December 11, 2018 By David Bisson 2 min read

A version of a popular JavaScript library for Node.js contained malicious code for several months that enabled digital attackers to access users’ bitcoin wallets.

At the end of November, GitHub user Ayrton Sparling (aka FallingSnow) reported that someone had added malicious code to EventStream, a toolkit for Node.js that makes it easier for developers to create and work with data streams. The code became active in September when right9ctrl, the new owner of the library, published version 3.3.6 of EventStream. This version came with a dependency called flatmap-stream, which contained the malware.

The creator of flatmap-stream designed the module to steal bitcoin from Copay wallets, a wallet app designed by BitPay. The module then used Node Package Manager (NPM) to transfer the stolen bitcoins to a server located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. NPM has since removed the backdoor.

According to Trend Micro, millions of developers downloaded the malicious code, since the module’s use of encryption enabled flatmap-stream to go undetected for more than two months.

Attacks Against Bitcoin Wallets on the Rise

Digital attackers aren’t new to the idea of stealing bitcoins out of users’ wallets. As reported by Carbon Black, these heists contributed to the loss of $1.1 billion in bitcoin during the first five months of 2018.

Some bad actors have also made a lot of money emptying cryptocurrency wallets. For instance, CoinDesk reported an attack that stole $78 million worth of bitcoin from the wallets of NiceHash, a cryptocurrency mining marketplace. News of this attack came less than a year after Cisco Talos uncovered CoinHoarder, a threat group that netted $50 million in three years by phishing users for access to their wallets.

How to Protect Against Cryptocurrency-Related Threats

Security professionals can help protect against bitcoin-related threats by training employees not to open suspicious emails designed to steal their credentials for cryptocurrency wallets and other accounts. They should also develop an endpoint security strategy built around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help defend against threats like crypto-mining malware.

Sources: Trend Micro, Carbon Black, CoinDesk, Cisco Talos

More from

CVE-2023-20078 technical analysis: Identifying and triggering a command injection vulnerability in Cisco IP phones

7 min read - CVE-2023-20078 catalogs an unauthenticated command injection vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco 6800, 7800, and 8800 Series IP Phones with Multiplatform Firmware installed; however, limited technical analysis is publicly available. This article presents my findings while researching this vulnerability. In the end, the reader should be equipped with the information necessary to understand and trigger this vulnerability.Vulnerability detailsThe following Cisco Security Advisory (Cisco IP Phone 6800, 7800, and 8800 Series Web UI Vulnerabilities - Cisco) details CVE-2023-20078 and…

X-Force data reveals top spam trends, campaigns and senior superlatives in 2023

10 min read - The 2024 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index revealed attackers continued to pivot to evade detection to deliver their malware in 2023. The good news? Security improvements, such as Microsoft blocking macro execution by default starting in 2022 and OneNote embedded files with potentially dangerous extensions by mid-2023, have changed the threat landscape for the better. Improved endpoint detection also likely forced attackers to shift away from other techniques prominent in 2022, such as using disk image files (e.g. ISO) and…

The compelling need for cloud-native data protection

4 min read - Cloud environments were frequent targets for cyber attackers in 2023. Eighty-two percent of breaches that involved data stored in the cloud were in public, private or multi-cloud environments. Attackers gained the most access to multi-cloud environments, with 39% of breaches spanning multi-cloud environments because of the more complicated security issues. The cost of these cloud breaches totaled $4.75 million, higher than the average cost of $4.45 million for all data breaches.The reason for this high cost is not only the…

Topic updates

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