Internet security vendor Trend Micro finds that Bitcoin-mining malware is spreading and the countries most affected by it are from the APAC region. Trend Micro Smart Protection Network had detected 3 malwares called BKDR_BTMINE, TROJ_COINMINE and HKTL_BITCOINMINE which turned infected systems into a Bitcoin miner, making them virtual assets for the criminals.
About 12,000 PCs globally were affected by Bitcoin-mining malware which were causing severe slowdown of PC systems. And four out of the six countries with the highest number of Bitcoin-mining malware infected computers were from the APAC region, with Japan at 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, is resource-intensive hence Bitcoin-mining malwares can slow down the infected computer due to the increased CPU load and subsequently raise power consumption.
“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,” says Dhanya Thakkar, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Trend Micro.
To protect themselves from cyber threats, Trend Micro advised 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. 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.