Bitcoin continues to make headlines but the topics have certainly taken a turn for the worse. Following a meteoric rise to a peak of $900/btc, criminals have taken the logical next step and ramped up their bitcoin heists. In this case, the liquid nature of a digital online currency is its own downfall. The easily transferred “wallet file” is the only tangible mark of a bitcoin so heists are nothing new, but heists that would have been worth thousands are currently worth hundreds of thousands or even millions.
A Denmark based company named BIPS released a statement on November 19th that they had suffered a heist of 1,295 bitcoins, or rough $1 million stating that “Regrettably, despite several layers of protection, the attack caused vulnerability to the system, which has then enabled the attacker/s to gain access and compromise several wallets.” The bitcoins didn’t come from BIPS itself but from many of its customers, whom BIPS promised they would contact individually.
And that’s not even on the bigger end. China’s GBL bitcoin exchange abruptly went dark in October, taking $4.1 million in bitcoin with it. Attempts to contact or trace the website owners have turned up nothing but dead ends, and at this point it is speculated that its investors were scammed.
The main takeaway from the last several months seems to be “don’t store your untraceable, easily hacked money on the internet.” Given that the online rate of bitcoin theft is increasing, users might find it prudent to make sure their wallet files are secure by storing them in a “cold” such as a USB drive, or take it a step farther and put that drive in a safety deposit box.