Attackers are creating Trojans that steal BitCoins from other users. While rudimentary, the attacks are occurring because there is some money in the electronic currency.
that cyber-criminals will steal practically anything, researchers have recently
identified malware designed to steal BitCoins.
are anonymous decentralized virtual currency commonly used online among people
interested in keeping their transactions secret. While the digital currency is not
directly connected to any central banking authority or government, the "real world" value of a BitCoin is established on an online electronic exchange, Andrew C. Herlands, director of security strategy of Application
Security, told eWEEK. BitCoins have generally hovered around $14 to $17 per
have a stone. We both agree it's worth a dollar. So, when I give you the stone,
we agree you now have a $1," Herlands said, explaining the theory behind
are commonly used for illegal transactions, such as buying drugs online, but
that is not the only purpose. During its 50-day spree, the group LulzSec also
received donations of BitCoins from supporters, noting that the funds were
entirely untraceable. The virtual currency may also be gaining some legitimacy,
, a New York City restaurant, recently started accepting BitCoins.
a particular piece of malware is designed to trick user accounts into sending
money, via BitCoins, to the thief's account without the user's knowledge, Alex
Gostev, chief security expert at Kaspersky Lab, wrote June 28 on the SeucreList
blog. The account receiving transferred BitCoins was suspended because the
server hosting it detected suspicious activity.
mechanism for spending BitCoins is fairly simple. Users buy BitCoins with real
money and keep them in their e-wallet, which is client software installed
locally on the computer. When a user wants to give someone some BitCoins, they
enter a cryptographic code assigned to the recipient, and the "funds"
are transferred from the user's wallet to another person's wallet via a
peer-to-peer network. No names are required, and BitCoins are like cash: Once
gone, it's gone.
BitCoins users get in the business of "mining," or generating more of
the currency to increase the pool of available funds. Understandably, this is
intentionally a complex process in order to prevent people from flooding the
market with BitCoins and devaluing it. The mining is done with a specific
application that runs mathematically intensive operations that require a lot of
time and computer processing resources.
analyzed Trojan.NSIS.Miner.a, which was "spreading" among Russian
users. The Trojan is a malicious module packaged with the legitimate BitCoin
Miner tool. Miner.a installs itself onto the compromised machine and launches
the mining tool without the user's knowledge. After the coins are generated,
the idea is to transfer the newly minted coins to the attacker's wallet.
cyber-criminals seem to think that it's more profitable to steal computer
resources rather than e-wallets," Gostev said.
the mining was being performed across multiple IP addresses, the server hosting
the attacker's account temporarily suspended it for exhibiting botnet-like
called the scam the attacker's "very own Klondike," noting that if
the account hadn't been shut down, it could have been a lucrative operation.
identified a different malware, called CoinBit, targeting
BitCoins only a few days earlier. The CoinBit Trojan is "not very
professional-looking," F-Secure researchers wrote on the company blog June
17. A "snatch and grab" malware, it attempts to find the wallet file
on the infected computer and transfer it to a Hotmail email address using a
Polish SMTP server. Having the wallet file gives the attacker full control of
all the funds associated with that wallet.
recommended that BitCoin users encrypt their wallets with a
strong password to prevent attackers from gaining the wallet's contents.
of these Trojans were fairly rudimentary and easy to shut down, as the
cyber-criminals' information, such as email address or server address, were
hard-coded in the source code. Attackers will continue to
so long as there's some money associated with the system.
first malicious software to target BitCoin was Stealthcoin, which first emerged
around April. Like the miner Trojan analyzed by Kaspersky, Stealthcoin also
used a network of compromised machines to create a covert mining operation. In
a separate incident, an unknown criminal allegedly transferred 25,000 BTC,
worth approximately $500,000, out of an unsuspecting user's wallet in the first theft of BitCoins