Cryptocurrency mining malwares are designed for utilizing the computing power of PC or smartphone to operate finalizing transactions in cryptocurrencies of another individuals.
Bitcoin mining authenticates and legitimize online bitcoin transactions worldwide. Every single transaction or exchange made using crypto coins is required to be added in final bitcoin ledger or blockchain. These transactions combined then reach ‘block’ status and it is this block that is sent to miners by different blockchain networks such as bitcoin, litecoin, omni, ripple and in Google Chrome extensions’ case, monero. The miners receive these blocks of data that need to be mined then use their specialized hardware and keys called ‘nonces’ to encrypt the block of transaction data. This hash is then added to the block that was received earlier, thereby authenticating it.
This is not the first time a cryptocurrency mining malware has been detected. In December 2017, security firm Trend Micro reported that mining bot called Digmine began spreading through Facebook Messenger in the Chrome web browser via a malicious script that downloaded an extension to the browser and took charge of the computing device. In October 2017, a Monero mining tool was discovered in the website code for popular streaming service Showtime and it was removed subsequently. Security firm Kaspersky detected the Loapi malware designed to run on Android phones, by taking charge of the processor. It was observed that processing power was constantly used by the mining malware, by running the phone’s processor at full chat all through that their test phone’s battery bulged and the cover started to melt.
According to the Cryptocurrency Mining Market report published by coherent Market Insights, cryptocurrency mining requires network of several computers for verification of the transaction record, known as the blockchain. The miners are offered a share of transaction fees and gain a higher probability of finding a new block through contributing high computational power. These support transactions help in providing enhanced security to network users and ensures integrity, which is expected to be the prominent factor influencing growth of the global cryptocurrency mining market. Although cryptocurrencies are gaining significant traction, mining malwares could be a major problem in the process.