One of the world's biggest and most proliferate botnets, dubbed Necurs, is reportedly back spreading millions of spam emails after its 'annual Christmas break'. However, for the very first time, the Necurs botnet's new spam campaign is pushing a cryptocurrency, albeit an obscure one, known as Swisscoin.
Necurs has reportedly been sending out millions of spam emails pushing Swisscoin in an attempt to inflate the price of the cryptocurrency and make a profit. Such scam campaigns are called pump-and-dump schemes and depend on the distribution of massive numbers of emails driving up interest in a specific penny stock.
In previous campaigns, Necurs, which is believed to be made up of millions of bots, has spread the infamous Locky malware, Dridex banking malware, as well as various ransomware variants. However, this is the first time that a Necurs spam campaign has pushed a cryptocurrency, the security researcher who runs the MyOnlineSecurity blog told Bleeping Computer.
VirusBulletin reported having detected over 35,000 emails from the new Necurs campaign, which indicates that it likely is a massive spam operation – typical of the Necurs botnet, which has spread millions of emails in just hours in previous campaigns. Necurs' last massive operation, which took place in November 2017, saw the botnet distribute over 12 million emails in just six hours, which spread the Scarab ransomware.
Swisscoin is an obscure cryptocurrency and its trading was briefly suspended last year after it was reported to be a Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) ponzi scheme. Bleeping Computer reported that Swisscoin trading resumed on Monday, 15 January, but the cryptocurrency lost around 40% of its initial trading price after the new Necurs spam campaign started spreading.
However, it is still unclear as to what impact the Necurs campaign has had on Swisscoin's trading price. The decline in the cryptocurrency's trading price could also have been caused by the sudden drop in Bitcoin's price this week.