Cybercrooks have developed a strain of malware that actively targets BTC China and other Bitcoin exchanges.
A Zeus P2P/Gameover variant discovered by Trusteer is designed to steal the passwords of traders in the virtual currency. A blog post by the IBM-owned transaction security firm (extract below) explains that the malware is specially designed to trick potential victims into supplying one time passwords that might be needed for successful account takeovers.
This Gameover variant waits until an infected user attempts to log into the BTC China website. When this occurs, the malware steals the victim’s username and password and suspends the session temporarily. Once the cybercriminal has the victim’s credentials he can easily perform an account takeover and assume control of the Bitcoins associated with the account.
The reason for pausing the session is that the cybercriminal may need to ask the victim for their one time password (OTP). To do so, the malware will use simple social engineering techniques, combined with HTML injection, and present the victim with a request for the OTP under the false pretense of a security measure.
ZeuS variants are commonly used for conventional electronic banking account takeovers and looting.
The arrival of the Bitcoin-targeting malware variant came shortly before BTC China, China's largest exchange, began blocking new deposits. This and a related regulatory clampdown by the Chinese government are blamed for taking a huge toll on the crypto-currency’s value over recent days. interest from Chinese speculators was credited as playing a big part in a previous stratospheric rise that saw Bitcoin values soar to well over $1000, before dropping to $600 this week.
Tough new restrictions are thought to have motivated an a denial of service attack against China’s central bank on Wednesday.
Etay Maor, fraud prevention manager at Trusteer, added that cybercrooks in general are interested in Bitcoin mainly as a means of laundering ill-gotten funds
"So far, it is worth noting that most cybercriminals, whether they see Bitcoins as a platform or a target, are not keen on keeping their capital in Bitcoins," Maor writes. "Rather, criminals use the currency as a middleman for laundering funds without leaving any tracks. They sometimes use additional services such as the Tor hidden service “Bitcoin Fog Company” as an additional anti-trace back step."
"With the growing use and popularity of this currency we can expect to see more Man in the Browser (MitB) malware variants targeting Bitcoin exchanges and related sites," he added. ®