Any child of the Cold War could tell you about the trials and tribulations of being caught in an arms race between two powerful groups. In the 21st century, these battles have spread from lines on a map to the lines of programming code in the apps that we use to connect to the world; the prize is control of the data that flows back and forth, and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is an especially targeted treasure.
Today, sister site ZDNet reports on recent research conducted by Kaspersky Lab, the maker of a range of antivirus products, who discovered a recent and nasty piece of malware called Razy that targetsthe Google Chrome web browser (download for iOS or Android) and its rival Mozilla Firefox (download for iOS or Android).
This type is a Trojan, which means that it sneaks onto your device through legitimate-looking means, and then it wreaks havoc once it’s gotten past your device’s defenses.
Making matters worse, part of this Trojan’s havoc involves blocking your browser’s ability to check for updates for itself and for any extensions that you may have installed. Once that task is complete, the Trojan then scans your browser add-ons (like password managers and screenshot takers) for any traces of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency.
Razy then takes this cryptocurrency and replaces your crypto wallet with an empty one. It can also inject fake search results on Google, and clicking on any of them will take you to malicious websites that attempt to scam you out of money.
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Razy can even replace Wikipedia’s banner that occasionally pops up to ask for a donation, instead redirecting you to the scammer’s Bitcoin and Ethereum accounts where you are encouraged to send your cash.
Fortunately, attacks like this are not difficult for a virus scanner to spot — Kaspersky Lab says that all of its antivirus products can now detect Razy — but the increasing sophistication and complexity of these attacks show that bad actors are not giving up any time soon. As long as there’s money to be made, someone will come looking for it.