There is a new type of malware in circulation called ‘Raccoon’, which can break into more than 60 applications including the most popular browsers and a number of commonly used bitcoin wallets. In addition to being able to capture personal data from browsers and email programs, Raccoon is also able to steal bitcoins from popular wallet applications such as Electrum, Exodus and Jaxx.
The Raccoon info stealer malware, also known as Racealer, was first detected in 2019 and is increasingly popular among cyber criminals. The malware is offered as Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS); Malicious parties can take out a subscription of $ 200 per month to use the malware. They can then add the malware to all kinds of files, including Word and Excel file formats, and send them to unsuspecting targets via phishing campaigns.
Once infected by the malware, as usual, there is a risk of theft of personal information and files, but Raccoon is also able to crack a number of popular bitcoin wallets. Wallets such as Electrum, Exodus and Jaxx are vulnerable to the malware.
Despite the price tag, the popularity of Raccoon is growing. This is probably due to the user-friendliness and the subscription model, which also includes technical support and regular updates. Raccoon also differs from other malware because it can crack data from no less than 60 different applications . The effectiveness of Raccoon is therefore so high that its use is still lucrative for malicious parties despite the costs.
Apart from the aforementioned wallets, browsers and e-mail clients are primarily targeted by the malware. This applies, for example, to popular browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, but also to dozens of other less-known browsers and e-mail programs such as Outlook and Thunderbird. A more extensive list of vulnerable applications can be found here.
How can you protect yourself from Raccoon malware?
Malware that tries to steal bitcoins or crack wallets is not a new phenomenon, but the software and services seem increasingly professional and easier to use. Since bitcoins are valuable, bitcoin transactions are irreversible and moreover provide a certain degree of anonymity, they are the ultimate loot for malicious parties and hackers. It is not for nothing that there is an increase in cyber crime nowadays.
Fortunately, you can protect yourself against this kind of theft in a fairly simple and user-friendly way using a hardware wallet. A hardware wallet is a separate device that manages the private keys of a bitcoin wallet, so that you do not have to save it on a computer or enter it manually. In addition to important safety benefits, this also provides great ease of use.
Because it is a separate device and the private keys never leave the hardware wallet unencrypted, hackers have little chance. Transactions must also be confirmed by means of a physical button and that is impossible for a hacker, unless he has the hardware wallet in his hands.
For these reasons, it is even possible to do bit-point transactions with a hardware wallet on a fully infected computer without the private keys being stolen from the device. However, it is important (as always) to properly check the transaction data on the screen of the hardware wallet.
Hardware wallets enjoy a high degree of popularity among Bitcoiners and are usually recommended ‘for larger amounts’ because of the price tag. Exactly how much money differs from person to person, but once it is worth the amount of bitcoins more than the purchase price of a hardware wallet, it might be worth considering.