Many official Indian websites have become a prime target for cryptojacking. Essentially by infecting the target with malware, the infected computer’s processing power is used to mine. The “stolen” power could be used to mine all sorts of cryptocurrencies without the infected user’s knowledge.
According to a research from cybersecurity analysts, many trusted government Indian websites are currently victims of cryptojacking. Among the infected are the Macherla municipality, Tirupati Municipal Corp and the director of the municipal administration of Andhra Pradesh.
It’s important to note that in order for cryptojacking to have the desired effect, the websites need a lot of traffic. This means the targeted websites should be trustworthy. This form of attack has apparently become mainstream. Hackers prefer cryptojacking since they stand to make money with little risk.
According to the ET report, the vulnerabilities were first found by Anish Sarma and Shakil Ahmed, two Guwahati-based security researchers. The AP government websites all turned out to be subdomains of ap.gov.in. The website fits the target requirement of popularity, since it’s averaging over 150 000 views per month.
The malware spread doesn’t only affect government websites though. The ET report states that PublicWWW listed over 120 Indian websites, which run the Coinhive code. The code is essentially a script, invented to mine Monero (XMR) via different web browsers.
Indian websites are not the only victims
This form of attack is increasing steadiliy on popularity. Malware infections grew from infecting 13% of all organizations in the end of 2017 to around 28% of companies in the beginning of 2018. This can be largely attributed to the fact that the attacks have replaced ransomware as the most common form of attack. Cryptojacking basically creates revenue with a tiny fraction of the effort and unwanted attention caused by ransomware.
Streaming websites are one of the biggest targets out there. The huge amount of viewers can be used by the script while they enjoy online gaming or movies and TV series. Gaming configurations offer a huge amount of processing power and they are highly prevalent on stream giants like twitch.tv.
Earlier this year in a report from the cyber security firm McAfee Labs, it was revealed that cryptojacking has shown a tremendous rise. Malware activity has increased over 625% in the beginning of 2018.
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