Category Archives: Chrome

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Hardware Wallet Sales Booming as Nano S Tops 1.3 Million Units

French crypto hardware manufacturer Ledger has now sold over 1.3 million units of its Nano S wallets, according to a recent blog on their website.

The peak sales come at a time when the demand for such devices is on an all-time high. The changing trend is quite evident by the sales numbers of Ledger Nano S as well as its rival Trezor’s recently launched Model T which has interested buyers in a long waitlist. Also, the Nano S is now available over the counter as a dutyfree item at Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport, such is its popularity, particularly amongst travellers.

Such wallets, promoted as being unhackable and therefore the safer way of storing coins and conducting transactions, gained some critics earlier this year when Bitfi, with a new wallet on the market, challenged anyone to hack the device.  15-year-old Saleem Rashid took on the task successfully, which resulted in BitFi withdrawing its guarantee.

CEO Eric Larchevêque claims that Ledger is planning updates to tighten the security of the hot-selling nano with “a chip designed specifically to resist highly skilled attackers and a custom OS designed specifically to protect crypto assets.”

Ledger has a clear run in the market with Trezor the only other major competitor in the sector to date. Trezor had reputed sales of 800,000 units some months ago, but this wasn’t confirmed by the company. There are others on the market, but as yet they have presented no challenge to the top two hard-wallet leaders.

Although advertised as a reliable storage option, these wallets have incurred problems in the past and Ledger has had its own issues, resulting in a temporary shut down of its Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) infrastructures in August. The resulting outcome was that Ledger announced that there had been no hack, but a glitch that occurred due to a “side effect when [it] pushed an update to invite users to use the Ledger Live instead of the Chrome app.” A refund of any funds lost was offered to users.

The market is booming despite the occasional unit glitch, due to investors’ needs for a portable, safe way of storing their crypto with an easy recovery option, should units be lost or damaged; attributes which most of these units on the market provide.

Ledger also announced recently that it will be expanding its business into cryptocurrency custodianship, and is planning another major investment round that has already sparked interest from Google, Siemens, and Samsung, which may bring their valuation up to USD 1 billion.

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Google To Implement Complete Ban Of Chrome Mining Extensions

American multinational technology company Google has announced plans to have all cryptocurrency mining extensions on Chrome removed by June 2018.

Mining extensions targetted by crypto jackers

The written statement released on 2 April cites the reasoning for this action as non-compliance from developers with Google’s service standards. The statement notes a recent rise in ”malicious extensions” that appear functional but run unauthorized cryptocurrency mining scripts unbeknown to the user.

These embedded scripts often consume a significant amount of CPU resources, leading to a vast increase in power consumption and a negative impact on the computer’s system performance. Google illustrates in a diagram that can be found on the post, how CPU usage can increase almost 75% when the hidden software is running. The new measures taken by Google are to protect users from this form of crypto jacking.

Google described the ban as a way of  ”ensuring that Chrome users can enjoy the benefits of extensions without exposing themselves to hidden risks”. The Chrome Web Store was described by Google as the target of malicious software developers looking to exploit users through the mining extensions.

90% of extensions failed to comply

Google had previously allowed mining software that complied with their standards to run on Chrome extensions. However, the company had to recently remove 90% of cryptocurrency mining extensions as they did not meet the criteria necessary: mining being the sole purpose of the extension, and that the user be adequately informed about the mining behavior.

This move from Google comes after the tech conglomerate announced a ban of ICO and cryptocurrency advertisements on both its display-ads and on Youtube.

Google has not restricted the use blockchain-related applications for other purposes as long as they comply with policy standards. The Chrome Web Store still lists a number of cryptocurrency wallet extensions.

Preventing unwanted crypto mining

As crypto jackers have developed mining scripts embedded into web extensions and websites, software engineers have created various ways to prevent this.

Google Chrome offers extensions such as No Coin as a protective extension that stops coin mining on the Chrome browser. When a website that is attempting to mine is detected, it flags the website with a red symbol and allows the user to temporarily whitelist the website.
MinerBlock is another similar Chrome extension, working as an open-source tool that can be used to block cryptocurrency mining in the Chrome web browser.

 

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