Criminals conceal miners under the guise of legitimate thematic applications: Kaspersky

ANI | Updated: Apr 09, 2018 17:26 IST

New Delhi [India], Apr. 09 (ANI): Multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider, Kaspersky Lab's researchers have discovered that more and more cybercriminals are turning their attention to malicious software that is mining cryptocurrencies at the expense of the users' mobile devices.

These criminals are getting greedier and now use not only malware but also risk tools, hiding mining capacities in popular football and Virtual Private Network (VPN) applications to profit from hundreds of thousands of victims without their knowledge.

The hot topic of cryptocurrency mining could not be ignored by cybercriminals, as they seek to increase their profits.

They are mining on computers, servers, laptops and mobile devices.

However, it is not only mining malware that they use.

The experts at Kaspersky Lab found evidence showing that criminals are adding mining capacities into legitimate applications and spreading them under the guise of football broadcasting and VPN applications - with Brazil and Ukraine as the main victims.

According to Kaspersky Lab data, the most popular "legitimate miners" are football-related applications.

Their main function is to broadcast football videos while discreetly mining cryptocurrencies.

For this, developers used the Coinhive JavaScript miner.

When users launch the broadcast, the application opens an HTML file with the JavaScript miner embedded, converting visitors' CPU power to the Monero cryptocurrency for its author's benefit.

The applications were spread via the Google Play Store and the most popular of them was downloaded around 100,000 times.

Nearly all (90 percent) of these downloads originated from Brazil.

Legitimate applications, responsible for VPN-connections, became the second target for malicious miners.

A VPN is a Virtual Private Network, via which users, for instance, can get access to web resources, that would not otherwise be available due to local restrictions.

Kaspersky Lab found the Vilny.net miner, which is able to monitor the battery charge and the temperature of the device - to obtain money with less risk for the attacked gadgets.

For this, the app downloads an executable from the server and launches it in the background. Vilny.net was downloaded over 50,000 times - mostly by users in Ukraine and Russia.

Kaspersky Lab products successfully detect these applications as risk tools.

"Our findings show that authors of malicious miners are expanding their resources and developing their tactics and approach to perform more effective cryptocurrency mining. They are now using legitimate thematic applications with mining capacities to feed their greed. As such, they are able to capitalise on each user twice - firstly via an ad display, and secondly via discreet crypto-mining," said Roman Unuchek, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab researchers advise users to abide by the following measures in order to protect their devices and private data from possible cyber attacks:

- Disable the ability to install applications from sources other than official app stores.

- Keep the OS version of your device up to date in order to reduce vulnerabilities in the software and lower the risk of attack.

- Only choose applications from trusted and reliable vendors - especially those which are geared towards safeguarding your privacy when online (e.g., VPN).

- Install a proven security solution to protect your device from cyber attack.

- To learn more about the development of mobile miners, read our blogpost on Securelist.com. (ANI)

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