Bitcoin, the most widely traded cryptocurrency, has suffered a collapse in value from $20,000 in December to $6,000. Other currencies in the category have posted similar results. Cryptocurrencies have a new problem that could further crater their value. Malware attacks have become more virulent and more frequent, which will make some traders abandon trading altogether.
A software security company issued a new warning:
McAfee, the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, today released its McAfee Labs Threats Report: June 2018, examining the growth and trends of new malware, ransomware, and other threats in Q1 2018. McAfee Labs saw on average five new threat samples every second, including growth in cryptojacking and other cryptocurrency mining malware, and notable campaigns demonstrating a deliberate drive to technically improve upon the most sophisticate established attacks of 2017.
“There were new revelations this quarter concerning complex nation-state cyber-attack campaigns targeting users and enterprise systems worldwide,” said Raj Samani, chief scientist at McAfee. “Bad actors demonstrated a remarkable level of technical agility and innovation in tools and tactics. Criminals continued to adopt cryptocurrency mining to easily monetize their criminal activity.”
The report also claimed malware attacks rose 629% in the first quarter from the final quarter of 2017. The total attacks reached 2.9 million.
Cryptocurrencies have come under attack as unstable and of little value in the course of actual financial transactions. Noble winner Robert Shiller, a professor at Princeton, wrote in a research paper recently:
And, as in the past, the public’s fascination with cryptocurrencies is tied to a sort of mystery, like the mystery of the value of money itself, consisting in the new money’s connection to advanced science. Practically no one, outside of computer science departments, can explain how cryptocurrencies work. That mystery creates an aura of exclusivity, gives the new money glamour, and fills devotees with revolutionary zeal. None of this is new, and, as with past monetary innovations, a compelling story may not be enough.
Mystery and malware make a poor combination.