Robbing a bank is such a hassle in the real world, with all the complicated logistics of weapons, vaults, dye packs, and getaway cars. It’s a lot more straightforward to rob digital currency exchanges and payment processors. To paraphrase bank robber Willie Sutton, that’s where the bitcoins are.
The huge interest in bitcoin and the concurrent surge in the value of the currency—bitcoin has risen 6,000% versus the US dollar in the last year and 300% just this month—has also created a growing incentive for larcenous hackers:
- European bitcoin payment processor BIPS lost the equivalent of about $1 million last week after a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack overwhelmed its servers and enabled attackers to gain access to customers’ online bitcoin “wallets.”
- Poland’s Bidextreme.pl was also hacked last week, and its users’ accounts emptied, though it did not disclose the amount taken.
- A week earlier, the Czech exchange Bitcash.cz was hit, with 4,000 users losing bitcoins worth about $100,000.
- Australia’s TradeFortress said it was hacked in November, leading to the loss of $1 million worth of users’ bitcoins.
- China’s GBL exchange abruptly went offline in October, with $4.1 million in users’ bitcoins going missing.