It was only a matter of time before digital currencies like bitcoin were hit by the same crime that has affected unsuspecting people for centuries: pickpockets.
According to data security firm Trustwave, an aggressive virus called Pony bot has spread onto hundreds of thousands of computers in the search for digital wallets. Thus far, 85 digital wallets have been stolen along with their digital coins. Sheep Marketplace over the weekend.The exact amount of money lost isn’t known, but it can potentially be big as some computer geeks run digital mining operations and have stored hundreds of bitcoins in their wallets. The value of bitcoins changes dramatically from day to day but has topped $1,000 USD multiple times over the past three months.
Trustwave has been able to disarm the computers that were remote controlling Pony bot, but they fully expect the crime ring to regroup and launch another offensive to purloin more coins.
“Bitcoins are stored in virtual wallets, which are essentially pairs of private and public keys,” the Trustwave researchers said, adding that whoever has those keys can take the currency.
“Stealing bitcoins and exchanging them for another currency, even a regulated one such as US dollars, is much easier than stealing money from a bank.”
Bitcoin value had already dropped by 33% on the heels of another security breech that halted trading at 3 digital coin dealers including the largest bitcoin dealer in the world. The rise of bitcoin and other select digital currencies has given thieves a powerful incentive to attempt to steal the coins. There’s no word yet on a Pony bot vaccination.
Bitcoin heist ‘Pony’ botnet steals bitcoins, digital currencies – Trustwave
Bitcoin heist: Pony thieves blamed for bitcoin heist