Symantec unveilled a report
about a Trojan which mines with the GPU if possible or the main processor if not.
Security researchers have unearthed a piece of malware that mints a digital currency known as Bitcoins by harnessing the immense power of an infected machine's graphical processing units.Source
According to new research from antivirus provider Symantec, Trojan.Badminer uses GPUs to generate virtual coins through a practice known as minting. That's the term for solving difficult cryptographic proof-of-work problems and being rewarded with 50 Bitcoins for each per correct block.
General purpose GPUs far outstrip CPUs at performing math calculations and can do so in massively parallel software threads, making them a superior platform for trying huge numbers of possible keys needed to solve the Bitcoin problems.
“This makes the idea of GPGPU extremely attractive for the purpose of bitcoin mining, brute force hash attacks against password databases, and folding (the processing of simulating protein folding, a project initiated by Stanford University known as Folding@home),” Symantec researcher Poul Jensen wrote in a post published Tuesday.
An infected computer that contains an AMD Radeon 6990 CPU could process about 758.82 million cryptographic hashes per second, he wrote. That's a far cry from an Intel's Atom N270 netbook CPU, which is capable of handling just 1.19 Mhash/s. Rob Graham, CEO of the firm Errata Security, recently published a thought-provoking post that analyzed the economics of password cracking and Bitcoin-mining using a variety of GPU hardware.
In the event an infected machine has no GPU card, Trojan.Badminer will make do with the CPU.