The Switchboard: Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox completely collapses

February 25

Published every weekday, the Switchboard highlights five tech policy stories you need to read.

Japan's authorities decline to step in on Bitcoin. "Investors with funds tied up at Mt. Gox are looking for guidance from local authorities on how to get their bitcoin back, but without success," reports the Wall Street Journal. "Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, which accounted for more than 80% of all bitcoin trading at one point last year, halted all customer bitcoin withdrawals earlier this month, saying a bug in the bitcoin software allowed some users to alter transactions, a flaw that could make fraudulent withdrawals possible." Mt. Gox is currently unavailable after having shut down late last night, with some citing an unverified slide deck suggesting that as much as $350 million may have been stolen from the exchange over the course of several years without anyone noticing.

A look behind the curtain: how Netflix redesigned and rebuilt its television experience. "In early 2012, Netflix began an ambitious redesign process that involved seven A/B tests, a new image format and a complete rewrite of Netflix’s TV rendering engine," GigaOm reports.

Syria war stirs new U.S. debate on cyberattacks. "Not long after the uprising in Syria turned bloody," reports the New York Times, "late in the spring of 2011, the Pentagon and the National Security Agency developed a battle plan that featured a sophisticated cyberattack on the Syrian military and President Bashar al-Assad’s command structure."

EU delays vote on roaming, open internet. "The European Parliament's industry committee has postponed a vote on putting an end to roaming charges across the EU by 2015 and ensuring that telcos don't get to charge companies like Google to pay for faster interwebs," the Register reports.

Bitcoins, other digital currencies stolen in massive 'Pony' botnet attack. "Cybercriminals have infected the computers of digital currency holders," Computerworld reports, "using a virus known as "Pony" to make off with account credentials, bitcoins and other digital currencies in one of the largest attacks on the technology, security services firm Trustwave said."

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecom, broadband and digital politics. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.
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