The number of websites sneaking in malware to mine cryptocurrencies such as Monero has grown by over 700% in recent months. Have you been affected?
Exponential Increase in Web Miners
This unprecedented rise seen recently in the cryptocurrency market has not come with its fair share of problems and controversy. It makes sense that in an emerging market that people will try to take advantage of newly emerging markets to turn a profit.
Whether this is with or without malicious intent, emerging markets always experience similar scenarios. In the case of cryptocurrencies, this has partially taken form in a vast amount of scams and malicious hacks and breaches.
Cyren, an internet security company, has found that over 1.4% of all websites (of the website sample group) from across the web run cryptocurrency mining scripts. This number is exponentially higher than it was just a few months prior to their recent findings.
To give this number a bit more context, just six months ago, the percentage of websites running mining scripts was just 0.12 percent, a whopping 725% increase!
This may seem bad enough, but the percentage of websites affected is expected to rise in the future as cryptocurrency markets grow.
Contrary to popular belief, websites running these scripts have been found all across the web, not just in the cryptocurrency space. There are two different ways in which these scripts are run on these websites.
The first comes from having the script run and installed by devious website owners and the second comes from the hostile implementation of the script without the consent of the website owner.
Nevertheless, a common theme seen with these websites is that these scripts are run without the approval of the consumer on said website.
This has created a large problem with many internet users citing increased CPU usage numbers. So how does this all work? These scripts come from affected websites get downloaded to your computer when you access the site and then run as a background process.
Malicious Monero Mining Sofware
These mining scripts most often mine the privacy coin, Monero, as it can be implemented into websites easily and is most importantly, untraceable. These factors create a situation where it is hard to track the accounts running these scripts.
These malicious miners have been found to be installed and running on hundreds of thousands of computers. One computer alone can only generate a few cents a day at best but with this amount of computing power being utilized it isn’t hard to see why this has been generating millions of dollars worth of Monero for those behind the script.
To the casual user, the increased CPU activity will go unnoticed. The good news is that more knowledgeable computer users have found a way to diagnose and stop these malicious processes.
By using the latest anti-malware software as well as script blocker browser add-ons, you can minimize the risk of mining against your will.
At the same time, these malicious attacks can also affect mobile devices. These mobile mining scripts often originate from downloaded malicious apps. You can keep your mobile phone protected by keeping a close eye on your mobile devices, by looking out for increased CPU usage and questionable files and apps.
Technology is constantly adapting and these miners are constantly adapting to fit and adjust to the latest blocking techniques. Make sure you keep all your security software up to date and make sure you watch out for any malicious attempts made on your devices.
This increased exploitation of computers has not painted the best picture for the cryptocurrency sector adding to the already existent stigma of the cryptocurrency space. Hopefully, web service providers and internet security experts can begin to crackdown on websites running these scripts so to prevent any more damage to consumer devices and the cryptocurrency space in general.
Have you experienced any situations where someone has been mining using your hardware against your will?
Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock
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