Do you know Bitcoin? It is a virtual currency which is as valuable as a real currency and can even be used for trade purposes. Recently I am hearing a lot about Bitcoin, probably because it has caught everybody attention. Well, looks like it has also caught some wrong attention like hackers and cyber criminals.
Trend Micro Inc has observed that Bitcoin-mining malwares are on the rise and most of the affected countries are from the APAC region. Well, although Malaysia is not in the list, it is only because Bitcoin is not very popular in Malaysia yet. We Malaysians are quite internet savvy and I’ve read many statistics which indicate that Malaysia has one of the highest Twitter / Facebook users. That simply means that we Malaysian should not take this lightly just because it is not involving our country (or probably just in a very minor percentage).
Japan is most affected by this Bitcoin-mining malwares. Even USA is in the 2nd place. What does that mean? Is Bitcoin very popular in APAC region that the hackers primarily target countries in APAC to spread the malwares? Alright, let’s continue with the list. Australia is in the 3rd place, followed by India at 4th, France at 5th place and Taiwan at 6th. If you see the top 10 affected countries by Bitcoin-mining malwares, a lot of countries from APAC region are affected.
The main reason why these hackers are targeting Bitcoin accounts is because Bitcoin is not like your credit card where you can call the customer service and reverse the charges. NO, THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT POSSIBLE WITH BITCOIN. Once your Bitcoin monies are gone, they are gone forever and you can’t reverse the charges. Also, you can’t really get to somebody with regards to your Bitcoin. There is no regulator or authority that you can appeal to once your Bitcoin account is compromised. Well, this was according to Goh Chee Hoh, the Managing Director of Trend Micro Inc for SEA region.
Have you heard of the idiom ‘better safe than sorry’? Yes, that’s what you need to do with your Bitcoin account before it is compromised. Trend Micro advises you to keep your Bitcoin wallets safe by keeping them separate and manage your account offline. This will diminish potential cyber threats.
I can’t say that Malaysia is not affected by this Bitcoin-mining malware because our country can also fall under ‘others’ category from the statistics above. Recently, I registered for Penang Bridge International Marathon (PBIM). After several days, I received an email saying that I can engrave my medal by paying some Bitcoin cash. The links in the email are not related to PBIM at all and several days later, PBIM organiser made an announcement on their Facebook page that it is a scam. Only then I know that it was a phishing email. Luckily I don’t have Bitcoin. Anyway, that is a good example that Malaysians are using Bitcoins too (probably on a smaller percentage compared to countries like Japan and Australia).