x

Italian Spyware Tracks Down Bitcoin Transactions and Private Keys

by

         Italian Spyware Tracks Down Bitcoin Transactions and Private Keys

Italian spyware vendor Hacking Team’s internal data was hacked and released this week, leaking research and information on how its bitcoin spyware called “Money Module,” which was used to spy on protesters and political dissidents works.

The Italian spyware vendor has been selling the software that surveils computers or smartphones to a range of clients, including international law enforcement agencies. The software was launched in January 2014, and has been used to track down transactions of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, litecoin, feathercoin and namecoin.

The software targets one key file in a bitcoin wallet called wallet.dat, which contains a set of private keys needed to settle a transaction on the blockchain. Once the software gets hold of the keys, it acquires the entire transaction history.

“It is straightforward to grab the wallet.dat and related files and for malcode to get the password for this file when the user accesses their bitcoins,” Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California,told ArsTechnica. “Similarly, one can also search for Bitcoin-related keywords in e-mail messages and other content on their computer. And once you have a copy of the wallet.dat file, you have the entire transaction history (as Ross Ulbricht can attest to).”

According to the email leaks on Wikileaks, the software is able to collect a wide range of information apart from bitcoin and cryptcurrencies.

“The module is able to collect various information: list of contacts and local accounts, wallet (i.e., the money) and the history of transactions,” reads an email dated January 12, 2014, published by Wikileaks. “Currently it is intended only for Desktops (Windows, OS X, Linux), while introduction in Mobiles is still under evaluation.”



Recommended

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Could Three Times Be the Charm for This Resistance Level?

Bitcoin remains in its tightly coiled range as the market continues its sideways trend for the third week in a row.

Bitcoin Schmitcoin

Op Ed: Defining Decentralization: How Ambiguity Continues to Divide Crypto

In the pursuit of mass adoption, decentralization shouldn’t be our goal, but instead a means to achieve the many different, and equally important, goals that exist for cryptocurrency users.

Paul Puey

Op Ed: Why It’s Unsafe to Store Private Crypto Keys in the Cloud

Unless cybersecurity becomes part of the fabric of blockchain and crypto with stakeholders taking it more seriously, it will take much longer for this amazing technology and currency to get the mass adoption that it deserves.

Paul Walsh

Op Ed: How Bitcoin’s Protocol of Peace Can End the Nuclear Age

Bitcoin offers an alternative to a universal security system backed by men with guns. It creates a new model of security based on cryptographic proof that can resist unlimited applications of violence, making a bulletproof network.

Nozomi Hayase