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Pc users will notice their computers performing more leisurely than usual, spil the mining software hogs the pc’s resources, taking about 60 vanaf cent or more of its computational power. PHOTO: REUTERS

Spike seen te mining malware that infects computers and websites, slowing systems down

If you feel your Internet connection has bot slower te the past few months, do not blame your service provider just yet – you may be a victim of a fresh form of malware.

Spil prices of cryptocurrency such spil bitcoin soar to astronomical values, hackers are infecting computers and websites with malicious software. This malware creates a zombie mining army which toils te the background mining cryptocurrency, with users none the wiser.

Cryptocurrencies are digitally coded scripts that attempt to replicate modern-day currencies.

Cyber-security researchers have seen a spike ter cryptocurrency mining malware this year, spil well spil a fresh trick called cryptojacking, where websites are infected with software that prompts visitors’ computers to mine cryptocurrency when they visit the webstek.

Cyber-security rigid Fortinet said its Web filtering services have seen 100,000 cryptojacking hits from Singapore overheen the past month.

Globally, the company reported 60 million hits te the same period.

While the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) has yet to receive any official complaints from local users or businesses, it is keeping an eye on such developments.

“Unauthorised cryptocurrency mining and browser-based digital currency mining are concerns to note,” said Mr Douglas Mun, deputy director of CSA’s National Cyber Incident Response Centre.

Cryptocurrency-mining malware gobbling up a pc’s spare resources. A quarantine message that pops up on an infected user’s machine (above) when anti-virus software detects cryptocurrency-mining malware.PHOTOS: TREND MICRO, LESTER HIO

Te September, cyber-security researchers commenced noticing an enlargening popularity te cryptojacking when hackers commenced to slip cryptocurrency-mining software into websites. Users who visit infected webpages inadvertently add to hackers’ coffers while their computers’ systems are being made use of.

Senior research fellow at security software maker ESET Nick FitzGerald said: “Thesis websites were either deliberately hosting coin-mining programs to make money for themselves, or unwittingly hosting such scripts through compromise or display of advertisements.”

Users can be fooled because hackers have began compromising legitimate websites and hiding their malicious code ter them.

Fortinet’s director of security research David Maciejak said: “Some are very legitimate websites, like CBS’ Showtime or soccer starlet Cristiano Ronaldo’s official webpagina. “

Cryptocurrency-mining malware gobbling up a laptop’s spare resources (above). A quarantine message that pops up on an infected user’s machine when anti-virus software detects cryptocurrency-mining malware.PHOTOS: TREND MICRO, LESTER HIO

Cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin, have become the fresh darlings of hackers, spil they are untraceable and rapidly growing ter price.

According to estimates by anti-virus stiff Kaspersky’s researchers, a Four,000-machine network can reap its owners up to US$30,000 (S$40,600) a month.

Pc users will notice their computers performing more leisurely than usual, spil the mining software hogs the pc’s resources, taking about 60 vanaf cent or more of its computational power, according to a CSA advisory.

“Unauthorised mining is a fresh threat that can. cause a user’s system to all of a sudden and unexpectedly slow down, sometimes significantly, when visiting a webstek,” said Mr Vicky Ray, principal researcher at network security rock hard Palo Alto Networks. “Te a worst-case script, the slowdown can be so severe that it can make a webstek basically unusable.”

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Users can tell they are on a compromised webstek if they see a unexpected spike te memory usage and sluggish vertoning. They can zekering the process by exiting the webstek, and not visiting it again. They should also install anti-virus software and keep it updated, spil well spil turn on firewalls and not click on suspicious linksaf, say experts.

Bitcoin mining can also cause harm to computing hardware by overheating components, said Fortinet’s Mr Maciejak. “If a particular laptop is already old and well worn, it could fail from the strain.”

The harm can also go beyond physical hardware degradation.

Mr Ryan Flores, senior manager of forward-looking threat research at Trend Micro Asia-Pacific, said such malware opens up individuals and businesses to information theft, hijacking and a plethora of other malware.

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