According to a report from Ars Technica, the Italian company Hacking Team developed a piece of software called Money Module that specifically targeted cryptocurrency wallets in addition to other financial files. It looked for the wallet.dat file on the hard drive and if it found it, relayed it back to the owner of the license to the software.
Then, they could try to break the password, and from there they could either have the money or at least track the funds of the user, which would be the ultimate goal of a spy agency, for instance. But an individual hacker who may have this software now that it is in the wild, especially if they could deploy it in conjunction with other software now in the wild thanks to Hacking Team’s leak, such as exploits for Flash, then things could get ugly for the average Bitcoin user.
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Traditional wisdom would teach us that it is time to turn on our firewalls, and protect our wallets with as much encryption as possible. The firm that developed the Money Module software are brilliant hackers who have worked for governments around the world, even repressive ones such as Sudan. They also worked for private companies, which is a fact they had previously denied. The motivation for the hack is yet unknown, but the fact that this company had developed software to take cryptocurrency wallets including Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Feathercoin is interesting.
Everyone would be well advised to secure their funds as best as they possibly can.
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