Cerber ransomware now steals from Bitcoin wallets

Cerber ransomware evolves and now is capable of stealing from Bitcoin wallets
07 August 2017   537
Bitcoin

Is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen

The upgraded version of the widespread Bitcoin extortion Cerber, in addition to its "main activity", is now able to steal passwords of browsers and data for logging into cryptocurrency wallets. Thus, the functionality of the program now goes far beyond the encryption of user files.

Cerber ransomwareCerber ransomware

Cerber still arrives via emails with an attached file:

Cerber arrival Cerber arrival

According to trendmicro.com, the JavaScript attachment is dedicated as JS_NEMUCOD.SMGF2B, which leads to the download of the Cerber variant (detected as RANSOM_HPCERBER.SMALY5A).

Blockchain

Distributed database that is used to maintain a continuously growing list of records, called blocks

However, the new Cerber targets Bitcoin wallets for theft as well. It targets the wallet files of three Bitcoin wallet applications (the first-party Bitcoin Core wallet, and the third-party wallets Electrum and Multibit). It does this by stealing the following files, which are associated with their respective applications:

  • wallet.dat (Bitcoin)
  • *.wallet (Multibit)
  • electrum.dat (Electrum)

Cerber also tries to steal the saved passwords from Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Note that this information theft takes place before any encryption is carried out. Saved passwords and any Bitcoin wallet information found are sent to the attackers via the command-and-control servers. It also deletes the wallet files once they have been sent to the servers, adding to the injury of the victims, as trendmicro.com reports.

This new feature shows that attackers are trying out new ways to monetize ransomware. Stealing the Bitcoins of targeted users represents a valuable source of potential income.

Bank of China Filed a Patent to Scale Blockchain Systems

Bank of China has filed a patent application for a process able to scale blockchain systems  
23 February 2018   109

According to a document released by China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) on February 23, the application was invented by Zhao Shuxiang and first submitted on September 28 last year.

The application states that instead of letting a new block store transactions from its previous one, a data compressing system could be used to pack transactions from multiple blocks into what the patent calls a "data block."

For example, when the system receives a request to compress transactions from block 1 to 1,000, it causes a new data block to be formed and temporarily hosted on a different storage system. Then, the system will run the packed data through a hash function with a hash value. After that, the compression system will attach labels in order to identify blocks on the blockchain.

With the use of the described method, the patent claims a reduction in the amount of the data stored in new blocks as transactions mount in a blockchain while ensuring that data from all previous transactions will still be tamper-proof and traceable.

At the moment, the patent in the review process.