Amazon Web Services (AWS) Found Hosting Cryptojacking Malware
- More hackers are targeting consumer electronics than ever previously
- Viruses and ‘cryptojacking’ malware is used by hackers to steal cryptocurrency directly, and even mine coins using infected computers
- Amazon Web Services was recently found hosting cryptojacking malware designed to mine the privacy coin Monero on compromised user devices
If you use cryptocurrency, should you be worried about cryptocurrency viruses and malware?
Are you about to pay with Bitcoin online using your PC, smartphone, or tablet? If so, are you 100% certain that your device is secure? - As a rule, you probably think that it is, however, smartphones, Windows PC’s, and even Apple devices, are being increasingly targeted by so-called ‘cryptojacking’ malware.
What You Need to Know About Cryptojacking Malware
According to online magazine Quartz, a piece of malware named “Xbooster” was recently discovered on Windows PC’s connected to Amazon Cloud data storage services.
Using operating system backdoors, Xbooster is estimated to have used infected PC’s to mine over $100,000 worth of Monero (XMR). A much bigger problem for cryptocurrency users, though, rests with the fact that malware piggybacked onto devices via trusted app downloads, can do much more than hijack device processing power and web usage.
- Cryptojacking malware can take screenshots of device displays, in order to harvest cryptocurrency wallet passwords and recovery phrases
- Malware can encrypt and lock user devices, before prompting users to pay a ransom (usually in Bitcoin or Monero) in order to have devices rendered usable again
- As well as taking over device processors and stealing cryptocurrency directly, cryptojacking malware can be used to steal sensitive user information such as web browsing data, website login details, and regular bank login credentials
What is the Best way to Protect Yourself from Cryptojacking Malware?
At present, cryptojacking developers are being a lot smarter than regular malware and virus developers.
- By releasing infected apps into app stores, PC and mobile device users will often agree to allow malicious software to access files and system processes, by accepting official looking terms and conditions
- Malware removal is made difficult, thanks to the fact that malware itself often disguises itself as a trusted device application
- In many cases, cryptojacking malware will wait until users attempt to pay with Bitcoin or use their cryptocurrency wallet, to start harvesting sensitive information
Given the above, it is entirely possible that the next time you pay with Bitcoin online, your wallet details could be hijacked without you knowing. The good news, though, is that keeping your digital assets secure is still possible.
Use a Dedicated Device to Store Your Cryptocurrency
As a rule, there are always new ways to compromise even the most secure Internet-connected devices. This being the case, the easiest way to keep cryptocurrency safe, is to use a dedicated device rather than that which you use every day to browse the Internet.
Of course, the easiest way to use a dedicated device is to use a dedicated cryptocurrency hardware wallet. For more budget conscious cryptocurrency users, though, an old laptop, smartphone, or tablet, can be used just as effectively, providing that devices are reset prior to use and only connected to the Internet when transacting funds.
- Bitcoin Grotto