For most Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency holders, it is no surprise that hackers and other cyber criminals are targeting them and their coins. This is because of the high market value that Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies as a whole has and how easy it is to get away with theft of the coins.
Now a study shows that there is currently close to 150 different cryptocurrency stealing malware's in circulation online, more than 100 of those has been created within the last year. Dell SecureWorks security division has released a paper on Wednesday where they have studied the trails of the malware in depth and found a total of 146 currently active cryptocurrency stealing malware's.
Another thing to note is the fact that there were only 13 of these in 2012, 45 in March of 2013 and now the 146 in total. The increase is following the exchange rate of a Bitcoin, meaning that as the value went higher and higher, more and more malware came out on the market to steal the valuable Bitcoins.
“With the increase in the price of Bitcoin, we also saw an increase in the number of malware samples flooding into the wild,” Pat Litke from SecureWorks said. So far in February, only 13 new species of malware has been found, mainly due to the problems with MtGox.
To be able to steal Bitcoins from a person, the malware will need to enter inside the Bitcoin wallet of the owner and send the Bitcoins to another wallet. The malware simply makes search for words like "wallet.dat" which can store private keys to the Bitcoin wallets and then transfer the information over FTP or HTTP to the hacker who can then steal the Bitcoins easily.
Some malware's goes even further though, installing keyloggers on the infected computers so that they criminals can follow all the typing that the person does. This allows them to gain access to even the most complicated passwords and steal the Bitcoins. Other malwares inserts its own Bitcoin address when you want to copy/paste an address, so that you will not send the Bitcoins the right place.
99% of all attacks on Bitcoin holders are through Windows, not on Mac or Linux. Other cryptocurrencies have been targeted already, but it is far from the same numbers as SecureWorks see with the Bitcoin. 9% of the malware steals Litecoins, while 1% is set to steal other cryptocurrencies such as Dogecoin, Megacoin and others.