Android, Bitcoin mining malware on the rise

Bitcoin mining malware is on the rise on Android, with most of these threats spreading via apps. Here's how to defend yourself

Trend Micro said it has discovered malicious cryptocurrency mining apps within the Google Play Store. These apps use dynamic JavaScript and native code to try to go undetected by antivirus.

The threats discovered by Trend Micro have been christened as ANDROIDOS_JSMINER and ANDROIDOS_CPUMINER. ANDROIDOS_JSMINER is a malware that contains the Coinhive JavaScript, which is usually used for background Bitcoin mining operations and was detected, for example, within an app that offered discounts of various kinds, but also in an app to pray the Rosary. Once launched, the apps load the Coinhive JavaScript code and start generating the cryptocurrency, without the user's knowledge. All this obviously takes advantage of the device's performance, which will suffer from slowdowns and bugs.

The effects of malicious mining apps

The second Android malware, namely ANDROIDOS_CPUMINER, adds cryptocurrency mining libraries to legitimate apps, which are then packaged and distributed on the Google Play Store. The concrete effects of these malicious apps on users' devices result in increased smartphone wear and tear, reduced battery life, and slower overall performance than usual. These apps show that threats related to invisible mining of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, are starting to make their way to mobile devices as well. On computers, on the other hand, they are already widely known and used by hackers.

How to Defend

Users, in order to defend themselves, should keep track of any possible negative changes in their device's performance. This can help you figure out if you have been hit by a malicious cryptocurrency mining application. And if so, perform a thorough scan with an antivirus.