If you are a miner using Bitmain’s Antminer L3+ Scrypt ASICs for mining Litecoin (LTC) or another Scrypt-based altcoin you might be interested in checking out the Blissz modified firmware for the L3+. A while ago we have covered the Antminer D3 Blissz Modified Firmware For Improved Performance and the good news is that the L3+ modified firmware offers pretty much the same improvement and features as for the X11 ASIC. Optimized power usage and performance, extra features and various improvements are available, though in order to take full advantage of the modified firmware you will need to know what you are doing. Also note that this modified firmware does come with a 1.5% developer fee built-in, though the improvements it might being are definitely worth the dev fee and if you do not like what you get you can always get back to the stock Bitmain firmware.

For more details and to download and try the Antminer L3+ Blissz modified firmware…

Kraken, one of the big crypto exchange is finally back online after an extended downtime of over two days due to problems experienced during scheduled and long overdue upgrade of the trading system. The long period of downtime for the popular exchange, especially among European users has caused a lot of different rumors and speculations to circle around, even though the exchange has tried to assure users that all funds are safe. The main concern was that people did not have access to their funds stored on the exchange and within turbulent market that could mean a lot of potential losses, especially for day traders. Anyway, the good news is that no funds were lost and any transfers of crypto to the exchange during the downtime should also be available in the user’s balances.

Do note that all orders have been cancelled prior to trading resuming and all trading pairs were launched with no orders on the books, so be extra careful at the moment when placing orders, especially for sales or buys with market price. Withdrawals are currently disabled and will remain disabled for a minimum of 12 hours, for fiat or crypto deposits (initiated before, during or following the downtime) users should allow up to 2 additional business days for funds to be credited. Kraken has also activated zero fee trading for all clients (across non-margin trades) starting today and lasting through the end of this month (January) as an excuse for the caused trouble with the long downtime.

Update: It seems that not all issues have yet been resolved and soon after getting back online the exchange has taken down trading until they resolve a problem with the order book data not being displayed properly.

The recent public announcement of the Meltdown and Spectre critical vulnerabilities in modern processors that could leak passwords and sensitive data are really something that you might want to pay attention to if you are into crypto. Since these hardware vulnerabilities allow programs to steal data which is currently processed on the computer they could potentially lead to passwords and/or other secure data getting leaked and this poses risk for crypto currencies getting stolen from your computer or mobile device. The good news is that various companies have already released operating system and device patches that try to fix or mitigate the potential problems that might be caused by the exploits. So what you should make sure is to update your computer and mobile devices with the latest security patches in order to at least minimize the chances of getting affected by the Meltdown or Spectre exploits.

Meltdown
Meltdown breaks the most fundamental isolation between user applications and the operating system. This attack allows a program to access the memory, and thus also the secrets, of other programs and the operating system. If your computer has a vulnerable processor and runs an unpatched operating system, it is not safe to work with sensitive information without the chance of leaking the information.

Spectre
Spectre breaks the isolation between different applications. It allows an attacker to trick error-free programs, which follow best practices, into leaking their secrets. In fact, the safety checks of said best practices actually increase the attack surface and may make applications more susceptible to Spectre. Spectre is harder to exploit than Meltdown, but it is also harder to mitigate.

Patching and securing your GPU mining rigs might not be that much of a priority, but computers or mobile devices where you use or store local crypto wallets or passwords for accessing online wallets and/or other crypto related services such as exchanges must be your first priority. Below you can find a link to security information, updates and patches for fixing the problem or at least mitigating the possibility to be exploited using the Meltdown or Spectre, so make sure you check different software and hardware manufacturers recommend that you do and install and patches and updates that they recommend.

For more details in the form of official information/security advisories of involved/affected companies and fixes…

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