AUGUST 15, 2014
Your regular source of security updates from TrendLabsSM
In This Issue

Security Spotlight
The Two Sides of the Bitcoin

Security for Home Users
A Homeowner’s Guide to “Smart Living”

Security for Business
The Role of Backdoors in Targeted Attacks

Security Spotlight

The Two Sides of the Bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies are interesting concepts but they are not going mainstream anytime soon.”

Trend Micro CTO, Raimund Genes, weighs in and analyzes Bitcoin use as the future of payment methods. Is money really becoming antiquated? Will we soon see a cashless society? What about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins? More and more brands are now allowing Bitcoin purchasing, jumping onto the cryptocurrency bandwagon.

In the United States, online tech stores like Dell and Newegg have opened their doors to this alternative payment method. Even travel agencies and airlines have shown their flexibility by accepting Bitcoin payments, clearly a step forward into a new realm of payment transactions.

Bitcoin generation, also known as “mining,” requires great computing power. Processing a “block” of data—commonly a cryptographic problem or a puzzle—“mines” Bitcoins. Those who don’t have the necessary computing resource though can buy Bitcoins from exchange sites or even over-the-counter establishments.

The growing acceptance of Bitcoins, however, piqued cybercriminal attention as well. Thinking Bitcoin use would better cloak their identities, they’ve been dabbling in Bitcoin mining and wallet stealing. They have been hijacking computers to run Bitcoin-mining malware, allowing them to obtain the currency without exerting that much effort. Bitcoin mining’s rise from obscurity has even led scammers to use it as lure. We’ve seen a phishing page take the guise of a famous Bitcoin exchange site and a Bitcoin-wallet service site attack, which led to the loss of millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoins.

While Bitcoin addresses don’t give out too much on their users, all transactions are part of a shared ledger called a “blockchain,” which anyone can access. Any organization that processes large data sets and has huge data-gathering resources can deanonymize Bitcoin transactions, proving that Bitcoin use is not as “safe” as some may think.

Cryptocurrencies are interesting concepts but they are not going mainstream anytime soon. Know more about Raimund’s insights in this video.

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