Smoke Loader malware has been around for years, but security researchers recently spotted a new payload that can determine an infected PC’s real-world location.

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A strain of malware that’s been around for over a decade has a new trick: the ability to triangulate an infected PC’s approximate location. 

The malware known as Smoke Loader has been sold on cybercriminal forums and to Russian hackers for years. It’s typically used to load additional malicious programs, which can allow the attacker to hijack a Windows PC. Earlier this month, security researchers at Secureworks spotted the malware dropping a new and creepy payload dubbed “Whiffy Recon.”

“Every 60 seconds it triangulates the infected systems’ positions by scanning nearby Wi-Fi access points as a data point for Google’s geolocation API,” Secureworks says. “The location returned by Google’s geolocation API is then sent back to the adversary.”

The Wi-Fi triangulation function is also a rarity in the hacking world, according to Secureworks. Whiffy Recon can triangulate a PC’s location, thanks to the Google Maps’ Geolocation API, which is designed to return latitude and longitude coordinates for devices that lack a native GPS. To return the coordinates, Google’s API relies on public data on cell towers and Wi-Fi access points. 

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