Bitcoin Mining Malware Infecting Android Smartphones

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Android apps are being circumvented to act as Bitcoin mining operations a report from a security firm has warned.

Unlike malicious viruses or malware, the Bitcoin issue simply uses the smartphone's processing power to "mine" bitcoins which are then uploaded to the malware owner's wallets.

The downside to the user is that bitcoin mining is very processor intensive, and it can drain the battery life exceptionally quickly.

The affected apps have been found on unofficial Android app stores, according to Trend Micro's researcher, Veo Zhanf. The apps were injected with the CPU mining code from a legitimate Android cryptocurrency mining app; this code is based on the well-known cpuminer software.

Phones do not have sufficient power to act as Bitcoin mining operations on their own, as that usually requires dedicated computers to make it worthwhile, however the potential would be for a massive distributed operation collectively using tens of thousands of infected smartphones to replicate such a platform.

The malware developers are reported to have earned thousands of Bitcoins, which are currently worth around US$500 each.

On the web: Trend Micro

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Tags: android  bitcoin  malware 

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