SEOUL, Nov. 11 (Korea Bizwire) — As the value of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin surges, a growing emergence of malicious software targeting the digital money is being observed.
According to a report on current cyber threats by the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) on November 10, 5,366 cases of ransomware were discovered from the first quarter to the third of this year, 3.7 times more than the same period last year.
In addition, malicious software collected from July to September this year increased to 452 from 436 in the preceding quarter.
Ransomware was most common, accounting for 77 percent (347 cases), followed by 10 percent of information extortion codes (44 cases). Ransomware encrypts important files and demands compensation for their restoration.
The popularity of Bitcoin played a role in the proliferation of ransomware.
Bitcoin has become a target of hackers because it does not leave a digital trail of its transactions, making its tracking very difficult. Currently priced near $8,000 per coin, its value has soared within the last few years.
Hackers who received compensation for restoration of ransomware-damaged files with Bitcoin have now shifted their target to the cryptocurrency itself as its value continues to climb. The main prey of hackers is Bitcoin account and personal financial information.
From last July to August, North Korean hackers attempted to hack personal computers owned by four officials of Bitcoin trading businesses. Fortunately, no PC was found to have been broke into, but similar attacks are believed to have been attempted.
In July, malicious software that change the addresses of Bitcoin wallets to those of hackers’ were circulated. Early this month, a malignant code that infiltrates PCs and mines Bitcoin unbeknownst to users appeared.
Security specialists advise keeping operating systems updated to the latest version and avoiding suspicious e-mails or files.
Kevin Lee (email@example.com)