Still got Bitcoin? Protect it from malware, experts warn

Malware01 Mar 2014 / PC World – Businesses considering accepting Bitcoins or other forms of cryptocurrency should be prepared to battle a rising number of malware aimed at emptying digital wallets.

That’s the takeaway from a new study by SecureWorks, computer maker Dell’s security unit. Researchers found that the number of malware targeted at stealing cryptocurrency from Windows PCs increased along with the rise in value of Bitcoin since the beginning of 2013.

As of January of this year, SecureWorks had identified on the Internet 100 unique families of malware capable of stealing wallet files or digital currency from users’ exchange accounts. The increase in the number of cryptocurrency-stealing malware made it “one of the fastest-growing categories of malware,” the study said.

While Bitcoin is not the only type of cryptocurrency, it is the most popular and the most valuable. The price has ranged from a high of roughly $1150 in early December to a low of $420 on February 25. Bitcoin’s price on Thursday was about $565. Other digital currencies include Namecoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, PPCoin, and Mastercoin.

The recent shutdown of Mt. Gox, which once had the largest market share of all digital currency exchanges, highlights the risk of cryptocurrency traded over the Internet. The Bitcoin exchange closed this month after cybercriminals stole $400 million. The heist is under investigation by U.S. federal authorities.

The rising popularity of digital currency has led to its adoption by retailers. became the first major online retailer to accept Bitcoins, and industry observers expect others to follow. The site SpendBitcoins lists many places on the web where people can spend their digital currency….. Read more

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