Russian malware mines bitcoins through botnet

The malware harnesses the computing power of compromised computers to earn bitcoins

A Russian porn site is delivering malware that uses the victims' computers to mine bitcoins, according to research from ThreatTrack Security.

The malware, named "Fareit," has been circulating on the Internet for at least six months and infects Windows computers. It has been modified to "mine" the virtual currency, said Dodi Glenn, manager of ThreatTrack Labs, a security company that was spun off from GFI Software last month.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that can be transferred for free using peer-to-peer software. New bitcoins are created by mining, or contributing computing power that is used to verify transactions, which are entered into a public ledger called the blockchain.

New blocks are created about every 10 minutes, and miners who create a new block are rewarded with 25 bitcoins, the preset reward set by the Bitcoin's system's pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.

Fareit is general family of malware that in this case has been modified to install a bitcoin mining application called "CG Miner." A look inside the software package installed shows a script comment written in Cyrillic, according to ThreatTrack's writeup.

The hackers then use the victim's computer to compute parts of the blockchain and then send that data to Russian domains, Glenn said. "You're then part of their particular ring," he said.

This particular variant of Fareit was submitted to VirusTotal around January, but there is other malicious software engineered to mine bitcoins created as recently as three weeks ago, Glenn said.

Mining bitcoins on compromised computers is a less intrusive way of acquiring the virtual currency than stealing the coins from people's computers, Glenn said. Victims may not even notice the malware running on their computer, while those who lost bitcoins certainly would.

Fareit was planted on a Russian porn site, Glenn said. It is delivered to a vulnerable computer by the Blackhole exploit kit, which attacks a person's computer and looks for vulnerabilities upon visiting a website. Fareit is also capable of stealing information from a computer as well as conducting distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDOS), Glenn said.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags malwareExploits / vulnerabilitiesThreatTrack Security

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?