Bitcoin craze is turning into a fertile ground for cyber fraudsters as thousands of computers, including in India, are being infected with malwares related to the virtual currency.
The findings of a survey, that has pegged the count of computers infected with bitcoin-related malware
at at least 12,000, comes at a time when regulators worldwide have flagged money laundering concerns about this popular virtual currency.
IT security firm Trend Micro, a 'bitcoin
mining malware' is infecting computers globally leading to increasing threat of cyber security risks for bitcoins users.
India is among the countries that have been hit the most by such malwares, it said.
As per the survey, four out of the six countries that have the highest number of such infected computers are in the the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.
Japan was the most affected country with APAC, followed by Australia, India and Taiwan.
"Bitcoin users have become the hot target for cyber criminals as bitcoin transaction is permanent and has no reversal of charges," Trend Micro Managing Director (India & SAARC) Dhanya Thakkar said.
About 12,000 personal computers have been globally affected by malwares (related to bitcoin) which were causing severe slowdown of computer systems making them "virtual assets for the criminals," it added.
"Although bitcoin is claimed to be anonymous, the transaction records are still in public and it leave traces...
Consequently, given enough circumstantial evidence, criminals can identify and obtain the owners personal information," Trend Micro said.
Thakkar noted that there is no regulator or authority that bitcoin users can appeal to if they fall victim to theft or fraud.
Going by estimates, as many as 67 digital currencies are in circulation on the Internet and their total value is around USD 13 billion. Out of this amount, bitcoin alone accounts for over $9 billion.