Bitcoin botnet

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Nobody does the dark side of the internet better than the Russians. Moscow’s hackers have long been world leaders in cybercrime. So it’s no wonder Russian computer geniuses are heavily involved in the internet’s latest craze: virtual currency. Cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, work on a technology known as blockchain, a decentralized network of synchronized online registries that track the ownership and value of each token. They can be used as virtual cash and traded like currency. Private companies can issue their own virtual currencies to finance specific ventures, similar to crowdfunding or bonds. And their future value can also be traded, like options.

Richard Titus, an investor of cybermoney. Virtual currencies are also a potential bonanza for money launderers, online blackmailers and cybercriminals—especially in Russia. Russians have been involved in cryptocurrencies since their inception in the mid-2000s. Criminals used the first virtual currencies, such as e-gold, to commit cross-border credit card fraud.

Which City Is the Most Expensive to Live In? 4 billion is indicted by a U. The Kremlin has long been wary of cryptocurrencies, which are technically illegal in Russia—yet the government recently signaled it’s changing its stance. Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, told state-run news agency Ria Novosti in August. 100 billion, a long way off the estimated 10.

There are other legitimate reasons Moscow is interested in cashing in on cryptocurrencies. The Kremlin is keen to attract the enormous cash flow being poured into blockchain projects around the world. It also wants to open up Russia to the bitcoin mining industry, in which anyone can claim newly issued bitcoins—generated automatically by a preprogrammed, blockchain-based computer network—by solving extremely complex codes that unlock each new coin. 100 million annual market share for Russia. The Russian Central Bank is also exploring the use of cryptocurrency to help regulate the country’s notoriously corrupt banking system, with dubious financiers frequently making loans to fake companies, then closing down, leaving the government to return depositors’ money. Cryptocurrencies are traceable, which would allow closer oversight of where a bank’s money is going. It’s the third reason for Russia’s interest in virtual currencies that has international law enforcement agencies worried: their use as money laundering tools.

Unlike with cash, all cryptocurrency transactions are recorded. That makes them perfectly trackable, so it’s easy to monitor dealings between legitimate businesses. However, the problem is that ownership of virtual cash isn’t necessarily attributable to people or businesses. One of the most high-profile Russian fans of cryptocurrencies is lawmaker and former KGB officer Andrei Lugovoi, the prime suspect in the fatal 2006 poisoning of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London. Lugovoi is one of dozens of Russian officials and businessmen who are forbidden from traveling to or holding assets in Europe or the United States. Russians have certainly been prolific at creating new—and often bizarre—cryptocurrencies.