We have been constantly presented with various news articles about hackers and cyber criminals constantly trying to make a fortune with bitcoin. Another way of illegally gaining bitcoin is with malware. In these cases, a developer may include a piece of malicious code into a perfectly legitimate looking software or application, with the intention of gaining access to the target computer’s resources.
There are multiple ways to gain bitcoins illegally, which includes ransomware attack, where a malicious code encrypts the contents of victim’s computer and the perpetrator demands a ransom (usually in bitcoin) to either unlock it for them or give them the key required to decrypt the encryption. Then there is hacking, where a hacker gains unauthorized access into a computer or computers in a network and copies, deletes or manipulates data on the network. The hacker will then claim a ransom for returning the stolen information or blackmails the organization or an individual by using the stolen information as leverage. If the hacker manages to hack into a bitcoin exchange or a wallet, then he will most likely walk away with the bitcoins available on the platform’s hot wallet.
There are others who are usually app or software developers. They include malware in their applications so that these malicious codes can gain access to the processing power of host machines and use it to mine bitcoin for them. With the bitcoin encryption growing tougher day by day, the processing power required to mine bitcoin has increased drastically and this type of illicit activity is not profitable anymore.
A similar trend was recently observed in a study conducted by Kaspersky Labs. The study has already been published in detail in one of the recent posts on NewsBTC. However, to summarize the whole study, one can say that the number of malicious software attacks with the intention of stealing or unlawfully gaining bitcoins has declined drastically compared to previous years. However, another interesting part in this report is that most of the malware presently being created by cybercriminals are more targeted towards mobile apps and banking software than individuals and companies as before.