Cybercriminals have found a sneaky way to snatch more digital funds: Cryptocurrency Clipboard Hijackers, a recently discovered form of malware, scans 2.3 million cryptocurrency addresses to swap legitimate destinations with addresses the attackers control.
The process for transferring cryptocurrency requires users to copy a destination address from one application into memory and paste it into the program they’re using to send money. Addresses are complex and tough to remember, so most people simply copy and paste them – a habit cybercriminals have begun to notice and exploit.
Clipboard Hijacker malware scans the Windows clipboard for cryptocurrency addresses and switches legitimate destination addresses for addresses owned by attackers. As a result, the coins in transit end up with cybercriminals instead of the intended recipients. Clipboard Hijackers are not a new threat, but this one shows attackers are getting more advanced.
Most hijacker malware scans between 400,000 to 600,000 addresses to look for targets. A newly discovered sample, reported by BleepingComputer, monitors over 2.3 million addresses. Because this malware runs in the background, victims typically have no idea they’ve been hit. If you’re sending cryptocurrency, it’s recommended you double-check the destination address to ensure it hasn’t been replaced with a different one.
This malware marks some of the latest evidence highlighting cryptomining as security’s biggest modern threat. Coin miner malware spiked 629% in Q1 2018, according to a report from McAfee, as attackers realized they can derive maximum funds with minimal effort. After all, ransomware relies on targets to pay up. Coin mining lets threat actors generate funds without their knowledge.
A separate report from WatchGuard Technologies also indicates malicious coin miners are on the rise and predicts the trend will continue throughout Q2. Researchers found 98.8% of malicious Linux shell scripts were related to one specific file, a Linux-based crypto miner. Another coin miner, this one for Bitcoin, was #24 on the company’s top 25 malware list.
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