New BitCrypt ransomware variant distributed by bitcoin stealing malware

Victims are asked to make bitcoin payments to recover encrypted files after their bitcoin wallets might have already been emptied

A new variant of a malicious program called BitCrypt that encrypts files and asks victims for bitcoin payments is being distributed by a computer Trojan that first pilfers bitcoin wallets.

BitCrypt is part of a growing category of malicious programs known collectively as ransomware that attempt to extort money from victims by locking their files or computers.

One of the first variants of BitCrypt appeared in February and its development was likely inspired the success of a similar program called Cryptolocker that infected more than 250,000 computers in the last three months of 2013 alone.

Like Cryptolocker, once installed on a system, BitCrypt encrypts a large range of files, from documents and pictures to archives, application development and database files. Victims stand to lose access not just to personal files, but also work projects, if they have no external backups.

While the first variant of BitCrypt claimed to be using relatively strong RSA-1024 encryption, security researchers from Airbus Defence and Space found flaws in the implementation that allowed them to create a program to decrypt affected files.

However, according to security researchers from antivirus vendor Trend Micro, an improved version of the malware appeared this month and is likely designed for wide distribution. The new version appends a .bitcrypt2 extension to encrypted files and can display its ransom note in 10 different languages: English, French, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic.

When this variant infects a computer it changes the desktop wallpaper to a picture that reads "Your computer was infected by BitCrypt v2.0 cryptovirus" and points the victim to a file called Bitcrypt.txt for additional instructions, the Trend Micro researchers said Monday in a blog post.

The text file contains information on how to access a specific website hidden on the Tor anonymity network in order to obtain a special decryption program that's unique for every infection. The website asks users for their unique infection ID and a payment of 0.4 bitcoins -- around US$230 at current exchange rates -- in order to obtain the decryption tool.

In a somewhat ironic twist, the Trend Micro researchers also found that the new BitCrypt variant is being distributed by a Trojan program called FAREIT that steals bitcoins, among other data.

FAREIT searches and attempts to extract information from wallet.dat (Bitcoin), electrum.dat (Electrum) and .wallet (MultiBit) files, the researchers said. These files are created and used by different Bitcoin client applications.

To avoid becoming a ransomware victim and being forced to pay to regain access to important files, it's essential to back up data regularly; preferably not on the same computer or a shared network drive, because the malware could affect those backups as well.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags fraudmalwaredata protectionspywareonline safetytrend micro

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?