Woburn, MA – April 22, 2014 - Kaspersky Lab today announced that according to its Financial Cyber Threats in 2013 study, financial malware targeting Bitcoin became increasingly popular in 2013 for both the public and cybercriminals. The number of attacks targeting the crypto-currency accounted for 8.3 million incidents in 2013, which is 2.5 times more than the amount of incidents in 2012.
Bitcoin was created especially for making anonymous e-payments and has become extremely popular over the last few years. Its exchange rate has fluctuated from $13.60 to $1,200 to about $80, and the high value has attracted the attention of cybercriminals. Additionally, bitcoins can often be easily stolen; if consumers store bitcoins on their computers in an unencrypted form, attackers only need to steal the wallet file to get information about the “coins” within and access the victim’s account.
For the study, more than 30 samples of finance-related malware were selected, nine of which were programs designed to steal bitcoins. These nine represented a total of 29 percent of all financial cyber attacks performed using malicious applications.
The tools used by cybercriminals to steal bitcoins can be divided into two categories. The first category includes programs created to steal wallet files. Applications in the second category are designed to install software for bitcoin generation ("mining”) on an infected computer. In absolute terms the bitcoin wallet thieves performed twice as many attacks in 2013; however, the tools for "mining" developed more rapidly.
To use crypto-currencies safely, Kaspersky Lab experts advise storing wallet files on encrypted media. For long-term storage, a bitcoin owner can make a transfer to a dedicated wallet and write the details down on paper. It is also necessary to provide reliable computer protection against malicious software using a reliable Internet Security class solution.
Home users can benefit from Kaspersky Internet Security, a security solution which in addition to the comprehensive set of protection technologies includes the Safe Money technology which protects user data during banking and e-payment sessions.
The ‘Financial cyber threats in 2013’ report used data obtained voluntarily from Kaspersky Security Network participants. Kaspersky Security Network is a globally distributed cloud-based infrastructure designed to quickly process depersonalized data about threats which users of Kaspersky Lab’s products encounter.
Sergey Lozhkin, Senior Security Researcher
“During 2013 the value of bitcoins increased more than 85 times, and of course that attracted the attention of cybercriminals. By the end of the year the number of users attacked with malware targeting bitcoins was starting to close in on the number of those who faced more conventional banking cyber threats. Crypto-currency holders should be especially careful because it is almost impossible to recover any stolen money. This is the inherent risk in using a crypto-currency like Bitcoin that circulates without any government control.”
About Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab is the world’s largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection solutions. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users*. Throughout its more than 16-year history Kaspersky Lab has remained an innovator in IT security and provides effective digital security solutions for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab, with its holding company registered in the United Kingdom, currently operates in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 300 million users worldwide. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.
* The company was rated fourth in the IDC rating Worldwide Endpoint Security Revenue by Vendor, 2011. The rating was published in the IDC report "Worldwide Endpoint Security 2012–2016 Forecast and 2011 Vendor Shares (IDC #235930, July 2012). The report ranked software vendors according to earnings from sales of endpoint security solutions in 2011.
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