Hackers Now Target Vulnerable Smartphones To Mine Crypto-Currencies

A new system of cyber-attack manipulated by hackers which security experts refer to as “crypto jacking”.

Hacker’s Crypto jacking refers to the manipulation of either an internal server, a personal computer or a smartphone to install and run malware used in mining cryptocurrencies as defined by an expert at an IT service management company Wavestone.

Mining, on the other hand, is the processes involved in verifying and processing of transactions in any given virtual currency, which in exchange. Miners will be rewarded with some of the currency by themselves.

Mining of cryptocurrencies legitimately or the “right way” will involve considerable investments and generates huge electricity bills which will link together thousands of processors hereby increasing the computing power available to earn cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Etherum, Monero and others, but instead of following the legal way, hackers have invented a much cheaper way which is stealthily exploiting the processors found in smartphones, in order for hackers to succeed in this act, they lure victims by hiding or creating the equivalent of the Trojan horse inside a harmless-looking app or program.

The popularity of these apps, games or programmes makes them susceptible to be used by those hackers. As quoted from a researcher at an IT security firm, ESET, said; “recently, we have discovered that a version of the popular game “bug smasher” installed from Google play between one and five million times has been secretly mining the cryptocurrency “Monero” on users.

This phenomenon is increasing by the day because more and more applications that hide Trojan horses associated with the mining of cryptocurrencies have surfaced o different platforms in the last 12 months (1 year) quoted from a researcher at Kaspersky Lab, the leading supplier of anti-virus and security software for computers.

The processing power available to hackers on mobile devices is less, although, there are over a billion mobile phones; hence, they offer a higher potential to hackers. For smartphones, the mining is best described as a nuisance, because they only slow down the operations of the phone, heating it up while the phone’s processor tries to mine cryptocurrencies and at the same time perform designated tasks, at most it can lead to the damaging of the phone.

On devices that run on Android operating system, the load on the processor can lead to the bloating of the battery further expanding to physical damage of the device; however, most users do not know they have been crypto jacked.

READ: How to prevent trackers from accessing your phone’s Location

Crypto jacking affects smartphones running the Android operating system, hackers have targeted iPhone less in recent times because Apple controls applications that are installed on its devices, but Google recently sanitised its app store “Google play” warning developers of its non-acceptance of apps that mine cryptocurrencies on its platform.

According to Pascal Le Diogol, who works as the country manager in France for US IT security firm, WatchGuard, he stated that “it is difficult to know which application (s) to block given that there are new ones every day”. Moreover, as hackers try to be as secretive about it as possible the apps are not visible immediately, Le Diogol added.

Apart from the installation of antivirus apps in one’s phone, it is essential to continually update your android phone to the latest version made available from the operating system and also downloading of apps from non-official sources is dangerous as it can lead to the downloading of malicious apps. You also need to adapt to the constant changing of cyber threats to be aware of the latest dangers and ways to prevent your device(s) from getting affected.