How Criminals Can Secretly Hijack Your Computer To Make Money

Before we get to the Fridge, I want to explore how Showtime was just called out for using Coin Hive, a JavaScript based Cryptocurrency miner that runs whilst you have their website open.

In a nutshell, this is mining Cryptocurrency in the background whilst you are on their website. This earns them money, whilst using up processing power which is expensive and slows down your computer.

Showtime have declined to comment on this. It may have been maliciously or intentionally inserted. Irregardless this is an early sign of the future direction of malware.

Coin Hive’s JavaScript mining code was also in the middle of the headlines last week. Pirate Bay had added this code intentionally to test if they could make more income from this over ads. This has since been removed from their website.

The idea behind this is by earning them money from a Cryptocurrency miner, they can explore removing ads from their website. The revenue from this miner would be used to pay for the website costs instead.

Some quick napkin calculations pegged a their earnings at a rough estimate of $123k USD a month from this. Quite substantial — you can see why this is a promising alternate to pesky ads on a website.

All of this got me thinking about the recent ransomware attacks that encrypted your computer and demanded money.

Just recently Wannacry infected over 400,000 computers, encrypting the files. It demanded $300 USD to restore these files. Yet it only made $120,000 USD in total from the ransom.

Cybercrime comes in many forms and will continue to grow — especially in Crypto.

Now just imagine if instead a Cryptocurrency miner affected these computers, and was able to run on average for a week before being discovered and removed. This is also known as “Cryptoware”.

If we take the average pc specs from Steam. We plug in the average graphics card into an Etherum mining calculator you get $3.46 USD in income per week.

Take the 400,000 computers infected by the Wannacry ransomware and instead lets say they were infected by a Cryptoware miner.

$400,000 x $3.46 USD = $1.38 USD Million Dollars

That’s a hell of a lot more then the earnings from demanding ransom for access to your files. In addition you would be less likely to notice this as it would hide in the background running as you go about your day to day tasks.

This is a small number of machines, the number could be much bigger. Websites you visit, your computer, apps you use, IoT devices are all potential targets. How would you react if your fridge was secretly consuming power to make some Russian hacker money? Frightening thought isn’t it!

Yes it would be a minute amount, but consider economics of scale and you will realise the potential of Cryptoware crime is huge. How long before we start seeing major Cryptoware attacks in the headlines?

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Source : https://medium.com/@seemuapps/cryptoware-hackers-using-your-fridge-to-make-money-7c05bb8007f8

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