Kaspersky Lab’s researchers have discovered that more and more cyber criminals are turning their attention to malicious software that is mining cryptocurrencies at the expense of 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 VPN applications to profit from hundreds of thousands of victims without their knowledge.
The hot topic of crypto-currency mining could not be ignored by cyber criminals, 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.
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 crypto-currency mining. They are now using legitimate thematic applications with mining capacities to feed their greed. As such, they are able to capitalize 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