Malware on Over 150,000 Devices: How Safe Are You?

There’s no doubt that we all want convenience. Being able to trade your favorite cryptocurrency on-the-go is a beautiful thing, given that crypto markets are quite volatile and prices can change in minutes. However, here’s the question – how safe is your device?

While you may be busy trying to make the next trading call or take a position in a cryptocurrency that has the potential to increase in value, a hacker somewhere is probably searching for ways to hijack your account and steal your cryptos.

It may interest you to know that more than 150,000 devices were targeted in Brazil for crypto jacking in the month of July. In July, a wide-scale cyberattack was launched on MicroTik routers, and this resulted in the installation of Coinhive mining software on more than 17,000 devices.

According to Trustwave, the security firm that reported this security breach, all the infected devices used the same sitekey, thus proving that all the mined cryptocurrencies went to the same source. Simon Kenin who is a security researcher with the firm noted that:

“This attack may currently be prevalent in Brazil, but during the final stages of writing this blog, I also noticed other geo-locations being affected as well, so I believe this attack is intended to be on a global scale.”

A previous post from the same firm pointed out that Coinhive is not exactly new. The mining software became famous in 2017 as a service that would let websites monetize their content without having to place any ads on their site. All site owners needed to do was to embed a JavaScript code that would remotely use the power of a visitor’s central processing unit (CPU) to mine Monero. Little wonder why most site owners were okay with this – monetizing a site can become quite tricky, especially when you don’t have exceptional content, and Google algorithms keep changing. Besides cryptocurrencies were doing exceptionally well in 2017, and the promise of earning without ads sounds fantastic.

Sadly, it was reported that Coinhive took as much as 99% of a visitor’s CPU processing power. If you’ve ever tried to mine cryptos on a mobile device or CPU, you will agree that this translates to your device heating up, and you use up a more substantial amount of electricity.

The good news in all of this is that Trustwave has since released a tool that blocks the mining malware. However, if you use any MikroTik devices, it is expedient that you patch them as soon as possible.