The number of internet-connected devices around the world continues to expand exponentially. Any and all of these machines are susceptible to hacking and malware. One particular router ran so hot due to a Coinhive infection, it could effectively be used to fry an egg. Never underestimate the potential issues caused by cryptocurrency mining malware.
Mining Malware Strikes Again
Numerous incidents involving cryptocurrency malware have made headlines. From Trojans to ransomware and now cryptojacking, the malware industry is booming. All kinds of devices are susceptible to these malicious payloads. That includes the devices which provide users with internet access in their homes and businesses, including modems and routers.
One recent demonstration by Symantec shows how much stress malware can put on the devices it infects. For the purposes of the demo, a router had been deliberately infected with Coinhive, a notorious type of cryptocurrency mining malware. Under the hood, the malware mines cryptocurrency on behalf of unknown criminals. It does so by hijacking the computing cycles of the router in question. In this case, it caused the machine to operate on the border of its safe operating temperatures.
Reaching a temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit is unusual for routers. Even under these current hot weather circumstances, such temperatures should never be reached. The Symantec experiment shows how dangerous cryptojacking can be if left unchecked. While this approach is on the extreme side, it can’t be dismissed. The team successfully fried an egg while the malware was running in the background.
Teaching a Lesson
The primary purpose of this experiment is to raise cryptojacking awareness. Consumers are inclined to leave devices unchecked even when they begin to run slow. Being proactive is of the utmost importance in this regard. Left to run unchecked, malware – particularly Coinhive – can effectively destroy the infected device sooner rather than later.
Making consumers more aware of these problems is sorely needed. One would have expected people to learn their lesson from the ransomware era. Computer security has not improved much ever since. This allows criminals to cook up new business models and generate passive revenue streams. Cryptojacking is not making criminals rich overnight. However, all they need to do is infect the millions of unprotected devices around the world.
For the cryptocurrency industry, issues like these are problematic as well. The devastating effect of criminal activity in this industry is highlighted on a regular basis. That situation will need to change sooner rather than later. Highlighting the positive developments in this industry will bring more trust and legitimacy to Bitcoin. For now, it is still all about the malware.
How can people better protect themselves against malware? More importantly, would you eat an egg cooked by Coinhive? Let us know in the comments below.
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