Millions of Android smartphones hit with malware that mines cryptocurrency

It appears the malware is travelling via infected apps.

  • Published: February 14, 2018 3:54 PM IST

A cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, holds so much more meaning than it did may be a year ago. Anybody who had an opportunity and did not invest in Bitcoin, regrets it now. While the high value of the cryptocurrencies means high dividend for some people, for some, it’s motivation for crime. Now the first thing a hacker would think, to dip their toe in the golden water of cryptocurrency, is to mine them. However, that takes a lot of equipment and electrical power, and that’s not easily affordable. But a simpler (but not easy) is to hijack a computer or device and make them do the work. That’s exactly what some hackers are doing.

Reported by Malwarebytes, millions of Android smartphones are said to have been compromised by a malicious malware ad that redirects scam. It is still not clear what exactly is the methodology being used by the hackers, but it appears users downloaded infected apps that quickly redirected them to a website. The website directly laid out that it was using the infected device to mine cryptocurrency, and would only stop when the user entered a valid CAPTCHA code. Malwarebytes has shared the screenshot of the site and the resulting spike in processor use when the malware hits.

Apparently, a user spent an average length time of four minutes on the malicious site, but the site had over 30 million visits per month. Add that up, and the hackers definitely mined a large amount of crypto.

“It is difficult to determine how much Monero currency this operation is currently yielding without knowing how many other domains (and therefore total traffic) are out there. Because of the low hashrate and the limited time spent mining, we estimate this scheme is probably only netting a few thousand dollars each month. However, as cryptocurrencies continue to gain value, this amount could easily be multiplied a few times over,” the report reads.

Malwarebytes recommends using web filters, and security software to keep your phone safe. Of course, you should make sure you only download apps from the Google Play Store, as you’re much less likely to get infected programs that way.

  • Published Date: February 14, 2018 3:54 PM IST