Is bitcoin miner real in the playstore
If the phone gets hot in the hand and the battery runs out too quickly, the user may have played too much Candy Crush or watched YouTube videos for hours. But it can also be that an app digs for digital money unnoticed in the background - because someone completely stranger dreams of getting rich.
Several IT security companies are currently warning of Android apps that secretly generate crypto currencies such as Bitcoin in the background. To do this, they use the smartphone processor and battery of the ignorant phone owner. With the external smartphone performance, the apps solve complex arithmetic tasks. This creates new units of a digital currency. The process is called prospecting, or crypto mining. While users wonder about their empty batteries, the app developers' digital account balance is increasing. iPhones have not yet been affected by the malware.
The IT security company Trendmicro has found several examples: According to the description in the app store, an app with tens of thousands of downloads should help users to pray the Catholic rosary. In an unchristian way, the app secretly started a small program in the background and generated the digital currency Monero. Nothing of the sort was displayed to the user, only the processor load was suddenly astonishingly high.
Bitcoin is too expensive to mine
Another app should actually offer a bonus program: If the user redeemed certain coupons, their data volume increased - at least that's what the advertising said. Again, this program generated Monero digital money for the developer while it was running. Trendmicro also found another malicious app that was supposed to provide the smartphone with background images. The developers probably simply copied the data from an existing app and integrated the digging function. In the meantime, Google has removed all three apps from its Playstore.
While the best-known cryptocurrency Bitcoin is currently rushing from one high to the next, such malicious apps tend to rely on small currencies like Monero. They can also be generated by poorly performing smartphones, while Bitcoin miners have to spend a lot of money on computing power in order to extract the popular digital currency. In China, for example, there are several factories that are filled with thousands of Bitcoin computers. Its sole purpose is to produce the digital currency all day and will bring its owners in more than a million euros per month.
Dozens of Android apps affected
The IT company Avast has found almost 30 apps in Google's Play Store that secretly mine for digital currencies. They often use a script called Coinhive, which in a similar way secretly misuses the computing power of their visitors on websites. Since desktop PCs or laptops are usually much more powerful than smartphones, digging for websites is more lucrative for operators than for developers of similarly functioning smartphone apps. "Crypto-coin mining itself is not particularly efficient and not optimized to be used on mobile devices," says Nikos Chrysaidos. He is responsible for security on mobile devices at Avast.
So the developers of such malware are still not earning much. Chrysaidos says, "The revenue from mining is pretty low. You could say that it generates about a dollar a week per app. The crypto miners may see their mining activities as an investment in the future, because the value the currency being mined could rise quickly. " They are hoping for a bitcoin effect: in 2013 a bitcoin was worth 100 euros. Now it's more than 5500 euros.
Mainly affected Russia
According to the IT security company Symantec, Russia in particular is affected by such malicious apps. Half of all attacks took place there, a Symantec spokesman told the US portal Motherboard. In the USA, 20 percent of all cases have been counted, Ukraine and Belarus are also said to be particularly affected. In addition, thousands of smartphone users in Australia have received a suspicious SMS: They are promised bitcoins if they visit a certain website. If you call up the page with your mobile phone or PC, the computing power is used for Bitcoin mining, but the recipient of the SMS does not receive any of the money. It flows into the pockets of the website operator.
IT security firms create reports on malware to advertise their own products designed to protect against it. However, users do not have to buy the company's security app to protect themselves against unwanted crypto mining. In general, users should pay attention to the load on the smartphone and the battery. If the cell phone gets hot in idle mode, it is possible that an app is secretly running in the background - a possible indication of crypto mining. If users have found a suspicious app, they can simply uninstall the program.
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