Whether you think Bitcoins are the currency of the future or a passing gimmick, you cannot deny that some folks have made millions. Thus with the appeal of “easy” money comes crime. And also the crime is getting bigger and a lot more sophisticated.
At first it was the petty crime. People would offer to sell something for Bitcoins and never pay. Or even offer to sell Bitcoins and never deliver. You get this in just about every online marketplace. It erodes the trust in the program and is widespread. Most internet savvy folks know ways to avoid probably the worst of it. Since Bitcoins remains confined mostly to techies, it has been even less of a problem. Sites quickly sprang up that listed trusted sellers, buyers and sites and all those to not do business with. The system was self policing in short order.
Now that the stakes have been raised, we’ve a higher level threat to the Bitcoins system. Trojans and viruses have actually been created to concentrate on the Bitcoins wallet. The Bitcoins wallet is currently kept in the same directory and is un encrypted. So anyone with access to your computer can “take” the Bitcoins of yours in a matter of seconds. The virus looks for that directory and sends off the info on the criminal. For the virus to get into your computer, you will have had to invite it. It was affixed to a system that claimed to be beneficial to Bitcoins mining. People downloaded it to find out if it helped and were infected. Normally this’s a thing that not a lot of of us would willing do. But in the Bitcoins world, everyone was striving for an advantage. Time was compressed as folks jumped at every chance in this “gold rush” type of atmosphere.
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In early June a person lost $500,000 worth of Bitcoins to this strategy. Anyone had downloaded several things and also was not sure how or when the trojan was installed. He discovered a few malware items when he ran a virus check. The trojan was much more then likely invited into his personal computer and seeing as how Bitcoins are really new a virus application will be not likely to want to protect the Bitcoins wallet. The transaction was noticed on the Bitcoins network and also a unidentified person posted about their successful crime on Twitter. People have called for the Bitcoins community to band together as well as reverse the transaction. The feeling is this would create a dangerous precedent as what other transaction could then be reversed. Who proves that a serious offense was committed? As of the writing of this, the money hasn’t been recovered.
Once again Bitcoins and Bitcoins users are learning to adapt. The hottest version of the Bitcoins software will encrypt the wallet behind a password. Once again, people are identifying which software’s and applications are safe and which ones are not. The system is self correcting again. Big money and the recent press for Bitcoins is going to bring the unsavory side of commerce to Bitcoins again and again but with all the computing power and technological know exactly how that is in the current Bitcoins community, I doubt that adaptation will be very far behind.