Bitcoins used to buy drugs and weapons: McAfee

McAfee labs latest threats report finds new and unseen levels of criminal activity

Hackers have created a new family of mobile malware which has contributed to a 30 per cent increase in Android based malware.

The latest McAfee Labs Threats report has found hackers have made new efforts to circumvent digital signature app validation on both PCs and Android based devices.

The third quarter report revealed traditional malware signed with digital signatures grew by 50 per cent to more than 1.5 million samples. Less surprising was the 125 per cent increase in spam.

The third quarter also saw notable events in the use of Bitcoin for illicit activities such as the purchase of drugs, weapons, and other illegal goods on websites such as Silk Road.

The growing presence of Bitcoin-mining malware reinforced the increasing popularity of the currency.

McAffee enterprise solutions architect, Sean Duca, said as digital currencies became further integrated into the global financial system, their safety and stability required initiatives leveraging both the financial system’s monetary controls and oversight and the technical controls and defences our industry provides.

“As these currencies become further integrated into our global financial system, their safety and stability will require initiatives leveraging both the financial system’s monetary controls and oversight and the technical controls and defences our industry provides.”

Use of new digital currencies by cybercriminals to both execute illegal transactions and launder profits is enabling new and previously unseen levels of criminal activity.

These transactions can be executed anonymously, drawing the interest of the cybercriminal community and allowing them to offer illicit goods and services for sale in transactions that would normally be transparent to law enforcement.

McAfee Labs also saw cybercriminals develop Bitcoin-mining malware to infect systems, mine their processing power, and produce Bitcoins for commercial transactions.

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Tags weaponsbitcoinsdrugsAndroidsilk roadcriminal activityMcAffee enterprise solutions architect Sean Ducamalware

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