Coinhoarder Hackers Abused Google AdWords & Earned More than $50 Million via Bitcoin Phishing Campaign

Ukraine Cyberpolice and Researchers from Cisco Talos uncovered a Bitcoin Phishing campaign that uses Google AdWords to find their victim. Attackers targeted specific geographic regions to earn millions of cryptocurrency from victims.

The campaign is very simple after the initial setup attackers purchased Google AdWords to poison search results and to steal cryptocurrencies from user wallets.

When users search with the keyword “blockchain” or “bitcoin wallet” the spoofed links that look legitimate appears at the top and servers the content in native language based on the location of victims. Here you find the complete list of phishing sites involved.

Also Read Russian Scientists arrested for using Secret Nuclear Weapons Lab Supercomputer to Mine Bitcoin

Researchers said the domain block-clain[.]info was used an initial gateway and then redirected to blockchalna[.]info which is the final page that resembles the original site. The attack works as follows.

Click & Enlarge for clear view
Ukraine Cyberpolice says “According to our approximate estimates, only from September to December 2017, using the above method, the intruders took possession of a 700-BTC crypt of foreign currency (at the time of writing this amount is equivalent to the US $ 5 million)”.

The Attackers targets the developing African countries where the local currencies are not so stable and also the countries whose first language is not English.

Cisco said “we have evidence the COINHOARDER group has been actively pilfering Bitcoin since at least 2015. Based on our findings associated with this syndicate, we estimate the COINHOARDER group to have netted over $50M dollars over the past three years”.

The Coinhoarder made heavy use of typosquatting and brand spoofing methods to make the domains more convincing, they also used international domain names appears as like English.

The Punycode (internationalized) version is on the left, the translated (homographic) version on the right:

xn--blockchan-d5a[.]com → blockchaìn[.]com
xn--blokchan-i2a[.]info → blokchaín[.]info

IOC’S – Bitcoin Phishing

The following IP address is known to have been used in these phishing attacks:


Guru baran

Gurubaran is a co-founder of Cyber Security News and GBHackers On Security. He has 10+ years of experience as a Security Consultant, Editor, and Analyst in cybersecurity, technology, and communications.

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