Can my router catch a virus?

ExpressVNPflash-router

A router works like a small computer and runs customized software designed for a particular purpose. Routers have operating systems, often a graphical interface, and are usually connected to the Internet.

Just like all computers, routers can be infected by malware, though the attack vectors and the potential harm can be very different to a computer hack.

Routers Have Security Problems

Big price differences between routers are often confusing to consumers as, unlike with personal computers, the quality difference is not always obvious. As routers are normally tied to a physical location, it is also rather difficult to test their reliability in different environments, unlike with highly mobile laptops or smartphones.

Routers often do not receive updates, or updates have to be manually downloaded and applied — a cumbersome process that is not an attractive option to many non-tech-savvy users.

Routers are desirable targets for attackers as they sit at a very sensitive spot on a network — right at the edge. They are a centralized point and connected to every single device in the network. Routers read all of the data that each device sends to the Internet, and if these connections are unencrypted, the router could easily inject malicious scripts and links.

Unlike with devices that users directly interact with, suspicious behavior in routers might go undetected for much longer. When a router goes rogue, there are no popups or warning signals, and errors such as inconsistent speed or dropped connections might appear indistinguishable from errors on the side of the Internet Service Provider.

Routers with Remote Access Are Easy to Exploit

As a general rule of thumb, a router’s control panel should only be accessible to those physically nearby it. This reduces the attack surface significantly, *** it harder to anonymously and remotely attack the router and nearly impossible to attack a large number of routers at once.

Restricting access to only wired connections is a good step towards greater router security. Without Wi-Fi, router control depends entirely on material access, a security concept we are far more familiar with.

No Wi-Fi means there’s no need to worry about a wireless hack, all you need to do is make sure no one enters the space a router sits in. If the router is at a publicly accessible place, we can easy put a physical lock on it.

hacked-router What a router may have looked like in Victorian England.

Many Routers Have Been Hacked in the Past

In 2014, the Moon Worm infected a large number of E-Series Linksys routers. An administration panel left open by default, and poor checking credentials, became the gateway for malware whose purpose still remains unknown. A patch was provided by Linksys, but until it was supplied users were advised to disable remote access on their routers. We can only speculate on how many users of these routers regularly read blogs on information security and actually saw the advice.

A few months before Moon Worm, Polish online banking users were targeted with a perfidious attack. Malware infected the routers in a similar way as the Moon Worm, but only made small changes to the software. It pointed the router to separate DNS servers, and when the users would enter the URLs of their banks, they would instead be redirected to phishing sites where their accounts would be compromised. Another similar attack compromised 300,000 routers all around the world.

Also in 2014, hackers managed to take over dozens of routers in Germany and defrauded thousands of Euros from each user, when attackers set up virtual VoIP phones and used them to call expensive premium numbers. This was possible because the default setting on the routers allowed remote logins.

What If My Router Has Been Infected?

The first step to regaining control is to find the reset button on the back of the router. It is usually a very small button that needs to be pressed for a few seconds with a needle or *** clip. The lights of the router will flash when the reset process has started.

Pressing the reset will revert the router back to the state it was bought in, and you will be asked to select a new password and reconfigure all other settings. Sadly the security hole that allowed your router to be compromised will still exist and likely lead to another compromise soon.

Inform yourself about commonly known security issues with your router by searching for the model number on the web. You might find a clue as to how your router got infected, and what you can do to prevent it happening again.

Protect Yourself From Rogue Routers

If you are in control of the router, choose a model that you trust and that allows you to control it. Ideal is a router that supports free and open-source software, such as DD-WRT or Tomato.

Change the settings of your router and make sure that remote access is denied and that the admin panel has a sufficiently long and unique password. Make sure to apply all available firmware updates, ideally by setting your router to download them automatically.

On some routers, especially older and cheap ones, you might find that updates are unavailable and security options dissatisfactory. While a new router should not break the bank, $10USD routers don’t cut it regarding security and privacy. Opt for a router with open-source software and automatically applied updates.

Buffalo and Linksys are, among others, reputable manufacturers of DD-WRT routers. You can also buy ExpressVNP branded routers on Flashrouters, which make it as easy as possible for you to set up ExpressVNP on your router.

Once you have a router capable of running open-source software, you can flash it with the latest operating system yourself, keeping you safer from attacks.

If you do not have control over your router (e.g. if your Internet Service Provider has bundled it with your modem and does not allow you to change it, or if you’re using public Wi-Fi), you can still protect yourself from eavesdropping, corrupt DNS records or injected malware by running a VPN.

Featured image: floral_set / Deposit Photos
Definitely not a Victorian router: Zerbor / Deposit Photos

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How I traveled the world with a VPN and watched TV

ExpressVNPwatch-with-vpn

Are you a self-described ‘travelphile’? Do you love meeting new people, seeing new sights, and experiencing new cultures?

I thought I was until I actually went traveling. And then spent all my time watching TV. I like watching TV, and the world has so much of it!

Sure, it’s nice to expand your horizons and see how other parts of the world work, but there’s so much crap involved: lugging your suitcase around, waiting in line at airport security, cramming into a tiny plane where you’re forced to sit next to someone who doesn’t know how to breathe properly, dealing with layovers, going through immigration, checking into a hotel and realizing they’re overbooked, finding transportation, having to get out of bed, talking to people… you get the picture.

Sometimes (all the time) you just want to close the hotel curtains, ignore that beautiful world outside, and put on the TV.

Taking a VPN on my travels meant I was able to connect to server locations around the world, *** sure I always had access to the best content and sites that may not have been available otherwise. Brilliant.

how-to-watch-cw A view of Times Square I didn’t see from my hotel room

Stop 1: USA — How to Watch Channels Like CBS and The CW with a Proxy VPN

There’s so much to see in the US–and so much to watch. Whenever I visit, I can’t help but spend all day using my VPN to watch DirectTV and ordering massive hamburgers. And when I get bored of watching On Demand and eating massive hamburgers (which is never), I sometimes use my VPN to watch CBS All Access too! (I still order the massive hamburgers, though).

Sometimes, when traveling, I have an urge to reconnect with my younger self, so I use a VPN proxy to turn on CW TV. It’s quite lovely, actually. Who needs to explore when there’s all this great TV and massive hamburgers delivered to your hotel door? Not this guy.

Stop 2: Canada — The Best Part about Canada Is Watching Sling TV

The lovely mass of land north of the US is known for more than just Mounties and maple syrup. I especially love visiting in the summer, when it’s slightly less cold. While I could spend my time soaking up the sights and sounds, I usually waste my days watching Sling TV. I simply love it. Yay! If you’re wondering how to get Sling TV in Canada, the answer is a VPN.

Stop 3: Switzerland — Seeing Europe with Zattoo VPN

Switzerland has been in the news a lot recently, what with banking scandals and the Panama Leak. Zurich is a fantastic city — exactly how I imagined Europe would look.

I loved it, but Switzerland speaks predominantly German, which I’m too lazy to learn. What I am good at is watching TV. And TV lets me see Zurich with subtitles. Boom. Thank you, TV.

Zattoo TV seems to have the biggest library of content in Switzerland. There’s a live app and lots of soccer. Except it’s pronounced fußball in German, and Sportschau and Sport Ard seem to show it 24/7. Goal!

Stop 4: Britain — How to Watch 4OD with a VPN

Kings and Queens. Everyone knows Britain is full of them. Yes, the weather is terrible, but at least they have crumpets.

Watching British TV is a real treat, and adult language appears to be perfectly acceptable. On every live channel. Right on, Britain; you majestic, potty-mouthed heroes.

Definitely worth a watch is 4OD, Channels 4’s online demand service, packed full of cutting edge comedy and drama from E4 and more. Superb stuff.

Stop 5: Australia — Watch Australian TV Online

Australia is famously full of things that want to kill you, a fact made abundantly clear when you watch Australian TV online. Shows like Crocodile Hunter, Survivor – The Australian Outback, and worst of all, Australia’s Got Talent make you glad you’re safely locked away in a hotel room.

ExpressVNP like to herald the safety features of a VPN and let me tell you, using a VPN (virtual private network) to watch Australian TV is definitely safer than being attacked by an angry koala. Just look at those things:

virtual-private-network No thanks.

On the other hand, Australia does have cricket. Which is a marvelous sport, apparently invented solely as an excuse for drinking in the sun. Respect, Australia.

Stop 6: India — Just Watch Hotstar

India is as batty about cricket as Australia, and you can watch it almost 24/7 with a Hotstar VPN. But it’s not all about the cricket; Hotstar is packed full of blockbuster Hollywood movies and, more importantly, Bollywood! That stuff is amazing. I could watch Hotstar Bollywood all day.

So much drama!

The acting is something special, and I’m sure there’s a drinking game to be had by predicting the seemingly random song and dance sequences.

Stream Hotstar, stream life, I say…

I hope you enjoyed my trip around the world. I didn’t.

Still, my VPN did come in pretty handy when traveling, for all kinds of reasons.

What’s your favorite TV from around the world? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured image: peshkova / Deposit Photos
Times Square: Hackman / Deposit Photos

Also published on Medium.

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ExpressVNP is the top VPN for travel

ExpressVNPuse-a-vpn

Traveling is probably the best time to use a VPN, and not just because a lot of countries *** the Internet. You’ll likely be moving around a lot and connecting to a whole host of public Wi-Fi hotspots that are probably not very secure.

Consider a travel VPN a personal, specialized technology resource in your pocket. You can tap into it anytime for reassurance of a full and secure Internet connection, wherever you are.

Is Airplane Wi-Fi Safe?

Traveling usually requires flying, which means airport and airplane Wi-Fi connections. Both are very similar to regular public Wi-Fi, with one notable difference: the sheer amount of people who use them. That much unsecured data literally flying around is an attacker’s golden goose.

As for airplane Wi-Fi safety, it really depends on your definition of safe. Though not much good as a lifejacket, a travel VPN will certainly keep your connection secure. And it will allow you to freely visit any site that the Wi-Fi service provider has restricted access to.

Use a VPN to Look Cool on Your Travels

As you galavant around the world, you’ll no doubt bump into others who can’t get their email due to local Internet policies.

There are a number of reasons people might need their email abroad; perhaps they’ve had money stolen and need to beg for help, or maybe they just want to send gloating pics about their travels.

Whatever the situation, imagine the awe you’ll receive as you reveal yourself to be a one-man travel technology show by whipping out your personal VPN and connecting to any website or service in seconds.

This gives you the unprecedented opportunity to look like one debonair, carefree player, for both people at home and those VPNless fools you’ve met on your travels. Win/Win. Well done, you.

There may also be times, during those long, lonely nights, when you’ll want a bit of private Internet access time. VPNs come up trumps there, too, as no one will be able to log your browsing history.

The Best VPN for International Travel

When you’re out and about in the big, wild world, a free VPN proxy service probably won’t have the backup and assurance you need. But ExpressVNP’s 24/7 live support makes it the best paid VPN on the market.

ExpressVNP is the perfect VPN for travelers, you can install and use it on any of your devices and with servers in more than 80 countries and 99.9% uptime, you can worry about more important things — like how many pina coladas you can squeeze in before breakfast on the beach.

Bonus: ExpressVNP needs no hardware, other than the device you want to surf the unrestricted Internet on. Which means there’s no need for a travel router, leaving you more luggage space to take home one of those erotic ash trays from Thailand.

Featured image: EpicStockMedia / Deposit Photos

Also published on Medium.

ExpressVNP

How spam became internet spam, via forum spam, and email spam. Spam.

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Disclaimer: ExpressVNP does not endorse spam of any kind. Or Spam.

Once upon a time, Spam was just a tin of meat and in the wise words of Monty Python:

“Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam”

But these are the days of the all-powerful Internet, and spam has become the scourge.

A Brief History of Spam, Spam, and Spam

Thought to be a portmanteau of spiced and ham, the product Spam gained notoriety as a cheap and readily available meat during the weak economic years following World War II. Because of this, the word spam became a synonymous term for cheap fodder.

It was Spam’s reputation as a common, cheap foodstuff that inspired this bit of genius from Monty Python:

For the two people that have never seen it.

The Monty Python sketch transcended all borders to become a cultural phenomenon. And by mimicking the repetition of the word spam in the skit, some abusive users of early ‘80s BBSs and MUDs games would type “spam” repeatedly to scroll other users’ text off the screen.

A Better Internet Meant More Spam and Spam

As the Internet improved so too did methods of spam delivery. In the 1990s, the first chat rooms of Online America (which later became AOL), would occasionally be flooded with quotes from the Monty Python Spam sketch. Presumably, this was done just for the lulz.

Internet connections were still over phone lines in the early ’90s and typically ran at 1200 or even 300 bit/s. Spammy images, drawn in ASCII art, and posted in a forum could take quite a while to load on a viewer’s PC.

Later, on the Usenet forums, spam began to mean excessive multiple posting or the repeated posting of the same message.

These days spam is a blanket term that covers anything that’s unwelcome or unsolicited on or from the Internet.

Embracing the Spam, Embracing the Spam, and Embracing the Spam

Though Hormel, the makers of Spam, were not too pleased about the negative Monty Python association at the time, in 2007 they decided the sketch was part of their corporate identity.

When Monty Python opened the Spamalot show in London’s West End, Hormel released a product called “Stinky French Garlic” as part of the show’s promotion. Then, in 2012, during the 75th anniversary of Spam, Hormel introduced Sir Can-A-Lot, a character who mimicked the Monty Python Knights of The Holy Grail. Sir Can-A-Lot featured on the cover of Spam promotional tins all through 2012.

internet-spam A lovely dinner of lettuce, tomato, spam, spam, spam, and spam.

Spam Filters Stop the Spam, the Spam, and the Spam

There was a time when a day wouldn’t go by without a Nigerian prince reaching out for help, or a company broadcasting their desire to enlarge penises the whole world over.

As spamming increased, the quality of spam filters increased too. But it’s still there, hiding in the never regions of your Inbox. Go and check your spam folder right now. You can still get those pharma meds delivered straight to your door if you want (please don’t do that).

How Spam Filters Stop the Spam, Spam, and Spam, and Stop the Spam

Since its creation in 2004, Gmail has been an industry leader in blocking unwanted messages from appearing in inboxes.

There’s more to it, but the biggest factor in spam filtration are the users who report spam messages. When a person marks a message as spam, the Google system quickly learns to start blocking similar messages. The more spam Gmail users mark, the smarter the detection system becomes.

Let’s hear it from the big G themselves.

Spam on Websites, Spam, Spam in Comments, and Spam

Some useful WordPress plugins will filter out spam; Akismet is the industry leader, but WangGuard, and AntiSpam Bee are also excellent.

If you don’t get a lot of comments, your safest bet is to pre-approve them all before they appear on your site. But keep a lookout for anything that mentions another website, or ones that include a link, as these are most likely Spam, even if the message is nice.

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam Is Here to Stay

Though it’s usually locked away in the dark underbelly of the web, spam is as vigorous and frequent as ever. Unfortunately, we can’t stop it. But fret not, auto spam filters do a great job, and there are some excellent resources available online.

Keep a lookout for spam, but if some gets through it’s not the end of the world. Just remember the golden rules:

  • If you didn’t enter a lottery in Spain, you didn’t win it
  • No Nigerian Prince will ever need your help
  • Don’t use Western Union to send money to a stranger. EVER. FOR ANY REASON!
  • If you want a penis enlargement, see a doctor
  • If you want viagra, see a doctor.
  • If you want any medicine whatsoever, PLEASE SEE A DOCTOR!

What’s the best/worst spam you’ve ever received? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured image: rookman48 / Deposit Photos
Spam, spam, spam: yasuhiro / Dollar Photo Club

Also published on Medium.

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The benefits of a VPN for Black Desert Online

ExpressVNPblack-desert-online-vpn

Black Desert Online is utterly incredible. It’s a huge MMORPG with an expansive list of characters and hitherto unimaginable game mechanics. From global weather conditions to a realistic leveling system (finally!), absolutely everything about it is epic.

But that’s enough gushing. How do we play it!?

Fear not, ExpressVNP has put together a short FAQ to help everyone get connected.

What’s the Best VPN for Black Desert?

With server locations in 94 countries, ExpressVNP is a great option for gamers wishing to expand their skill set by challenging players from other regions. Using ExpressVNP as a Black Desert VPN will let you play with people from anywhere in the world, no matter where you are physically located.

Do I Need a Black Desert Online VPN to Play?

A VPN is always the right choice, for every type of Internet connection. But for gaming, in particular, a VPN can lower the latency between a player and the server client (ping) and speed up the connection.

Further benefits of using a VPN for Black Desert include DDoS protection and a private Internet connection, *** it a superior choice to a Black Desert online proxy.

vpn-black-desert Stockings: the gamer’s choice of horse riding attire.

Thanks, But How Do I Capture a Damn Horse?

You need some capturing rope which can be purchased from Stable Keepers in Olivia, Velia, and Heidel. You’ll also need raw sugar, stirrups, and endless patience — oh man, you’re going to need those. There are a few places to find wild horses, but just south of Glish seems to be the most bountiful.

What Character Do You Use?

The Ranger is ExpressVNP’s character of choice, but only until the Ninja is released, obviously.

Do you play Black Desert Online? Any tips for the rest of us? Please leave in the comments below!

Featured image: designwest / Deposit Photos
Ranger & horse image: Screenshot taken from Black Desert

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ExpressVNP and OpenMedia unite against internet oppression

ExpressVNPsave-the-link

ExpressVNP is proud to stand with OpenMedia in their many projects aimed at protecting the Internet.

OpenMedia works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free.

Founded in 2008, OpenMedia has successfully campaigned for net neutrality, has helped overturn metered Internet usage in Canada, and is a constant crusader in the fight against NSA surveillance. They are a tireless campaigner for all online freedoms, everywhere.

Recent OpenMedia campaigns include Save the Link, Stop the Secrecy, and No Fake Internet.

Save the Link Says No Hyperlink Tax

Save the Link is a campaign to push back against proposals in the EU for a broad new hyperlinking fee that will affect everyone who uses the Internet, in other words — everyone.

The EU proposal plans to extend copyright rules to hyperlinks, giving big publishers the right to charge business fees for linking to content.

You may live outside the EU and think the policy won’t affect you. But you’d be wrong. The EU represents roughly one-fifth of global Internet traffic. So even if you don’t live in the EU, some of your favorite websites most certainly do.

Links are essential to freedom of expression online, and ***ing them will break the Web as we know it.

The Web without links is like a world without roads.

Links are what empower us to access the greatest collection of human knowledge and experiences the world has ever seen. This EU proposal, in essence, wants to lock away many of the wonders of the Internet.

It’s not too late to put a stop to this affront to Internet freedom, but we need to act now before it gets out of control. Sign the Save the Link statement to say NO to link tax.

Stop the Secrecy Fights the TPP

Stop the Secrecy campaigns against The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the “biggest and most secretive agreement in the history of the world”.

After five years of secrecy, TPP bureaucrats finally released this brutal global agreement, and if implemented the TPP will *** the Web, criminalize online activities, and cost Internet users money. The TPP will harbor harsher intellectual property laws, most notably among copyright terms.

More than three million people have already signed the OpenMedia Stop the Secrecy petition against TPP secrecy, but it’s time to deliver the final blow.

Get your voice heard NOW and demand that Trade Ministers reject the TPP’s Internet ***ship plan once and for all.

No Fake Internet Takes on Facebook’s Internet.org

We all now know Zuckerberg’s Internet.org platform is not the real Internet. And Internet users around the world would rather he use his influence for good and promote a real open Internet, not a fake imitation.

Internet.org provides access to a quasi-Internet where selected services are prioritized over others. The scheme threatens innovation, free expression, and privacy online; and it blocks many of the websites, apps, and services the world loves from being made available to everyone on equal terms.

Stand with millions around the world and demand Zuckerberg stops restricting access to a free and open Internet by signing the No Fake Internet petition.

One Person Can Make a Difference

OpenMedia was founded in 2008 by Vancouver-based Internet rights advocate Steve Anderson. The whole thing began with just one ordinary guy’s decision to take action.

Everyone has asked themselves at one point “But what can one person do?” It seems rhetorical, but Steve Anderson actually forged an answer:

“We all have something we can bring to these movements, and we’re all stronger when we can bring it all together.”

Perhaps it’s time we all decided to make a difference.

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DNS hijacking explained

ExpressVNPdns-spoofing

DNS Hijacking also called DNS Poisoning or DNS spoofing, is a tactic commonly used by authoritarian regimes to restrict access, block, and *** content on the Internet.

This ***ship can be achieved by forcing local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to implement the hijacking, or by monitoring and inspecting traffic directly at strategic routing points. The biggest example of DNS hijacking is the Great Firewall.

What is DNS?

Every website has an IP address which is linked to its URL by a Domain Name Server (DNS). When you type a URL, like expressvnp.com, into the address bar of your browser, the address is sent to a DNS server.

A DNS server keeps a record ofthe IP addressof every website and its corresponding URL, which your computer will lookup and connect to the URL you entered. It is very similar to a phone book, in which the names of people are listed with their physical address. On the DNS server, The URL acts as the name and the IP is the address.

Several companies publish the DNS addresses of websites, and an algorithm allows them to stay up to date at the same time. Unless the DNS server is malicious or poorly configured, it does not matter much which one you use.

The Domain Name System is generally operated by your Internet Service Provider, but you can change it in your settings (see more on this below).

Watch the following video for a more graphic explanation of what a DNS is.

DNS Redirecting

When a computer reaches out to a DNS server to resolve an IP address, it often does not make adequate checks to make sure it’s connecting to the right DNS server. Instead, it might have been hijacked and served an incorrect response by an attacker in between the computer and the DNS server, perhaps from a compromised or rogue router.

It is also possible for a DNS server to poison its records, which means replacing the IP address of the site you want to visit with the IP address of another site, or simply removing the IP address altogether. This is similar to a phone book removing certain names or companies from their records, or swapping a listing’s address to that of another company.

DNS redirecting like this make it possible for a sophisticated attacker to impersonate websites, gathering personal information such as passwords and IP addresses.

DNS Spoofing to Censor the Internet

Many countries implement Internet ***ship by requiring Internet Service Providers to drop certain domains from their DNS servers, though this is a relatively easily circumvented form of ***ship.

But when the entire network is controlled by an authoritarian regime they could block non-complicit DNS servers entirely or employ Deep Packet Inspection to selectively block or misdirect requests.

How to Prevent DNS Hijacking

DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions) is a bit like a DNS hijacking test, or rather protection, that allows a computer to verify the integrity of the DNS server it is connecting to by using encryption. It greatly reduces the risk of an attacker impersonating a DNS, though unlike HTTPS in web servers, it is not easy for the user to set up, verify and monitor.

How to Change DNS Server Tutorials

You can protect yourself from ***ship by your local Internet Service Provider by changing the DNS server.

For instructions on how to change your DNS server, click the link for your device or OS:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • PlayStation 4
  • XBox One
  • Apple TV

You can also change your DNS server to an independently-run DNS service, such as Google DNS or OpenDNS. There are strong privacy concerns to choosing the right DNS server. After all, they will see every domain you try to connect to. But this is also a great reason for taking this power out of the hands of your Internet Service Provider.

ExpressVNP – DNS Hijacking Fix and Prevention

ExpressVNP runs its own DNS servers and when you are connected to ExpressVNP you automatically use these servers — so no one else can get hold of your information or hijack your connection. This ensures that all sites you visit resolve properly and cannot be ***ed by a government or Internet Service Provider.

Featured image: peshkova / Deposit Photos

ExpressVNP

Is Craig Wright the man behind Bitcoin?

ExpressVNPwho-is-satoshi-nakamoto

Will the real Satoshi please stand up?

That’s the question on everyone’s minds this week after Australian computer scientist and businessman Craig Wright claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto – the inventor of Bitcoin.

Wright’s “confession” has been widely published in the BBC, GQ, The Economist, and his personal blog. It has also evoked a number of responses claiming that Wright is, in fact, not Nakamoto. So who is right? Is Craig Wright the person behind the alias of Satoshi Nakamoto? We decided to put on our detective caps and unravel the mystery ourselves.

So Where Do We Start?

Unlike other alter ego revelations, the hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto’s true identity has involved numerous individuals who were speculated to be the inventor of Bitcoin, but so far every likely candidate has denied it. To this day, the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains one of the great mysteries of the internet.

Wright is just the latest in a long line of possible candidates to be Nakamoto, though he’s the first who’s claimed to be the Bitcoin inventor himself. In support of his wild claims, Wright has offered a range of evidence connecting himself to the elusive programmer, and even has endorsements from other individuals behind Bitcoin confirming his claims. So what are the pieces of evidence? And do they all stack up?

1. Blog Posts Preceding the Release of Bitcoin

One of the earliest and most straightforward pieces of evidence suggesting that Wright is Nakamoto is a collection of posts from the former’s personal blog, mentioning the impending release of Bitcoin before the cryptocurrency was actually released.

Unfortunately for Wright, this piece of evidence was quite easily debunked. Several reports indicate that Wright’s posts were backdated to give off the impression that Wright had information about Bitcoin before its release. The posts, unsurprisingly, have since been deleted from Wright’s blog.

2. Wright’s Academic and Personal History

Creating Bitcoin was no mean feat and hints at the cryptographic genius of Nakamoto. Many have since speculated that Wright’s impressive list of academic achievements makes him a good candidate to be the father of Bitcoin. According to his now-deleted Linkedin profile, Wright holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Sydney’s Charles Sturt University, served as a lecturer and subject coordinator at the University, and even developed a masters degree course in digital forensics for the school.

craig-wright Craig Wright is the first to claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto.

Or not. Forbes received a statement from CSU in December 2015 stating that

“Wright has not been awarded a Ph.D. from CSU”.

The university also declined to confirm Wright’s other accomplishments at CSU, which raises questions about the credibility of his other claims. Furthermore, Wright was previously the center of an investigation by the Australian Tax Office, which began after the entrepreneur launched a suspicious claim for millions of dollars in tax credits. All together, Wright’s checkered history does not inspire much confidence that he is the founder of a cryptocurrency that is predicated on accountability and security.

3. A Digital Signature from Nakamoto

However, the fact Wright made dubious claims about himself in the past does not immediately guarantee that his current claim is also false. To decide that, we must look at the proof he presented to demonstrate he is the creator of Bitcoin.

Wright allegedly created a digital signature and added it to a speech by Nobel Prize-winning author and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. The success of Wright’s proof hinges on the idea that the digital signature was made using a cryptographic key that could only be in Nakamoto’s possession.

digital-signature-wright Wright claims he added a new digital signature, belonging to Nakamoto, to a speech by writer Jean-Paul Sartre.

So does Wright’s proof work? The consensus from computer security and cryptocurrency circles is a resounding “no”. The signature presented by Wright as proof was not attached to a piece of writing by Sartre, but simply a signature from a 2009 Bitcoin transaction by Nakamoto. In other words, Wright took an existing digital signature and presented it as a new one to prove his identity as Nakamoto.

Others have claimed that Wright’s proof is needlessly complicated and, in principle, not open to validation. They accuse Wright of intentionally presenting a convoluted proof to fool less tech-savvy members of the press and public when a much simpler proof would suffice. As a Bitcoin core developer has stated, Wright only needs to provide a signature, known to be Nakamoto’s, on the message “Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto,” instead of “photocopying someone else’s signature on a publicly available document and claiming it’s proof you are them.”

Wright has since responded to his skeptics, claiming he will transfer “bitcoin from an early block” and present a series of independently verifiable proofs “over the coming days.” However, some experts are adamant that even moving money from an early block is not sufficient, and Wright would not be able to prove his case unless he was able to move a coin from bitcoin’s first group of transactions (known as the Genesis block) or sign a message with the private key from that block.

To the surprise of no one, Wright backed out on his promise to provide further proof, saying he “does not have the courage” to prove his case and (again) deleting all of his previous blog posts.

The Jury’s In, and Wright Is Almost Certainly Not Satoshi Nakamoto

All in all, the evidence does not seem to stack in Wright’s favor. But the man himself does not appear to be troubled by the situation, stating

“I don’t want money, I don’t want fame, I don’t want adoration. I just want to be left alone… I will never, ever be on camera ever again.”

As we reach the end of this week-long controversy, it is almost certain that Craig Wright is not Satoshi Nakamoto. But the questions remain: who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Where is Nakamoto now? Will the next candidate claiming to be him/her/them present a more compelling case? Only time will tell.

Featured image: ulchik74 /Deposit Photos
Craig Wright: Nypheean172 / Wikimedia Commons
Digital signature: Julia Tim /Deposit Photos

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