Cyber Security Practitioner Series brought to you by:
Hack Secure's first dinner series was headlined by Professor Brian Levine of The College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst.
Brian's talk focused on blockchains, and how blockchain-based cryptocurrencies are quickly advancing from simply supporting financial transactions to hosting advanced software services and initial public/coin offerings. He discussed the security of using blockchains for those purposes. He also explains the basic operation and assumptions of blockchains, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, and describes the successes of these platform, as well as the attacks that these systems have suffered.
He then took a look at a few specific cases. For example, in May 2016, an Ethereum-based service called "The DAO" was created as a type of decentralized hedge fund. It raised over US$150M worth of ether during a crowd sale. By June 2016 an attacker began stealing ether from The DAO, but not due to a flaw or vulnerability in Ethereum; rather it was a flaw in the DAO's programming. Also discussed is how in July 2017, a flaw in a software "wallet" for Ethereum allowed an attacker to steal US$30M from some users.