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Hackers hijack blockchain in rare ‘51% attack’

Unknown hackers may have successfully hijacked the Ethereum Classic blockchain through a so-called “51% attack”.

Cryptocurrency exchanges including Coinbase have frozen trading of the token amid fears that the previously hypothetical attack has been executed.

According to Coinbase, the reorganisation of the blockchain has led to the attacker taking control of tokens worth almost £400,000.

Dr Patrick McCorry, assistant professor of computer science at King’s College London, told Sky News it was important to distinguish Ethereum – the second-largest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin – and Ethereum Classic, which is in the top 20 and split from Ethereum in 2015.

“The underlying technology of a cryptocurrency, the blockchain, is responsible for recording all transactions on the network,” Dr McCorry explained.

“It gets this name because it is a chain of blocks, and every block is simply a list of authorised transactions.

“In Ethereum Classic, a transaction is only considered ‘final’ and ‘confirmed’ if it is in the blockchain with the most blocks.”

The blockchain is powered by individuals “mining” transactions – using computer power to transmit information to other users – for which they are rewarded with newly minted units of the currency.

Due to these newly minted units of the currency, cryptocurrency mining can potentially be a very profitable business – although the volatility of the currencies and the difficulty of successfully adding a block makes it a risky investment.

The blockchain is intended to be a distributed, transparent, and immutable ledger which uses cryptography to mathematically verify transactions and ensure everyone’s trust in the currency.

However, it has long been theorised that an attacker who controlled more than 51% of the mining on the network could purposefully choose to double-spend certain coins.

In a 51% attack, the attackers would create a fork in the network by transmitting conflicting information to different users – allowing them to send the same coin to multiple parties.

Dr McCorry said: “The issue in a 51% attack is that a single person has more than half the network’s computational power (i.e. they have a much bigger warehouse of computers) and they can create blocks faster than everyone else.

“What happened in Ethereum Classic is that a single person managed to repeat the entire network’s effort for 100 blocks, create a longer blockchain and reverse a transaction that paid out around $500,000,” Dr McCorry explained.

One mining group controlled up to 60% of the Ethereum Classic network during the course of the supposed attack, although investigations are ongoing as to the results of it.

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World News

Nigeria postpones presidential election at last minute | World News

Nigeria’s presidential election has been postponed just hours before polls were due to open.

The country’s election commission said it was delaying the vote to 23 February due to unspecified “challenges”, amid reports that voting materials had not been delivered to some areas.

The delay is expected to spark anger in Africa’s most populous nation and largest democracy after many people had relocated for the chance to vote.

A police officer oversees the distribution of election materials in Yola

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The presidential election is now due to take place on 23 February

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said: “This was a difficult decision to take but necessary for successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy.”

A review of logistics led the commission to conclude that going ahead with the election as planned was “no longer feasible,” he said.

A group of women sit at the entrance of a polling station in Gombi

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Nigerians sit at the entrance of a polling station in the town of Gombi

Nigeria also postponed its presidential election in 2015 because of deadly insecurity in the northeast of the country, which remains under threat from Islamic extremists.

More than 84 million voters had been expected to head to the polls on Saturday, in what is seen as a close and heated race between President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, a billionaire former vice president.

:: ‘Four’ killed in stampede at election rally for Nigeria president

igeria's main opposition party presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar

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Atiku Abubakar has campaigned on the theme of ‘Let’s Make Nigeria Work Again’

Both men have pledged to work for a peaceful election even as their supporters, including high-level officials, have caused alarm with warnings against foreign interference and allegations of rigging.

Mr Buhari made history when he came to power in 2015 with the first defeat of an incumbent Nigerian president.

That election was hailed as one of the most transparent and untroubled ever in Nigeria, which has seen deadly post-vote violence in the past.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is bidding for a second term

Mr Buhari’s term has been marked by a crash in global oil prices that spun Nigeria’s economy into a rare recession, from which it only emerged in 2017.

Unemployment shot up and the country passed India as the nation with the most people living in extreme poverty. More than 13 million children are said to be out of school.

Many Nigerians also worry about Mr Buhari himself after he spent more than 150 days outside the country for an unspecified medical treatment.

In December, he bizarrely denied rumours he had died following a period of ill health and had been replaced by a Sudanese clone.



Muhammadu Buhari

Nigerian leader: ‘I am not a clone!’

Meanwhile, Mr Abubakar has followed in the footsteps of US President Donald Trump by campaigning on the theme of “Let’s Make Nigeria Work Again”.

He has vowed to apply his business acumen to privatise Nigeria’s state oil company and lift 50 million people out of poverty by 2025, but has faced years of corruption allegations.

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Entertainment

Vogue Brazil executive Donata Meirelles quits over ‘slavery’ party picture | World News

The style director of the Brazilian edition of Vogue has quit after an image taken at her 50th birthday party was condemned for depicting scenes of slavery from colonial times.

A guest at the lavish party, held in Bahia, northeastern Brazil, posted a picture showing Donata Meirelles sat on an elaborate, throne-like chair, flanked by black women in traditional white dress.

Critics likened the women’s clothes to the uniforms worn by house slaves, and pointed out the chair’s similarity to one commonly used by slave masters.

Marie Claire columnist Stephanie Ribeiro said on Twitter: “The black women were used as objects to create an exotic scene.

“It’s reminiscent of colonialism and romanticises those times. She was recreating the image where whites are superior and blacks are dehumanised.”

Ms Meirelles insisted in an Instagram post that the chair was an artefact from the Afro-Brazilian folk religion candomblé, and the clothes were traditional Bahian party attire.

“Even so, if I caused any different impressions, I am sorry,” she added.

In a statement on Instagram, the magazine said: “Vogue Brasil profoundly regrets what happened and hopes that the debate that has been generated serves as a learning experience.

“We believe in affirmative and purposeful actions and also that empathy is the best alternative for the construction of a more just society, in which the historical inequalities of the country are debated and faced.

Vogue has said it will also create a panel of activists and academics to help produce content to combat inequalities.

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Hausa

‘Yaki na sanadin mutuwar Jarirai 500 kullum’

Yemen
Image caption

Jarirai da yara na mutuwa saboda tsananin yunwa, da rashin abinci mai gina jiki

Wani sabon rahoto da aka fitar dauke da cewa Jarirai 5 ne ke mutuwa sanadiyyar yaki, kafin soja guda ya mutu.

Rahoton da kungiyar Save the Children ta fitar, ta ce shekaru biyar da suka gabata, jarirai dubu dari biyar ne ke mutuwa a kowacce rana, sanadiyyar yaki.

Wasu lokutan kuma 300 ko dai sanadiyyar yunwa da rashin abinci mai gina jiki, ko cututtuka kamar amai da gudawa da rashin kulawar likita da magani.

Kasashen da lamarin ya fi munana sun hada da Yemen da Syria da Afghanistan, da Jamhuriyyar Dimukradiyyar Congo.

Save the Children ta ce idan za a hada da yara ‘yan shekara biyar da ke mutuwa, adadin ka ya kai waDubu dari tara.

Haka kuma ba a sanya yaran da suka mutu a lokacin da ake gwabza yakin ba, ko dai ta harbin bindiga, ko tashin bam ko rikitowar gine-gine.

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