A Breakdown of the Recent Data Harvesting Scandal


In recent news, data mining has made headlines, and not exactly for good reasons. For those of you who do not know what data mining is, it is the practice of examining large databases in order to generate new information – which is exactly what the UK-based company, Cambridge Analytica, does (and openly discloses on their website). Data mining collections can be used to influence consumer choices and even political outcomes. Currently, the tech giant Facebook is in the middle of a controversial data-mining scandal.

In a statement from Infosecurity Magazine, Facebook commented that “protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do, and we require the same from people who operate apps on Facebook. In 2015, we learned that a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan lied to us and violated our Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica, a firm that does political, government and military work around the globe. He also passed that data to Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, Inc.”

News sources estimate that 50 million people’s data, mostly in the US, have been harvested and shared without their consent via a 2014 Facebook quiz, which ultimately ended up in the hands of third-parties, according to a report from the Globe and Mail and a whistleblower who previously worked at Cambridge Analytica. Once discovered by Facebook, the company claims to have removed the application and deleted the data that was collected – Cambridge Analytica has made the same claims, and has stated that none of the information collected was used (you can read the official press releases from Cambridge Analytica here). Cambridge Analytica has also stated that “this Facebook data was not used by Cambridge Analytica as part of the services it provided to the Donald Trump presidential campaign; personality targeted advertising was not carried out for this client either. The company has made this clear since 2016 … Cambridge Analytica and its affiliates work with commercial brands and mainstream political parties in democratic elections. We did not work on the Brexit referendum in the UK.”

SolidTrust Pay would like to remind users to read all Privacy and User Agreements before proceeding with any account creation, or before giving consent to applications that request access to personal devices. Should you have any privacy or data collection concerns in regards to SolidTrust Pay, please click here.

Have You Heard of Cryptojacking?

This past week, CBC did an article on a new cybertrend called ‘cryptojacking’. Cryptojacking is when, according to CBC, “hackers infect websites with malicious code that secretly conscripts visitors into an army of cryptocurrency miners. Cryptocurrency mining involves devoting a computer’s processing power to solving a complicated mathematical problem with digital currency offered as a reward … The cryptojacking process is invisible and web surfers typically don’t even realize anything is happening in the background, unless they hear their computer’s fan kick in as the machine is forced to work at its full capacity.” As of late, nearly 50,000 websites have been compromised. Of the 50,000, a lot of those are associated with the WordPress platform, which offers users and business the option to create easy-to-manage websites.

You may be wondering what the big deal is. The thing with cryptojacking is that you will not know if someone is using your computing power to mine cryptocurrency – it goes undetected, starts instantly, and doesn’t require a download. Should this process persist in the long run, your device, be it a mobile phone, iMac, or Windows computer, may literally burnout or become ‘sluggish’ – no one wants that, right? Although this trend isn’t as debilitating as ransomware attacks (remember WannaCry?), it should not be treated as less of an importance.

To help prevent cryptojacking, sources recommend running virus and adware scans regularly, and to be diligent about installing software updates. A simple solution is to close all screens when you are done with them after browsing the internet. This suggestion has a future pitfall – cybercriminals may find ways to install mining programs on your computer, despite all the browsing windows being closed. As mentioned previously, cryptojacking goes largely undetected, but developments are being made to detect the shady techniques early on.  

Beyond Bitcoin! Discover the Alternatives!

If you are new to the Altcoin scene, this article is for you! Altcoins are cryptocurrency alternatives that are following the success of the popular and trailblazing Bitcoin. Altcoins are everything and anything that Bitcoins aren’t. For example, a lot of the alternate currencies offer quicker transaction speeds, lower fees and are generally cheaper to invest in.

There are now over 1300+ Altcoins out there. With so many alternative coins, the question remains: which one should you *invest in? SolidTrust Pay has compiled a suggestion list below to help guide you through the growing world of Altcoins.


Image result for steem

1. Steem – Steem has some top-notch incentives. This currency has no fees and has one of the fastest transaction rates around. As defined on their website, Steem “is a blockchain-based rewards platform for publishers to monetize content and grow the community.” As a member, you are rewarded for content creation, and you don’t have to worry about overly technical matters – perfect for beginners. Steem has also processed more transactions per second in the past 18 months than Bitcoin or Ethereum. For more information, see https://steem.io/.

Image result for Ethereum2. Ethereum – According to their website, Ethereum “is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference. These apps run on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property.” With the Ethereum platform, you have the option to design and issue your own cryptocurrency! For more information, see https://www.ethereum.org/.

Image result for Litecoin3. Litecoin – Dubbed as ‘the silver to Bitcoin’s gold’, Litecoin has shown the most promise of any other Altcoin. This currency offers fast transaction times and has improved storage facility. As a side note, according to the Litecoin website, “with substantial industry support, trade volume and liquidity, Litecoin is a proven medium of commerce complementary to Bitcoin.” Let’s not forget that this Altcoin is predicted to produce 84 million Litecoins, which is “4 times as many currency units as Bitcoin”. As it stands, there really is no alarming pitfalls with this Altcoin. For more information, see https://litecoin.org/.

Image result for ripple4. Ripple – With a growing global network and claiming to be better than any blockchain, Ripple provides new, competitive cross-border payment services for their customers. The platform offers connectivity across payment networks, instant, on-demand settlement, real-time traceability of funds and low operational and liquidity costs. As stated on their website, “in order to maintain healthy XRP markets, it’s a top priority for Ripple to have XRP listed on top digital asset exchanges, making it broadly accessible worldwide. Ripple has dedicated resources to the initiative so you can expect ongoing progress toward increasing global liquidity.” Arguably, Ripple in is it for the long haul, and that can easily translate into stability and prosperity. For more information, see https://ripple.com/.

Image result for bitcoin cash5. Bitcoin Cash – Also promising low fees and reliable confirmation is Bitcoin Cash (not to be confused with Bitcoin). With a network that runs without congestion, is easy to use and allows you to send the currency globally for pennies, this Altcoin has the promise of longevity. The Bitcoin Cash website states that “in 2017, [Bitcoin] capacity hit the ‘invisible wall’. Fees skyrocketed, and Bitcoin became unreliable, with some users unable to get their transactions confirmed, even after days of waiting. Bitcoin’s market price has increased, but its growth and usefulness as a currency has stagnated. Many users, merchants, businesses and even investors left Bitcoin for alternatives, causing its dominance to fall from 95% to as low as 40%.” Why does Bitcoin Cash seem like the way to go? Simply because the Altcoin is committed, and have proved so by saying “Bitcoin Cash immediately raised the block size limit to 8MB as part of a massive on-chain scaling approach. There is ample capacity for everyone’s transactions. Low fees and fast confirmations have returned with Bitcoin Cash. The network is growing again. Users, merchants, businesses, and investors are building the future with real peer to peer cash.” Another promising, proactive Altcoin with a dedication to expansion! For more information, see https://www.bitcoincash.org/.

*Invest at your own risk. SolidTrust Pay is not liable for any investment opportunities that you choose to take advantage of. The list above is merely a suggestive article and does not reflect the opinions of SolidTrust Pay as a whole.



How to set up 2FA for laptop or desktop (Authy)

2FA [two-factor authentication] is having something you know paired with something you have. For example, you likely have a bank card, and in order to use your bank card, you must have a correct PIN when completing transactions. The bank card is something you have and the PIN is something you know. Together, the card and PIN make for a great two-factor authentication system, which in return protects your money.

To create a 2FA password via your personal computer:

Start the Authy download by clicking here. It is important that you are using Google Chrome to setup Authy; no other browsers will work

2. Scroll to the bottom of the page. Under the Chrome heading, select the button that says available in the chrome web store:

3. Once selected, a page will pop up that looks like this:

4. Select Add to Chrome, found in the upper right-hand corner:

5. Select Add App when prompted:

6. The page will change and show that Authy has been added to your Apps in Google Chrome:

7. Follow the prompts when you click on the Authy application. Authy support can be found by clicking here if you are having trouble with the application.

8. After Authy has been installed, login to your SolidTrust Pay account and go to Security > 2FA Settings:

9. Select Start Set Up:

10. Select Send SMS [Short Message ServiceCode. If you are not receiving the SMS code, or the mobile number is incorrect on the page, please edit the number [My Account > Edit Profile], or contact Customer Support via the button at the bottom of this page:

11. Enter the number provided in the SMS that you should have received. After, select Enable 2FA:

12. The next page will have the manual setup code [see: blue rectangle], which you will enter into the Authy application that you previously installed. Do not enter the manual setup code in the Disable 2FA field, unless you wish to disable your 2FA [this is not what you want to do when enabling your 2FA for the first time]:

13. Select + Add Authenticator Account in the lower left-hand corner of Authy. Enter the manual setup code in the required field, then choose Add Account:

14. After the account has been added, choose a logo and provide a name. Select Done once completed:

15. Close the window:

16. A list with the newly added account will appear. Select the account. You will see a 6 digit number that changes every 30 secondsThis is your 2FA password – it is required when adding a virtual wallet to your account or if you wish to use an exchanger service [see green rectangle]:

Helpful Advice

– You must have a mobile device that is capable of receiving SMS messages to enable the 2FA on your account.
– For information on how to add your virtual wallet, click here.
– For information on how to use an exchanger service, click here.