Internet rallies round dog-themed cryptocurrency after holiday heists hit two Dogecoin sites

Dog-themed cryptocurrency Dogecoin fell victim to two robberies over the holiday season, as hackers hit two sites which traded in the cult currency – but the goodwill of the internet could see the Shiba-themed virtual coins bouncing back.

Unlike Bitcoin, the heists were not epic in scale, due to the low value of Dogecoin - currently a fraction of a cent – although millions of coins were stolen.

NBC News reports that “the internet has rallied around Dogecoin” after two heists struck the sites Dogewallet and Instadoge over the holidays, looting millions of Dogecoins, with a value of around $13,000. NBC reports that “good Samaritans are trying to right the wrong by donating dogecoins to the victims of the holiday hackers.”

There are now dozens of cryptocurrencies and e-currencies, many of which have appeared in the wake of the soaring value of Bitcoin over the past few months. Dogecoin is rather unique – based on the internet meme Doge, an image of a Shiba Inu dog, and apparently created “as a joke” according to a report by Digital Trends.  It briefly hit headlines after it rose 400% in value in 24 hours this year, according to the report by Digital Trends.

The value of Dogecoins is still somewhat lower than that of Bitcoins – a fraction of a U.S. cent, according to Dogecoin’s own valuation.

The hacks, which occurred on Christmas day, halved the market capitalization of the currency from $14 million, according to Business Insider. The founders have been surprised by the level of suppport, according to BI’s report. Dogecoin co-founder Billy Markus told Business Insider, “I’ve NEVER seen something like this before in cryptocurrency. Usually when something gets hacked the common response is for everyone to call the people who got hacked ‘idiots’. To me, this is incredible.”

 The appeal to “save Dogecoin” and reimburse owners who had lost funds in the hack was unveiled on a Reddit thread.

“Dogemas is a magical time, but the hacking of Dogewallet and Instadoge ruined many shibes’ holiday,” the campaigners wrote. “This community is special; helpful, generous, enthusiastic, but also less experienced with cryptocurrencies. We have many first time users of cryptocurrency because our user-friendly community is bringng many new shibes to the coin world.”

“Thus, we are launching an effort to reimburse as many shibes as possible who lost their savings in the hacks. Over the next 12 days we need your support and goodwill to Save Dogemas! A team of shibes has come together to do the work of creating a reimbursement system, but we need funds to do this! Over 30,000,000 DOGE was stolen.”

Such ‘heists’ are becoming increasingly common. Late last year, two sites hosting online wallets for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin were targeted by hackers – the ‘heists’ netted more than $1 million each, according to this We Live Security report.

A Bitcoin-only online poker site, Seals With Clubs, was also targeted by cybercriminals in late December.

Despite the heists, plus high-profile law-enforcement actions against ‘dark market’ sites such as Silk Road, which conducted transactions in Bitcoin, the currency has soared in value over the past year.

This may well be what has drawn the attention of cybercriminals. Throughout the year, ESET detected more and more new variants of malware that attempted to steal Bitcoins, mine Bitcoins illegally, or break into wallets.

ESET Malware Researcher Robert Lipovsky wrote in an earlier We Live Security post that Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies are being targeted by cybercriminals. “There are numerous malware families today that either perform Bitcoin mining or directly steal the contents of victims’ Bitcoin wallets, or both,” Lipovsky writes. “Keep your computer clean and uncompromised by “thinking before you click” and keeping your system, applications and anti-virus up-to-date.”

A We Live Security guide to safety measures which can help keep your Bitcoins – or other cryptocurrencies – safe can be found here.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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