Kuala Lumpur (26 December 2013) – Bitcoin has become a well discussed topic during the past few weeks, especially when people find this virtual currency is tradable and as valuable as real currency. Because of this, Bitcoin has gained much attention and interest of hackers and cybercriminals. Trend Micro Inc. (TYO: 4704;TSE: 4704), the global leading internet security vendor has observed the spreading of Bitcoin-mining malwares recently and most of the affected countries are from the APAC region. Trend Micro reminds Bitcoin owners the importance of keeping their wallets safe from theft by separating their Bitcoin wallets and to manage the Bitcoin account offline which will diminish potential cyber threats.
“Bitcoin users have become the hot target for cybercriminals as Bitcoin transaction is permanent and has no reversal of charges. If you are the victim of credit card fraud, you can appeal to your bank to reverse the transaction and in many cases, they will. On the other hand, once your Bitcoin wallet is compromised by hackers there is no recourse to undo the transaction. In fact, there is no regulator or authority that Bitcoin users can appeal to if they fall victim to theft or fraud” said Goh Chee Hoh, Managing Director, SEA Region, Trend Micro Inc.
Trend Micro Smart Protection Network has detected 3 malwares called BKDR_BTMINE, TROJ_COINMINE and HKTL_BITCOINMINE which turns infected systems into Bitcoin miner, making them virtual assets for the criminals. There are more than 12,000 PCs globally affected by Bitcoin-mining malwares which are causing severe slowdown of PC systems.
Trend Micro found that four out of the six countries with the highest number of Bitcoin-mining malwares infected computers are from the APAC region, with Japan being the top followed by Australia, India and Taiwan at the 3rd, 4th and 6th position respectively.
Executing malwares into the victims’ computer to mine Bitcoin is a new type of cybercrime. Bitcoin mining, the process which creates new Bitcoin created, is resource-intensive hence Bitcoin-mining malwares can slow down the infected computer due to the increased CPU load and subsequently raise power consumption.
To protect themselves from cyber threats, Trend Micro advises Bitcoin users to understand the way Bitcoin is being transacted and to manage it with the same caution and prudence that applies to real currency. Besides using security software to filter malwares, Trend Micro also suggests Bitcoin users not to put all Bitcoin in a single wallet. They should divide their Bitcoin into income account for inbound transaction, and expense account for outbound transactions. For additional precaution, they should also consider managing all the wallets offline. Trend Micro also reminds Bitcoin users that although Bitcoin is claimed to be “anonymous”, the transaction records are still in public and it leave traces. Consequently, given enough circumstantial evidence, criminals can identify and obtain the owners’ personal information.
For more information on Bitcoin threats and other security updates, please kindly follow Trend Micro Trendlabs Security Intelligence blog at http://blog.trendmicro.com/trendlabs-security-intelligence/bitcoin-price-hike-spurs-malware-wallet-theft/.