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Why Criminals Love Bitcoin Mining

A new report offers details on how organized crime hacks ordinary Americans' computers to generate illegal Bitcoin profits.

A new study offers fresh details on illegal Bitcoin mining. F-Secure's quarterly report, released today, claims four major campaigns took place between April and July of 2013 which took over strangers' computers to illicitly generate Bitcoins. Bitcoins, a popular "virtual currency," are generated through processor hours in an attempt to create a virtual economy. In illegal Bitcoin mining, hackers take over strangers' computers to generate Bitcoins for personal use.

According to F-Secure, one of these campaigns, ZeroAccess, generated approximately $1.7 million monthly out of the top 5% of victims alone. The report also claims Skype is a primary infection vector. Using Skype, criminals would mail random targets with links claiming to be pictures or spreadsheets. Once opened, the links installed malware that turned the machines into slaves generating Bitcoins.

[Image: Flickr user BTCrig]

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  • Sean Moore

    So which bankster coiriúil funded this outdated article? Nothing but another Elmer FUD.

    The events the author is writing about happened months ago. Secondly Skype has always had easily exploitable vulnerabilities.

  • Aaron Holmgren

    The hashing power required to mine bitcoins is quickly making this totally redundant. Botnet mining will not be profitable enough to make it worthwhile, when they can use their botnets for more profitable activities, such as spamming. Although... it may still be profitable to use botnets for mining alt-coins, like LiteCoin.

  • paulsnx2

    Dumb. The hash difficulty has risen so much now that this just doesn't work anymore.

  • Kirk Hilles

    That was my initial reaction. 6 MH/s is nothing! However, this one has affected 2.2 million PCs, so you'd be looking at 13.2 TH/s. Not bad!

  • paulsnx2

    Total hashing power is 12,000 TH/s for about 700K dollars worth of BTC per day. 13 TH/s will get you about 1/1000 of that, or $7000.

    Plus CPU mining pretty much makes a computer useless for anything else, meaning that maintaining 6 million full powered mining systems on line is unlikely... People will turn off a system they can't use, and/or actively attempt to fix it.

    If you only use 10 percent, you become mostly undetectable CPU usage wise, not now you are only making 700 dollars a day.

    And the hash power is still rising at an incredible rate.

    By comparison, spamming and other botnet products make more money.

  • Tuxavant

    Thanks for spilling the beans. Now the bloggers and "real press" will have to go out and find new ways to fear monger about bitcoin.