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New Cryptocurrency Malware ComboJack Changes Wallet Addresses You Copy-Paste

  • 2 April 2018
  • Cas Proffitt

New malware ComboJack steals cryptocurrency by altering wallet addresses on users’ copy-paste clipboards.

Researchers from AdGuard warned us that cryptocurrency malware would be found in “the most unexpected places” in 2018, noting that businesses both legitimate and illegitimate were implementing scripts in websites, apps, games and extension that utilized users’ computing power for crypto mining—some surreptitiously and others in plain sight.

What is ComboJack?

ComboJack is a trojan similar to CryptoShuffler which monitors the clipboard (where data resides when a user cuts, copies, and pastes) for wallet addresses and replaces pasted text with the wallet address of the attacker. Found by Palo Alto Networks, the team discovered that ComboJack understands which form of currency a wallet address is using by the length of the text and the starting letter or number. ComboJack not only targets cryptocurrency wallets, but also Yandex and WebMoney in USD and rubles.  

Some users have received the malware via malspam campaigns urging users to open a PDF in order to identify whether or not they know the owner of a supposed lost passport.

Luckily, the exploit being used by ComboJack has previously been patched by Microsoft, so users are able to protect themselves by updating their operating systems.

Other Known Cryptocurrency-Related Malware

EternalBlue was leaked by the hacking group called Shadow Brokers. EternalBlue was an exploit meant for use by the NSA that spiraled out of control once it saw the light of day. It was this exploit that formed the basis for WannaCry, a ransomware cryptoworm that attacked Microsoft computers worldwide, including major hospitals in England and Scotland.

This same leaked NSA exploit is used to gain access to computers to turn them into slaves for the Smominru / Ismo botnet, stealing computer resources for the purpose of mining Monero, a popular cryptocurrency.

Cryptojacking has also become a common trend both in applications and on websites. In-browser cryptojacking utilizes Javascript in order to use website visitor’s PC resources to mine for cryptocurrencies such as Monero—in many cases, without so much as a warning.

CryptoShuffler is a similar malware which monitors a computer’s clipboard for wallet addresses in order to replace them with one belonging to the attacker. It targets bitcoin, ethereum, zcash, monero, dash, dogecoin, and more.

This is by no means an all-encompassing list of all cryptocurrency malware, but only a few notable examples from the last couple of years.

What are you doing to protect yourself against cryptocurrency malware? Are you worried about new threats? Let us know in the comments below!

About Cas Proffitt

Cas is a B2B Content Marketer and Brand Consultant who specializes in disruptive technology. She covers topics like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, and big data, to name a few. Cas is also co-owner of an esports organization and spends much of her time teaching gamers how to make a living doing what they love while bringing positivity to the gaming community.