Crypto investors under attack by two new malware, reveals Cisco Talos

Anti-malware software Malwarebytes highlighted two new forms of malicious computer programs propagated by unknown sources that are actively targeting crypto investors in a desktop environment. 

Since December 2022, the two malicious files in question — MortalKombat ransomware and Laplas Clipper malware threats — have been actively scouting the Internet for stealing cryptocurrencies from unwary investors, revealed the threat intelligence research team, Cisco Talos. The victims of this campaign are predominantly located in the United States, with a smaller percentage of victims in the United Kingdom, Turkey, and the Philippines, as shown below.

Victimology of the malicious campaign. Source: Cisco Talos

The malicious software work in partnership to swoop information stored in the user’s clipboard, which is usually a string of letters and numbers copied by the user. The infection then detects wallet addresses copied onto the clipboard and replaces them with a different address.

The attack relies on the user’s inattentiveness to the sender’s wallet address, which would send over the cryptocurrencies to the unidentified attacker. With no obvious target, the attack spans individuals and small and large organizations.

Ransom notes shared by MortalKombat ransomware. Source: Cisco Talos

Once infected, the MortalKombat ransomware encrypts the user’s files and drops a ransom note with payment instructions, as shown above. Revealing the download links (URLs) associated with the attack campaign, Talos’ report stated:

“One of them reaches an attacker-controlled server via IP address 193[.]169[.]255[.]78, based in Poland, to download the MortalKombat ransomware. According to Talos’ analysis, 193[.]169[.]255[.]78 is running an RDP crawler, scanning the internet for exposed RDP port 3389.”

As explained by Malwarebytes, the “tag-team campaign” starts with a cryptocurrency-themed email containing a malicious attachment. The attachment runs a BAT file that helps download and execute the ransomware when opened.

Thanks to the early detection of malicious software with high potential, investors can proactively prevent this attack from impacting their financial well-being. As always, Cointelegraph advises investors to perform extensive due diligence before making investments while ensuring the official source of communications. Check out this Cointelegraph Magazine article to learn how to keep crypto assets safe.

Related: US Justice Department seizes website of prolific ransomware gang Hive

On the flip side, as ransomware victims continue to refuse extortion demands, ransomware revenues for attackers plummeted 40% to $456.8 million in 2022.

Total value extorted by ransomware attackers between 2017 and 2022. Source: Chainalysis

While revealing the information, Chainalysis noted that the figures don’t necessarily mean the number of attacks is down from the previous year.

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