Bitcoin-mining malwares are rising in APAC with India coming at fourth place in infected systems
Bitcoin-mining malware is spreading and the countries most affected by it are from the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region with Japan at the top, followed by Australia, India and Taiwan at the 3rd, 4th and 6th position, respectively.
According to Internet security vendor Trend Micro, about 12,000 PCs globally were affected by Bitcoin-mining malware which were causing severe slowdown of PC systems. Trend Micro had detected three malwares called BKDR_BTMINE, TROJ_COINMINE and HKTL_BITCOINMINE which turned infected systems into a Bitcoin miner, making them virtual assets for the criminals.
"Bitcoin users have become the hot target for cybercriminals as Bitcoin transaction is permanent and has no reversal of charges. If you are the victim of credit card fraud, you can appeal to your bank to reverse the transaction and in many cases, they will. On the other hand, once your Bitcoin wallet is compromised by hackers there is no recourse to undo the transaction. In fact, there is no regulator or authority that Bitcoin users can appeal to if they fall victim to theft or fraud," says Dhanya Thakkar, managing director for India & SAARC at Trend Micro.
Executing malwares into the victims' computer to mine Bitcoin is a new type of cybercrime. Bitcoin mining, the process which creates new Bitcoin, is resource-intensive hence Bitcoin-mining malwares can slow down the infected computer due to the increased CPU load and subsequently raise power consumption.
To protect themselves from cyber threats, Trend Micro advised Bitcoin users to understand the way Bitcoin is being transacted and to manage it with the same caution and prudence that applies to real currency.
Besides using security software to filter malwares, Trend Micro also suggests Bitcoin users not to put all Bitcoin in a single wallet. They should divide their Bitcoin into income account for inbound transaction, and expense account for outbound transactions. For additional precaution, they should also consider managing all the wallets offline. Although Bitcoin is claimed to be "anonymous", the transaction records are still in public and it leave traces, Trend Micro said.
Would you like to save on mobile banking transaction charges? Then, you need to know that only four banks out of 59 banks charge customers for using the interbank mobile payment system and even NPCI charges just 25 paise per IMPS transaction from the remitter bank
State Bank of India (SBI), Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and UCO Bank are the only four banks among 59 banks offering mobile payment facilities that charge for the service. These banks charge customers anywhere between Rs5 to Rs25 each time they use the interbank mobile payment system or immediate payment service (IMPS) transaction. The other 54 banks offering IMPS facility do the interbank money transfer free of charge. The banks are within their right to charge for the services, since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had left the decision on charges to the banks (Wake Up to Your Bank Charges). An email from an angry reader prompted us to investigate the matter for the benefit of readers. We find that the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which introduced and manages IMPS transactions between banks, charges 25 paise per transaction from the remitter bank only. (http://www.npci.org.in/documents/IMPS_FAQsBankers.pdf )
The IMPS is a technologically advanced system that is very easy to use, cost efficient and time saving service which eliminates issues regarding money transfer. It is cheaper than the cheque clearing system.
So far, as many as 59 banks provide IMPS. Axis Bank’s IMPS outward funds transfer charges are Rs5 per transaction up to transaction of Rs1 lakh, Rs15 per transaction for amounts between Rs1 lakh to Rs2 lakh and Rs25 per transaction for amounts above Rs2 lakh. SBI charges Rs5 per transaction for remitting money through IMPS through its portal and UCO bank is also charging Rs5 per IMPS transaction.
A Moneylife reader pointed out to us that ICICI Bank’s outward IMPS charges are Rs5 per transaction. Yet, this is a better option than the time-consuming cheque clearing system. However, the reader, an account holder of ICICI Bank, said she would prefer to write a cheque instead of using the IMPS facility.
“It is penny wise but pound foolish, either customer spends Rs5 for transferring money through IMPS or customer does not spend anything by using a cheque. This is because banks provide certain cheque leaves every quarter free of cost. So why spend money for using IMPS?” she said.
It is interesting to know that Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India and UCO Bank which charges for IMPS services are part of the IMPS Steering Committee at NPCI.
NPCI, in collaboration with member banks had introduced IMPS that allow customers to make 24x7 instant interbank payments to individuals, or merchants via mobile phone, Internet or ATM. At the time of its launch in November 2010, a senior official of NPCI told Moneylife that IMPS would be offered free of cost and from March 2011 onwards it would start charging 25 paise per transaction. (NPCI opens floodgates for mobile payments in India )
IMPS is restricted to interbank transactions, but can be used by anyone and from anywhere to make payments. One could pay the grocery bill to the shop owner through the mobile phone, provided both parties are registered IMPS users with their respective banks. Similarly, one could pay the fare to a taxi driver directly through IMPS.
The RBI policy of forbearance (allowing bankers to decide charges themselves) with regard to service charges leads to the frequent hikes in banking service charges. Banks are charging money for almost every small transaction or service they offer. In the recent past, Moneylife has written about various charges levied on the customers by the banks.
RBI earlier said that technology has failed to reduce banking transaction costs. Technology must enable customer facilitation in terms of cost, time and convenience and it should be dovetailed to customer needs and expectations.
You may also like to read:
The warning from RBI comes even as some political observers are expecting a hung Parliament after the Lok Sabha elections next year
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has warned that any political instability after the general elections in 2014 will drag the beleaguered economy further down, unless there is a stable new government at the centre.
RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, in his foreword to the eighth edition of the RBI’s Financial Stability Report 2013, said, “A potential additional source of uncertainty is the coming general elections. A stable new government would be positive for the economy”.
Warning that any political instability will lead to further erosion of investor confidence in the economy, the RBI governor said, “With confidence in the financial system still fragile, six years into the crisis, policy certainty is something that investors look for in the current environment.”
The warning from RBI comes as some political observers are expecting a hung Parliament after the Lok Sabha elections.
Though the government is claiming that GDP will grow at over 5%, many analysts peg it at a little over 4% this fiscal.
With stressed assets continuing to rise and expected to get worse, the Reserve Bank has cautioned that risks to the banking system have increased over the last six months, but added that there are no systemic risks at the moment.
“The banking stability indicator shows that risks to the banking sector have increased since June 2013,” the central bank said in the report.
The report said, with the present conditions continuing, the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) in the system will rise to 4.6% by September 2014 from 4.2% in September 2013 or about Rs 2.29 lakh crore from Rs1.67 lakh crore a year earlier.
The amount of recast loans touched an all—time high of Rs4 lakh crore or 10.2% of the overall advances as of September 2013, the report added.
However, the RBI expects some positives in the second half of the next fiscal and is estimating gross NPAs to improve to 4.4% by March 2015.
In case the economic conditions deteriorate, the same number will be 7% by March 2015, the RBI warned.
According to the RBI governor high inflation is limiting the central bank’s ability to boost growth with an accommodative monetary policy.
“The outlook for the economy has improved, with export growth regaining momentum, but growth is still weak. The challenges of containing inflationary pressures limit what the monetary policy can do,” Rajan said in his forward.
It can be noted that RBI has increased its key rates twice in the last three monetary policy reviews citing concerns emanating from high inflation, while Rajan stayed away from increasing it for the third time earlier this month and chose to wait for clarity on data.
WPI inflation stood at 7.52% in November, a 14-month high, while the consumer price index-based inflation rose to a nine-month high of 11.24%.