Updated And Upgraded: Underground’s Crypto-Currency Silent Miners
By Gilad Israeli
Blockchain has recently caught a major piece of the world’s financial system, and therefore inspired curiosity among fraudsters who look for new ways to gain profits. Now a popular investment, crypto-currency mining requires suitable hardware and some prior knowledge. Thus, underground, malicious program vendors have found a solid audience for business: amateur hackers in search of trojans that enable crypto-currency mining by using infected computers.
Cyber-criminals are constantly seeking breaches that will allow them to exploit users’ vulnerabilities for silent-mining. Once a computer is infected by a trojan, chances are that the hacker will be allowed to do whatever action with it, crypto-currency mining included. Although many computers won’t necessarily have the adequate hardware to complete the mission, the attacker will still be able to try to use the infected computer in order to transparently run a malicious program that will use the computer’s resources for crypto-currency mining. Missing the tools and knowledge that are needed to execute a successful trojan attack, fraudsters who wish to illegally mine crypto-currency are looking for easy-to-use malicious programs that will do the job for them. Therefore, the underground’s offering of silent miners is constantly growing.
There has been a massive growth within threat-actors’ discourse about silent or hidden miners during the last couple of years. By monitoring the underground, Sixgill has recently discovered a new hidden-miner for sale on several different platforms. Guaranteed to be hidden from the PC’s task manager, the miner does not require administrator rights in order to use the computer’s hardware to mine. Moreover, the creator promises that the miner won’t cause any suspicion, due to its ability to use the memory of random system processes.
Dark web vendors offer buyers a Monero miner malware. The current underground trend puts Monero in a position where it is preferred over most of the other crypto-currencies. While dark web markets and vendors still accept mostly Bitcoin, the Monero alternative gets abundant attention and interest for its well-based level of privacy and security. Therefore, the Monero trend further increases the underground demand for hidden miners.
Mining malware can slow the infected device greatly and damage the daily use in many aspects. As crypto-currencies mining keeps its high-profit potential, threat-actors are expected to develop new silent miners that will overcome PC and smartphone cyber-security tools, generating a greater threat to users worldwide.