Crypto-currency is on the rise as the dollar value continues to rise. While crypto-currencies are in high demand, cyber criminals have found a new and innovative way to use others devices to mine their crypto-currency.
Crypto-currency works in an odd way. To obtain crypto-currency without buying it from others, a user must use their computer or resources to “mine” the currency. It uses computer resources and will build the currency on autopilot. Once coins are fully mined, they can be stored in a wallet, sold to others, or used to buy numerous items online.
Security researchers at Lookout Mobile Security, discovered numerous apps uploaded through the Google Play Store to contain hidden CoinKrypt android malware. The malware turns the mobile device, into dedicated mining hardware.
For mining, key components are how many devices are mining for the coins. The CoinKrypt malware uses a botnet to infect Android smartphones, and turn it into miners. The malware doesn’t steal any data, instead its mines Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Casinocoin.
As data isn’t stolen, CoinKrypt can still greatly affect the Android Smartphone. Affected users may find their phone getting warm, battery life decreased, and higher data plan usage. Users may also find copies of the currency transaction history, which can be gigabytes in size.
All apps containing CoinKrypt have not been spotted as of yet. Antivirus firm, Trend Micro, spotted two apps infecting users. The two apps named ‘Songs’ and ‘Prized – Real Rewards and Prizes’ were found to be infecting users with the ANDROIDOS_KAGECOIN.HBT Dogecoin mining malware. The two apps already had over one million installs.
The above named apps are both available for Android devices running Android 2.2 or later, but are begin pushed by differing developers. Researchers have noted the malware will only mine on infected devices when the phone is charging.
While mining crypto-currencies may sound easy, it can be time consuming. Mining for currencies is not a get rich quick scheme for malicious hackers. The Android phones may only be mining 20 cents per week. Cyber criminals are targeting broad markets, infecting millions.
“Users with phones and tablets that are suddenly charging slowly, running hot, or quickly running out of batteries may want to consider if they have been exposed to this or similar threats,” Trendmicro suggested.
Lookout for shady apps on the Google Play Store, and don’t install applications from unknown sources.