A new trend in covert cryptocurrency mining has hit Android users, where hackers don’t hijack devices completely but use their capabilities to the maximum for several minutes. The extensive scale of the scheme lets criminals gain significant profit.
Malwarebytes Lab’s experts believe that practice to hijack smartphones and PCs in order to mine cryptocurrencies will go on as long as the digital currency boom continues.
Fortunately it is relatively easy to detect when device is used by ‘miners’ — it lags, overheats and uses up battery power quickly. If this is the case — the advice is to do a sweep with an anti-virus program or contact specialists for help.
In order to avoid such mishaps, Malwarebytes Lab suggests installing anti-virus software and web filters, as well as avoiding suspicious web pages.
According to tech experts, hackers use two methods on Android devices in order to mine cryptocurrencies. One is via malware infected software and the second one — via redirection to the fake web sites, which has been recently gaining popularity.
It looks pretty innocent at first. You get to a page with a disclaimer that says your device is showing suspicious activity and the owner has to enter Captcha in order to prove they are not a bot. Moreover, the disclaimer warns users that until they do so, the site will use the device to mine cryptocurrency “to cover the costs”. But in fact the real mining starts as soon as the Captcha is entered.
The smartphone glitches as its processor is 100% loaded with mining operations, until the user closes the web page, which — according to Malwarebytes — leaves happens 4 minutes later.
It’s not a long time interval but given that the site attracts 800,000 victims a day, it allows its owners to gain significant profits.