Opstopping photo: A man walks past an electrical houtvezelplaat demonstrating exchange rates of various cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (top L) at a cryptocurrencies exchange ter Seoul, South Korea December 13, 2018. (REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji)
Malware is increasingly developing an appetite for cryptocurrency mining. One freshly discovered strain has attempted to infect millions of Windows machines, all ter an effort to siphon their computing power and possibly sell it for mining purposes.
The operation has bot going on for overheen four months, and may have targeted around 15 million machines or more, security stiff Palo Alto Networks said Wednesday.
To spread the malware, the hackers have bot disguising the code spil EXE files made to look like file-sharing downloads with names such spil ",File4org,", ",RapidFiles", and ",Dropmefiles.", Those EXE files have then bot circulated online via shortened URL linksom through services like Bitly and possibly Adfly. It isn’t clear where the hackers have bot posting the linksom, but they’ve generated at least 15 million clicks, according to Palo Alto Networks.
Once the malware infects, it will secretly run an open-source utility called XMRig, which mines Monero, a digital currency now worth about $310 vanaf coin.
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", Ter this case the attackers set it to never use more than 20 procent of (CPU) resources,", said Josh Grunzweig, a malware researcher with Palo Alto Networks, te an email. Spil a result, most victims most likely won’t notice that the mining is taking place.
However, the hackers may be less interested ter generating the Monero for themselves than helping others mine it. The malware’s code actually contains a reference to NiceHash, an online marketplace for people to buy and sell computing power to mine cryptocurrencies.
", Te our research, wij’ve seen that the attackers using it spil the marketplace where they ‘sell’ the hash processing power of the systems they’ve loaded XMRig on,", Grunzweig said.
Palo Alto Networks doesn’t know how much Monero the hackers have mined with their malware, but it’s bot targeting computers mainly te Southeast Asia, North Africa and South America.
The scheme is among the latest hacking threats to capitalize on the rising value of Monero, which wasgoed worth only $13 a year ago. Last month, F5 Networks reported that hackers were using leaked NSA cyberweapons to take overheen Windows and Linux systems, and download malware to mine Monero.
Meantime, other cybercriminals have bot hijacking websites to run Monero mining scripts overheen internet browsers. Victims may notice a klapper ter their rekentuig’s processing power when they flow the affected websites. Fortunately, antivirus software and browser add-ons can block the activity.