Following the impressive rise of the Bitcoin digital currency over the past few years, criminals are stepping up their game.
If you’re unfamiliar, Bitcoin is an open-source software code that offers a person-to-person (P2P) monetary exchange with no central servers. It uses mathematics, cryptography, and blockchain technology to facilitate transactions easily, quickly, and securely.
Users store a collection of keys ─ an e-wallet ─ on their computer for saving, sending, and receiving payments through the Bitcoin network. Transactions are protected by highly encrypted algorithms.
Unlike traditional currency, Bitcoin isn’t regulated by a central authority. That’s the appeal – it’s free from the meddling and manipulation of central banks.
Anyone can “mine” Bitcoins by solving algorithms that are available to the public. But this is regulated through in-built technology. As a user learns to “mine,” the process becomes increasingly difficult – so much so that Bitcoin mining is reduced by roughly 50% every four years and it’s impossible to exceed the existence of 21 million Bitcoins in circulation at any given time.
But as with any digital content these days, Bitcoin is vulnerable to cyber criminals willing to exploit security vulnerabilities in the system.
Soon after Bitcoin’s launch in 2009, the creators of malware giant