Feeds

New ransomware strain forces hapless users into becoming Bitcoin miners

Locks you out, throws away the key, hands you a virtual pickaxe: 'Start digging'

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Scammers are punting a strain of ransomware that puts compromised PCs to work mining Bitcoins after blocking all other activity on infected Windows computers.

A new variant of the Reveton ransomware, spotted by researchers at Malwarebytes, locks a user out of their computer before running a Bitcoin miner. This means the criminals are no longer dependent on payment of the "ransom" to make a profit – hijacking a computer by itself will yield a return for the cybercrooks.

Reveton is a widespread piece of ransomware. Typically, it falsely accuses marks of downloading images of child abuse or downloading copyright-protected content before demanding a fine to unlock computers. Payment is normally requested in the form of an voucher from an anonymous prepaid cash service, such as Ukash or Paysafecard.

Internet pondlife have previously used ransomware to peddle survey scams and fake anti-virus products ("scareware"). Viewed in this contact, co-opting PCs compromised by ramsomware into Bitcoin mining botnets is the next logical step.

Making money mining Bitcoins for practical gain involves running arrays of GPUs solving the ever more complex algorithms needed to generate Bitcoins. Of course, if it's not your own resource that's been turned over to number crunching, this is less of a consideration. Perhaps crooks have realized that marks are dithering when it comes to caving into ransomware demands, and there's profit to be made mined from their indecision.

"Ransomware is most commonly spread via drive-by downloads and Reveton especially has been seen working with some of the most notorious exploit kits available today," writes Malwarebytes researcher Adam Kujawa in a blog post on the threat.

Kujawa advises consumers to update browser software and plug-ins to guard against the most common types of threat exploited by Reveton-peddling gangs. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.