Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Breaking: Trojan Virus Forces Computers to Mine for Bitcoins

As background, keep in mind that you can "create" bitcoins, that is,"mine" for them by solving complex formulas that require substantial computer power.

MarketWatch reports:
Like thieves stealing wiring and plumbing to cash in on sky-high copper prices, criminals are now said to be hijacking computers to “mine” for Bitcoins —  underlining just how widespread the craze for the alternative currency has become.

The motive is clear. The value of a Bitcoin jumped as high as $191 on Monday, according to trading site Mt.Gox. The alternative currency has “gone parabolic” in recent weeks, rising from less than $50 in mid-March.

Wired, citing a antivirus seller Kaspersky Lab, reports that a new Trojan spotted spreading via Skype last week takes control of infected machines and forces them to run the complex, number-crunching exercises that award new Bitcoins to users. By harnessing numerous machines, the perpetrators can vastly boost their computing power.

Bitcoins are created when users’ computers complete a difficult number-crunching exercise.

As Wired notes, this isn’t the first Bitcoin mining Trojan to pop up. And Bitcoin users already know to be on the lookout for malware that can steal Bitcoins.


  1. Government or private hackers, it doesn't matter. They cannot control the whole aggregate of bitcoins. They can only steal from individuals.


  2. Security may well be Bitcoin's Achilles heel. Anyone who works with computers understands that there is no such thing as secure - it is a temporal illusion. What is "considered" secure today will be child's play to crack tomorrow - major problem for Bitcoin...

    Also, it's ability to track everywhere it goes is an NSA wet dream. Think I'll pass.

  3. But is the computing power scarce?

    1. Scarce is a relative term.

      My first Apple (which is sleeping in my closet) had 32k of memory - laughable by today's standards.

      What is scarce today will soon be commonplace and affordable. The idea of computer security is, by definition, be a constantly moving target with a continuously eroding shelf life.

  4. Oopsie. The problems with virtual values vs. physical. This is bubble that's going to pop! The only question is, will it be .Gov, hackers, or the public that's going to trigger it?

  5. A friend of mine discovered one of these things attached to a Skyrim patch. It's quite ingenuous targeting, when you think of it. But the virtual "hijacking" of computer resources for commercial gain is intriguing all on its own. A whole new realm to explore libertarian property rights theory.