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Bitcoin Mining Banned In Plattsburg New York


Thursday evening, the city council in Plattsburgh, New York unanimously voted to impose an 18-month ban on Bitcoin mining in the city.

Mining is the extremely energy-intensive computational process that secures the Bitcoin blockchain and rewards miners with bitcoins. The Bitcoin ban was proposed by Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read earlier this month after local residents began complaing about wildly inflated electricity bills in January. The ban affects only new commercial Bitcoin operations and will not affect companies that are already

Most cryptocurrencies require a “mining” process in which servers are used to guess the solution to a complex equation—the computer that gets the answer gets the newly minted coin. It takes a lot of electricity to be a miner, and the ones who are successful tend to use a large network of mining rigs. To cut down on their energy expenses, miners have flocked to cities with cheap power and we’re just beginning to learn what cost that brings for the municipalities themselves.

Photo: Getty

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Records Reveal FBI Paid Best Buy Geek Squad As Informants

EFF filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice in May 2017 seeking records about the FBI’s training and use of Best Buy Geek Squad employees to conduct warrantless searches of customers’ computers.

A federal prosecution of a doctor in California revealed that the FBI has been working for several years to cultivate informants in Best Buy’s national repair facility in Brooks, Kentucky, including reportedly paying eight Geek Squad employees as informants.

EFF sent a FOIA request to the FBI in February 2017 seeking agency records about the use of informants, training of Best Buy personnel in the detection and location of child pornography on computers, and policy statements about using informants at computer repair facilities.The FBI denied the request, saying it doesn’t confirm or deny that it has records that would reveal whether a person or organization is under investigation. A suit  was filed after the Department of Justice failed to respond to our administrative appeal of the FBI’s initial denial.



New Ransomeware Thanatos On The Prowl


When the Thanatos Ransomware infects a computer it will use a new key for each encrypted file. The problem, according to researcher Francesco Muroni, is that these keys are never saved anywhere. This means that if a user pays the ransom, the ransomware developer does not have a method that will actually be able to decrypt each file. Therefore, it is not recommended that victims pay the Thanatos ransom for any reason.

While the encryption part of Thanatos is a mess, the ransomware  is the first to accept Bitcoin Cash as a ransom payment.

While Thanatos accepts both Bitcoin and Etherum as a ransom payment, this is the first time that Bitcoin Cash has been accepted as shown in the ransom note below.

Thanatos Ransom Note

Thanatos Ransom Note

How Thanatos Encrypts a File

When encrypting files it will append the .THANATOS extension to an encrypted file’s name. For example, a file named test.jpg would be encrypted and renamed as test.jpg.THANATOS.

Thanatos Encrypted Files
Thanatos Encrypted Files

After the encryption process is completed, it will then connect to URL in order to keep track of the amount of victims that have been infected.

Finally, it will generate an autorun key called “Microsoft Update System Web-Helper” that opens the README.txt ransom note every time a user logs in. This ransom note can be seen in the article’s previous section.

This ransom note contains instructions to send a $200 USD ransom payment to one of the listed Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Bitcoin Cash addresses. The user is then instructed to contact with their unique victim ID in order to receive a decryption program.

 If anyone is infected with this ransomware, they should contact us about the possible creation of a brute force program.

How to protect yourself from the Thanatos Ransomware

 First and foremost, you should always have a reliable and tested backup of your data that can be restored in the case of an emergency, such as a ransomware attack.

You should also have security software that incorporates behavioral detections to combat ransomware and not just signature detections or heuristics.  For example, Emsisoft Anti-Malware and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware both contain behavioral detection that can prevent many, if not most, ransomware infections from encrypting a computer.

Last, but not least, make sure you practice the following security habits, which in many cases are the most important steps of all:

  • Backup, Backup, Backup!
  • Do not open attachments if you do not know who sent them.
  • Do not open attachments until you confirm that the person actually sent you them,
  • Scan attachments with tools like VirusTotal.
  • Make sure all Windows updates are installed as soon as they come out! Also make sure you update all programs, especially Java, Flash, and Adobe Reader. Older programs contain security vulnerabilities that are commonly exploited by malware distributors. Therefore it is important to keep them updated.
  • Make sure you use have some sort of security software installed that uses behavioral detections or white list technology. White listing can be a pain to train, but if your willing to stock with it, could have the biggest payoffs.

Expert System “Virtual Psychiatrist” Effective In Diagnosing Disorders


India has a severe shortage of psychiatrists and as a result, mental illness in rural areas remain undiagnosed or does not get the proper treatment. Indian researchers have developed a virtual tool to help address this problem. It has been found that it can be used by non-psychiatrists and is as effective as a diagnosis by specialists. The expert system is called clinical decision support system (CDSS) for diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders was developed at the Department of Psychiatry of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. 

The tool covers 18 common mental disorders-delirium, dementia, mania, depression, dysthymia, psychosis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, reaction to severe stress and adjustment disorder, somatoform disorder, dissociative disorder, neurasthenia, sexual dysfunctions, alcohol dependence, substance dependence and mental retardation.

Mental health care is mostly unavailable or inaccessible in most parts of  India. About 90 percent patients in need of psychiatric treatment do not get it due to lack of psychiatrists. That gap is filled by creating a virtual psychiatrist. The expert system can assist a non-medical person to interview a patient with mental disorders leading to an automated diagnosis. The ICT technology is very simple to use, just a computer, broadband internet, Skype and a telephone line. Telepsychiatry holds the potential to solve the massive and intertwined problems of underdiagnosing and undertreating persons with mental illness and the lack of trained workforce at the grassroots level. 


Gaming Disorder The New Mental Illness 2018



The newly classified gaming disorder is now included as an affliction. Those who suffer from the disorder are said to have “impaired control over gaming. Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour (‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline, manifested by: 1) impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context); 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.

Trends In eLearning

6 Emerging Technology Trends Changing eLearning

Virtual Reality (VR)

VR can transmit students to the farthest corners of the universe in just a blink of an eye and surround them with an engaging and deeply educational environment. Students will no longer be stuck with pages upon pages of boring text, bullet points, and illustrations, but they will have a chance to actually go through the experience and get the most out of it instead.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. This, also, includes real-world sensory input like video, graphics, or sound [2].

When it comes to eLearning, Augmented Reality can make the learning process more interesting and easier to grasp. For instance, if you were an online instructor and your target subject was astronomy, you could offer your students a virtual tour of Mars without asking anyone to leave their home.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence is referred to the intelligence displayed by machines, as opposed to natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals [3]. It is revolutionizing the whole eLearning experience due to the many advantages it has to offer. AI can help highlight areas that require improvement and assist students in focusing on areas where they are lagging.

Big Data

If an employee is interacting with a training module based around company policies, their progress, social sharing, assessment results, and another relevant date that is being generated throughout the eLearning course is referred to as “big data”.

Big Data allows eLearning experts to understand how the users are digesting the information and which learning aspects appeal the most to them. In addition to that, it allows them to pinpoint learning interactions that should be fine-tuned within the eLearning module or course.

Wearable Devices

Wearable devices also referred to as wearables, are smart electronic devices that can be worn on the body as accessories or implants

Machine Learning

Machine Learning is a field of computer science that gives computers the capacity to learn without being directly programmed.

DNS Service That Protects You From Cybercrime


It’s called the Quad9 Domain Name System (DNS) service and it is designed to protect internet users from accessing sketchy websites that are known for spreading malware, stealing personal information and fraudulent activity.

Once set as your DNS service, every time you click on a web link, Quad9 will check the site against IBM-X-Force’s threat intelligence database of over 40 billion analyzed webpages and images.


1. Pull up Network Connections by right-clicking on the Start menu.

2. Now click on “Change adapter options.” You’ll see your current network; right click and choose Properties.

Steps 2

3. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties.

Steps 3

4. On the Preferred DNS server field, type in, then click OK.


Mac users, don’t despair. Here are the steps to change your DNS settings on a MacOS:


1. Open Settings, then select Network. Click on the Advanced button.

2. Next, go to the DNS tab.

3. Click the plus (+) sign on this tab, then type in

4. Press OK and you’re set!

Note: You’ll need administrator rights to make these changes.


Checking for updates is a critical step to your computer, gadgets and installed software and applications. The reason for this is two-fold. First, you can take advantage of all the new features and improvements to the new version.

Source: IBM


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