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Cyber-criminals and the Bitcoin Craze

Dec 14, 2017

With the popularity of Bitcoin over the past little while, it’s no wonder that Cyber-criminals are hoping on board!  Having jumped thousands of dollars in value, just over the past few weeks we are hearing more and more stories of how these hackers are exploiting this cryptocurrency.

Cyber-criminals are using various methods to take advantage of this craze.  Whether it is stealing usernames or passwords, or installing malware on users’ computers….they are figuring out ways to hijack your computer!

Stealing Information

Although some may think Bitcoin is fairly new, it has actually been around since 2009.  From that time however, hackers have been trying to figure just out how to target this currency.

One of the most popular ways these criminals are taking advantage of the Bitcoin craze is by using something called keyloggers.  These are programs that can see what you type on your keyboard.  They then use this to steal your login information when logging into your bitcoin wallet.  Typically victims accidentally download keyloggers from an infected email attachment, which then installs onto the victims computer.  From there they monitor any Bitcoin transactions that occur so they can steal your passwords.

In addition to this however, the malware is also able to mine bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrency using your computer.

Mining on your time

Technologies like browser-based miners come into play to help crypto miners access.  Basically site owners run a Javascript on a person’s computer whenever they visit a particular site.  This script will then use your computer’s CPU to mine for currencies such as Bitcoin or Monero.

This software or script is not designed to harm your computer as the script could also be used by publishers and webpage owners to generate revenue lost from ad blockers….but there are times when you are not being told it is running.

Not all Monero miners or sites will tell you that this script is running in the background, which can be annoying as it sucks up system resources and can significantly slow down your computer.  Monero miners are only supposed to run on your computer while you are actually visiting their site but there are times when it can generate a browser window that hides on your desktop and will continue to suck up your resources.

Results from an IT company noticed that they saw an increase of 10 times from September to October for mining tools being detected on their customer’s computers.    Adding the results from November, they have actually seen 33,000 detection’s per day!

Dragging you down

For the most part, these mining malware tools are not as damaging as ransomware which has the ability to lock down your computer till you either erase your hard drive or pay the ramsome, but they do come with their own concerns.

There are different miners out there that can either stay hidden in the background and use smaller amounts of your PC’s power or larger ones that push your computer to the max.  If this happens to you, your machine will slow to a crawl.  This can certainly hurt the bottom dollar if you are a large business running huge numbers of servers.  The extra power needed to run such operations while also feeding the miners can lead to a significant cost at the end of the day.

Beating back the bots

How do you fight these kinds of attacks?  As always, it results in the same need.  You NEED to ensure you are running the latest software updates and of course the latest security software.  Now if you are a Mac user, please don’t think your safe as there have been instances of malware detected on those too!


Quick Tips

Make sure you are running the latest software.

Ensure anti-virus software is turned on and employees are educated on security.

by BlackBox Connections

Topic:  Cyber-criminals and the Bitcoin craze