Scamming and hacking and phishing and all the bad stuff you could possibly do on the internet, is plaguing the cryptocurrency universe. If you grew up during the 70s and witnessed how computers evolved, you would recall similar things happened back then too. Sci-Fi shows featuring hackers were all the rage then because security protocols were playing catch up with man's ingenuity.
Hackers are increasingly spreading malware which locks the operating system whilst requesting cryptocurrency payments for uninstallations. The Wannacry Malware is probably the most famous of them all.
Another form of malware related to cryptocurrency is the ‘mining malware’. Once this malware is successfully deployed and installed, it starts mining various cryptocurrencies all the while the owners of the computers do not realize that their computers have been slowed down due to this malware.
According to the Moscow-based news service RBC, a quarter of all computers operating in Russia have been infected with the cryptocurrency mining malware. This statement has been verified by Herman Klimenko, an advisor to President Vladimir Putin, as he told the local news agency that “20-30% of devices are infected with this virus”.
Cryptocurrencies based on the proof-of- work (PoW) algorithm require users to input energy through the intensive ‘mining’ process in which computers are constantly used as they add new transactions on the Blockchain. New coins are minted (supplied) through this process and cybercriminals have long been generating funds by developing and distributing malicious applications and software which effectively hijack computers – to remotely control these computers, use their processing power, and mine various cryptocurrencies.
On the other hand, various Russian government officials have pushed back his claims as they argue that such scale of infection is significant and would be hard to miss. “(the statement is) nonsense”, said Dmitry Marinichev, Russia’s internet ombudsman, in a recent interview with RBC. These pushbacks were further supported by Kapersky Lab, one of Russia’s leading anti-virus software developer, as they told RBC that merely 6 of its customers were ever targeted by this mining malware since the beginning of 2017.
Furthermore, Doctor Web, another popular anti-virus vendor in Russia, stated the claim by Putin’s advisor as ‘faulty’ as the actual number of affected computers is significantly lower than the amount claimed.
"If it were about 20-30%, it would be an epidemic and everyone would know about it. There are infections by miners, but it's impossible to say that they are infected with a third of users," said Vyacheslav Medvedev, an analyst for Doctor Web.
Regardless of the truth behind Herman’s claim, it is true that mining malwares do exist. It is important that you are aware of its existence and regularly check your devices for potential infections. If your computer seems to have slowed down significantly and the use of your internet data have soared without much reasons, be sure to check your computer for this ‘mining malware’.