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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.

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.

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

Related:European Bitcoin Payment Processor Hacked, $1M Stolen

Related:Australian Claims Huge Bitcoin Robbery


Ryan is the host of the podcast series “Security Conversations – a podcast with Ryan Naraine”. He is the head of Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research & Analysis team in the USA and has extensive experience in computer security user education, specializing in operating system and third-party application vulnerabilities, zero-day attacks, social engineering and social networking threats. Prior to joining Kaspersky Lab, he monitored security and hacker attack trends for over 10 years, writing for eWEEK magazine and the ZDNet Zero Day blog. Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanaraine.Previous Columns by Ryan Naraine:Massive Android Mobile Botnet Hijacking SMS DataArbor Networks: Beware of Bitcoin Alarm Utility Database Cloud Services a Malware Risk to Enterprises: ImpervaBug Bounty Flaws Remain Unpatched for 151 Days: StudyGoogle Blocks Fraudulent Certificates Used by French Government

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