I’ve seen people on Twitter, who are into cryptocurrency and who have those hexagon shaped avatars (that they had to pay for), praise the blockchain. There appears to be a widely held concept that the blockchain is safe because it cannot be changed.
Some of those people, who are in NFT focused Discords learned a lesson the hard way. Vice reported that the Discords of multiple NFT projects were hacked as part of a phishing scam to trick users into handing over their digital jpegs. This included the Discords for Bored Ape Yacht Club, Nyoki, Shamanz, Doodles, and Kaiju Kingz all of which were targeted.
Scammers put phishing posts into those Discords. According to Vice, the goal of the hack was to trick people into clicking on a link to “mint” a fake NFT by sending ETH and in some instances an NFT to wrap into a token. Motherboard viewed a message to that effect in a Discord that had a compromised bot.
Those who responded to the phishing post – in the hopes of being able to “mint” an NFT (that turned out to be fake) were unaware that they had fallen for a scam.
Vice provided the following explanation in their article:
Two wallet addresses have been tied to the hacks, now labeled Fake_Phishing5519 and Fake_Phishing5520 on blockchain explorer Etherscan. At least one Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT (a BAYC spinoff by developer Yuga Labs) was stolen and quickly sold by the 5519 wallet, which sent 19.85 ETH to the 5520 wallet.
The second wallet sent 61 ETH ($211,000) to mixing service Tornado Cash early Friday morning. The latest transaction is a transfer of ETH to a previously inactive wallet that then sent the same sum to an incredibly active wallet currently sitting on 1,447 ETH ($5 million), 6 million Tether coins ($6 million), and an assortment of other tokens.
The blockchain itself might be secure. Unfortunately, there will always be people who fall for an enticing phishing scam. Those unfortunate people won’t get their cryptocurrency or NFTs back.
Discord is a group-chat app that is often used by people who enjoy playing video games with their friends who live far away. I use Discord to play Dungeons & Dragons with my friends, and have used it to talk to people while playing Diablo III. Unfortunately, it appears that a lot of terrible people had been using Discord for nefarious reasons. Discord has rightfully banned them.
Discord provided a lot of information in their Transparency Report which covers July through December of 2020. There is a pie chart that shows user reports by category. Harassment was the largest category, with 132,817 reports. This was followed by Cybercrime (42,588) and NSFW (33,106).
NPR reported that Discord removed more than 2,000 communities dedicated to extremism and other violent content in the second half of last year. NPR noted that the enforcement actions by Discord come at a time when Microsoft is (reportedly) in talks to acquire Discord for $10 billion.
Discord’s transparency report points out that it has invested in resources that enable it to proactively detect and remove the highest-harm groups from their platform. This includes many categories including: Exploitative Content, and Violent Extremist groups.
We also worked in the second half of 2020 to take action against militarized movements like the “Boogaloo Boys” and dangerous conspiratorial groups like QAnon. We continue to believe there is no place on Discord for groups organizing around hate, violence, or extremist ideologies.
Discord’s Trust & Safety team removed 1,504 servers for Violent Extremism in the second half of 2020. That is nearly a 93% increase from the first half of the year. According to Discord, the increase can be attributed to the expansion of their anti-extremism efforts as well as growing trends in the online extremism space.
One of the online trends Discord observed in that period of time was the growth of QAnon. Discord adjusted their efforts to address that movement and removed 334 QAnon-related servers.
Personally, I’m happy that Discord has been making efforts to remove violent extremism and conspiracy theories. Some of the Discords that I am connected to, and participate in, are open to anyone who wants to join. Knowing that Discord has been actively removing bad actors from its service makes me feel safer using it.
Discord announced some updates that are currently being rolled out in beta. A curated group of games will be aded to Discord Nitro. Discord will also be launching a curated game store.
Today, we’re slowly rolling out a beta test to about 50,000 of our Canadian players and will be expanding to more over time. These players will see an upgraded version of Discord Nitro that has access to a curated selection of games along with the current subscription perks. They’ll also see a new Discord Store tab in the home screen with individual games for purchase.
Discord has created a curated list of games and will be adding them to Discord Nitro. If you are in the beta, and you subscribe to Nitro, you’ll get access to all Nitro games (which is a different selection of games than what’s available in the Store). Discord Nitro is “kinda like a Netflix for games.”
Nitro will keep all its current features, including an animated avatar, ability to choose your tag (the #0000 next to your username), higher quality screen share, custom emoji anywhere, animated emoji, larger file upload limit (50mb from 8mb) and a badge to show how long you’ve been supporting Discord.
Along with the upgraded Nitro, Discord will be launching a curated game store with recommendations about the hottest and newest games. Discord will be showcasing a variety of titles that they think you will like. As the store grows, Discord will rely on their community and their team to make the store feel super personal.
The store will be supporting “First on Discord”, indie games that they’ve helped bring to life. First on Discord games are temporarily exclusive. They’re literally first on Discord – usually 90 days – and then the developers can sell anywhere they want. The beta will not have any First on Discord titles.
If you want to, you can have Discord scan your computer for games. Then, you’ll be able to launch any of your games through Discord, even if they require another launcher.
Discord is used by a whole lot of people who enjoy playing video games. Pop into Discord, and you might see the name of the video game that a friend of yours is playing at that moment. Discord has added a new feature that lets you see what games all your friends are playing. It is called the Games tab.
The Games tab is your new home. It’s warm, cozy, and has all your Discord happenings in one place.
The Games tab will show you:
- News about games you play
- Launcher for games you play
- What your friends are playing right now
- What your friends recently played
- Your friends’ Spotify listening parties, Twitch streams, and Xbox status
The Quick Launcher feature allows you quickly launch any game that has recently been played on your PC. The Quick Launcher feature does not appear in the Games tab if you are playing on a Mac (like me). It also is not designed to quickly launch console games.
The Now Playing feature will give you a quick view of what your friends are currently playing. Discord will automatically add anyone on your friends list who you chat with. Discord will also add users who you have talked to in voice chat recently, along with others from servers you chat on. You can also add friends.
Depending on the game being played you’ll get a quick view into who is taking part. If they are a member of one of your servers and in a voice channel, you’ll be able to quick jump over to the server so you can join in the conversation. If the game being played supports direct invites through Rich Presence, you can even join into the game right from that screen.
The Games tab will show you news about your favorite games, including the latest updates, patch notes, and clips.
If you are a Discord user who is located in the European Union, Discord will not automatically populate the Games tab for you. Instead, you will be asked via a pop up if you would like to add these features.
Discord users located anywhere else will automatically have these features enabled. The Discord blog post shows how to opt-out of them if you want to.
Discord announced that it has started testing its video chat and screen sharing with 5% of desktop users that had registered before August 9, 2017. They were doing a test run that rolled out over the day. It is unclear how long the test run will continue.
Discord is a voice chat service. It explained that it needs a test run on video chat and screen sharing before it can release these features to everyone for two reasons.
One reason is because, compared to voice data, “video data is a behemoth” and transmitting it takes way more bandwidth. Discord is doing this beta test to see how their servers handle the increase in bandwidth. They said they could launch it for everyone, but that it would “most likely nuke our own servers and then nobody gets to use it.”
The other reason they needed a test run was because there are likely bugs, crashes, and other issues that Discord was unable to catch themselves. This should be obvious to anyone who has used and/or tested a beta version of something.
Those who got into the test run were able to start video calls with anybody – including people who were not in the test run. Discord warned that there was a possibility that they would have to suddenly turn off video calls during the test.
Discord made it clear that they are at least a month out from considering a full launch of the video chat and screen share features. Those who want to know more about how those features work can check out a brief tutorial that Discord added to their post about the test run.