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Mac OS X Trojan Leeches Off Your GPU to Mine Bitcoins

October 31, 2011

Another day, another piece of Mac malware. This time security firms have discovered a Mac OS X Trojan that steals processing power to create Bitcoin, a virtual currency beloved by libertarians, computer programmers, and hackers of all shades.

OSX/Miner-D, nicknamed "DevilRobber" by AV companies, is being distributed through torrent sites. It installs a Java-based application called "DiabloMiner" that uses your Mac's graphics processing unit (GPU) to generate Bitcoins.

Security vendor Intego said the malware was a combination of a Trojan horse, a malicious app hidden inside another application, a backdoor, an application that opens ports and accepts unauthorized commands, and a stealer that steals personal data and existing Bitcoins from your computer. It's also categorized as spyware because it sends personal data to remote servers, Intego said.

The first sign of infection is if your Mac suddenly becomes sluggish, Graham Cluley of Sophos wrote in a blog post.

"It's becoming clearer every week that Mac users need to take malware protection more seriously by running anti-virus software," he wrote.

The latest patch from Microsoft Security Essentials and other Mac AV providers will detect this DevilRobber.

Bitcoin is a decentralized, highly controversial virtual currency that was formed by programmers in 2009. The currency is generated by programming computers to calculate highly complex math problems; the more computing power you have, the faster you can create Bitcoins. This is why Bitcoin rigs often look likemassive sculptures of connected servers.

Ideally, Bitcoin resolves issues inherent in traditional currencies, like double-spending, inflation, corruption, and inept monetary authorities. But in reality, the effort is being undermined by security issues like exchange breaches, account theft, and pure FUD.

In the past we've also heard of Twitter-based Bitcoin bots and months ago, Symantec predicted the spawn of botnets used to mine Bitcoins.




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