Bitcoin Payments


A change to the Payment Process

BitPay, our Bitcoin payment processing service, has changed their process to make payments more secure.

The BitPay invoice now displays a Payment Protocol URL or a Payment Protocol QR code instead of a bitcoin address.  In order to make a payment, you will need to use a wallet that is compatible with Payment Protocol.  The Bitcoin Payment Protocol standard was developed in 2013 to make bitcoin payments faster, safer, and less prone to error. By using a a wallet compatible with the payment protocol, you can avoid mistakenly sending funds to an attacker, prevent under-payments and over-payments, and speed-up your transactions.

How to Use Payment Protocol

To make a payment you will need a wallet which supports the standard. You can see which wallets work with BitPay here.  There are also instructions on how to move to a Payment Protocol-compatible wallet.

If you are unable to use a wallet that supports the protocol, you can also send a payment directly to our wallet.  After sending the payment, please send us the transaction ID and we will manually check.

Our wallet address is 14M3B4AfPiCnjJ3nbc1Ez43cWEerLp3nsv

As always, if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to write to us.

Gaming Google to Mine Crypto

Ars Technica reports that attackers are using Google’s DoubleClick ad platform to display ads that contain a malicious element to mine cryptocurrency.

What is crypto mining?

Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Etherium, are digital currencies that use cryptography to secure transactions, verify transfers, and to control the creation of new units of the currency.

Cryptocurrencies do not have a central controlling entity such as a governmental treasury department.  Instead, control is decentralized into blocks.  Each block contains a timestamp, transaction data, and a link to a preceding (older) block.  When a series of blocks are linked together, that is a blockchain.  You can think of a blockchain as a public ledger of all the transactions for a given cryptocurrency, with the data stored in multiple locations across a wide network instead of just one single node.

Since there is no central controlling entity, there needs to be a way to collect transactions into blocks.  That’s where the miners come in.  They create these blocks and every time their block is added to the chain, they are paid with the cryptocurrency they are mining.  The process of crypto mining is designed to be computationally intensive so the cryptocurrency is not devalued by the miners.  As you can imagine, there is a lot of competition between miners and on top of that, the number of miners is continuously growing.

Think of it like this.  You have a huge jar full of jellybeans and thousands of people trying to guess the number of jellybeans in the jar.  Each person can make as many guesses as they want so the person who is able to make guesses faster has a better chance of making the correct guess.


In the past, it was possible for one person to do crypto mining with just a regular PC.  Now there are companies with data centers full of high-end computing gear that do nothing but generate guesses and wait for the jar with the right number of jellybeans to come along.  Most individuals can’t afford the computer hardware or even the electricity that is required to power such an operation.  So instead, they turn to the World Wide Web.

There are websites that have crypto mining instructions built-in to them so that when you visit one, it uses your computer to do the mining.  You’re paying the bill and the owners of the website get to keep the profit. One of the first examples of this is the CoinHive program that ran when you visited Pirate Bay.  Since then, more mining programs have been created and lots of other websites that are using them.

Now, attackers have created ads containing the CoinHive cryptojacking program and are using Google’s DoubleClick ad system to display these malicious ads on YouTube.  Google was quick to say how good they are at catching ads that violate their policies but evidence indicates these ads ran for as long as a week.

How to protect yourself

There are some things you can do.  First and foremost, use a good anti-virus/anti-malware program and make sure you have the current updates installed.  Most AV programs will give you a warning if a website is hosting a cryptojacking program.

Another way to prevent cryptojacking software from using your computer is to block JavaScript applications from running in your web browser.  Firefox and Chrome have add-ons that will accomplish this. Safari has JavaScript disabled by default so unless you’ve gone into the settings and enabled it, you don’t need to do anything.

A third thing you can do is block ads.  The downside to this is that there are a lot of good websites that rely on ad revenue to keep running and to provide information and services free of charge.  My recommendation is to use ad blockers judiciously and rely primarily on your anti-malware software.

Maintaining Quality of Service During Meltdown/Spectre Mitigation

If you make the effort to stay up to date on internet privacy and security issues, then you’re already familiar with the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities.

If you don’t, then FYI, security researchers have recently identified flaws in the design of nearly every CPU manufactured within the past 20 years.  Since these flaws exist at the hardware level and not in system or application software, they are extremely worrisome.

Because of the risks that these flaws present, service providers around the world are taking steps to implement patches.  This means that during this process, customers may experience degraded or interrupted service.  If you experience problems with opening web sites or streaming videos, open a support ticket right away.  Our technical team will investigate and take the necessary steps to keep things working for our customers.

The Importance of Net Neutrality

If you’ve been watching the news lately, you’ve probably seen the term “net neutrality” at the core of some passionate debates. Despite the attention, many internet users are still not sure what the term means, what the controversy is all about, and how it might affect them. Let’s take a closer look.

What It Means

The basic principle of “net neutrality” is that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should treat all data in the same manner.  The idea is that ISPs should function as a neutral information gateway, not as “gatekeepers” controlling what data is passed through and with what level of preference. Advocates of net neutrality take the position that ISPs constitute a form of utility, like companies providing electricity or water, and should be similarly regulated.

When ISPs apply different standards and different speeds or quality of service to different users, content, platforms, websites or application types, they violate the principle of net neutrality. Abandoning this principle has both political and economic implications, which is why net neutrality advocates push for legislation they say will protect all internet users, provide a fair and equitable marketplace, and protect the “open internet” that we enjoy today.

The History

The term “net neutrality” came to prominence in 2003, expanding on the concept of a common carrier in the telecommunications industry.  The most widely used example of violating net neutrality occurred when prominent ISP Comcast slowed down the upload speed of file sharing applications until the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intervened and ordered them to stop.

In 2010, the FCC passed a package of rules designed to keep the Internet neutral. Verizon, a prominent ISP, challenged those rules in court, and in January of 2014, a US Court of Appeals ruled in Verizon’s favor, stating that the agency did not have the authority to regulate broadband providers. In February 2015, the FCC under Chairman Tom Wheeler reclassified broadband as a utility, effectively granting itself the capacity to regulate and restore the 2010 rules. Those rules were lengthy, but the three main points were that providers could not block access to legal content, could not impair or degrade transmission of legal content, or prioritize delivery of paid traffic or traffic from their affiliates.[1] These rules are now under serious threat. Ajit Pai, Donald Trump’s FCC Chair, is a known opponent of net neutrality and is expected to roll back the net neutrality rules.

Who’s Involved

The opponents of net neutrality fall broadly into two groups. One is the ISPs themselves, dominated by a small handful of companies: Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox Communications, T-mobile, or Verizon. The 14 largest cable and telephone providers in the US provide service to about 95% of American internet subscribers.[2] Comcast alone serves 56% of US Broadband (25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload) customers.[3] The limited number of providers means that many subscribers have very limited options for choosing a provider. 30 percent of US census blocks have no broadband ISP at all, and 55 percent have only one.[4] Proponents of net neutrality use limited choice as an argument for greater regulation, pointing out that customers who are dissatisfied with the restrictions imposed by an ISP may not have the option of switching to a competing provider.

ISPs claim that they have made major investments in the infrastructure needed to deliver internet service and that they need to have flexibility in delivering service to assure return on their investments. They point out that high-demand services like Netflix, Hulu, and other video streaming services consume disproportionate amounts of bandwidth, and claim that these companies should pay more for delivery of their services. Net neutrality opponents point out that under the current rules the costs of providing the infrastructure dominated by high-volume services and their users is shared across all users, penalizing the many users who only use basic services. Why, they ask, should consumers who only use Facebook and e-mail have to share the cost of providing the huge data pipe needed by Netflix users?

It is important to distinguish ISPs from content providers, which are companies, Netflix or Amazon for example, that use the services of an ISP to deliver their content to internet users. It is possible for a company, to be both an ISP as well as a content provider.  Some companies work in both roles: for example, Comcast owns NBCUniversal, so they fall into both categories. Companies operating as both ISPs and content providers have a special interest in repealing neutrality rules, which prevent them from prioritizing their content or content provided by their subsidiaries or affiliates.

Some economic conservatives oppose net neutrality on the general grounds that reducing government regulation is desirable in general. The primary claims here is that reducing the ability of ISPs to earn money will reduce investment in the industry, stifle innovation, and reduce efficiency.

The second group opposing net neutrality is composed primarily of economic conservatives who oppose regulation of industry in general, for ideological reasons. This group simply assumes that regulation will distort the market, reduce investment, and impair efficiency.

What’s At Stake

What will happen if the government rolls back net neutrality rules and abandons the goal of neutrality? Nobody can reliably say what would happen, but we can look at what could happen.

  • ISPs could start selling bundles, like cable companies, limiting access to high-volume services like Netflix, YouTube, or peer-to-peer download sites to customers that buy more expensive packages. Instead of getting access to the Internet as a whole, the sites you can reach could be determined by the package you buy.
  • ISPs could ask companies like Netflix or Google to pay for preferential access, a cost that would inevitably be passed on to consumers.
  • ISPs could create “fast lanes” that prioritize content from their affiliate networks or favored sites, games, or services, giving preferred customers a speed boost or exempting them from data caps.
  • ISPs could impose actual censorship; refusing to transmit news from certain channels or reducing access for individuals or organizations who hold views they find distasteful.
  • The ability of regulators to control privacy violations and efforts to mine and sell personal data for marketing or other purposes could be reduced.

Most ISPs publicly promise that they won’t do these things. Comcast CEO David Watson wrote, “Comcast does not and will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content,” but has backed away from previous promises that the Company would not adopt “fast lane deals with content owners.”[5] There is little real assurance that ISPs will keep those promises without explicit regulations. ISPs have already tried some of these moves: Comcast has throttled BitTorrent users and forced Netflix to pay to avoid throttling, and T-Mobile exempts certain apps from its data caps, giving those apps a competitive advantage.[6] This history suggests that ISPs will not hesitate to use an unregulated marketplace to their advantage.

What Can You Do?

Companies like Google are applying pressure to the FCC to preserve the open internet, but individual consumers also have a voice.  To express your concerns to the FCC, please visit this link.  Another group pushing for tighter controls around net neutrality is ‘Save the Internet”.  They urge you to contact Congress via their website and join the fight to ensure we regulate appropriately to preserve net neutrality.  Contacting your Senator and Representative and communicating your opinion clearly and with conviction does make a difference.

The concept of net neutrality is simple but important.  There is a real need to assure that all ISPs will treat all data equality and behave in an ethical manner that ensures we keep the open internet available for all.  Like many industries before it, the internet provider sector needs to be heavily regulated to avoid monopoly control and assure fair and equitable access to information and communications services.  We all need to act and join the call to arms.  Write to your local congress member and the FCC and voice your concerns, so we can all continue to enjoy our favorite content in a fair, affordable and equitable marketplace.


[1] “The FCC’s Net Neutrality Vote: Here’s What You Need to Know”:

[2] “Internet Subs: Cable’s Market Share Hits 64%”:

[3] “Comcast now has more than half of all US broadband customers”:

[4] “US Broadband: Still no ISP choice for many, especially at higher speeds”:

[5] “Comcast quietly deletes language about internet fast lanes”:

[6] “Your Guide To Net Neutrality (2017 Edition)”:

Cybersecurity Highlights – December 11

Every Monday we bring you a review of the previous week’s hottest cyber-security and online privacy news articles.

Here at IronSocket, we work to continually call attention to the risks and threats to our online privacy and security that we as individuals face in our connected lives. We are 100% committed to helping our customers stay safe and secure while online, both through our VPN and proxy services as well as through education.

Here are the top articles we have panned from last week’s news goldfield.

Privacy Is Important

And as artificial intelligence gets more sophisticated, we’ll need to work harder and use better tools to protect our privacy.  Fortunately, there are people working on making better tools.

What the Padlock Means

You know that padlock next to the web address in your browser?  That’s the HTTPS icon and it indicates the data moving between your computer and the website you’re connected to is encrypted.


To host an HTTPS website, you need a signed security certificate.  The problem is, anyone, including hackers and phishers, can get one of these certificates for a few dollars.


If you use an iPhone or iPad and you have not installed iOS 11.2, do it now.

You’ve Been Profiled

Would you like to know all the information that your browser makes available to the world wide web?  Would you like to see your browser tell you all about your mouse movements and clicks?  Would you like to know more about the digital fingerprints you leave wherever you go?

Be Anonymous

Sometimes it’s good to have an anonymous email address.  Here is how to set one up.


That’s all for this week. As always, if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to write to us. Our cyber-security experts are here to help you stay safe secure and protected while online.