CRYPTOJACKERS HACK INDIAN GOVERNMENT OWNED WEBSITE FOR MINING

Author: Jagdish Kumar, India

Even though Indian government has banned cryptocurrency trading in the country, it cannot save its computers from cryptojackers who have been using the government computers for mining crypto coins.

This came to light when an analysis by security researchers said many websites owned by government, including director of municipal administration of Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati Municipal Corporation and Macherla municipality are among hundreds of Indian websites being used to mine cryptocurrencies.

Economic business daily reported quoting a security researcher that hackers always target government websites, as they get large numbers of hits as well as they are a trusted source.

Previously, hackers used to black out the websites, but now they have changed the strategy and have started injecting cryptojackers so that they can earn money without anyone knowing, the expert said.

In terms of how exactly the websites get affected by this, the security researcher stated that hackers get users to click on a malicious link in an email that loads malware embedded with crypto mining code on the computer, or infect a website with JavaScript code that mines cryptocurrencies using up a visitor’s computing power without consent.

The malware, known as cryptojacking, is the unauthorized use of someone else’s computer to mine cryptocurrencies.

A researcher said that their team ran a software code on the homepages of 4000 websites from the goidirectory.nic.in to identify cryptojacking scripts, in which 119 Indian websites that run the malware coinhive were found.

Coinhive is one of the most popular cryptocurrency mining service that uses the computing power of any browser that visits the site to mine bits of Monero cryptocurrency.

According to Fortinet report, globally cryptojacking malware has increased from impacting 13% of all organizations in Q4 of 2017 to 28% of companies in Q1 of 2018.

The economic daily quoting Fortinet regional vice-president, India and Saarc Rajesh Maurya said that Crypto mining activity is becoming a very big business in India. The next frontier for cryptojacking is moving towards internet of things (IoT) products, say security experts.

Shodan.io, the search engine for internet-connected devices in a preliminary search showed that India ranked second after Brazil with over 13,500 home routers affected by cryptojacking software.

Image credit: pymnts.com

jagdish@blockasia.io

*Edited based on an article from blockasia

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