As Bitcoin‘s value continues to rise, hackers have found the virtual currency increasingly enticing and developed sophisticated ways to get their hands on it illegally. Not only by stealing it, but also by illegally “˜mining‘ it. The latest method they have devised is to “˜highjack‘ other people‘s personal computers to do the mining for them, meaning they don‘t have to pay the massive amounts of money to attain a machine that mine Bitcoins at speed that makes it worthwhile.
Yahoo has confirmed that the breach took place last week and experts now believe as many as two million European users could have been affected. To unearth Bitcoins, computers have to solve the complex processor-intensive equations which hold them. The more powerful the machine the better it is at solving the riddle. Computer-makers have been creating high-powered souped-up computers so they can do it repeatedly and rapidly to collect the most coins.
The main reason that hackers have a large appetite for Bitcoins is not just because of its intrinsic value, but because of anonymity. Bitcoin mining malware is designed to steal computing power to make it easier for criminals to collect the virtual currency, without using their own high-powered computers. Other than a slow computer, those infected with the malware be unaware that their machine is being used.
The attack focused on outdated software, according to reports. According to Steve Regan of security site CSO, “œThe only way for the exploits to work is to have outdated versions of Java on your system. If Java is up to date, then the odds are you’re safe.“
“œHowever, I don’t trust Java, so unless you absolutely need it, my advice is to uninstall it from your system. It seems like I see more zero-day attacks aimed at Java than anything else, the risk isn’t worth it for me“ he added.