A government website for the Khabarovsk county in Russia was recently hacked in an attempt to mine cryptocurrency by siphoning the computer power of the users visiting the site.
Fraudulent Miners Strike Again
According to a report on local news agency Gubernia, malware had been active for roughly ten days before getting removed from the government website on June 7, 2018.
A county administration IT officer, Vyacheslav Kovalenko, informed that since the end of May 2018, users had raised concerns regarding the functioning of the website, as they were redirected to a malicious website that installed a mining software on their computers without permission.
“In the course of the investigation, it was found out that a mechanism was introduced to the site when the malicious program began to work on the user’s computer from an external infected site, which caused the cryptocurrencies to be activated by its actions.”
Officials of the government website have published a safeguard report, recommending that users must block the pop-ups to avoid such threats in the future. The site has an average of about 600 visitors per day, and regularly posts information about the county administration’s work and official events.
“Crypto-Jacking” on the Rise
For the uninitiated, cryptocurrencies are “mined” through powerful computer equipment which solves thousands of complex mathematical algorithms in the space of seconds. Mining rigs are expensive, and as the difficulty of mining increases, users are less incentivized to purchase the costly equipment. However, a malicious attacker/s can gain access to several computers on the internet through deceitful means, and use the victim’s computing power for their benefit.
When hackers infiltrate systems, the program contains code which dispairs the victim’s security programs. Additionally, the website administrators do not notice any change in site performance. The only sign of a mining attack is the increased load on the processor.
The incident is not the first time that a website has been hacked in an attempt to “mine” cryptocurrency, as “cryptojacking” has made the news a many times in recent months.
As reported by BTCManager on May 14, Indian business conglomerate Aditya Birla Group was victim to a fraudulent mining software which infiltrated computer systems to mine privacy-focussed protocol Monero (XMR).