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Arbor Networks: Beware of ‘Bitcoin Alarm’ Utility

Researchers at Arbor Networks are warning Windows users to beware of “Bitcoin Alarm,” a data-theft Trojan that masquerades as a legitimate utility to retrieve bitcoin price alerts.

Researchers at Arbor Networks are warning Windows users to beware of “Bitcoin Alarm,” a data-theft Trojan that masquerades as a legitimate utility to retrieve bitcoin price alerts.

The Windows desktop tool, which is being spread via spam e-mail, promises free SMS alerts on bitcoin marketplaces. However, in the background, the malware is capable of stealing log-in credentials to hijack valuable bitcoins from infected machines.

Arbor Networks researcher Kenny MacDermid said the ‘Bitcoin Alarm’ utility comes with an encrypted file that is actually the NetWiredRC remote-access Trojan.

Bitcoin Alarm

NetWiredRC is best described as a Windows backdoor that allows unauthorized access and control of an affected computer. An attacker can perform any number of different actions on an affected computer, including the download and execution of arbitrary files; keystroke logging; file deletion and even self-propagation to other computers. 

MacDermid said he received several spam messages pointing to a Web site to download the malware and decided to investigate when he discovered that it contained a script to check whether the Avast anti-virus program was installed on the machine.

“It’s a pretty solid chance that if software is checking for an antivirus engine, that it’s up to no good,” MacDermid said.

He ran several tests and came to a basic conclusion:

“This free utility is nothing more than malware with very low detection rate being spammed to anyone that might have a bitcoin sitting around.”

Related: EU Bank Watchdog Warns Over Bitcoin

RelatedEuropean Bitcoin Payment Processor Hacked, $1M Stolen

RelatedAustralian Claims Huge Bitcoin Robbery

Written By

Ryan Naraine is Editor-at-Large at SecurityWeek and host of the popular Security Conversations podcast series. He is a security community engagement expert who has built programs at major global brands, including Intel Corp., Bishop Fox and GReAT. Ryan is a founding-director of the Security Tinkerers non-profit, an advisor to early-stage entrepreneurs, and a regular speaker at security conferences around the world.

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