The digital currency known as Bitcoin has been making a lot of news lately. It’s been banned in Russia, for one thing, but has also been introduced to the Bing search engine. That up and down news continues, this time heading in the southerly direction.
The good news here is that, for once, Windows users are safe -- or safe from this particular threat at least. Researchers at SecureMac, a company devoted to Apple security since 1999, have discovered a new form of malware that goes after Mac computers with an aim of pilfering Bitcoins from unwitting users.
If things could possibly be worse, then it's this -- the software is being distributed by major, and largely trusted, providers. "SecureMac has discovered that variants of OSX/CoinThief are being actively distributed through CNET's Download.com, and were also being distributed through MacUpdate.com, exposing hundreds of Mac users to malware", the researchers stated.
Independent security researcher Graham Cluely chides the services "hopefully they will be more careful about vetting submissions in future, and will make efforts to confirm that developers and companies submitting software to their libraries are really who they say they are".
The report claims that this malware is being distributed through shell apps that pose as trackers for the value of Bitcoin, as well as Litecoin. The two apps spotted also share a name with real software available right in the Mac app store -- "Bitcoin Ticker TTM for Mac" and "Litecoin Ticker".
Researchers have since updated the original discovery after finding a new variant that customers need to be wary of -- "SecureMac has discovered a new Trojan Horse called OSX/CoinThief.A, which targets Mac OS X and spies on web traffic to steal Bitcoins. This malware has been found in the wild, and there are multiple user reports of stolen Bitcoins. The malware, which comes disguised as an app to send and receive payments on Bitcoin Stealth Addresses, instead covertly monitors all web browsing traffic in order to steal login credentials for Bitcoin wallets".
Meanwhile, SecureMac promises continuous updates as it learns more information about the threat, however it is pointed out that the malware does an admirable job at blocking attempts at analyzation.