CTS-AI has been merged with Samurai XDR and is no longer supported.

Detecting and Responding to Mars Stealer Cryptojacking Malware on Your Network

Detecting and Responding to Mars Stealer Cryptojacking Malware on Your Network


Though digital assets have been a valuable commodity since the dawn of the internet, never has it been as relevant as it is now. Cryptocurrencies have revolutionized the space, accompanied by trendy new blockchain applications such as NFTs. With more mainstream adoption, however, comes predators such as Mars Stealer.

This malicious piece of software can extract keys and 2FAs from multiple sources.

If you have any dealings with crypto, you need to be aware of how this malware functions. But, even more crucially, you must understand the most efficient preventative measures. Read on to learn more.

The Threat

The world of cryptocurrency shines with such bright allure that it's often easy to forget about what lurks in the shadows. Malicious actors targeting crypto for theft are nothing new, but the techniques are becoming elegant and difficult to detect.

Mars Stealer, in particular, has the potential to gain access to any crypto wallets that utilize browser extensions. Not only that, it can extract information from popular email clients, as well as harvest information about the host computer.

Cryptocurrencies and other digital assets look set to soar in value over the coming years. It follows then that these kinds of threats will continue to rear their heads.

Anybody investing in this technology should also be looking at the most efficient ways to avoid targeting by malware. Part of that defense comes from understanding how the malware functions.

How It Works

Exactly what is Mars Stealer?

Before the existence of Mars Stealer was its predecessor, Oski Stealer. The original blueprint for the newest iteration came from a piece of malware that had many of the same capabilities.

The original Oski Stealer relied on a vulnerability with Windows: the ability to hijack the NCSI (Network Connectivity Status Indicator). This hijacking allowed Oski to install itself on a host computer.

Unfortunately for anybody seeking to safeguard against this type of malware, the new variant is far more deadly. Not only is it capable of more theft, but it also possesses powerful obfuscation techniques to keep itself safe.

A few techniques it can employ include the ability to encrypt strings of code and hide the DLLs that it uses to function. Managing to find Mars Stealer before it causes damage is a difficult task.

Risk Groups

You might be under the impression that your network or computers have sufficient security. Seeing the list of services and software vulnerable to Mars Stealer is sure to dispel that notion.

Almost every popular browser that uses an extension will be vulnerable—even the most secure, popular options. Users of Chrome, Firefox, and Opera will all be at risk from Mars Stealer.

The malware can tap into the browser extensions for popular crypto wallets, harvesting logins, keys, and 2FAs. Due to the nature of the malware, it's a difficult task to identify whether or not you are currently at risk.

If you live in the Commonwealth of Independent States and encounter this particular malware, you might get away unscathed. According to multiple sources, the malware will not steal any information from hosts in that specific area.

You might consider yourself lucky in those circumstances, but it's a huge gamble to take. There's no guarantee that the malware will remain the same, and new variants are constantly under development.

That possible refinement and development mean that the people at risk are also under constant change. Thinking you are safe today doesn't mean that tomorrow won't bring something worse.

Whether you run a single computer with access to digital assets or have a network of computers, the risk is still there.

Somebody spreading malware will not differentiate between individuals and businesses. Everybody will be fair game.

Protecting Yourself

Keeping your network and computers safeguarded against the latest threats can be difficult. The cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing to meet the demands of new threats. Standard security offerings such as virus checkers and firewalls are becoming less and less reliable.

It can take time for virus checkers to figure out how to remove Mars Stealer and similar malware. Time is the one thing you can't afford against a threat like this.

If traditional security solutions are becoming less viable, what is the answer? We live in a world that now demands near-constant internet access, with all of the issues that can bring from malware.

In the case of crypto assets, offline wallets are an option. A measure like this is somewhat draconian, though. Not only that, an offline wallet isn't a guarantee of safety against a malicious actor.

The Elegant Solution to Mars Stealer

There is an elegant way to solve the problem of Mars Stealer and similar malware, though.

A large company will have the resources to implement a sophisticated security setup for its network. Though this is effective, it would be exhausting to the finances of a smaller business to do so.

An external solution exists in the form of CTS-AI. Streams of cyber security intelligence pour into the CTS-AI, giving it a powerful unique threat detection for detecting Mars Stealer.

Malicious code, suspicious network activity, or elevated CPU usage levels are all tell-tale signs. Without a team of security experts or an expensive software solution, these red flags can go undetected.

Managing to find Mars Stealer is a perfect example of where CTS-AI shines, though. It is constantly running, a watchful eye that never sleeps. Not only that, all of the threats receive validation from humans, meaning the accuracy is of a high standard.

CTS-AI can also be set to respond automatically to the threat. In a situation where minutes could mean the difference between secure and lost information, the value speaks for itself.

Protect Yourself Today

It could be Mars Stealer today or something worse tomorrow. As the relentless march of malware development continues, it is imperative to stay one step ahead. NTT's CTS-AI is the perfect tool to help you protect your network from malware.

If you want to know how to detect Mars Stealer, this is the way to do it. Don't skimp on your security when there are affordable, effective safeguards.

Read the Mars Stealer Malware White Paper from the Global Threat Intelligence Center

Mars Stealer Malware White Paper

CTS-AI has been merged with Samurai XDR and is no longer supported.