Security software vendor Symantec unveiled a new Windows trojan called Badminer which will use an infected machine's GPU card to mine for the Bitcoin virtual currency.
The trojan is the first known that will effectively use the computer's CPU and GPU computing resources in an activity that can earn virtual currency directly.
The Bitcoin currency is based on a strong cryptographic scheme which over time becomes more and more difficult to computationally discover new Bitcoins. Having discovered a Bitcoin, they can be traded for real currency.
Symantec reported that the Badminer trojan sends successfully mined to predetermined location.
"The Trojan will then run one of the following Bitcoin mining programs:
If a GPGPU-enabled graphics card is found, it runs Phoenix Miner.
Otherwise it runs RPC Miner."
Given that GPU mining is somewhat obvious to the end-user, usually from a loud fan whirring on the video card, the impact of the GPU-time stealing trojan isn't likely to be high.
Symantec rated Badminer as Risk Level 1: Very Low.