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A hacking group known as “Outlaw” is back.
The Crypto Outlaw Has Returned
The organization spreads a botnet across computer networks to mine Monero, a cryptocurrency known for its quasi-anonymous properties. Thus, it can be stated that Outlaw is a crypto-jacking organization.
As we likely all know by now, crypto-jacking is a process in which a hacker (or hackers) takes control of a person’s computer system without their knowledge or consent. They then begin using the person’s computer power to mine cryptocurrencies.
Nine times out of ten, the cryptocurrency these hackers target is Monero. The computer owner garners no profit, while the hacker rakes in tons from the mining process. However, it’s the victim that winds up paying the high energy bills each month.
Trend Micro, a cybersecurity firm, appears to have found the evidence suggesting Outlaw’s return. In a statement, the group states that a honeypot operated by the team detected a “URL spreading the botnet.” They also discovered that the Monero miner was “bundled with a Perl-based backdoor” and an SSH backdoor, which Outlaw has utilized in previous attacks.
Trend Micro explains:
Given that Perl is installed in the machine, the use of Perl programming language for its backdoor ensures the malware flexibility to execute in both Linux and Windows-based systems, and should the group decide to sell the code, the maintenance of the code would be easier for the buyer for more possible uses, adjustments and execution.
The good news is that Trend Micro believes Outlaw is still in a “testing phase,” meaning the consequences associated with such attacks are likely minimal at press time. However, it’s possible that current victims of Outlaw-based attacks are being used as guinea pigs to see if damage can be greater in the future. As of now, most Outlaw activity appears to be based in China.
Crypto-jacking has become a huge problem as of late. So big, in fact, that it appears single computer systems aren’t all that are “under the gun” anymore. In a related story, it appears fish ponds were being used to disguise a mining scam taking place at an oil field in China.
A Sneaky Way to Garner Digital Currency
A man was arrested recently for “laying a cable” designed to steal cryptocurrency. This cable, and others like it, were hidden deep in fish ponds so that they wouldn’t be spotted by drones or other prying eyes. He likely would have gotten away with it except that in late May, a local oil field manager called law officials to complain that his power was being stolen, and he didn’t understand how.
When police arrived on the scene, they discovered a nearby shed that had been housing several bitcoin mining rigs, and a cable that had been laid across the land to steal the oil field’s power.