Bitcoin can be considered a genuine innovation for the 21st century, thanks to the state-of-the-art blockchain technology under its hood. Similarly, Bitcoin has been described as an undeniable form of wealth with an irrefutable book of records.

However, as modern as it might be, the cryptocurrency can still be stolen using the same old tricks that have been emptying people’s accounts and wallets for years—malware combined with human stupidity.

Stealing Bitcoin via Telegram

As 2019 enters its last quarter, Bitcoin prices have seen a heavy crash against the dollar. But, this isn’t the end of users’ woes. Cybersecurity researchers at Juniper Threat Labs—a cybersecurity consultancy and research portal, have detected a new trojan that is being distributed through Telegram—arguably the most commonly used messaging app among cryptocurrency users.

The newly detected trojan is colloquially known as the Masad Clipper and Stealer, or simply as the Masad Stealer. It works by implanting itself into the target system by posing as legitimate software or a plugin required to run some basic essentials. Once successfully installed, the malware proceeds to steal sensitive data and security details from the victim’s machine. It then relays this data back to the attacker.

The trojan can attach itself to the system clipboard. From there, it looks for data that matches the private key or mnemonic phrase formats of bitcoin wallets and transmit it to a remote server.

Trojans being distributed through messaging platforms are not new. In fact, although the new malware is being distributed through Telegram, similar threats have been historically distributed through ICQ—one of the oldest messaging platforms still in operation today. Unwary users, typically children or the less technically inclined will open and run this distributed malware.

Targeting the Newbies

However, Bitcoin users are supposed to be savvy techies. One would expect them to be somewhat aware of how to safely navigate the internet and all of its intricacies without being infected with trivial malware. So, it could simply be that those most commonly affected by these kinds of exploits are retail investors that don’t have extensive experience with cryptocurrencies, essentially making these the easy targets.

For hackers though, business is booming. Dedicated Telegram groups with hundreds of users have sprawled up to distribute these Masad Stealer ‘malware packages.’ They price these at or around $85. According to Forbes, it is also said that it’s possible to get some semblance of ‘customer support’ for anyone that’s willing to buy these hack-bots. A feat that even the core developers of Bitcoin have not yet been able to achieve.

Do you know anybody that has been affected by the Masad Stealer trojan? How do you avoid threats like this on the internet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images are courtesy of Shutterstock.

Daniel Phillips

After obtaining a Masters degree in Regenerative Medicine, Daniel pivoted to the frontier field of blockchain technology, where he began to absorb anything and everything he could on the subject. Daniel has been bullish on Bitcoin since before it was cool, and continues to be so despite any evidence to the contrary. Nowadays, Daniel works in the blockchain space full time, as both a copywriter and blockchain marketer.

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