November 2, 2017 By Douglas Bonderud 2 min read

Bitcoin is breaking records. As noted by Business Insider, the cryptocurrency hit an all-time high on Nov. 1, 2017, and its bull run shows no sign of losing steam. Traders are hoping that the new SegWit2x software update could mean a windfall of free dividend currency if a new bitcoin variant is created.

But cybercriminals are also looking to cash in on free digital coins. According to Bleeping Computer, new bitcoin malware attacks have already co-opted more than $150,000 of the high-value cryptocurrency.

Payment Pasting Problems

Discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the new attack strain, called CryptoShuffler, uses a simple tactic to steal valuable bitcoins from unsuspecting users: copy and paste.

First, attackers compromise target devices and the CryptoShuffler code begins monitoring clipboard activity. That’s because many users copy and then paste the recipient’s wallet ID into transaction destination fields, which is easier than remembering the entire string and wiser than writing it down.

CryptoShuffler simply bides its time until it detects common cryptocurrency wallet string characteristics. The malware then intercepts the copied wallet string and replaces it with one that sends money directly to the attackers. If a user doesn’t carefully check the intended recipient wallet address against the one he or she pasted, fraudsters will get the windfall.

As Kaspersky Lab noted, the efficacy of CryptoShuffler shows that “many kinds of malware try to keep a low profile and to operate as stealthily as possible.” By sitting quietly in memory and monitoring only the temporary cut-and-paste clipboard process, users won’t see any performance degradation, random pop-ups or ransom messages.

Since bitcoin transactions are one way unless both parties agree to the payment, there’s little recourse for users who have been victimized. While this Trojan reached peak activity late last year, it’s enjoying new life as the price of bitcoin skyrockets.

Making a Mint With Bitcoin Malware Attacks

Clipboard threats aren’t the only malware attacks targeting cryptocurrency. BBC noted that coin-mining malware is quickly becoming a problem for websites.

In fact, Google is considering rolling out Chrome defenses to safeguard devices against resource-exploiting bitcoin mines. But these malicious miners leave behind traces of their activity, and device processing power can be significantly reduced as fraudsters leverage every available cycle to grab more coins.

CryptoShuffler, meanwhile, takes advantage of the growing ubiquity of cryptocurrency. Users now have typical purchasing processes, which include copying and pasting destination addresses for quick payment. By exploiting day-to-day behavior rather than network or OS-level actions, attackers enjoy both greater success and a reduced chance of detection.

This puts the onus on users to monitor for any suspicious processes — Kaspersky identified Trojan-Banker.Win32.CryptoShuffler.gen as the most common variant — and avoid potentially compromised downloads or email attachments. Given bitcoin’s burgeoning bull run and ballistic trajectory, users may want to consider cutting out the copy-and-paste practice and instead take the time to input recipient wallet codes bit by bit.

More from

Taking the complexity out of identity solutions for hybrid environments

4 min read - For the past two decades, businesses have been making significant investments to consolidate their identity and access management (IAM) platforms and directories to manage user identities in one place. However, the hybrid nature of the cloud has led many to realize that this ultimate goal is a fantasy. Instead, businesses must learn how to consistently and effectively manage user identities across multiple IAM platforms and directories. As cloud migration and digital transformation accelerate at a dizzying pace, enterprises are left…

IBM identifies zero-day vulnerability in Zyxel NAS devices

12 min read - While investigating CVE-2023-27992, a vulnerability affecting Zyxel network-attached storage (NAS) devices, the IBM X-Force uncovered two new flaws, which when used together, allow for pre-authenticated remote code execution. Zyxel NAS devices are typically used by consumers as cloud storage devices for homes or small to medium-sized businesses. When used together, the flaws X-Force discovered allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the device with superuser permissions and without requiring any credentials. This results in complete control over the…

What cybersecurity pros can learn from first responders

4 min read - Though they may initially seem very different, there are some compelling similarities between cybersecurity professionals and traditional first responders like police and EMTs. After all, in a world where a cyberattack on critical infrastructure could cause untold damage and harm, cyber responders must be ready for anything. But are they actually prepared? Compared to the readiness of traditional first responders, how do cybersecurity professionals in incident response stand up? Let’s dig deeper into whether the same sense of urgency exists…

Unified endpoint management for purpose-based devices

4 min read - As purpose-built devices become increasingly common, the challenges associated with their unique management and security needs are becoming clear. What are purpose-built devices? Most fall under the category of rugged IoT devices typically used outside of an office environment and which often run on a different operating system than typical office devices. Examples include ruggedized tablets and smartphones, handheld scanners and kiosks. Many different industries are utilizing purpose-built devices, including travel and transportation, retail, warehouse and distribution, manufacturing (including automotive)…

Topic updates

Get email updates and stay ahead of the latest threats to the security landscape, thought leadership and research.
Subscribe today