If you’re responsible for your company network there’s a strong possibility that you aren’t keen on users installing BitTorrent clients. Not only might they be gobbling up vast amounts of bandwidth, but they could also be downloading pirated content or malware that could create headaches for your organisation.

But in the case of the popular Russian BitTorrent client MediaGet there’s another reason why you may wish to consider torrenting apps as unwanted on your network.

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Microsoft has detailed how it intercepted a massive malware distribution campaign on March 6th which attempted to infect over 400,000 Windows PCs with cryptomining software in a single 12 hour period.

What we now know is how the malware was spread. The attack saw hackers ignore such common-or-garden methods as spamming out malicious email attachments, and instead plant a malicious version of MediaGet on an update server.

The poisoned update would itself install a malware downloader called Dofoil (also known as Smokeloader) onto computers, which could then install further malicious code from the internet. In the case of the March 6th attack, the attack culminated in an attempt to run code that could mine the Electroneum cryptocurrency on 400,000 Windows computers.

What is clear looking at the timeline is that this was not an opportunist attack, but a well-planned and organised attempt to hijack a large number of computers – and potentially earn a great deal of money – using advanced techniques.

73% of the global infection attempts occurred in Russia (perhaps not surprising considering MediaGet’s popularity there), with Turkey and Ukraine accounting for 18% and 4% respectively.

Perhaps we’re lucky that there has been a drop in ransomware infections as Trojans which mine cryptocurrencies and browser-based cryptojacking attacks have been on the rise. After all, things could have been a lot worse.

As Jessica (Read more...)