By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
From just Bitcoin a few years back to the emergence of a large number of similar digital currencies including Monero, Litecoin, Casinocoin, Etherium and Ripple, there is no denying that cryptocurrency is making waves. Cryptocurrency offers a lot of benefits that make it a viable alternative to conventional transactions involving money, including lower fees, decentralization, and ubiquitous access for everyone with an Internet connection.
Unfortunately, because it’s Internet-enabled, cryptocurrency is also as vulnerable to malware attacks as online banking, e-shopping and other Internet services. If you’re planning to use cryptocurrency, it’s important to first familiarize yourself with malware strains that can threaten the service. To give you a headstart, below are six of them.
Russian anti-malware developer Doctor Web discovered this strain in August 2016. Written in Go, a programming language owned by Google, Linux.Lady collects information on an infected Linux system, then sends the information to a command and control server (C&C). The C&C then prompts the infected system to download software designed for crypto mining, which slows down the infected computer while running. As with most malware strains, the whole infection process can take place without the victim’s knowledge.
Security software developer SophosLabs discovered Ma/Miner-C in September 2016 exploiting vulnerabilities in Seagate network-attached storage (NAS) boxes to infect users with crypto miners. Targeting NAS boxes makes it easier for the perpetrators to spread the malware strain around, providing them with more potential revenue streams. As is the case with many crypto mining software, it uses the resources of an infected machine, slowing down the system and increasing memory usage. It primarily targets cryptocurrency Monero.
CoinKrypt is a cryptocurrency malware that uses smartphones for cryptomining. As these devices typically have less operational resources than desktops and laptops, crypto mining processes can slow them down, drain their batteries quickly, and cause overheating, which can be a nuisance. Additionally, crypto mining can syphon data allocations and cause additional fees as the process involves uploading and downloading large amounts of data.
Another cryptocurrency malware targeting mobile devices, BadLepricon acts just like CoinKrypt in that it uses the resources of the device for crypto mining. What makes it different from the latter is that prioritises stealth; BadLepricon’s mining processes only work if the device still has more than 50 percent of its battery and the screen is not being used. This makes it harder to know if the device has been infected or not. It was first discovered in a number of apps on Google Play in April 2014.
Proteus is enough of a nuisance as it uses the device’s memory and processing power to conduct crypto mining. But what makes it more dangerous is that it can also steal user information by monitoring keystrokes and install additional malware, making it harder for the device owner. Proteus was first detected by Fortinet researchers in November 2016.
Another cryptocurrency malware prioritising stealth, f0xy stays hidden from both the user and security software of a Windows device by taking advantage of Microsoft’s Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), a service used to prevent security software process from being flagged as suspicious. f0xy downloads its payloads through the bitsadmin.exe component of BITS, allowing it to evade detection.
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