Cryptocurrency is immensely volatile. Its mining requires a fast-acting net-enabled device, a lightning fast internet connection, the cost burden of electricity, and an aware mind with the reflexes needed to make the instant clicks for profit. Exploiters of bitcoin are yet another step divided from this process, so why is it that bitcoin exploits are spiking?
At a time when the bitcoin fluctuation was at its height, crypto mining already bore unpredictable loss (and gain, if you’re lucky) that the risk of exploiting these transactions was too high to test. On December 15, 2017, the bitcoin was worth record high at USD $19,650, only to fall back down to USD $15,075 on December 22nd, 2017, and then back up to USD $17,098 on the 5th of January 2019.
The profit of a single unit of bitcoin bought weeks before the spike and sold at the peak of it must have easily averaged around USD 7000. bitcoins stolen at the peak, however, would have bore loss as time went on and the value of the cryptocurrency stabilized at a lower rate. This fluctuation is precisely why the bitcoin is commonly used as a means of investment, but it is also why cryptocurrency hackers have a lot to consider when investing efforts in stealing the currency.
The current state of bitcoin stands that of the 21million bitcoins available at any time, 17,517,025 bitcoins have already been mined and 3,482,975 remain to be retrieved. This means that 83.414% of all bitcoins have been issued and we know that as more are mined, the hashes increase in difficult. After every 2.1 million blocks, the number of coins retrieved also cuts in half and by the May of 2020, it is expected to go down to 6.25 bitcoins.
As the bitcoin economy slows down this way, the cost of mining them increases heavily, particularly the electricity and server maintenance costs to perform these tasks. This is why miners rely on creating and releasing malware through popular web servers to retrieve data from user devices and steal bitcoins from other users. That sounds well and easy but carrying out these thefts demands profitability and predictability in the bitcoin market. This is why bitcoin mining thefts have been observed to increase heavily over the last year as the value of the bitcoin has become relatively more steady.
So now that you know why bitcoin exploits have spiked, the logical question arises, what does this mean for me? Whether you’re a bitcoin miner or not, this affects you either way, just more heavily so if you do invest in the cryptocurrency.
The popular torrenting website, the PirateBay.org was found in 2017 to release crypto mining malware through the downloads of its torrents which stayed hidden on users’ devices and retrieved their browser cookies, login credentials, as well as cryptocurrency wallet activities.
Facebook as well as other social media platforms have also been found to act as medium for the spread of such malware. With such common websites transporting these viruses, you may well easily be impacted by such malware on your own device.
For bitcoin crypto miners, this is a direct cause for concern, but for those who don’t deal in bitcoin, it still very much is. Crypto mining malwares have evolved to hold your devices ransom until you pay up. Irrespective of whether you have bitcoin or not, you will be required to make such transactions to recover your personal data and retrieve access to your device which will be locked and unusable in the meanwhile.
With crypto mining costs rising, bitcoin investors are resorting to malware to continue gaining bitcoins whilst avoiding the heft costs that go into the process. As bitcoin transaction activity slows, these malwares are become all the more intelligent to hold your devices ransom, leaving you no choice but to aid in their theft. So, whether you’re a bitcoin investor or not, the evolved state of these bitcoins and the very public channels that are being used to spread them is reason for you to be warned and alert about the risks posed to your digital presence and financial standing.