The financial news web site MoneyNews published a Reuters article that covers the Bitcoin research of SMU cybersecurity expert Tyler W. Moore, an assistant professor of computer science in the Lyle School of Engineering.
Moore’s research found that online exchanges that trade hard currency for the rapidly emerging cyber money known as Bitcoin have a 45 percent chance of failing — often taking their customers’ money with them.
The finding is from a new computer science study that applied survival analysis to examine the factors that prompt Bitcoin currency exchanges to close.
Reuters’s coverage, “In Search of ‘Perfect Money’: Hackers Switch to New Digital Currency,” was published online Aug. 9.
Three months after a team of international law enforcement officials raided the digital currency firm Liberty Reserve, cyber experts say criminals are increasingly turning to another online currency called Perfect Money.
Idan Aharoni, the head of cyber intelligence at EMC Corp.’s RSA security division, said that some online scam artists and thieves are using Perfect Money’s digital currency to launder money and conceal profits in much the same way they allegedly did with Liberty Reserve’s currency.
On behalf of their clients, which include major financial institutions, Aharoni and his team monitor Internet forums that hackers use to sell stolen credit card information. After Liberty Reserve was taken down in May, activity on these forums initially slowed and then picked up again, with some hackers saying they would accept Perfect Money for payments, he said.
“We expected a large migration to another e-currency, and that has happened,” said Aharoni, whose RSA unit sells security services to 30,000 corporations and government agencies, including the popular Secure ID tokens that protect access to computer systems.
Perfect Money, which has been in operation since at least 2007, could not be reached for comment. A request submitted through its website failed to elicit a response, and the company does not list a phone number for its offices or identify any management or employees.[ … ] [ … ] A Reuters review of postings on Internet message boards for digital currencies found hackers offering to sell stolen credit cards are open about accepting Perfect Money as payment.
“If it was expected at first that the Liberty Reserve takedown would have a long-lasting, substantial effect on the level of fraud, that’s not true,” Aharoni said.
Tyler Moore, an assistant professor at Southern Methodist University, said a 2011 study he conducted with two other academics found that Liberty Reserve and Perfect Money were two of the most widely accepted digital currencies for online Ponzi schemes. Of 1,000 websites that linked to Perfect Money, they found 70 percent that were Ponzi schemes.
“Perfect Money seems to be a very popular choice among this subculture,” Moore said.
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