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Cryptocurrency Addiction: A Hidden Epidemic?

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When Matt Danzico began seeing cryptocurrency logos in the packaging of grocery store items, he knew he had a problem.

Danzico had been swept up in the global craze for trading digital currencies during the pandemic, and very quickly it had grown into an obsession.

“I would have these sleepless nights where I’d be tossing and turning, trying to get these charts out of my head,” said the Barcelona-based designer and visual journalist. “I thought I was losing my mind.”

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are notorious for their volatility, and the 39-year-old saw “years worth of money won and lost in a very short amount of time”. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs 49.62 lakh while Ethereum price stood at Rs. 3.63 lakh as of November 4 at 12:58pm IST.

His emotions went on a similar rollercoaster, not helped by the fact that he was speculating in the depths of a Covid-19 lockdown. His wife noticed him becoming anxious and angry.

Danzico declines to specify the damage the experiment did to his finances — suffice to say that “for our bank account, it was bad”.

Reflecting months later during a trip home to the United States, the cheerful American mostly feels relieved that he nipped his addiction in the bud fairly quickly.

But as cryptocurrencies have grown from being a niche interest to a more mainstream one, Danzico says experiences much darker than his own are unfolding worldwide.

“We’re talking tens of millions of people who are trading cryptocurrencies,” he said.

“If one small fraction of those people are becoming hooked, we’re talking about a burgeoning potential mental health crisis on a scale that I don’t think that the world has ever seen.”

The darkness of crypto Twitter Danzico points out that you need look no further than Twitter, where crypto enthusiasts congregate, for a sense of the mental health consequences of the tokens’ chronic instability.

Tweets by “people discussing deep depression, really extreme thoughts of isolation and suicide” often accompany plunges in value.

In September, a Czech man’s tale of his disastrous attempt to get rich from crypto — taking on spiraling debts as he attempted to claw back his losses — went viral on Twitter.

Depressed and homeless, he was too ashamed to ask for help. “When I called my mom I just said it’s all ok, I have (a) good job, place to sleep etc. In reality I was starving,” wrote the user named Jirka, who has since started rebuilding his life.

Disturbed by his own experience and others described online, Danzico began researching crypto addiction, writing up his findings in an article for crypto news site Cointelegraph.

He found just one small-scale study into crypto addiction in Turkey, and a few therapists offering professional help, from Thailand to the US.

Experts regard the phenomenon as a form of gambling addiction, noting similarities with Wall Street traders whose investments have spun out of control.

Castle Craig, a Scottish rehab clinic, describes crypto addiction as a “modern day epidemic”.

The problem is more common in men, the clinic notes on its website, “but this might just be because women trade cryptocurrencies less than men”.

Art as therapy For Danzico, it’s “alarming” that more specialised help isn’t available. Part of the problem, he suspects, is that people don’t realise quite how mainstream crypto speculation has become.

Trading platform Crypto.com estimated in July that 221 million people were now trading worldwide. That figure had more than doubled in six months as millions began dabbling while stuck at home during the pandemic.

It was only after Danzico began trading himself that he began noticing signs that fellow traders were everywhere.

A neighbor would whoop every time Ethereum spiked; he’d see young men in the street fretting over a crypto chart on a phone screen.

Danzico kicked his own habit by pouring his obsession into photography, using a light projector to superimpose images of crypto logos and charts onto the world around him.

Finding a way to express how all-consuming trading had become “somehow allowed me to move past it”, he said.

He is now, with self-confessed irony, selling digital versions of the images as NFTs — non-fungible tokens, for which he is paid in Ethereum.

Danzico still has some crypto assets, and believes that decentralised finance has a bright future. But he wants society to face up to what he regards as “an enormous mental health crisis”.

“You have kids who are literally becoming millionaires in their parents’ basements and then losing it all before they run up for dinner,” he said.

“What we can do is begin talking about this.”


Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

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Samsung Galaxy A13 5G Tipped to Pack 50-Megapixel Camera

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Samsung Galaxy A13 5G is reportedly in the works. Ahead of the official announcement from the South Korean tech giant, a fresh leak hints at the camera specifications of the upcoming Galaxy A-series smartphone. The new Samsung Galaxy A13 phone will be succeeding the Galaxy A12 that launched globally last year and it is tipped to come with quad rear cameras headlined by a 50-megapixel main camera sensor. The remaining sensors are said to be the same as its predecessor. The Samsung Galaxy A12 also features a quad rear camera setup that includes a 48-megapixel primary sensor.

As per a report by a South Korean publication The Elec, Samsung is planning to provide a 50-megapixel main camera module on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy A13. According to the report, the quad rear camera setup will include 50-megapixel primary sensor, a 5-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and two 2-megapixel macro and depth sensors. In the front, the Galaxy A13 is expected to feature an 8-megapixel camera.

The Samsung Galaxy A13 5G has been in rumours for a few weeks now. Recent leaks suggest that its specifications could include a MediaTek Dimensity 700 SoC and a 6.48-inch full-HD+ LCD display. The smartphone is said to come in three RAM and storage configurations – 4GB RAM + 64GB storage option, 6GB RAM + 128GB storage option, and 8GB RAM + 128GB storage option. The handset is tipped to come with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and a 5,000mAh battery with 25W fast charging support as well.

To recall, the Samsung Galaxy A12 was launched in India in February this year and the phone features 6.5-inch HD+ (720×1,600 pixels) TFT Infinity-V display with a 20:9 aspect ratio. An octa-core MediaTek Helio P35 SoC, along with 4GB of RAM power the smartphone. As mentioned, the handset packs a quad rear camera setup that includes a 48-megapixel primary sensor, a 5-megapixel ultra-wide-angle shooter, a 2-megapixel macro shooter, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.

The Galaxy A12 also features an 8-megapixel camera sensor at the front for selfies. It packs 128GB of onboard storage that is expandable via a microSD card (up to 1TB) and offers a 5,000mAh battery that supports 15W fast charging.

The Samsung Galaxy A12 is priced in India at Rs. 13,999 for the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage model and Rs. 16,499 for the 6GB RAM + 128GB storage model. 


Is Samsung Galaxy F62 the best phone under Rs. 25,000? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Google to Allow Third-Party App Payments for First Time in South Korea

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Alphabet’s Google said on Thursday it plans to allow third-party payment systems in South Korea to comply with a new law, marking the first time the US tech giant has amended its payment policy for a specific country.

Google’s announcement comes after a Korea Communications Commission’s (KCC) request for Google and Apple to come up with compliance plans for the new law, which bans major app store operators from forcing software developers to use their payments systems. Most of the new law went into effect in mid-September.

The curb is the first such move by a major economy on the likes of Apple and Google, which face global criticism for requiring the use of proprietary payment systems that charge commissions of up to 30 percent.

In late August, parliament passed an amendment to South Korea’s Telecommunications Business Act — dubbed the “anti-Google law” — banning big app store operators, such as Google and Apple Inc from forcing developers to use their payment systems, effectively stopping them from charging commission on in-app purchases.

“We respect the decision of the National Assembly, and we are sharing some changes to respond to this new law, including giving developers that sell in-app digital goods and services the option to add an alternative in-app billing system alongside Google Play’s billing system for their users in South Korea,” Google said in a statement.

Google, which charges developers a 15 percent service fee for distributing apps, said it would reduce this to 11 percent when users choose an alternative billing system, recognising that developers will incur costs to support their own billing system.

It was unclear how beneficial that would be for developers.

Google added that alternative billing systems may not offer the same protection or payment options and features of Google Play’s billing system.

The KCC said Google’s plans would be implemented this year and would only apply to South Korea.

“We were able to confirm Google’s determination to comply with the law, and I hope (Google) will implement this policy change in a way to reflect the legislative purpose of the revised law,” said KCC Chairman Han Sang-hyuk.

In October, Apple told the South Korean government that it was already in compliance with the new law and did not need to change its app store policy.

The KCC said it would ask Apple’s South Korean unit for a new policy allowing greater autonomy in payment methods. If Apple failed to comply, it would consider measures such as a fact-finding investigation as a precursor to possible fines or other penalties.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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Facebook Removes Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Post for Inciting Violence

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Facebook says it has removed a post by Ethiopia’s prime minister that urged citizens to rise up and “bury” the rival Tigray forces who now threaten the capital as the country’s war reaches the one-year mark.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s post on Sunday violated the platform’s policies against inciting and supporting violence, spokeswoman Emily Cain for Facebook’s parent company, Meta, told The Associated Press. It was taken down on Tuesday morning, she said.

“The obligation to die for Ethiopia belongs to all of us,” Abiy said in the now-deleted post that called on citizens to mobilize “by holding any weapon or capacity.”

Abiy is still regularly posting on the platform, where he has 3.5 million followers. The United States and others have warned Ethiopia about “dehumanizing rhetoric” after the prime minister in comments in July described the Tigray forces as “cancer” and “weeds.”

Facebook has removed posts from world leaders before, although in rare circumstances. Earlier this year, the company deleted a video from US President Donald Trump in which he peddled false claims about election fraud following a deadly skirmish at the US Capitol. Facebook said at the time the video contributed to “the risk of ongoing violence.” Just last week, the tech platform yanked a live broadcast from Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro because he made false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Spokeswoman Cain did not say how Facebook was made aware of the Ethiopia post, which the Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister made as Tigray forces took control of key cities over the weekend that put them in position to move down a major highway toward the capital, Addis Ababa.

Alarmed, Abiy’s government this week declared a national state of emergency with sweeping powers of detention and military conscription. The prime minister repeated his call to “bury” the Tigray forces in public comments on Wednesday as he and other officials marked one year of war.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s highly polarized social media this week saw a number of high-profile posts targeting ethnic Tigrayans and even suggesting they be placed in concentration camps.

Thousands of people have been killed in the war between Ethiopian and allied forces and the Tigray ones who long dominated the national government before Abiy took office. The United Nations human rights chief said Wednesday they had received reports of thousands of ethnic Tigrayans being rounded up for detention in recent months.

Former Facebook product manager-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen last month singled out Ethiopia as an example of what she called the platform’s “destructive impact” on society. “My fear is that without action, divisive and extremist behaviors we see today are only the beginning,” she told the Senate consumer protection subcommittee. “What we saw in Myanmar and are seeing in Ethiopia are only the opening chapters of a story so terrifying, no one wants to read the end of it.”

Meta spokeswoman Cain declined to say how many staffers they have on the ground in Ethiopia or dedicated to detecting violent speech in Ethiopia on its platform, but she said the company has the capability to review posts in Somali, Amharic, Oromo, and Tigrinya. She also said it has a team that includes people from Ethiopia or who have spent time in the country.

But Berhan Taye, a researcher in digital rights based in neighboring Kenya who tracks social media on Ethiopia and regularly escalates questionable posts to the Facebook platform, told the AP last week the platform wasn’t moderating in the Tigrinya language, the language of Tigrayans, as recently as April.

Overall in Ethiopia, “if you report (posts) on the platform, it’s very highly likely to get no reply at all,” she said. “From the amount we escalate, and the number of replies we get, that tells you their internal system is really limited.”


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Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 Specifications Tipped by Geekbench Listing

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Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 has been spotted on Geekbench and Bluetooth SIG sites. The rumoured upcoming tablet is expected to come in Wi-Fi and LTE models. The Geekbench listing tips that the tablet may be powered by the Unisoc processor and run Android 11 software. Renders leaked in the past suggest the tablet will have significant bezels on all sides and a single rear camera setup. It is likely to pack a 7,040mAh battery and have an 8-megapixel rear camera.

Geekbench has listed Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 in two models — Wi-Fi (SM-X200) and LTE (SM-X205). The tablet is listed to be powered by the Unisoc T6188 octa-core processor with a base clock speed of 2GHz. It is likely to pack 3GB RAM and run Android 11. The single-core score for the Wi-Fi model is 1,704 points and multi-core score is 5,256 points. The LTE model has a single-core score of 1,625 points and a multi-core score of 5,285 points.

The SM-X205 model number was spotted on Bluetooth SIG as well. The listing offers no information on the specifications of the tablet, except for its Bluetooth v5 connectivity. The listings hint that a launch could be around the corner.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 renders, specifications were earlier leaked by 91Mobiles. The tablet may reportedly feature a 10.4-inch full-HD+ display. It is likely to feature an 8-megapixel main rear camera and have quad speakers that support Dolby Atmos. The tablet is expected to sport a 3.5mm audio jack and have a 7,040mAh battery. The tablet is likely to measure 246.7×161.8×6.9mm (thickness may increase to 8.7mm due to the rear camera bump). As mentioned, there is likely to be a Wi-Fi model and an LTE model of Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.

It should be noted that Samsung has not officially announced the arrival of the Galaxy Tab A8 yet.

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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.
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JioPhone Next Goes on Sale in India, Buyers Must Register First

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JioPhone Next has gone on sale in India. The smartphone, created by Google, is up for grabs at nearby retail stores across India. Reliance is urging users to register their interest first via WhatsApp or the company site, before heading to the store. A representative at the Reliance Digital Store in Mumbai confirmed to Gadgets 360 that the JioPhone Next is in stock. However, the phone cannot be bought without prior registration. Reliance is offering EMI plans on the purchase of the JioPhone Next, enabling users to initially pay only Rs. 1,999 to get the phone.

JioPhone Next sale details, price in India

The Jio official website is taking registrations of interest for the JioPhone Next. Interested customers can also register their interest on WhatsApp by sending a ‘Hi’ to 7018270182. The registration process requires the user to share their location and once that is done, the user will get intimation to head to the store and go and buy the JioPhone Next. The representative at the Reliance Digital Store in Mumbai confirmed that the smartphones were indeed in stock. However, users have to register their interest online or on WhatsApp first. Once the intimation to grab the phone from a specific retail store is sent to the user on their phone, only then can they go and purchase the JioPhone Next.

As we already know, the JioPhone Next is priced at Rs. 6,499 up front. Buyers can also opt for the Easy EMI option wherein users will have to pay Rs. 1,999 initially (plus Rs. 501 processing fees), and then pay the balance amount in easy EMI. The representative says that the intimation to grab the phone should arrive in a day or two. The company says that it has partnered with more 30,000 retail outlets across India to ensure easy access to the JioPhone Next. It has also made available paperless digital financing option, extending to the remotest corners of the country, making it geographically accessible to every Indian. To find the nearest Jio store, head to this link.

There is no option to buy the JioPhone Next from the online Jio store as of yet.

If you pay Rs. 1,999 for the JioPhone Next, you’ll have to opt for one of the EMI plans offered by Jio:

Plan

EMI

Bundled Benefits

Always-on plan

 Rs. 300 pm for 24 months

 Rs. 350 pm  for 18 months

 5GB data,100 minutes of calling per month

Large plan

 Rs. 450 pm for 24 months

 Rs. 500 pm for 18 months

 1.5GB per day data, unlimited voice calling

XL plan

 Rs. 500 pm for 24 months

 Rs. 550 pm for 18 months

 2GB per day data, unlimited voice calling

XXL plan

 Rs. 550 pm for 24 months

 Rs. 600 pm for 18 months

 2.5GB per day data, unlimited voice calling

JioPhone Next specifications

On the specifications front, the JioPhone Next runs on Pragati OS, an optimised version of Android that is tailored for users in India. It features a 5.45-inch HD+ (720×1,440 pixels) display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection and an anti-fingerprint coating. In the camera department, the JioPhone Next features a 13-megapixel rear camera and has an 8-megapixel selfie camera as well. Rear camera features will include portrait mode, night mode, and preloaded custom India-augmented reality filters. The phone is powered by the 1.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 215 quad-core processor paired with 2GB RAM and 32GB internal storage that is expandable up to 512GB.

JioPhone Next packs a 3,500mAh battery. Connectivity options include a Micro-USB port, 3.5mm audio jack, Bluetooth v4.1, Wi-Fi, and dual-SIM (Nano) slots. Sensors onboard include an accelerometer, light sensor, and proximity sensor. JioPhone Next will come with automatic software upgrades as well. Other key features include Read Aloud, Live Translate, and Google Assistant support.

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Low-Paid Workers Are Quitting Jobs Thanks to Crypto Profits: Survey

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Cryptocurrency investors who’ve played the right cards at the right time have drawn big profits, a recent survey claims. It says that a lot of people in the US who were working in low-paying jobs quit their positions after making big gains from crypto investments. The survey finds that almost two-thirds of the people who left their jobs had an income of less than $50,000 (roughly Rs. 37.2 lakh) annually and the “financial freedom” offered by their crypto-assets gave them the confidence to resign from their jobs.

The survey, conducted by an analytics firm in the US named Civic Science, collected responses from 6,741 people between October 20 and October 27. Around four percent of the respondents quit their jobs knowing that they had a financial cushion to fall back on because of their crypto gains.

The firm then cross-referenced the four percent calculation with information from another survey answered by 1,201 respondents — primarily based on their annual earnings — who had given up their jobs after crypto benefits. It showed that two-thirds of those who had left their jobs resulting from ‘mad gainz’ earned less than $50,000 (roughly Rs. 37.2 lakh) a year. Of those 1,201 respondents, 27 percent belonged to an income group of less than $25,000 (roughly Rs. 18.6 lakh), whereas 37 percent had earnings between $25,000 (roughly Rs. 18.6 lakh) to $50,000 (roughly Rs. 37.2 lakh).

That said, it is worth stating that the analytics firm here cross-referenced the info from completely different durations of time and a diversified variety of respondents. It’s also unclear what constitutes “monetary freedom” in this context as Civic Science has offered no scale of reference to understand what kind of crypto benefits the respondents made.

Pro-crypto billionaire and investor, Mark Cuban tweeted a link to the investigation to further conversation on a phenomenon referred to by economists as “the great resignation”. The phrase is used to describe an ongoing situation where a mass exodus of salaried people in the US has taken place in response to bad working conditions, the pandemic, and poor wages, resulting in a significant labour shortage in the country.


Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

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Realme to Launch a New Flagship Phone Early Next Year: Report

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Realme is said to be working on a new flagship phone. The Chinese smartphone company which has launched Realme GT Neo 2T and Realme Q3s smartphones recently in China is reportedly planning to unveil a new premium phone early next year. Realme Vice President Xu Qi at the China Mobile Global Partners Conference reportedly said that the company will enter the high-end smartphone market. The executive has also revealed the price range of the upcoming device. He said that the smartphone will cost around CNY 5,000 (roughly Rs. Rs 58,200).

Citing Qi, a report by ITHome confirms the arrival of a new flagship device from Realme. As per the report, Qi announced that several high-end Realme products will be launching early next year, including a premium smartphone offering. However, no specifications and features of the upcoming flagship have been shared by Realme yet. Realme will be joining the likes of Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo with the expansion of its presence in the premium segments of the smartphone market.

Realme GT Neo 2T and Realme Q3s are the latest handsets launched by the company. Realme GT Neo 2T comes with a price tag of CNY 2,399 (roughly Rs. 28,100) for the top-end 12GB + 256GB storage option, while Realme Q3s carries a price tag of CNY 1,999 (roughly Rs. 23,400) for the 8GB + 256GB storage option.

Realme GT Neo 2T runs on Android 11-based Realme UI 2.0. It features a 6.43-inch OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Its specifications include a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chipset, a triple rear camera setup headlined by a 64-megapixel primary sensor, and a 4,500mAh battery with 65W fast charging support.

Realme Q3s features a 6.6-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,412 pixels) display with a 90.8 percent screen-to-body ratio, 96 percent NTSC coverage, 144Hz variable refresh rate, and 600 nits of peak brightness. The handset packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G SoC under the hood and features a triple rear camera setup which comprises a 48-megapixel primary sensor. Realme Q3s has a 5,000mAh battery with 30W fast charging support as well.


Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth joins Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast for an exclusive wide-ranging interview, as he talks about the 5G push, Make in India, Realme GT series and Book Slim, and how stores can improve their standing. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Telegram’s Latest Update Makes Browsing Through Shared Media Much Easier

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Telegram is rolling out a new update that includes multiple features to make using the app easier. These include a fresh date bar and calendar view for the Shared Media page on the iOS app. The newly launched date bar on the side of the Shared Media page will allow users to jump between days and months and find the pictures/ videos they are looking for much faster. The instant messaging platform’s latest update also gives admins more control over who can join and see the chat with new admin approval settings. In addition, the Telegram update adds global chat themes and new interactive emojis. Telegram for iOS will now show transit time for shared locations as well.

The arrival of the new update was announced for Telegram iOS users on Wednesday, November 3 via a blog post that includes details on how to use them. As mentioned, the update has added a date bar on the side of the Shared Media page that shows all the photos, videos, files, and music that have been shared in a particular chat — individual or group. Users can drag up and down to scroll through shared media quickly with this. Further, users can even pinch to zoom in and out for an improved browsing experience.

The Shared Media page gets a new calendar view that lets Telegram users to find media from a specific date. You can also filter shared media by either photos or videos or both. This can be accessed by tapping the chat header then scrolling down and clicking on the menu icon.

The latest update carries a preview option for admins. When a user opens an invitation link with Admin Approval turned on, they will see a button to send a join request that admins can manage from a new bar at the top of the chat. With this, Telegram group admins can view an applicant’s public profile pictures and bio before approving or dismissing their request. Further, admins can give names to their invite links for better organisation.

The eight new Chat themes announced by Telegram in the previous update are reaching iOS devices now. Each of the new themes features Day and Night mode, animated background, and gradient message bubbles. It will be available for Android users soon.

Shared locations on iOS will now display transit time with the new update. By tapping a shared location on the chat, users can see the travel time to get there by foot, car, or public transport.

Telegram’s new update enables automatic conversion of text typed in the message bar to a caption when a user attaches a media. The Cloud Drafts let users type the message on the computer, then attach the photo from the phone and send it all together.

Users will also be getting new interactive emojis with fullscreen effects with the new update. Also, Settings on Telegram for iOS have been redesigned to match the style of iOS 15.


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Beware, a Google Ads Phishing Scam Is Stealing From Crypto Wallets

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New Google Ads scam is stealing crypto wallets, a new research from Check Point Research (CPR) warns. The new scam has enabled wrongdoers to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth cryptocurrency in the past weekend. According to the report, scammers are placing ads at the top of Google Search that imitate popular wallet brands, such as Phantom and MetaMask, to trick users into giving up their wallet passphrase and private key. Check Point Research estimates that over $500,000 (roughly Rs. 3.72 crores) worth of crypto was stolen in a matter of days.

In a new blog post, Check Point Research explains that attackers are using Google Search as an attack vector to target victims’ crypto wallets. It observed that hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of crypto was stolen from wallets by scammers. To lure their victims, scammers placed Google Ads at the top of Google Search that imitated popular wallets and platforms, such as Phantom App, MetaMask and Pancake Swap. Each advertisement contained a malicious link that, once clicked, directed a victim into a phishing website that copied the brand and messaging of the original wallet website. From here, the scammers tricked their victims into giving up their wallet passwords, setting the stage for wallet theft.

Check Point Research urges the crypto community to stay on high-alert. The official domain “phantom.app” has several phishing variants like phanton.app or phantonn.app, or even different extensions like “.pw” and more. The report says that 11 compromised wallet accounts were discovered, each of them containing crypto worth $1,000 (roughly Rs. 74,400) to $10,000(roughly Rs. 7,74,000). Check Point Research estimates that over $500,000 (roughly Rs. 372 lakhs) was stolen over the past weekend.

In order to protect crypto wallets from phishing sites, users must examine the browser URL and look for the extension icon. It is recommended to never give out passphrase to anyone. Also, it is recommended to skip the ads in Google Search and always opt for the first few websites in results.


Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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