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Quick Heal: Cryptojacking Emerging as Alternative to Ransomware

As more cybercriminals leverage cryptojacking as a lucrative channel of generating illicit revenues, Quick Heal Security Labs researchers expect these numbers to grow even further

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Quick Heal: Cryptojacking Emerging as Alternative to Ransomware
Quick Heal: Cryptojacking Emerging as Alternative to Ransomware. (IANS)
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With more than three million hits globally in the first five months of this year, cryptojacking, a form of cyber-attack in which hackers hijack the infected system’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency, is fast emerging as an alternative to ransomware, according to IT security firm Quick Heal.

The number of mobile cryptojacking malware variants has also grown from eight in 2017 to 25 by May 2018, marking a three-fold increase, Quick Heal said in a statement on Monday.

“Cryptojacking is emerging as a more cost-effective and efficient alternative to ransomware. With a ransomware attack, there is no guarantee that hackers will be paid a ransom,” said Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal Technologies.

“Cryptojacking, on the other hand, is empowering hackers to make use of infected endpoints for swifter and more assured financial gains,” Katkar said.

As more cybercriminals leverage cryptojacking as a lucrative channel of generating illicit revenues, Quick Heal Security Labs researchers expect these numbers to grow even further.

Quick heal
Quick Heal.

As opposed to ransomware, cryptojacking attacks remain almost undetected, enabling attackers to use the compromised systems to mine cryptocurrencies for as long as they want.

They are also easier to deploy than ransomware attacks. All a hacker needs to do is to drop a cryptomining code on your system without your knowledge through an infected link or file.

Another commonly used method is to infect websites and pop-up ads with a JavaScript-based cryptomining script, which is triggered when you click on infected ads or visit compromised websites.

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In such instances, attackers do not even need to install a code; just opening the infected link is enough to turn your system into a cryptomining machine and generate instant returns on investment for the hacker, Quick Heal said.

System owners to deploy a robust security solution as a means of combating cryptojacking attacks, it added. (IANS)

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Two New Viruses Stealing Data, Quick Heal Reports

The security researchers recommended Android users to avoid downloading apps

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Two New Viruses Stealing Data, Quick Heal Reports
Two New Viruses Stealing Data, Quick Heal Reports, Pixabay

Two new sophisticated Android Banking trojan viruses are exploiting mobile users’ behaviour in India to gain access to their confidential data, global IT security firm Quick Heal warned on Tuesday.

Security experts at Quick Heal Security Labs have detected “Android.Marcher.C” and “Android.Asacub.T” — the two trojans that imitate notifications from popular social applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, Instagram and Twitter as well as some of the leading banking apps in India.

By gaining access to incoming messages through administrative privileges, these malware also allow hackers to bypass the two-factor OTP authentication typically used for securing online transactions in India, the researchers warned.

“Indian users often download unverified apps from third-party app stores and links sent through SMS and email. This gives hackers a lucrative opportunity to steal confidential information from unsuspecting users,” said Sanjay Katkar, Co-founder and CTO, Quick Heal Technologies Limited.

“The fact that we’ve detected three similar malware in less than six months indicates that hackers are now targeting mobile users, who are far more vulnerable to sophisticated phishing attacks,” he added.

Anti-virus firewall
Anti-virus firewall, Pixabay

While “Android.Marcher.C” uses the Adobe Flash Player icon to look like a genuine app, “Android.Asacub.T” mimics an Android Update icon.

Whenever users access an app on the database of these malware, they are tricked into entering sensitive information such as banking credentials, card details, and login IDs/passwords before they can continue using the app.

This is not the first time that Quick Heal Security Labs has detected such a malware.

The researchers previously raised an alert in January this year about a similar Android Banking Trojan.

Known as “Android.banker.A2f8a”, the malware was distributed through a fake Flash Player on third-party app stores and mimicked more than 232 banking and cryptocurrency apps.

The security researchers have recommended Android users to avoid downloading apps through third-party app stores or through links provided in SMS and email.

“Always keep ‘Unknown Sources’ disabled, and verify app permissions before installing any app from official stores,” the security firm said.

Also read: Hacker who passed US military data to IS arrested

Users must also keep their Google Play Protect service always ‘ON’ and install a reliable mobile security app to detect and block fake/malicious apps, it added.(IANS)