Hacked websites to generate crypto cash

Hackers have successfully installed code on sites that visitors’ computers use to “mine” cyber currencies. An analysis of the most popular websites found hundreds that host malicious mining code.

By having many computers join networks, attackers can quickly generate cash. This is absolutely a numbers game, said Rik Ferguson, vice president of security research at Trend Micro. Ferguson said that cryptocurrencies work by having many computers work together to solve the complicated math problems that generate new digital currencies. On many sites found in the scan, the way the script was concealed suggested.

The processing of numbers is called mining and new cryptocurrencies are given to the miners who are the first to solve the complex sums. The more computer power someone can accumulate, Ferguson said, the more coins they can generate. A security researcher has scanned the code behind the millions of popular websites to see which ones run the widely used Coin Hive mining script.

“There is a great attraction in being able to use other people’s devices in a massively distributed way because then a lot of computing resources are effectively harnessed,” he said. “Cryptocurrency mining malware is nothing new,” Ferguson said. , adding that the increasing value of established cyber-currencies and the emergence of potentially valuable new ones were driving malicious use of the scripts.

Many sites use this and others, like JSE Coin, legitimately to generate some money from their constant stream of visitors. The metrics published on the Coin Hive site suggest that a site that receives one million visitors a month would earn around $ 116 (£ 88) in Monero cryptocurrency through mining that it had been surreptitiously uploaded. The Coin Hive developers said that it had also taken action against malicious use.

The BBC contacted several of the sites in the UK that run the Coin Hive script and those who responded said they did not know who had added it to their site. Some have now removed the mining code, updated their security policies, and are investigating how the code was implemented without the knowledge of the site owner they said in a message to the BBC. We have banned several of these accounts and will continue to do so when we learn of these cases.

He encouraged people to report malicious use of Coin Hive and said that any site that uses it should inform users that their computer could enroll in a mining scheme. Some security programs and ad blocking software now warn users when they encounter miners. Cloudflare also suspended some customers accounts after they started using mining scripts. his action by saying that he considered the code to be malware if visitors were not informed.

 

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