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As the world has gone mad on cryptocurrencies and mining them, the latest casualty became millions of Android users, whose phones were hijacked and redirected to a website that mines Monero.
The cybersecurity company, Malwarebytes, discovered that the so-called ‘drive-by cryptomining’ malware had managed to infect Android phones and redirect them to a website running cryptocurrency mining code that automatically sucks a phone’s processing power to crunch equations needed to generate the cryptocurrency Monero, reported The Inquirer.
What happened was the CPU of the devices was used to the max. Before being redirected, however, the users were “notified” that there is |suspicious surfing behavior” and that in order to avoid or stop it, they need to solve a Captcha request. At the same time, the phones were already mining Monero.
The troubling fact is that the company discovered Monero was being mined for around three months. They discovered it in January, but according to the firm, the mining could have been up as early as November. The attack included five web domains and millions of users.
According to press, users that “helped” with the mining of Monero spent on average four minutes on the websites, and when combined with the number of visits, the total amount that was mined was several thousand dollars worth of Monero.
Malwarebytes commented on the findings:
“While Android users may be redirected from regular browsing, we believe that infected apps containing ad modules are loading similar chains leading to this cryptomining page. This is unfortunately common in the Android ecosystem, especially with so-called “free” apps. It’s possible that this particular campaign is going after low quality traffic—but not necessarily bots —and rather than serving typical ads that might be wasted, they chose to make a profit using a browser-based Monero miner.”
There has been a surge in the cryptojacking of devices. Just few months ago, computers in a Starbucks coffee were “hi-jacked” to mine cryptos. The act itself can seriously damage devices, and issues such as chip overheating, maxing out of CPU and general slowdown can arise.
Overall, users should be aware of the websites they visit and the “warning” statements they receive when entering a webpage.