Comments: Epidemic of cryptojacking can be traced to escaped NSA superweapon

A first look at browser-based Cryptojacking

Shayan Eskandari, Andreas Leoutsarakos, Troy Mursch, Jeremy Clark
(Submitted on 7 Mar 2018)

In this paper, we examine the recent trend towards in-browser mining of cryptocurrencies; in particular, the mining of Monero through Coinhive and similar code- bases. In this model, a user visiting a website will download a JavaScript code that executes client-side in her browser, mines a cryptocurrency, typically without her consent or knowledge, and pays out the seigniorage to the website. Websites may consciously employ this as an alternative or to supplement advertisement revenue, may offer premium content in exchange for mining, or may be unwittingly serving the code as a result of a breach (in which case the seigniorage is collected by the attacker). The cryptocurrency Monero is preferred seemingly for its unfriendliness to large-scale ASIC mining that would drive browser-based efforts out of the market, as well as for its purported privacy features. In this paper, we survey this landscape, conduct some measurements to establish its prevalence and profitability, outline an ethical framework for considering whether it should be classified as an attack or business opportunity, and make suggestions for the detection, mitigation and/or prevention of browser-based mining for non- consenting users.

Posted by A first look at browser-based Cryptojacking at April 15, 2018 03:12 AM

Cryptocurrency Mining and Cryptojacking Offer Cybercriminals Lower Risk, Higher Efficacy, Ease of Monetization of Efforts; Adding Passive Exploitation to Portfolio of Ransomware Extortion, Data Breach Theft, and Fraud

McAfee Labs sees coin miner malware grow 629% in Q1 2018
Lazarus cryptocurrency campaigns steal bitcoins from financial sector and users

SANTA CLARA, Calif.,June 27, 2018 - SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- McAfee, the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, today released its McAfee Labs Threats Report: June 2018 , examining the growth and trends of new malware, ransomware, and other threats in Q1 2018. McAfee Labs saw on average five new threat samples every second, including growth in cryptojacking and other cryptocurrency mining malware, and notable campaigns demonstrating a deliberate drive to technically improve upon the most sophisticate established attacks of 2017.

“There were new revelations this quarter concerning complex nation-state cyber-attack campaigns targeting users and enterprise systems worldwide,” said Raj Samani, chief scientist at McAfee. “Bad actors demonstrated a remarkable level of technical agility and innovation in tools and tactics. Criminals continued to adopt cryptocurrency mining to easily monetize their criminal activity.”

Cybercriminals extended their operations in cryptojacking and other cryptocurrency mining schemes, where perpetrators hijack victims’ browsers or infect their systems to secretly use them to mine for legitimate cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. This category of coin miner malware grew a stunning 629% in the first quarter of 2018, rocketing from around 400,000 total known samples in Q4 2017 to more than 2.9 million the next quarter. This suggests that cybercriminals are continuing to warm to the prospect simply infecting users’ systems and collecting payments without having to rely on third parties to monetize their crimes.

“Cybercriminals will gravitate to criminal activity that maximizes their profit,” said Steve Grobman, chief technology officer at McAfee. “In recent quarters we have seen a shift to ransomware from data-theft, as ransomware is a more efficient crime. With the rise in value of cryptocurrencies, the market forces are driving criminals to crypto-jacking and the theft of cryptocurrency. Cybercrime is a business, and market forces will continue to shape where adversaries focus their efforts.”

Bitcoin-stealing campaigns

The Lazarus cybercrime ring launched a highly sophisticated Bitcoin-stealing phishing campaign—HaoBao—which targeted global financial organizations and Bitcoin users. When recipients open malicious email attachments, an implant would scan for Bitcoin activity and establishes an implant for persistent data gathering and crypto mining....

Posted by McAfee Labs Sees Criminals “Infect and Collect” in Cryptocurrency Mining Surge at July 9, 2018 07:13 AM

There is quite a "religious" faction within the NSA, a large Catholic community around Ft. Meade, and a large Mormon or LDS community around the relatively new Utah data center.

Very little little diversity, whether of thought or of skin color. Chelsea Manning was undoubtedly led to believe by her closest comrades and superiors that she was doing the right thing, but the secretive "churching" and court-martial that she endured were out of proportion to a lack of foreign contacts of the type that would have been seen as treacherous.

I would want to consider to what extent the NSA grew out of Operation Paperclip after WWII, and thereby came to incorporate such and such subversive "Nazi" goals and agendas into the U.S. government under such great and exaggerated secrecy.

Some things are "too" highly classified, and they verge into "open secret" territory, and I am definitely alluding to the kind of information Manning is accused of leaking on these lines.

Posted by La Abeja at December 15, 2018 09:45 PM

In the latest instance of state employees mining cryptos at work, a unit of Ukrainian Railways (Ukrzaliznytsia) has been caught red-handed diverting company electricity to earn bitcoin.

Posted by Ukraine trains at November 15, 2019 09:21 AM
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