back to article Twitter-control botnet mines Bitcoins

Cybercrooks have begun using botnets of compromised machines to mine units of the Bitcoin virtual currency. New units of the electronic currency, which can be exchanged for real cash, can be created by completing complex mathematical tasks. Ideas in distributed computing pioneered by the SETI project and other such schemes …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Bitcoin miners need processing power. A botnet was the obvious next step.

  2. Natalie Gritpants

    Is this a bad thing?

    So you've left your machine connected to the internet and some use is made of it to benefit someone. Sounds just like SETI but without the hassle of installing it. If you actually need the CPU cycles you will notice it and remove it surely?

    1. Old Handle

      Yes that's a bad thing.

      It's still a theft of resources (electricity), although as someone pointed out it is preferable to sending spam, which has additional victims. So arguable there is a net decrease in badness.

    2. David Hicks

      That all depends

      All the non-savvy will notice is "Gee, this computer's getting slow!" while their electricity bill rockets.

      Especially if they have a decent GPU.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Good idea,

      Anonymous could do something similar, maybe, use it for their hactivism. :P

  3. Syren Baran

    Let's hope

    this is more lucrative than sending spam.

    With a bit of luck spam will cease the internet will live happily ever after.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    And nothing of value was lost

    Sorry, but the whole bitcoin thing is so Web2.0 .bomb that I find it hard to care.

  5. MondoMan

    Bitcoin botnetters behind the times?

    The current difficulty level of mining for bitcoins is so high that using standard CPUs for it doesn't make much sense. Essentially, by the time you get a result from one of your CPU-mining herd, the global mining community will already have moved on to the next problem, and your result will be "stale" or worthless.

    Then again, perhaps they are only infecting machines with higher-end AMD graphics cards...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Bitcoin botnet busy-ness

    A bit more productive than sending spam.

  7. David Hicks

    And nothing of value was lost

    Well, nothing of very much value, any more. After repeated scams, theft and fraud it looks like the price is down to under a third of its peak and heading downwards.

    I know it's wrong, but I'm getting a lovely dose of schadenfreude by reading the bitcoin forums at the moment.

  8. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

    the funniest part

    ... is that bitcoin operates in "democratic" manner - if there is discrepancy in transaction chain, the branch with higher computing power "wins the vote" to select "correct" transaction chain.

    Which means that if one happens to operate a botnet with million slaves, one may very well have enough computing power to vote any desired transaction. Like syphoning bitcoins from other users of this "currency".

    1. Gaz Davidson


      No, you can't do that. If you controlled 100% of the hashing power then you still wouldn't be able to generate invalid blocks, that is, blocks that contain transactions that weren't signed by private key of the address where they reside.

      If you owned the vast majority of the network's hashing power then you could perform double spend attacks by starting at block A, processing some fraudulent transaction in block B, chaining blocks C to G on the end to make it look trustworthy (most people accept after 6 blocks; an hour). Then you go back to block A and create a forked B,C,D,E,F,G,H chain that denies the transaction ever existed. The proof-of-work method would show your new fork as being the longest and therefore the most trustworthy, thus you can spend the coins a second time.

      Bonus points for anyone who can calculate how many bots you'd need to perform a double-spend attack like this with a 95% success rate. I'm guessing it's a lot!

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