A recently discovered piece of Mac malware is targeting browser cookies associated with mainstream cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet service websites, as well as personal user information, Palo Alto Networks security researchers say.
Based on the OSX.DarthMiner malware and dubbed CookieMiner, the new threat can also steal saved passwords from Chrome, and iPhone text messages from iTunes backups on tethered Macs. Successful attacks result in full access to the victim’s exchange account and/or wallet.
“By leveraging the combination of stolen login credentials, web cookies, and SMS data, based on past attacks like this, we believe the bad actors could bypass multifactor authentication for these sites,” the security researchers say.
Palo Alto Networks discovered that the malware configures the infected systems to load coinmining software resembling an XMRIG-type miner (which mines for Monero). However, the software mines Koto, a lesser-known cryptocurrency associated with Japan.
CookieMiner was designed to steal browser cookies from Chrome and Safari browsers, saved usernames and passwords in Chrome, saved credit card credentials in Chrome, iPhone text messages if backed up to Mac, and cryptocurrency wallet data and keys.
The same as DarthMiner, the malware achieves full control of the machine using the EmPyre backdoor, a Python post-exploitation agent built on cryptologically-secure communications. The agent checks if Little Snitch (an application firewall) is running on the victim’s host and aborts installation if it does.
CookieMiner was observed targeting cookies associated with cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, Coinbase, Poloniex, Bittrex, Bitstamp, and MyEtherWallet. It would also attempt to steal cookies for all websites that have “blockchain” in their domain name.
To steal saved login credentials and credit card information from Chrome, the malware uses a Python script named “harmlesslittlecode.py.”
“The malware ‘CookieMiner’ is intended to help threat actors generate profit by collecting credential information and mining cryptocurrency. If attackers have all the needed information for the authentication process, the multi-factor authentication may be defeated. Cryptocurrency owners should keep an eye on their security settings and digital assets to prevent compromise and leakage,” Palo Alto Networks concludes.