Bitcoin mining malware is spreading and the countries most affected by it are from the Asia Pacific region, according to a new report.
The 3 major malwares affecting the systems are BKDR_BTMINE, TROJ_COINMINE and HKTL_BITCOINMINE which turned infected systems into a Bitcoin miner, making them virtual assets for the criminals, the report by global security company Trend Micro said.
Nearly 12,000 computers globally were affected by these mining malware, which are causing these systems to slow down. Four out of the six countries with the highest number of Bitcoin mining malware infected systems were from the Asia Pacific region, with Japan at the top, followed by Australia, India and Taiwan at the 3rd, 4th and 6th position respectively.
Bitcoin mining, is resource intensive and hence these malwares can slow down the infected computer due to the increased CPU load. As a result the power consumption by the system is also increased.
“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.
One safe way to transact in Bitcoins is by not putting all Bitcoin in a single wallet. Users should divide their Bitcoin between separate wallets for inbound transaction and outbound transactions. Managing wallets offline is another way to stay safe from Bitcoin theft.
Although Bitcoins are said to be anonymous, the transaction records are still available to public and it leaves traces. If required criminals can identify and obtain the owners’ personal information through these records.
Recently India’s central bank had cautioned virtual currency users in the country about the potential risks involved in using such currencies including Bitcoins. The Reserve Bank of India said that there could be potential financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security related risks that virtual currencies pose.
In December 2013, the ED conducted raids on Mahim Gupta, an Ahmedabad based Bitcoin vendor, on violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). Following this development, several other Indian Bitcoin services had halted operations.