Cryptocurrency is the New Target for Cybercriminals

Cryptocurrency is the New Target for Cybercriminals

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As predicted, the rise of cryptocurrency valuation has captured the attention of cybercriminals. New hacks, thefts, misuse, and fraud schemes are on the rise. Where there is value, there will be a proportional risk of theft. 

Criminals always pursue and exploit systems where they can achieve personal financial gain. It is the Willie Sutton effect: “That’s where the money is”. 

This month we have seen a number of different cryptocurrency related malicious activities targeting customers and companies. Unsuspecting people’s computers and phones have been hijacked by attackers to mine cryptocoins, malware that targets crypto-keys is on the rise, fake Bitcoin wallet apps are appearing in App Stores, and a Bitcoin exchange was permanently shut down due to multiple hacks.  

The creativity and persistence of cybercriminals is impressive and only likely to increase over time.  

Greedy North Korean Hackers Targeting Cryptocurrencies and Point-of-Sale Terminals 

News Link: https://thehackernews.com/2017/12/lazarus-hacking-bitcoin.html 

Comment: What is believed to be nation-state malware, is installing a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) that enables the theft of cryptocurrency credentials of users and exchanges. Whomever is behind this malware is interested, among other things, harvesting valuable digital currency. Financial gain is a tremendous motivation for so many different cyber threats, potentially even nation run cyber-criminal programs!    

Hackers Targeting Servers Running Database Services for Mining Cryptocurrency

News Link: https://thehackernews.com/2017/12/chinese-hacking-databases.html 

Comment: Sophisticated hackers are also targeting beefy database servers to harvest data, install cryptocoin mining software, Remote Access Trojans (RAT), botnet control functions, and likely to use them as a launching pad to propagate attacks against systems connecting to the database.     

Starbucks Wi-Fi hijacked customers’ laptops to mine cryptocoins

News Link: https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2017/12/14/starbucks-wi-fi-hijacked-customers-laptops-to-mine-cryptocurrency/ 

Comment: Want crypto-coin stealing malware with your coffee? Another free-WiFi risk to add to the bonfire. CoinHive, a JavaScript miner, infected users at a Starbucks to use customer’s laptops to mine cryptocoin for the attackers.   

Cryptocurrency Mining Scripts Now Run Even After You Close Your Browser

News Link: https://thehackernews.com/2017/11/cryptocurrency-mining-javascript.html  

Comment: Websites can harvest the power of visitor’s systems to mine for cryptocurrency. Working through the web browsers, JavaScript code running the background can tap into PC resources to use CPU cycles to mine for crypto coins. This can happen openly or covertly. Some sites are using this to supplement regular advertising. Some sites are being hacked and inadvertently supporting cybercriminals. One disturbing advancement is that the process can continue to run in the background even after navigating away from the site or closing the browser window.     

Bitcoin Exchange Shuts Down After Getting Hacked a Second Time This Year

News Link: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/bitcoin-exchange-shuts-down-after-getting-hacked-a-second-time-this-year/  

Comment: Cybersec Lesson #42: If you can't protect your digital assets from cyber-threats, it can cost you the business. This cryptocurrency exchange is filing bankruptcy and closing. It cites the two hacks which drained significant assets as the cause.   

Massive Brute-Force Attack Infects WordPress Sites with Monero Miners

News Link: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/massive-brute-force-attack-infects-wordpress-sites-with-monero-miners/  

Comment: The WordPress community has been a favorite target of hackers for some time. The latest attack involves hackers using brute-force techniques to gain administrative access to websites then installing crypto mining malware. This has turned a profit for the criminals to the tune of more than $100 thousand dollars. With that type of reward, don’t expect this tactic to end anytime soon.     

Beware of Cryptocurrency Mining Virus Spreading Through Facebook Messenger

News Link: https://thehackernews.com/2017/12/cryptocurrency-hack-facebook.html 

Comment: Beware, a new cryptocurrency mining-bot is making the rounds through Facebook Messenger. The malware allows attackers to siphon CPU cycles from the victim as part of a cryptocoin mining scheme. As a bonus, it then hijacks their Facebook account to send itself to the victims’ friends.  

Google Removes Three Fake Bitcoin Wallet Apps From Google Play

News Link: http://www.eweek.com/security/google-removes-three-fake-bitcoin-wallet-apps-from-google-play  

Comment: We will see more of these c. App Stores need to pay extra care in vetting crypto wallet apps. Much thanks to the Lookout security team for spotting these and Google for quickly removing them from the App Store.      

 

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  • Abhishek Mamgain

    Fascinating topic

  • Gemma Hilfer

    I agree with you, but we also need to get to the root of the problem.

  • Andrew Worden

    Fairness on the life conditions is what can actually reduce cybercrime.

  • Natalia Pickens

    That was nothing short of beautiful! Highly informative!!

  • Rob Murray

    Great material

  • Brian Lee

    Thank you for yet again a very good and intriguing article! Appreciate your work.

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Matthew Rosenquist 

Cybersecurity Guru

Matthew Rosenquist is #7 LinkedIn Global Top Voice 2018 – Technology. He is an industry-recognized pragmatic, passionate, and innovative strategic security expert with 28 years of experience. He thrives in challenging cybersecurity environments and in the face of ever shifting threats. A leader in identifying opportunities, driving industry change, and building mature security organizations, Matthew delivers capabilities for sustainable security postures. He has experience in protecting billions of dollars of corporate assets, consulting across industry verticals, understanding current and emerging risks, communicating opportunities, forging internal cooperation and executive buy-in, and developing practical strategies. Matthew is a trusted advisor, security expert, and evangelist for academia, businesses, and governments around the world. A public advocate for best-practices, and communicating the risks and opportunities emerging in cybersecurity. He delivers engaging keynotes, speeches, interviews, and consulting sessions at conferences and to audiences around the globe. He has attracted a large social following of security peers, is an active member on advisory boards, and quoted in news, magazines, and books. Matthew is a recognized industry expert, speaker, and leader who enjoys the pursuit of achieving optimal cybersecurity. Matthew Rosenquist is experienced in building world class teams and capabilities, managing security operations, evangelizing best-practices to the market, developing security products, and improving corporate security services. 

   

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