Cybercrooks have begun using botnets of compromised machines to mine units of the Bitcoin virtual currency.
New units of the electronic currency, which can be exchanged for real cash, can be created by completing complex mathematical tasks. Ideas in distributed computing pioneered by the SETI project and other such schemes have been applied by cybercrooks to task networks of compromised machines with the job of farming Bitcoins.
A few botnet operators have tried this already, but now a new zombie network has surfaced that controls the mining drones using Twitter, as Finnish security firm F-Secure explains. "The bots are created with a generator," writes Mikko H Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure. "Generator sets a specific Twitter account to be the one which can be used to control the mining botnet."
Command handed out to malware-infected drones on this zombie networks follow a simple syntax, as explained in a blog post by F-Secure here.
The security firm detects the malware behind the attack as Trojan-Generic-KD.
The appearance of a Bitcoin mining botnet controlled via Twitter shows both the evolution of the cybercrime economy and the techniques at play among the bad guys.
Miscreants previously developed Infostealer-Coinbit, a Trojan specially designed to pilfer currency units from the Bitcoin wallets on user's hard drives. ®