At the current stratospheric value of Bitcoin, miners with access to significant computational horsepower are literally printing money. For example, the first operator of a USD $1,500 custom ASIC mining platform claims to have recouped his investment in less than three weeks in early February 2013, and the value of a bitcoin has more than tripled since then. Not surprisingly, cybercriminals have also been drawn to this potentially lucrative endeavor, but instead are leveraging the resources available to them: stolen CPU hours in the form of botnets. We conduct the first comprehensive study of Bitcoin mining malware, and describe the infrastructure and mechanism deployed by several major players. By carefully reconstructing the Bitcoin transaction records, we are able to deduce the amount of money a number of mining botnets have made.
Danny Yuxing Huang, Hitesh Dharmdasani, Sarah Meiklejohn, Vacha Dave, Chris Grier, Damon McCoy, Stefan Savage, Nicholas Weaver, Alex C Snoeren, Kirill Levchenko
Blockchain, Computational Finance, Computational Science, Digital Currencies, Finance, and FinTech