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Bitcoin mining malware hits Android

Raspberry Pi also put to work down the pit
Thu Mar 27 2014, 13:50

MORE THAN A MILLION Android users might be inadvertently mining various crypto currencies, as malicious code has been found in apps downloaded from the Google Play store.

ANDROIDOS_KAGECOIN.HBT is capable of mining Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin by altering the Google Mobile Ads code in apps to disguise a redirect to a mining pool.

Although using relatively low-powered devices is likely to mine coins at an exponentially slow rate, the combined power of all the zombie machines in the hackers' network has already netted them thousands of Dogecoins, according to Trend Micro, which discovered the exploit.

Android is responsible for the overwhelming majority of malware in mobile devices, however finding malcious code in Play store apps is a relatively rare event.

In this case, along with the repackaged versions of popular apps sideloaded from outside the Google Play store, two apps - 'Songs' and 'Prized - Real Rewards and Prizes', which have had over one million downloads, have slipped through security checks and made it into the Play store.

Despite hijacking devices, the hackers are either very careful or not completely irresponsible. The two Play store apps will only mine when the infected device is charging.

Meanwhile, American entrepreneur Dave Carlson has revealed his ambition to become the source of 10 percent of the world's Bitcoins, and at the heart of the operation is the humble Raspberry Pi computer.

Carlson's company Megabigpower rents out use of the 1.4 million Bitfury chips, managed by Raspberry Pi machines loaded with proprietary software.

Megabigpower takes a cut of the Bitcoins created, with the lion's share going to investors as part of Carlson's policy not to mine Bitcoins to line his own wallet. µ


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