptocurrency market, death of entrepreneur Gerald Cotten in India who was the owner of Canada's biggest cryptocurrency exchange Quadriga has left thousands of his investors in a quandary.
Cotten who died in a Jaipur hospital in December has plunged Quadriga into crisis and left it struggling to figure out how to refund more than 100,000 of its users as only he had access to $145 million of bitcoin and other digital assets.
With his death, the passwords that can unlock the cryptocurrencies are now gone as his laptop and smartphone are highly encrypted.
"Many of the digital currencies held by Quadriga are stored offline in accounts known as 'cold wallets', a way of protecting them from hackers and Cotten is the only person with access to the wallets, according to the company," CNN reported.
Cotten, 30, died due to complications with Crohn's disease while travelling in India.
"For the past weeks, we have worked extensively to address our liquidity issues, which include attempting to locate and secure our very significant cryptocurrency reserves held in cold wallets. Unfortunately, these efforts have not been successful," Quadriga said in a statement on its website.
Cotten's widow, Jennifer Robertson, said in the affidavit posted online that the laptop that Cotten used to run the currency exchange is encrypted.
"I do not know the password or recovery key. Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere," she said.
The company has hired an investigator to see if any information could be retrieved but ongoing efforts have had only "limited success in recovering a few coins" and some information from Cotten's computer and phone, BBC reported.
The Canadian High Commission in New Delhi told CNN that it was aware of Cotten's death and had "provided consular assistance," but declined to reveal further details.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.



Japan Takes the Lead To Understand Dangers of IoT
Several security experts have been pointing out the dangers posed by Internet of Things (IoT) devices which are too vulnerable in terms of data sharing and, thus, may endanger the lives of users. Now, the Japanese government has decided to undertake penetration tests against all the IoT devices in their country to figure out what is insecure and help consumers secure these 'smart' devices. 
In February 2019, Japanese authorities would test password security of over 200 million IoT devices, starting with routers and webcams. Devices in people's homes and on enterprise networks will also be tested. Many citizens are calling this unnecessary, especially for password security. But, as we all know, password is, often, the weakest link in the electronic world and makes all smart devices and people vulnerable to frauds. 
As I had explained in my article “Internet of Things: A Frankenstein?” (Moneylife, 28 Apr-11 May 2017), IoT is the inter-networking of physical (smart) devices, vehicles, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators and network connectivity, that enable these objects to collect and exchange data. 
The ‘things’, in the IoT sense, refer to a wide variety of devices, such as heart-monitoring implants, bio-chip transponders, electric clams, automobiles with built-in sensors, DNA analysis devices and field operation devices that assist fire-fighters in search & rescue operations, to name a few.
Everybody loves to flaunt their new gadgets. However, a majority are not even aware of the security and safety issues involved. IoT devices are one such example. The main reason being that all IoT devices available in India are ‘tiny computers’. 
There are three inter-connected aspects which define IoT: sensors, processors to analyse and actuators. In other words, sensors are the eyes and ears, smart processors are the brain and actuators are hands and feet of the IoT. This is the classic definition of a robot. Unfortunately, none of the IoT devices has any embedded security measure or offers it as add-on.
IoT devices, such as cheap webcams, mobile phones, medical devices, smart-watches, anti-theft devices, drones and routers, are not designed with security in mind. The main reason is that these devices are produced on a mass scale, mostly in ‘copy-past mode’ rather than through research and development (R&D). 
In addition, programme codes need constant monitoring to keep an eye on vulnerability and take immediate measures to rectify it. Often, manufacturers have no time and resources to pay attention on program codes; this ultimately ends up in poorly written codes for their IoT devices. This leads to user vulnerabilities. 
As per reports, earlier this year, Spiral Toys, which sells CloudPets, the Internet-connected teddy bears that allow parents and kids to exchange messages, was found exposing the credentials of over 800,000 of its customers and two million messages. 
In October 2016, a botnet, made up of about 100,000 compromised gadgets partially knocked off Dyn, an Internet infrastructure-provider. Taking down Dyn resulted in a cascade of effects that, ultimately, caused a long list of high-profile websites, including Twitter and Netflix, to temporarily disappear from the Internet.
In 2018, researchers at the Princeton University found several popular IoT devices sharing user information with third parties without the knowledge of the user. The user may not even know which companies or third parties are receiving her personal information from IoT devices, whether the IoT device has been hacked, or whether devices with always-on microphones are listening to private conversations. 
Many of us, who love to flaunt such IoT devices, find it as a thing of convenience and, thus, are ready to sacrifice privacy and security. One such example is close circuit TV (CCTV) cameras, which are being promoted as security measures across the country. However, without real-time monitoring and knowing and controlling who is accessing the data, CCTV is just a show piece or, sometimes, a device to identify criminals after the incident. 
Unfortunately, such lack of awareness and knowledge about IoT devices creates a big opportunity for data hungry corporates to measure, collect and analyse and ever-increasing variety of behavioural statistics. 
With increasing production and usage of IoT devices, we are turning ourselves into miniscule parts of a gigantic robot that is getting smarter, more powerful and gaining capabilities, through the inter-connections we are building, without any real control or regulation. 
This is where the Japanese government has shown a willingness to at least understand the issue. As far as India is concerned, the less said the better. Neither the ruling politicians nor the bureaucrats who, effectively, are running the system, have any interest in safety and security, especially for electronic devices and gadgets. 
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Meenal Mamdani

6 months ago

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6 months ago

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Rajan Vaswani

In Reply to Mukesh 6 months ago

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Parimal Shah

6 months ago

Have you cross checked these links at moneylife?
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