Bitcoin Attacks in Plain English

I get asked about Bitcoin a lot - mining, usage, fundamental economic principles, basic technical details etc. I spend a lot of time telling people the things they need to know about Bitcoin to participate in this grand experiment of ours and almost as much time quieting unfounded fears. It seems at least once or twice per month the news is bubbling with the story of one Bitcoin business or another being hacked, turning out to be a Ponzi scheme or just going under for good old-fashioned bad business practices. The scariest to most are the hacks since they seem to come from nowhere and play to an unfortunate fear that many have: the fear that there is someone out there clever enough to magically make all their digital assets vanish without a trace. But is such a thing really feasible? This article will examine a few of the more common attack mechanisms in the Bitcoin world today and how worried you should actually be.