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Malware abuses Android devices for crypto-mining

Malware abuses Android devices for crypto-mining
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Christian Boas

Until now, Windows devices such as laptops and PCs were particularly affected by malware, which they misused via hidden Java scripts for mining cryptocurrencies. Now security researchers have discovered that this malware is also available for Android devices smartphones and tablets.

In January Malwarebytes Labs’ malware experts are reported to have encountered a recent wave of attacks on Android devices for the first time. In this apparently very targeted campaign, a malware is applied to Android systems via ads in free apps. This redirects users with enforced redirects to a website. On this it is claimed that the smartphone or tablet with a “suspicious surfing” noticed.

The user had to solve a captcha to prove that he was not a bot. Meanwhile, in the background, a script is running that uses the processing power of the devices to mine the cryptocurrency Monero. The malicious script powers up the devices with maximum power, putting a heavy strain on the battery.

The security researchers determined that the website with the crypto-mining script are controlled by majority of five domains. So they come to the researchers to about 800,000 visitors per day. The two most active would count over 30 million views per month. It also seems that millions of devices are affected by the malware, because the security researchers believe that there are more pages than previously discovered.

The average length of stay on the websites is between two and four minutes. How lucrative this misuse by the malware is for the backers is not certain. However, the researchers estimate that the backers of the campaign may well earn a few thousand dollars a month.

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