Kaspersky Warns of Surge in Bitcoin Cybercrime

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According to a recent Kaspersky Lab report entitled "Financial Cyber Threats in 2013" [PDF], the number of cyber attacks targeting Bitcoin increased by more than 250 percent in 2013, and accounted for 8.3 million incidents in total.

The total number of cyber attacks involving malware designed to steal financial data increased by 27.6 percent in 2013 to reach 28.4 million.

"During 2013 the value of Bitcoins increased more than 85 times, and of course that attracted the attention of cybercriminals," Kaspersky Lab senior security researcher Sergey Lozhkin said in a statement. "By the end of the year the number of users attacked with malware targeting bitcoins was starting to close in on the number of those who faced more conventional banking cyber threats."

"Crypto-currency holders should be especially careful because it is almost impossible to recover any stolen money," Lozhkin added. "This is the inherent risk in using a crypto-currency like Bitcoin that circulates without any government control."

The report also states that 31.45 percent of all phishing attacks in 2013 targeted financial institutions, 22.2 percent of all such attacks involved fake bank Web sites, and fully 59.5 percent of banking phishing attacks used the names of just 25 different international banks.