October 31, 2017

Beware Android Apps that Mine for Cryptocurrencies

Source: Bigstock

Two different types of malware — CPUMiner and JsMiner — were recently discovered lurking inside of apps in the Google Play Store.

These strands of malware are commonly used by hackers to mine for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Once an end user downloads an infected app, they silently mine for coins in the background.

This type of malware can negatively impact a phone’s performance, and drain its battery life. It may not be possible, however, for an end user to tell if his or her phone is infected.

This threat is the mobile version of cryptojacking, a process where hackers hijack someone else’s Internet browser to mine for coins. This type of strategy allows a hacker to get rich using someone else’s computing resources.  

As of right now, it is still unclear how many apps in the Play Store contain miner malware. Many more could be infected. Keep in mind, too, that this is just one example of mobile malware that has been recently found in the Play Store. Back in September, for instance, a type of malware called ExpensiveWall was detected in at least 50 apps in the store, and millions of smartphones may have been infected.  

These revelations should come as troubling news for businesses that have bring your own device (BYOD) policies without any oversight from IT. In one study, for instance, 21 percent of organizations have traced a data breach to their BYOD program. When IT can’t tell which apps employees are using at work, it’s impossible to provide security updates for them —and this could threaten the security of the entire organization.

All businesses using BYOD are strongly encouraged to use a mobile device management strategy, to ensure employee-owned devices are  secured with industry best practices. 



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