The appearance of virtual money has played in favor of cyber criminals. The level of anonymity provided by crypto currencies is significantly higher than in real money transactions, and leaves much more space for performing illegal activities.
The first and most obvious way to exploit WebMoney and earn an easy profit is to mine virtual currencies via botnets specifically created for the purpose. The underground is awash with different mining bots, miners and mining Trojans for sale (downloads are also available), all of which are designated to infects PCs of naive users and exploit their PC CPU/GPU resources to mine the precious coins. The price range varies widely, starting at $50-$100 for a build of a simple Bitcoin/Litecoin miner, to $400-$500 for more sophisticated malware capable of mining a wider variety of virtual currencies (such as Namecoins, Dogecoins, QuarkCoins, etc.) and reaching $1,000-$1,500 for complete mining kits that can mine coins on processor or video cards, contain UAC bypass and web panel for statistical management of the bots, are signed with a digital certificate, and more.
The abundance of different mining platforms identified over the past year has created some difficulties for those making a living in this area. Prices dropped due to the increase in supply, while in parallel, the miners became more detectable by AV vendors, as a large number of them operate by the same mechanism. We identified forums threads from members looking for alternative methods of money-making, stressing their preference for malware capable of virtual money theft.
This can perhaps shed some light on the shift in the activities of cybercriminals in this area – from creating mining botnets, to stealing coins from web wallets. Indeed, in the last month alone, we identified three different stealers of Bitcoin wallets: *coin Grabber, Stealer coins and Wallet Stealer. While the tools are not very sophisticated, they can cause a great deal of damage. *coin Grabber is designed to steal data (files and passwords) from Bitcoin-QT, MultiBit, Armory and Electrum wallets during the transaction process, and costs $500. Stealer Coins is supposed to search for and steal Bitcoin wallet files and send them to FTP, and is sold for $250. The Wallet Stealer is capable of stealing different kinds of WebMoney (not only Bitcoins) from Armory and MultiBit wallets and bypass UAC, and it costs $600.
In conclusion, we should mention again the three injection codes for Bitcoin exchanges that were found on one of the Russian underground forums (we wrote about this in detail about a week ago). This code replaces the values of the send-to-address, send-value and the send button elements, thus exploiting vulnerability on the exchange website.
As time goes by, we are witnessing the evolution of more and more cybercrime tools aimed at the relatively young but very profitable area of web currencies. The simple, easy methods are being abandoned for more complicated ones and new trends are popping up, like in other spheres of the dynamic cyber crime world.