'Pony' botnet steals bitcoins
In the cyber world, the term ‘Pony’ refers to a computer infection. The Pony virus makes the victimized computer part of the Pony botnet. The Pony botnet is employed by the criminals to steal account credentials and such digital currencies as Bitcoins, Litecoins, Primecoins and Feathercoins. Digital currencies are getting more popular; moreover, it is much easier to steal digital currencies than steal money from a bank. In order to prevent online breaches, computer users should pay more attention to the so-called digital wallets. If your digital money is not encrypted, i.e., it is no protected by a password, remove attackers can steal the private key associated with the virtual wallet and safely transfer the content of your wallet to another wallet.
The damage caused by the Pony botnet
It is estimated that the Pony botnet has helped cyber criminals to steal approximately 85 digital wallets containing bitcoins and other currencies, with the equivalent of $220,000. The sum of money lost is evaluated as low because of the small number of people using Bitcoin; however, it is believed that new attacks against Bitcoins and similar systems will take place because of the growth of technologies.
As for account credentials, the Pony botnet is reported to have stolen some 2 million log-ins for such popular social networking websites as Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and Google.
The danger of the Pony botnet
It has not been determined yet what people are operating behind the botnet. The servers that were controlling computers infected with the Pony virus are already disrupted; however, it is expected that the group will launch more attacks on computer users. It is advisable to store virtual currency offline in order to prevent unexpected currency loss. Usually, websites that store digital currency do not encrypt the coins by default, but it is possible to alter the settings.
How to prevent the Pony botnet
In order to prevent the undesirable computer infection, you should use a powerful security tool, which should be always be updated. Another preventative measure is the avoidance of unreliable websites. A single click on a seemingly harmless link or button may cause the installation of undesirable programs, which may lead to data loss. Computer programs should be downloaded only from reliable distributors; so if you do not know or trust the software provider; first make sure that the company is reliable.
Being alert to the danger existing on the Internet, you can prevent a lot of damage. The Pony botnet is not the only illegal network to which you may be connected. There are many other botnets that carry out DDoS attacks on various websites.