Digital currencies offer a way for cybercriminals to collaborate on campaigns, obtain email addresses for phishing campaigns or purchase automated tools to set up attack websites, according to the McAfee researchers. "Ease of use is one of the biggest benefits of digital currencies," the researchers said.
Popular digital currency Bitcoin can be accessed from any location. It has no registration requirements or fees and anyone can join and participate. Developed in 2009, the peer‑to‑peer currency system allows direct online payments and is used by some legitimate businesses. It's also linked to criminal activity. Bitcoin is one of several virtual currencies that are the preferred method of payment for the release of kidnap victims, according to the McAfee report.