11 Recommendations for Coming Up to Speed on Bitcoin

If you don’t know about Bitcoin yet, you will soon. Just like Friendster was the precursor to today’s on-line social networks and Napster foreshadowed modern online music distribution models, so too BitCoins might be a sign of upcoming approaches to distributed online financial transactions.

Bitcoin has been getting some attention lately in part due to the increasing value of this peer-to-peer currency. Here are a few articles for coming up to speed on Bitcoin and the recent incidents associated with it.

Getting Started With Bitcoin

Bitcoin Mining

  • Understand the notion of Bitcoin mining—generating new Bitcoins by solving cryptographic problems. Consider the likely scenario of compromised computers being used for Bitcoin mining—a malicious practice that is not yet widespread, yet will inevitably rise in popularity.
  • Consider the Bitcoin mining tool written in JavaScript. It solves cryptographic problems to generate new Bitcoins while running in the browser of visitors to the miner’s website. Could this approach provide a new way for legitimate websites to generate revenue without displaying traditional ads? Might such code running inside malicious Flash ads provide a new revenue stream for online attackers?

Recent Bitcoin Incidents

Potential Bitcoin Implications

The notion of Bitcoin as a distributed and anonymous form of currency is capturing the world’s attention. The readers of this blog will find it particularly interesting to consider the implications of the role that such currency can play in the criminal marketplace and online attack activities.

Perhaps Bitcoin might be ahead of its time and maybe its design and implementation is flawed—we will know soon enough. Regardless, it is an idea that will inspire creative thinking in the space of online payments. In the words of Edward Z. Yang, “The future of Bitcoin depends on those who will design its successor. If you are investing substantially in Bitcoin, you should at the very least be thinking about who has the keys to the next kingdom.”

Lenny Zeltser

Updated

About the Author

Lenny Zeltser is a seasoned business and technology leader with extensive information security experience. He presently oversees the financial success and expansion of infosec services and SaaS products at NCR. He also trains incident response and digital forensics professionals at SANS Institute. Lenny frequently speaks at industry events, writes articles and has co-authored books. He has earned the prestigious GIAC Security Expert designation, has an MBA from MIT Sloan and a Computer Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

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