The Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), a graduate school run by the U.S. Air Force, has launched an educational tool for blockchain.

Modern Materials Handling magazine reported Monday that the school had launched a free demonstration website for supply chain management professionals in particular, aimed at helping students learn more about blockchain and its potential use cases. The tool can be used on its own as a classroom module, or folded into other lessons, according to the magazine.

The platform was developed in conjunction with supply chain firm SecureMarking and the University of South Dakota’s Beacom School of Business, and while it was developed by Air Force researchers, it’s aimed at aiding all Department of Defense leaders who may need to know more about the technology, according to the article.

AFIT’s tool “tracks the entire lifecycle of a component,” the magazine explains, meaning those using it can follow a part’s simulated life from when it is first manufactured to its ultimate disposal.

“This is important because many supply chains now face a challenge of having used products re-introduced and sold as new by unscrupulous businesses,” the article explains, adding:

“These used products can lead to costly problems such as unexpected breakdowns of equipment. In some situations, tracking decommissioning could also be useful for ensuring that hazardous materials are properly disposed of, or that re-usable components are properly recycled.”

Alongside the tool itself, AFIT researchers have published a series of videos explaining blockchain technology and outlining how a platform using the technology might operate, as well as how users can interact with the demonstration website.

Researchers with AFIT did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

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India’s top ten business school, SP Jain School of Global Management, has issued 1,189 blockchain-based certificates to graduands who recently obtained degrees and professional certifications.

The certificates which are now live on the Ethereum blockchain will allow prospective employers and other parties to verify the authenticity of a job seeker’s educational qualifications without having to contact the business school. The validation process is intuitive and technical know-how will not be necessary, according to Business World.

Neither will additional software or specialized equipment be required as all that a prospective employer or other parties will be needed to do is scan the QR code which is printed on the certificate.

Detailed Information

Besides the educational qualifications, the other information pertaining to a graduate that will be stored on the blockchain will include students’ portfolio, projects , nd even attendance. All this information will be available without compromising the privacy of the graduates.

“There have been various attempts globally to issue certificates on the blockchain. But so far no one has captured the complete lifecycle of the certification,” said the President of SP Jain School of Global Management, Nitish Jain. “Students’ attendance and other private data are securely stored in the school’s private blockchain and only the certification related data is exposed to the public Ethereum blockchain.”

In issuing the 1,189 blockchain-based educational certificates, the SP Jain School of Global Management joins a growing list of countries and institutions that are turning to distributed ledger technology to stem fraud related to educational credentials such as degrees and diplomas.

Malaysia and the Caribbean

Last month, Malaysia’s Ministry of Education unveiled a blockchain-based issuance and verification system for university degrees. Unlike in the case of the SP Jain School of Global Management, however, Malaysia turned to the NEM blockchain. As CCN reported at the time, this was an attempt at curbing fake degrees which place genuine students at a disadvantage as well putting the wider society in peril:

“The fake educational certificates not only disadvantage genuine students but also pose numerous dangers to society when critical sectors such as healthcare are staffed with people of questionable expertise.”

And in North America, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) last month issued blockchain-based academic certificates to 24,000 candidates who had sat their exams mid this year. The blockchain-based e-certificates were stored and shared on the free and open-source Blockcerts Wallet in a move aimed at speeding up a ‘verification process that usually takes weeks or months’.

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Headmaster Lei Hua has been fired from his job at a school in Hunan, China, after a total of nine mining rigs were found stealing his school’s electricity to mine Ethereum, the BBC reported on Friday.

School Foots the Electricity Bill

The scheme was uncovered after staff heard mysterious whirring noises produced by the machines and decided to investigate. All told, the secret rigs cost the school a total of 14,700 yuan, the equivalent of $2,100 USD.

Cybersecurity expert Matthew Hickey was quoted by the BBC as saying the noise and heat generated by the rigs would be “very noticeable,” but Hua reportedly staved off concerns over the noise by claiming it came from the school’s heating and air conditioning units.

The headmaster installed mining rigs in the school’s computer lab between the summers of 2017 and 2018. Each of these mining machines cost Hua over $1,500 USD. He decided to use the school’s power because of the electricity costs associated with mining at home. 

Headmaster Hua was fired in October following the incident. The ninth machine belonged to the school’s deputy headmaster, who was let-off with an official reprimand. Local authorities also seized any cryptocurrency mined from the operation.

Hickey says stealing energy to mine crypto isn’t uncommon given the high energy costs:

“Sadly, stealing electricity is one way that people have tried to maximize their revenue – by avoiding those costs it can drastically improve returns on a mining operation.”

In addition to offsetting energy costs, the headmaster and his deputy were also able to harness the school’s computing power to mine Ethereum at scale.

Other Schools Targeted for Illicit Mining

Canadian University Shuts Down Entire Network After Mining Attack
Related: Canadian University Shuts Down Entire Network After Mining Attack

A similar hijacking incident occurred last week at St. Francis Zavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada. The university discovered that the school’s entire network was compromised with mining malware.

suspected phishing attack installed malicious software on the school’s network and the software tried to hijack the university’s 150 computer servers for illicit mining. In response, an administrator from St. Francis shut down their network for four days. The perpetrators of the attack have yet to be identified.

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Malaysia’s education ministry (MoE) has announced that it is developing a blockchain-based degree verification system to combat degree fraud according to a recent tweet.

The official social media communication stated that the system is being developed in collaboration with a university consortium. The system is designed to be able to test and verify the authenticity of university degrees in the country and will include six public sector universities in the first phase.

The system is being built on the NEM blockchain, under the leadership of a professor from International Islamic University Malaysia.

The reason behind the pursuit of the new blockchain degree verification system is not just for the preservation of integrity and reputation of Malaysian universities but also to protect the rights of the students and promote the overall use and universal application of the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

The program will serve as skills training for students trying to enter the blockchain sector and the consortium will also receive backings to develop industry-standard blockchain solutions that could help generate useful revenue for the participating universities through patented technology.

The move comes after various other universities have announced the development of similar blockchain-based degree verification platforms. The top engineering institute in the world, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) became the first university in the world to implement a degree issuing system that is based on blockchain back in October 2017.

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