The debate about whether cryptocurrency mining is worth it or not is still on, seemingly connected with the shifting prices of Bitcoins, Ethereums, and other online ‘valuables. Those engaged in cryptocurrency mining have no doubts themselves. They are using all legal and even illegal methods to get their hands on the desired valuables, including malware. Their methods are getting quite diversified, and usually, it is the guest machines they infect that pay high energy consumption and suffer considerable slowing down in operation. Seemingly though, that is not enough.

These hackers are now also targeting mobile machines, which have much smaller energy consumption capabilities and processor strengths.

Cryptocurrency malware rage is on

It seems that even the attempts by some GPU producers like Nvidia and AMD to start the production of chips designated specifically for the use by crypto miners are not helping stop the spread of cryptocurrency mining software. The data prepared by the security researchers at Trend Micro shows that in 2017, the most detected network event for devices that are connected to home routers was exactly cryptocurrency mining. Also, a hacked variant of Coinhive miner was the sixth most common malware in the world.

During February of 2018, security researcher Scott Helme noticed that a cryptocurrency malware was running one weekend on over more than 4,000 sites including the website of the American court system as well as some UK government sites.

In March, Microsoft’s Window Defender detected more than 80,000 instances of the cryptocurrency malware Dofoil, also known as Smoke Loader which infected more than 500,000 computers.

But it seems that as the number of cryptocurrencies and their value rises, so does the trend of hackers switching from more publicly known cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to those that are still less in the public eye, like Monero, the cryptocurrency the hackers went for in the February attack on government machines.

It is the turn for mobile devices to be hit

Monero is the cryptocurrency that seems to be the target of the latest rage in cryptocurrency malware attacks which is hitting Mobile Devices this time around. While smartphones or tablets have much less power than PC’s or Macs, there are billions of them around and they are much less protected and easier to attack.

Kaspersky Lab has detected a series of malicious mining applications being distributed through Google Play store. Their disguise varies, from posing as games or sports streaming apps to pretending to be VPN’s. One of the most downloaded was a soccer streaming app in the Portuguese language, which was downloaded more than 100,000 times, mainly in Brazil.

Whatever their shape or form, or whether they hit regular computer machines or those of mobile variety, it seems that cryptocurrency mining malware is becoming the main hacker rage in 2018.