Security

Skype malware makes your PC a slave to mining Bitcoins

bitcoin-money-flickr

On top of news that Bitcoin digital wallets were causing security headaches for customers, a new piece of malware spread through Skype might be using your computer to mine Bitcoins.

Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab revealed the malware in a blog post yesterday, saying the virus only infects PCs, though similar attacks have infected Macs. The malware is disseminated through Skype messages that social engineer you into clicking a link by saying something like, “I can’t believe this pictures of you!” When you click the link, the malware downloads and starts using up the CPU on your PC.

As Ars Technica notes, “mining Bitcoins” refers to the process of earning Bitcoins for solving a “block,” or a number of encrypted Bitcoin transactions. When that block is solved, the transactions are processed and the solver gets a certain number of Bitcoins as a prize.

The malware is set up to connect a number of PCs to solve these blocks together, automating the process and earning the malware writer more Bitcoins, faster.

Kaspersky said the malware is getting nearly 2,000 clicks per hour. The majority of its victims live in Russia, Poland, Costa Rica, Spain, Germany and the Ukraine, according to Kaspersky. The firm warns that if your computer is running a lot of CPU, you should check to make sure you’re not infected.

Bitcoin image via zcopley/Flickr