Cyber-Criminal Interest in Digital Currency Soaring: Dell SecureWorks
More than 100 different families of malware now target Bitcoin wallets, with some targeting alternative digital currencies as well, the firm's researchers say.The soaring value of the Bitcoin digital currency has resulted in increasing criminal attention, with more than 100 families of malware now attempting to steal—not only Bitcoins—but more than 40 other crypto-currencies, according to a research report released on Feb. 26 by Dell SecureWorks. So-called crypto-currency stealing malware (CCSM) searches for and steals the wallet file that stores the victim's encryption keys, transferring it to a remote server and creating a transaction to transfer the money to the thieves' account. Adding functionality to steal alternative currencies, colloquially referred to as altcoins, isn't technically challenging, Joe Stewart, director of malware research for Dell SecureWorks, a managed security service provider, told eWEEK. "Writing a program to steal a single file on the hard drive—let's face it—is not difficult," Stewart said. The research, released at the RSA Conference the same week that the popular Mt. Gox exchange shut down operations following a massive online attack and allegations of financial impropriety, underscores the risk in dealing with the popular, yet still-immature currency system. Two weeks ago, Mt. Gox began delaying withdrawals to allegedly divine the nature of technical issues. On Feb. 24, the popular Bitcoin exchange halted all trading.
"As there is a lot of speculation regarding Mt. Gox and its future, I would like to use this opportunity to reassure everyone that I am still in Japan, and working very hard with the support of different parties to find a solution to our recent issues," Mark Karpeles, the CEO of the trading group, said in a statement that replaced the Mt. Gox Website.