Bug Is Swiping Android Users' Bitcoins

As New York probes virtual-currency firms' practices

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 12, 2013 7:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – Bitcoin users with Android gadgets, beware: A bug is targeting wallets like yours. The problem hinges on Android's random number generator, which, according to Bitcoin, "contains critical weaknesses that render all Android wallets generated to date vulnerable to theft." Bitcoin Wallet, blockchain.info, BitcoinSpinner, and Mycelium are among the wallets at risk, the Telegraph reports. Fixes for the apps' issues are in the works; users should shift their money to newly created addresses, Bitcoin says.

Meanwhile, companies involved in the Bitcoin world are facing scrutiny by the New York Department of Financial Services, the state's leading bank regulator. Some two dozen companies are receiving subpoenas in the probe, which is looking into consumer protection, money-laundering risk, and investment practices, the Wall Street Journal reports. Officials are concerned over whether the firms are adhering to laws governing money transmission; they plan to release a memo on the matter today, and may soon establish virtual currency guidelines. "We believe that ... putting in place appropriate regulatory safeguards for virtual currencies will be beneficial to the long-term strength of the virtual-currency industry," says DFS' head.

This April 3, 2013 photo shows bitcoin tokens at 35-year-old software engineer Mike Caldwell's shop in Sandy, Utah. Caldwell mints physical versions of bitcoins.
This April 3, 2013 photo shows bitcoin tokens at 35-year-old software engineer Mike Caldwell's shop in Sandy, Utah. Caldwell mints physical versions of bitcoins.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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