VB2014 Paper: Well, that escalated quickly. From penny-stealing malware to multi-million-dollar heists, a quick overview of the Bitcoin bonanza in the digital era

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Nov 4, 2014

Santiago Pontiroli takes us on a rollercoaster ride through cryptocurrency land.

Over the next few months, we will be sharing VB2014 conference papers as well as video recordings of the presentations. Today, we have added 'Well, that escalated quickly. From penny-stealing malware to multi-million-dollar heists, a quick overview of the bitcoin bonanza in the digital era', by Kaspersky's Santiago Pontiroli.

Today's gold rushes don't take people to California or Yukon. Rather they take place on the Internet, where people are mining bitcoins and related cryptocurrencies, sometimes getting very rich in the process, and occasionally losing a lot of money through bugs and blunders.

In his paper, Santiago Pontiroli takes us through the recent history of Bitcoin and the various aspects that matter for computer security. Watching his presentation at VB2014 was akin to a rollercoaster ride. On the one hand, cryptocurrencies are rather exciting — Santiago explained how many people in Latin America see Bitcoin as a way to defeat the deflation their economies are struggling with. On the other hand, it was hard not to feel dizzy and somewhat overwhelmed by the security issues and implications.

The percentage of users attacked by different types of malware each month

Malware targeting Bitcoin wallets or using other people's resources to mine for cryptocurrencies are perhaps the least of our worries. What about virus code (or worse, child abuse material) ending up in the blockchain? Or the common flaw of transaction malleability? Or the almost existential threat of the "51% attack"?

Cryptocurrencies are here to stay, but they come with their own unique set of problems that we cannot ignore. As Santiago concluded in his presentation, we're not in Kansas anymore.

You can read Santiago's paper here in HTML-format, or download it here as a PDF (no registration or subscription required). You can download the presentation slides here. We have also uploaded the presentation to our YouTube channel.

If you are interested in malware focusing on Bitcoin, make sure you read an article we published last year from another VB2014 speaker, Fortinet researcher Micky Pun, in which she studies several malware families engaged in Bitcoin mining.



Posted on 04 November 2014 by Martijn Grooten
twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2018 paper: Lazarus Group: a mahjong game played with different sets of tiles

The Lazarus Group, generally linked to the North Korean government, is one of the most notorious threat groups seen in recent years. At VB2018 ESET researchers Peter Kálnai and Michal Poslušný presented a paper looking at the group's various…

Book your VB2019 ticket now for a chance to win a ticket for BSides London

Virus Bulletin is proud to sponsor this year's BSides London conference, which will take place next week, and we have a number of tickets to give away.

First 11 partners of VB2019 announced

We are excited to announce the first 11 companies to partner with VB2019, whose support will help ensure a great event.

VB2018 paper: Fake News, Inc.

A former reporter by profession, Andrew Brandt's curiosity was piqued when he came across what appeared at first glance to be the website of a small-town newspaper based in Illinois, but under scrutiny, things didn’t add up. At VB2018 he presented a…

Paper: Alternative communication channel over NTP

In a new paper published today, independent researcher Nikolaos Tsapakis writes about the possibilities of malware using NTP as a covert communication channel and how to stop this.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.