Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking

It has been a while, I know. For that I am sorry. Dee is taking a short break, and I was at a loss on what to talk about next. There is no shortage of tech and tools, but I haven’t had the chance to tinker with many new ones. Interesting developments like the Ethereum fork in response to a Parity hack had plenty of coverage by individuals who are more knowledgeable than I. Also, debates abound about how deeply librarians really need to understand blockchain. I think it is uncontroversial to say* that librarians need to at least have it on their radar. So, this post is going to cover cryptojacking.

Cryptojacking is a new term created to described when websites embed coding that coopts your PC’s hardware to mine for cryptocurrency. This wonderful new addition to the world of malicious code was graciously brought forth by the website CoinHive. CoinHive provides a bit of javascript code that can be added to website causing the computers of anyone who visits the site to be used to mine Monero, a cryptocurrency, for the website owner. CoinHive, for their efforts, takes a cut of the proceeds.

The result in many cases is that the user’s computer’s performance tanks as their resources are being co-opted to mine currency for third parties. Much like the sneaky tracking cookies of old**, there is no notice of this pirating of computer resources. While news of this began several months ago, it is continuing to pick up steam as it has been found on free Starbucks Wi-Fi networks.

Thankfully, there are now extensions for browsers to block the script or you can simply beef up existing ad blockers by adding the site to the block list (as described in the above link). Review the options that work best for you, and protect your computers!

-Cas

*famous last words
**Old as in big news of the past, not as in no longer an issue.

Advertisements

Eclipse Online

Eclipse Online

Glasses prices are skyrocketing, and more people are looking to their local libraries to provide them with glasses. Unfortunately many have or will run out, and others never had the funds to get them. To help assuage the frustrated patron, I have made a flyer pointing to some great sites hosting live streams of the eclipse. You can find links to it at the end.

Here’s a little more information on the links in the flyer.

  • The NASA Live Stream will host “a four-hour show, Eclipse Across America, with unprecedented live video of the celestial event, along with coverage of activities in parks, libraries, stadiums, festivals and museums across the nation, and on social media.” It will be broad cast from telescopes, airplanes, and high altitude balloons (HAB). Some of the HAB footage will be coming from the Eclipse Ballooning Project, a collaborative project with students in 25 locations along the eclipse path in North America.
  • Slooh is a website that touts itself as “Syndicate Live Telescope Coverage.” They will be streaming live from their telescope in Stanley, Idaho, with commentary from Slooh astronomers.
  • A second NASA hosted stream is NASA Edge. It will feature interviews with scientists, educational content, and telescope feeds.

Continue reading “Eclipse Online”

Dark Web or Deep Web? Blockwhat? Deciphering the Language of the Internet

Dark Web or Deep Web? Blockwhat? Deciphering the Language of the Internet

I got a question from a colleague about the difference between the dark and deep web. Trying to explain the difference clearly and quickly took effort. However, I think many people want a quick “what is [term]?” So here is my effort at tl;dr* friendly explanations of some terminology that keeps popping up in today’s conversations about the internet.

DEEP WEB

The deep web is the term to refer to all of the internet content that for one reason or another cannot be indexed by search engines because blocks such as of paywalls or security measures. Think databases, medical records, or encrypted sites. The dark web is part of the deep web, but not all of the deep web is dark.

DARK WEB

The dark web is the term for a collection of sites that mask their IP address so it is difficult, if not impossible to find out where the servers originate. Most of these sites run encryption, like TOR, see below, which means that they cannot be accessed by normal browsers. In simplest terms, both the site and the user agree to talk only when both are anonymous. The dark web is not only used for illicit drugs and sex trade, it is also used to help whistleblowers or to avoid censorshipContinue reading “Dark Web or Deep Web? Blockwhat? Deciphering the Language of the Internet”